Building the Next Generation of Application Software Southwestern Gifts, Inc. (SGI), is a small catalog retailer of Southwestern art, jewelry, and gifts that distributes two catalogs per year, in May and October. About 40% of orders are received by phone and 10% by mail, and the rest via the SGI Web site. SGI employs up to 50 people, including 15 warehouse staff and 30 order-processing clerks during the Christmas shopping season, 4 accountants and bookkeepers to handle payroll and accounts payable, 3 buyers, a catalog designer, 4 IS staff, a warehouse manager, and the owner-operator. SGI currently has a Hewlett-Packard (HP) ProLiant midrange computer running Linux, a small Dell server running Windows Server, and 20 desktop computers, all connected by a 100 Mbps Ethernet LAN with a single T1 (1.54 Mbps) Internet connection. Ten desktop computers are used only for order entry.
No company has shown an interest in purchasing the rights to DERQS, so it appears that no further upgrades or technical support will be available. Questions: Should SGI develop any new software with DERQS? If not, what tools should it acquire for new system development? Should SGI implement the functions of its existing DERQS-based applications by using more up-to-date development tools? Should SGI consider replacing its disparate collection of tools and supporting software with an integrated suite from a large vendor, such as an Oracle DBMS with J Developer or Microsoft SQL Server with Visual Studio? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this replacement?