Case Study Overview – Be Smart Communications (BSC)
Be Smart Communications (BSC) is a software company that provides internal communication solutions to organisations wishing to improve their staff productivity while also reducing staff workloads and stress levels. BSC has developed a number of smart visual messaging channels; for example screen savers are turned into digital signage and video messages are delivered as desktop alerts; and a pop-up staff quiz tool allows organisations to assess staff capability. The BSC solution involves client side applications which deliver information onto the screens of the users’ computers using a range of messaging channels, with the server side hosted by BSC.
The CEO of BSC is Maria Wang and there are 3 senior executives: Lin Hong (Sales Director), Greg Maletino (Technical Director), and Sue Able (Financial Director). There are currently 30 employees covering a range of roles, including project manager, technical support, software developers, accounts clerk, technicians, and administration assistant, and network technicians.
The increasing demand for their services means that the company is looking to employ some more staff.
BSC needs to protect its intellectual property and you have been asked to advise the company on the legal protections available for a number of items. You will need to make sure that your advice includes reference to the relevant statute or common law area and relates specifically to BSC (do not give general answers).The legislation can be viewed from www.legislation.govt.nz and www.iponz.govt.nz
1.BSChas recently paid a marketing company to design a new logo for the company. How can this logo be protected? Explain.
2.Most businesses have important trade secrets which they wish to protect.
a)Explain what is meant by a “trade secret”.
b)BSC considers its customer details, charging rates, and partner arrangements to be trade secrets. Describe briefly TWO ways in which these can be protected.
3.BSC produces specialised software systems and they need to protect this valuable intellectual property.
a)Explain what is meant by “copyright” and explain briefly how copyright works to protect intellectual property.
b)The directors have heard of “patents” but they are not really sure what a patent is. Explain to the directors what is meant by a patent and advise them whether patents can be used to protect the intellectual property in their software.
4.BSC is considering going into partnership with a Wellington company which specialises in mobile communications in hospitals. Discussions are due to take place in a few weeks, and the directors of BSC are keen for these discussions to be kept confidential. For example, during the discussions, BSC will need disclose technical details of its systems to the Wellington company, and they want to be sure that this information remains confidential.
a)How can BSC protect its confidential information in this situation? Explain.
b)What would be required to be proven by BSC in a court of law to support a claim of breach of confidential information?
B)Health and Safety
The BSC software engineers spend long hours every day sitting at their desks using computers and their job cans be very stressful. The directors of the company need to be aware of their responsibilities under relevant workplace health and safety legislation, for example the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 and the amendments to this Act.
1)Identify the main hazards and harms associated with working for long periods of time on a computer while sitting at a desk. Show your understanding of these terms as they are used in the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, and make sure you clearly show the difference between hazards and significant hazards.
2)List six (6) specific things the company must do to comply with the Act in respect of the issues identified in question 1. Do NOT just write out the legislation – you must give specific suggestions.
3)The CEO is interested to know about past cases in which companies have been taken to court after one of their employees was harmed at work. Using the Westlaw NZ database available through the MIT library website, find a case in which a company was judged to have been in breach of Health and Safety in Employment legislation. Briefly summarise the case and the outcome for the parties involved.
4)The Health and Safety Reform Bill passed through parliament earlier this year and is due to come into effect on 4th April 2016. This new legislation will reform New Zealand’s workplace health and safety in several important ways. Find out about these proposed changes and describe four (4) ways in which these are likely to impact on BSC.
Part 2 – Reflection
In the future, when you are working in the ICT industry, you are very likely to be working in a team. Conduct some research into:
- What factors make for a successful ICT project team
- Different team roles, for example you might investigate Belbin’s Team Roles (or similar). Then think about how and where you might fit into a team – what sort of role would you prefer, for example team leader, motivator, resource person, innovator, planner, finisher, more technically oriented, more people oriented etc.
- On-line personality testing tools (e.g. Jung, Myers-Briggs, Keirsey). Choose one (or two) of these to find your own personality profile to help you identify suitable roles.
Write a reflection document which has references and length, which:
1)Identifies and explains TWO factors which make for a successful ICT project team.
2)Explains the type of role you think you would be most suited to as a member of a team, with reasons and including reference to the team roles you researched AND the online personality testing tool(s) you used.
3)Identifies your own strengths and weaknesses with regards working in a team, with examples included from the team work you have just completed. What would you do differently next time?
4)Briefly explains the commitments of the other members of your team to the project and gives your views as to whether all team members should or should not receive the same mark for the team’s report. You MUST give reasons if you suggest that any team member should receive a reduced mark.