Unit 7: Strategic Information Systems
Information is the most valuable resource that an organisation possesses. The effective gathering, protection, analysis, processing and dissemination of information is vital to the success of any organisation. As globalisation and the 24-hour economy develop and increase, organisations must ensure that their information systems are reliable, efficient and able to cope with rapid change.
This unit introduces students to the importance of information to organisations. It will examine how systems can be used to support core business functions and enable organisations to be more productive and competitive within the global marketplace.
Students will be required to analyse the information needs of an organisation at different levels and within different functional areas. It is important that computing professionals are able to understand how an organisation works and how it uses information in order to be able to design, implement, maintain and manage secure information systems to support its operations.
Among the topics included in this unit are understanding organisations in terms of their information needs and the variances within different functional areas. Examination of different information systems at the operational, tactical and strategic levels will be required, in addition to evaluating their effectiveness and role in terms of decision making and gaining competitive advantage.
On successful completion of this unit students will have an insight into the types of systems and technologies available for effective information processing. Critical analysis will also be used to examine the integrated role that each of these play in contributing to the efficiency and competitiveness of organisations.
As a result students will develop skills such as communication literacy, critical thinking, analysis, reasoning and interpretation, which are crucial for gaining employment and developing academic competence.
LO1: Analyse the information requirements of organisations
- Functional area information requirements:
- Finance and accounts for payroll, pensions, supplier payments and invoicing etc., human resources e.g. employee records, personnel data, appraisals, CPD etc., stock control, sales, marketing, research and development, production, distribution, IT, customer service and administration.
- Information needs
- How different functional areas use and process data effectively; the integration of data and information within an organisation.
- Requirements analysis:
- The inputs, outputs and processing activities; information distribution requirements e.g. by location, department, individual/customer.
LO2: Discuss the types of information systems that are used within all levels of an organisation
- Information systems types:
- Business information systems, decision support systems, management information systems, strategic/executive information systems, office information systems, transaction processing systems, expert systems, global information systems, data warehouse systems, enterprise systems, enterprise resource planning systems, integrated information systems.
- Categories of information systems:
- Operational, tactical and strategic information systems.
- Information and data:
- Definition of information and data, sources of information, information requirements and the needs for information at different levels within an organisation; storing information and its importance with regard to security, accuracy and relevance; outputs e.g. payroll, invoicing, ordering, bookings, stock control, personnel records, goods tracking, decision-making, marketing, customer service.
- Management information:
- Reports e.g. sales report, college enrolment statistics, marketing analysis (brick v click), trends in the market, competition and market share.
- Gathering information:
- Defining requirements; establishing sources of information; defining other factors to be considered e.g. constraints and access to information.
- Selecting information:
- Analysis of information in terms of validity, accuracy, currency and relevancy; identifying and rationalising meaningful information from data sets.
- Proficiency in terms of accessing quality information that can be used for decision-making, problem-solving, predictions, trending and forecasting.
- Models for strategic information systems:
- Porters Competitive Advantage and Wiseman’s Strategic Planning Process.
- Competitive advantage:
- How can competitive advantage be measured and attributed to the implementation of a strategic information system?
- Gaining competitive advantage:
- Delivering a differentiated product or service; delivering a product or service at a lower cost; specific segmentation of the market e.g. targeted marketing to specific target audiences; innovative product or service design and implementation.
LO3: Demonstrate the use of an information system to produce management information
LO4: Evaluate the effectiveness of strategic information systems