Determining Databases and Data Communications

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19 March 2016

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The business we have chosen to review is AT&T. They are currently using the Window 7 and Mac OS x operating systems and Office 2010 as their business software. They also have some equipment-specific software that uses the Linux and some function specific software as GCAS, a mobile dispatch interface or Granite, a visual database program. Using the Windows 7 OS gives AT&T its dependability; many of the other Microsoft operating systems are not as popular or user friendly. Windows 7 is the finest OS Microsoft has created since XP—some might say since Windows 2000. Many users just do not like other versions, like Windows 8 or Windows Vista, but Windows 7 and Microsoft work well for AT&T because of the previous history and familiarity with AT&T’s employees. AT&T has been using a Windows OS ever since Windows first went on the market or very soon thereafter.

AT&T also benefits from a much discounted price because of their volume of sales with their employment numbers reaching approximately 260,000. So far, Windows far surpasses other operating systems for business needs, mainly because of its dominance in the marketplace. But more recently AT&T U-Verse technicians rely on mobile devices, including Apple Inc.’s iPads and iPhones, working on the Mac OS X, which launch AT&T-specific applications to dispatch technicians for U-verse customer appointments and to conduct network testing and other daily activities in the field. Today technicians work with far more advanced equipment, mostly digital, to install and maintain a more advanced set of products and services (Stemle, 2012). Windows is also a good fit for the Microsoft Office product which AT&T uses for its word processing, spreadsheet use, the Access database, and the largely popular PowerPoint presentation software. In addition, AT&T uses Outlook for e-mail. This suite of programs adds to the discount received from Microsoft for a large volume purchase.

The Linux operating system has the advantage of being a standard in equipment operating systems, especially for the system. The disadvantage is most equipment manufacturers write their own software programs and tend to make it proprietary so it can be expensive and not easily replaceable. AT&T Wireless has been using Granite Systems since 2000 to remove resource redundancy, improve network dependability and accelerate service deployment. Although, specific functional programs have the benefit of solving a specific need, but giving one programming company control over the price and upgrade path. The Craft Access System was a program, developed in 1984 by AT&T subsidiary Bellsouth Telecommunications Advanced Systems Division, which allowed telephone installers and repair technicians to gain access to their work order system by using different handheld PC equipment that connects to a landline telephone system.

Now called GCAS, Global Craft Access System, this software is currently used worldwide so dispatchers can send problem notifications and install information to technicians. The technicians can send messages to the dispatchers and receive them also. In addition they can clock in and out, report outcomes for trouble calls, send their location information, and print receipts for customers to sign after the job has been completed (Dispatch and Service Support System, 2014).

Determining Operating Systems and Software Applications Table

Operating Systems
Horizontal-Market Applications
Vertical-Market Applications
One-of-a-Kind Market Applications
Microsoft MS Windows 7
MS Word
Proprietary OS
Description of how it is used
Users use OS to interface with the computer and its software applications MS Word is a widely accepted word-processing program that can be used for creating documents, letters, flyers, learning activities, and homework assignments for students. Operating system for different phone company equipment; e.g. VM, routers, switches Complex equipment vendors using their version only, not an open system Typical user

Secretary, Executive, Engineers and Technicians
Entire organization, Legal, HR, Accounting, Marketing, Research, Engineering, Labs, Technicians, etc. Network Engineer and Technicians
Vendor Engineer and Technicians
Familiar so easy to use and everyone in the company uses same version

Widely used so most new applicants for work will have experience at work, home, or school Fast dependable, widely distributed and used
Speed, Dependability, Advantage over the competition

It is not the latest version, so not the latest benefits
Large file size, a lot of meta information gets saved along the way when changing and saving a Word file that can expand its size. Word can be very prone to viruses and malware. Additionally, users have complained that there are too many options. It is not easy to navigate; mistakes cause major problems and recovery not possible. Locked into that vendor, pay more, maybe get less, hard to move up in technology development.

1. Dispatch and service support system. (2014). Retrieved from 2. Stemle, C. (2012, August 24). AT&T technicians use iPads, iPhones out in the field. Louisville Business First. Retrieved from

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