sealPurdue News

April 22, 2003

Krannert class does e-commerce consulting for area organizations

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A Purdue University e-commerce class is doing high-technology consulting with Greater Lafayette businesses and non-profit organizations.

This is the second year that the Krannert School of Management senior-level class has offered technology consulting for local organizations' computer infrastructure and Web designs.

"We added the non-profit organizations last year at the advice of one of my colleagues, John Pomery, associate professor of economics, who leads service-learning classes at Krannert," said Roberto Mejias. Mejias is an assistant professor in Krannert's management information systems area who teaches the electronic commerce infrastructure class.

"Non-profit organizations often need help and support with their computer infrastructure, but they put off dealing with it because of the related costs. My e-commerce students bring considerable knowledge and insight, and they do it for free as part of the semester project requirement for the class."

The consultant teams are made up of five to six students who interview the organizations' personnel and analyze computer networks, hardware, software and security. The student teams then develop general and specific recommendations on Web sites and how to implement new technology or upgrade existing technology.

After the student teams complete their analysis of the organization's computer needs, they make an in-class presentation, complete with two budgets – one that accomplishes the high-tech goals of the organization efficiently, as well as a "best-case" budget. Organization representatives are invited to the class presentations and also receive a report on the analysis.

One of the organizations where the student teams are doing a consulting project this year is Wabash Center, a local non-profit organization that provides services and employment to individuals with disabilities and special needs.

Jill Vaught, the center's communications and development director, said she was very pleased with the students' work.

"The students are very knowledgeable," she said. "Their understanding of complex equipment amazes me. We're very much looking forward to their final report.

"We would not have been able to afford to go out and hire someone to do what they have done."

The student teams also provide a basic working Web page for organizations that do not have a Web presence, or analyze, critique and make recommendations on existing Web pages.

In addition to Wabash Center, other organizations the students are working with this year are Greater Lafayette Progress Inc., Hanna Center, Habitat for Humanity, St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Tippecanoe School Corp., Morton Community Center and Junior Achievement of Greater Lafayette.

Writer: Mike Lillich, (765) 494-2077,

Sources: Roberto Mejias, (765) 494-9013,

Jill Vaught, (765) 423-5531, ext. 353,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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