Information Systems in Organization
Various aspects of information system will be discussed in this project. In the first task of this assignment, the importance of information systems in the functioning of the different departments of the organization has been discussed. A research has been carried out using the information obtained in the books and the journals. In the second part of the assignment, different kinds of information systems have been compared. An organization has been chosen in this task and the importance of information system in the organization has been deduced. In the third part of the assignment, the ways to produce management information has been evaluated using different information technology. A research has been conducted on the organization in order to address the points present in the learning outcomes. Subjective skills, research skills and transferable skills will be evaluated here in this part of the assignment. A data analysis has been done and reflections have been provided on the results gathered through the data analysis.
An information system is used in the organization in order to store, organize and collect information. In order to communicate the information to the employees of the organization, information systems are very valuable. Therefore, information systems are very important for the organization. Traditional methods of storing information might damage it or the information may be lost. However, when information systems are used to store and organized data, there are very less changes of it being destroyed. Marks and Spencer is a big brand and using information systems since long. The organization is present in many countries; therefore, flow of information from the headquarters needs to reach the other offices without any time lag. In such a situation, information systems are very useful. The other attribute of information system is, the data or the information that is stored is much secured. In this assignment, various vital facts regarding information system will be deduced that helps an organization to keep its data secured.
A.C1.1 Evaluate the information needs of at least four functional areas of your chosen organisation.
Marks & Spencer is a UK based multinational retailer that sells home decor, clothing, and luxury and food items. Marks & Spencer currently has more than 900 stores across the UK, with a workforce of 84,939 workers. Its international expansion has generated annual revenue of £10.622 billion in the year 2017 (Marksandspencer.com, 2018).
It was originally established in 1884 as a clothing line and gradually diversified its sale of different items of home decor, luxury and more. In order to maintain its current reputation in the market, Marks & Spencer needs to have an efficient management team with proper communication networks among its diverse operational departments. Over the years, Marks & Spencer has earned its name in the market due to not only its goods and services but also its management planning (Hannington, 2016). Information within the organization is consistently monitored and passed among various departments like HR, Finance and others. This facilitation of information is a vital factor is the smooth functioning of any organization.
A large and multinational organization like Marks & Spencer is located at different places where their staffs are not a homogenous mixture of identities, culture and language. In such a scenario, information becomes a valuable tool and resource for carrying out business tasks. According to Laudon and Laudon, (2016), the information gathered and processed must travel to all departments of the organization so that its motives and decisions are informed to every employee. In order to effectively communicate the company’s vision, mission, and goals for different short term and long-term projects, information through its functional areas need to be disseminated properly. Further, the information collected from market research and customer feedback also need to conveyed from one department to another so that the feedbacks are implemented in future plan of action and it can enhance growth of the organization. The current information system need is of an efficient operation management system, collaborative enterprise management, and process control system at Marks & Spencer.
Based on the above, the information needs for functional areas of Marks & Spencer is discussed below.
Human Resources Department:
According to Bailey et al., (2018), Human Resources Department or the HRD in a business organization is concerned of distribution of resources and people accordingly to suit the business objective. The current information management system in the HR team at Marks & Spencer is dedicated to allocating resources in accordance with skills and departments within the internal work structure. Hence, the information need is regarding skills of employees as well as technical specifications of equipments.
The human resource department at Marks & Spencer also deals with recruiting new talent to the organization. The training of these new individuals becomes the responsibility of the HRD. The information regarding new recruits, their knowledge and expertise as well as their progress during induction training programs need to be maintained.
It must be noted that before selecting new employees for various departments, HR managers at Marks & Spencer need to collect information from respective departments regarding the specificity of tasks to be performed under new job profiles. Further, recruitment procedures need to be finalized and strategized in a manner that has to be saved as information for future.
Other than these, the interview and selection of candidates would involve data handling regarding the prospective employee’s background and education. In addition to all this, the human resource department needs to maintain key informative data regarding the departmental performance, comparisons, appraisals, and ways of improvement based on research. It also has to monitor progress of employees and keep a back up of capabilities and skills of workers.
The finance department of an organization is mainly concerned of maintain financial records, transactions and budgeting. At Marks & Spencer, the current information management system is prepares invoices, tenders, cash flow statements, and more. The company also keeps a record of its transactions with suppliers and other manufacturers along its distribution chain. In addition, the finance department also stores information regarding salaries of recruits, auditing of company procedures and other vital financial statements.
There is a need for developing an information system at Marks & Spencer’s finance department that helps in preparing annual budgets, quarter and half-quarterly financial plans and figures to improve internal resources. The department also stores information regarding payment of bills, electricity, payroll of employees and more. The department is also responsible for preparing a financial systems based on market research and analysis, giving annual reports of performance. These processes require an efficient information management system.
Marketing & Sales department:
Marks & Spencer generates revenue from its worldwide sale of goods. Hence, it becomes extremely important to maintain a marketing and sales information database to keep a record of its operations. The organizations have a huge pool of suppliers, customers and intermediaries who conduct sales with Marks & Spencer on a daily basis. There are information management systems that keep a record of these vital financial figures and landmarks that determine the annual profits of the retailer.
The need is for a management system that produces annual sales report, and stores them as bits of information within the sales department. Since the organization operates globally, it has a strong marketing plan, which is filled with information regarding promotional strategies, market trends and more. All of this need a process based information management system to store the information within the marketing and sales department.
In order to drive sales for a particular product, Marks & Spencer first had to obtain relevant market data and analyze demands or gaps for the product. This requires information in the form of facts, statements, and financial data. This kind of information is mainly collected from market analysis, audience surveys and questionnaire or feedback. All of this can now be held under the domain of marketing and sales department with the help of functional information management systems.
Since Marks & Spencer is such a large organization, its management team needs to be efficient in task handling and allocation. The administrative department makes sure this task is handled. The administrative department of Marks & Spencer holds a significant role in enhancing communication flow within and outside the organization. This departments, hence, maintains information regarding the employees, legal issues and more. At present the department has an input based information system that keeps a check on the professional activities of the organization.
There is a need for intelligent information systems to supervise managers in performing functional operations by adhering to the ethics of business. The administrative department is mainly composed of leaders and managers who are equipped with the highest authority and minimal instructions for business facilitation. It needs decision-making intelligent systems that maintain information about the corporate social responsibility initiatives taken by the company. The information within this department is very confidential as they are legal or research-based primary data on projects. Marks & Spencer’s official documents and licenses are secured as information in this department. Therefore it needs a highly secure management system that also keeps a record of the seminars, workshops and conferences at the company and prepares press notes for communicating the company’s ideals in the public.
A.C2.1 Describe minimum of five different types of Information Systems used in your chosen organisations in task 1and give examples of each.
The different types of Information Systems used in the organization at Marks & Spencer are secured within the department. Each department is tasked with ensuring a particular type of information. According to Peltier (2016), in the current age of information technology, information is kept secure with the help of technology. Such a phenomenon is described as ‘Information and Communication Technology’ or simply, ICT. As discussed about the information needs in different functional areas of Marks & Spencer, it becomes vital for every department to maintain a register or record of such vital information. Different departments maintain their information in different ways and techniques. Some employ online tools while other handle tasks manually. Based on the previously discussed functional areas of Marks & Spencer’s, five different types of Information Systems used in the organization are the following:
Operations support system:
In any business organization, input of data is mainly done by a user so that it can later be processed in order to generate information. Such kind of support systems requires manual input of data and reports are prepared through it which is later utilized in the external and internal operations. For example, Marks & Spencer uses the operations support system in its Research and Development department to understand research and analytics for determining improvement in procedures.
Transaction Processing System (TPS):
In retail organizations like Marks & Spencer, there are bulks of daily transactions regarding orders, deliveries, cash receipts, sale, credit and more. This kind of information management system records such information dealing with figures and stats. For example, Marks & Spencer uses the TPS in its Finance Department to keep a record of its financial statements.
Process Control System:
In large retail organizations, data is often fed once in real time so that decisions and reports can be made out of them without any manual task handling. These are called process control systems (Horn, B.L., 2016). For example, Marks & Spencer used the process control system in its Marketing and Sales department for analyzing market trends.
Enterprise Collaboration System:
In recent times, business organizations are usually without a hierarchy or power centred systems. They are usually teams working towards a common business goal and are functional through collaboration. Communication between departments and collaborative project managements are done with the help of enterprise collaborative systems. For example, Marks & Spencer used this system in its Human Resources Department in order to facilitate inter departmental communication and training of new recruits.
Management Support System:
Management information systems require precise and accurate information in a particular format so that it can undertake various decision-making processes for the organization. It is usually used by managers and is often referred to as expert information systems. For example, Marks & Spencer uses management support system in its administrative departments for assisting managers and leaders in their efficient management of the organization.
A.C2.2 Investigate the current trend in using Information System applications to solve business problems in your chosen organisation in Task 1.
The current trend in using Information System applications to solve business problems in Marks & Spencer is the usage of Executive Support Systems. Since the operational area of the organization is huge, spread on a global scale, it requires coordination of its leaders and managers at the senior level. In order to ensure a smooth flow of organizational communication between its senior level officers, Marks & Spencer has introduced DSS with specialized software for assisting senior managers.
According to Sauter (2014), DSS or Decision Support Systems are uniquely designed information systems that are easy to use and have a high proficiency in business decision-making. It requires little help from managers and experts to support decision-making in times of business crises. The DSS is a current trend at the company allowing its to strategically control its diversifying business operations. DSS is composed of three levels of decision-making, namely, intelligence, choice and design. It is built with artificial intelligence that facilitates the choice of procedures for choosing a particular business direction or design (Pillai, 2015). The Executive Support Systems is capable of bulk data handling and helps in delivering exceptional company reports. These are automatically generated every time the company faces an unusual or unpleasant circumstance and when the management is in need of a sudden performance report. DSS also facilitates drill down reports at Marks & Spencer, which are usually desired regarding a particular process of operation.
A.C2.3 Evaluate the suitability of Information Systems for different functional areas of your chosen organisation in Task 1
The suitability of Information Systems for different functional areas of Marks & Spencer as discussed below:
The Research and Development department at Marks & Spencer is concerned with delivering crucial information about trends and demands. These would help in creating improvement measures so that Marks & Spencer can develop its products and services. The usage of Operations support information system in this department gives it an edge over other tools by letting it research its own data to procure quality goods.
In the Finance department of Marks & Spencer, the transaction processing systems is used which minimizes the work of handling vital stats and figures quite highly. Dealing with figurative and quantitative information is never an easy task as manual calculation is tedious. Therefore, the usage of this information system makes carrying out daily transactions in a simplified manner.
Marketing and sales department at Marks & Spencer employs the process control system, which takes in data at once in real time and then processes it to produce valuable trends and stats reports. It helps the company to understand the demands of products and sales over specific periods.
The enterprise collaboration system is used at the Human Resources Department so that it enhances inter departmental communication through networking and communication. The information system is particularly useful in creating collaborative decision-making for various business purposes.
Management support system or DSS at Marks & Spencer’s administrative department facilitates the work processes by making the functional roles of leaders more concentrated.
Based on the suitability of various information systems used in Marks & Spencer, their advantages can be listed out as the following:
Information system networks facilitate communication in the organization
Information system networks help organizations to cope with rapidly changing global trends in business
Information system networks ease the administrative process
Information system networks result in creation of new job profiles
Information system networks bring great productivity in the business
Information system networks are cost effective measures of handling tasks in a large, multinational firm (Kerzner, 2018).
Their disadvantages are the following:
Information system networks result in unemployment as several tasks are handled by the machines and software
Information system networks are susceptible to data threats and anti-security attacks (Chaudhry et al., 2016)
Information system networks come with an additional cost of implementation and fixture, which is difficult for small and medium sized organizations.
3.1 Use an information system to generate valid, accurate and useful information for any given problem of your selected organisation.
The information system chosen for this task is transaction-processing system. TPS is software, which collects, modifies and retrieves all types of transaction data. This system processes the information regarding the company’s business transaction. The data is collected and stored in the organisational database. The proper transaction record is very important and one of the chief problems in an organisation like, Marks and Spencer. The transactional data determines the profit loss of the organisation and that means that the marks and Spencer have to use updated information system for collecting the transaction of the organisation (Freund, 2014).
The system charts indicates the source of the input of the system, processing steps, storage of data and output of the system.
Transaction processing mode:
There are two major modes for accomplishing the transaction processing, which is online mode and batch mode. Online mode is efficient because it is processed immediately after the entry but it is also costly than batch mode of processing. It requires fast storage device as well for storing the data. On the other hand, in batch mode the data is collected over a time and then the processing starts. It is a cyclic process meaning the data have to be weekly or daily (Alles et al., 2018.).
Transaction processing subsystem:
Depending on the chief activities of the business, the subsystem is chosen. Due to the fact Marks and Spencer is a retail company the subsection will depend upon that. The transaction processing subsystem for Marks and Spencer supports various activities of their business from their sales to purchasing and billing. Payroll is also something that these subsystems support as well. General ledger of the company can be also supported by the subsystem of this information system.
Transaction processing activities:
The chief elements of transaction processing are data capture and validation, transaction, database maintenance. Transaction is am element that is dependent on the processing steps. There are different types of transaction that happens in a retail company and the nature of transaction therefore varies as well.
The data entry is done through source data automation in the company. Now days the transaction processing solely depends on the electronic data interchange (EDI). The paper documents are no longer used and instead they use telecommunication network, which makes data entry accurate and the data is never repeated either. EDI is the mainly used for intercommunication of the Marks and Spencer.
Data has to be validated as well. For validation of data, there are certain tests that Marks and Spencer conducts. In the validation process the missing data and valid codes and values of the data is tested. The customer record can be also tested for validation of the data and frequent inventory is done at this stage (Laudon and Laudon, 2016).
Processing mode and steps:
The step depends of the type of transaction. In Marks and Spencer, classification, sorting, data retrieval, calculation, summarization are some of the steps that are involved in the processing.
After the transaction is done, the database will be updated of Marks and Spencer with new database.
Output provided by the transaction processing system:
To provide the output of the transaction there are there are three steps here that is required. First is transaction document, which is the invoices, purchase orders, payroll checks and many others. The document also can be of two types. One is action documents and information documents. Action documents are documents that require actions and they are the input documents of the transactions. Information document is the confirmation of the transactions and this type of documents require manual handling and therefore multiple copies are needed of this type of documents. The next part of the transaction processing system is query response and reports. Most queries give a lot of information regarding the transaction. There reports will be produced based on the queries. This type of processing system produces a pre-planned report and content and the format of the report are already programmed in the system as well (Chang, 2016).
This information system provides valid data, that is possible due to the validation test that happens to judge the authenticity of the data, and the online transactional processing mode will enable the data to be accurate and useful as well. The company will be monitor and control the transactional system and the updated version of the TPS will ensure that the system is fast and accurate as well. The update of the information software in the company will be able to deal with the problems that Marks and Spencer is facing during the informational collection. The company will be able to process the data much efficiently as well. Not only this particular information system but all the other information system that is in being used by the Marks and Spencer has to be updated as well. This will ensure that the collected data are very much relevant for the management of the business. Especially in transactions of retail, a huge possibility of data forgery in transactions might happen if not managed properly (Cain et al., 2017).
3.2 Evaluate alternative methods of solving the problem identified in 3.1
The chief problem is lack of the authentic information and documents, which will produce the most relevant information for the company. The company has to choose online mode for transaction processing and it is definitely better that batch mode where the data is collected cyclically and processed manually. It is time consuming and a very archaic way of data processing, which make the process very time consuming and decease the accuracy as well. The computer networking has to be done in the Marks and Spencer because this process will ensure that the manual handling of data and documents does not happen in the first place.
The company has to ensure that the transactions of the documents are authentic and the tests of the validation of the information are not biased by any chance because that will ruin the point of taking the test. The test will ensure that the source is authentic and missing data will be also analysed in this method as well. There is also management report system that is a elaborated version than the transactional processing system can be also used to manage information system of the Marks and Spencer. This management reporting system informs the middle and the lower management with the information regarding the operational and management control of the company. This can prove to be helpful for managing the data system of Marks and Spencer. They can utilise for better management of the information in the company as well (Peters and Panayi, 2016).
Information system is very important in an organisation. The organisation collects this information to conduct the operation properly and these systems are directly connected with the functions of the organisation as well. In this assignment the needs for the information in the different functional area has been described. The chosen organisation for this task is Marks and Spencer. This retail giant has been chosen for the better understanding of the information system in an organisation. Four functional areas have been chosen from the Marks and Spencer organisation. The chosen functional departments are administration department, marketing & sales department, finance department, human resources department. There are different types of information system for different departments and therefore the comparison of the information system has been discussed. The five different information systems are chosen from Marks and Spencer to describe the use of the information system in the organisation. The five information systems are Operations support system, Transaction Processing System, Process Control System, Enterprise Collaboration System and Management Support System. The current trends in the information system have been also discussed. The suitability of the different information system is also evaluated in this task. Lastly, the company Transactional processing system have been chosen as an demonstration for how to collect data in authentic and accurate way to solve the existing issues of the organisation. The alternative methods of solving the issues are also suggested in this assignment report.
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