functions of an information system. List and describe three types of enterprise systems.
The four basic functions of an information system are gathering data, storing data, processing that data into information, and outputting the information (O'Leary & O'Leary, 2008). The system has to be able to collect data, or have the data placed into it, or it does not have anything with which it can work and with which it can provide output information after an analysis takes place. Storing data is a big part of what an information system does, because the data is important and must not be lost. A system that could not store data would not be valuable to a company for collection and retention of data (O'Leary & O'Leary, 2008). Once the data has been collected and stored, it can then be analyzed in order to draw conclusions from it based on the type of analysis conducted. Those conclusions are then what is offered to the end user in the form of output from the information system.
The three types of enterprise systems are enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, enterprise planning systems, and customer relationship management (CRM) software (O'Leary & O'Leary, 2008). The ERP system is focused on the utilization of both current and additional resources to plan future goals and movement within the company, while the enterprise planning systems are more focused on what is already available, instead. The CRM software is less about the company and more about the people who do business with the company. This type of software can make or break a company because customers who are treated well and have any concerns handled properly are much more likely to return to do business with that same company in the future (O'Leary & O'Leary, 2008).
O'Leary, T. & O'Leary, L. (2008). Computing essentials introductory 2008. NY: McGraw-Hill.
2. There are two fundamental requirements for managing business performance: being able to measure and knowing that your indicator is measuring the right thing. Explain each of these requirements and why they are challenging.
Knowing how well a business is performing is vital to making sure the business continues to succeed (Buytendijk, 2008). Without some way to gauge performance, a business could go downhill very quickly and it would be nearly impossible to save it by the time the problem was realized. That is why being able to measure business performance is so vital. The proper indicators are necessary, and they focus on whether the business is moving forward in the correct way (Buytendijk, 2008). When issues are detected they are caught early, and that means the business has time to make changes before any further damage is done. Doing this can allow for a company that is stronger and more secure.
One of the major challenges faced when measuring business performance is making sure the indicators that are being used are measuring the correct thing (Buytendijk, 2008). Many businesses feel as though they are doing the right thing because they are measuring a number of different issues that are specific to their business. However, if they are measuring issues that really do not matter, they are simply wasting their time and generating data that they do not need and that will not be helpful to them (Buytendijk, 2008). It is very difficult to determine what to measure, though, and many businesses start out measuring a number of things that are slowly reduced over time. As they go along, they see what measurements are truly bringing them value and which are not, so they can make adjustments that will benefit them in the long run (Buytendijk, 2008). When they do that, they save money and keep their company's performance as strong as possible.
Buytendijk, F. (2008). Performance leadership. NY: McGraw-Hill.
3. What is an advantage of virtualization? List and explain one type of virtualization.
Virtualization has many advantages, but one of them is the ability to operate a number of machines off of one server computer. This is called desktop virtualization, and it is becoming increasingly more popular with companies as more workers spend time in the field and work from home (Turban, et al., 2008). The way this works is that the logical desktop with which the person works is separated from the actual, physical machine. Instead of the person interacting with the computer through a mouse or keyboard, the person interacts with the computer through another computer or through a wireless or mobile device (Turban, et al., 2008). This is done through an internet connection, a LAN, or a wireless LAN. That allows the host computer to become a server, and interact with a number of different devices, computers, and workers. Multiple users on that one computer means faster and easier access to data, which is very valuable to the company (Turban, et al., 2008).
Having that fast access to data and a number of devices by which a person can provide and retrieve information allows a company to have multiple people in the field or working from home, and they can still access everything they need from their own devices (Turban, et al., 2008). When a person is working in sales, or when he or she is in an important meeting and needs information, having that access is something that could easily make or break a particular deal (Turban, et al., 2008). As companies continue to realize the value of instant information access, they will become much more likely to offer virtualization options to their employees (Turban, et al., 2008).
Turban, E, King, D, Lee, J, & Viehland, D. (2008). Chapter 19: Building e-commerce applications and infrastructure. Electronic commerce: A managerial perspective. NY: Prentice-Hall.
4. What are three of the major data functions performed by a DBMS? Briefly explain the functions.
A DBMS, or Database Management System, has a number of functions. The three major ones are to collect, store, and analyze data (Connolly & Begg, 2002). While this may seem simplistic in nature, there are a number of processes that take place during each one of the functions, and every function helps to support the others. If one of the functions does not work correctly, that can have a direct effect on the others and also on the company itself. Databases not only interact with the user, but they also interact with other databases and companies in order to collect all the data they need (Connolly & Begg, 2002). Then they store and analyze that data so it can be useful to the company to which the database belongs. Without these databases, the company would have little data on important things such as customer needs and wants, and that could hurt the company in the marketplace and when compared to its competitors (Connolly & Begg, 2002).
In order to perform its functions correctly, a database must operate properly and provide secure storage to the data it contains (Connolly & Begg, 2002). This starts at the collection process, as customers will generally be unwilling to provide information to a site or database they feel is not secure. Once the data has been collected, it also must be stored correctly (Connolly & Begg, 2002). There have been a number of data breaches that have made the news, and customers and companies alike deem this unacceptable. Databases need strong security. Additionally, they have to be able to analyze the collected data the right way, so they can extract information that will have value to the company (Connolly & Begg, 2002). What is analyzed and how is more important than the volume of data.
Connolly, T. & Begg, C. (2002). Database systems. New York: Harlow.
5. Why are internal threats a major challenge for organizations? How can internal threats be minimized?
Internal threats are a major challenge for organizations because they are often harder to see and notice (Armstrong, 2006). When competitors do something different and it takes market share away from the company, that is something that can be handled by making changes to match what the competition is offering. It is better to stay ahead of the competition, but vital that the company at least keeps up. However, internal threats are not as obvious to the company. Because that is the case, these threats are often overlooked until they become significant problems (Armstrong, 2006). Once they have reached the point where they become extremely obvious, they are generally already serious problems that may be hard to correct. That can cause significant issues for a company, and could even cause the company to go out of business (Armstrong, 2006). That is a worst case scenario, but it can and does happen. It can be avoided, though, if the company addresses internal threats the right way.
These threats can be minimized by awareness (Armstrong, 2006). Companies have to understand that threats are not only external, and that there are a number of problems that can come right from the company itself. Employees not doing their job, people telling trade secrets, issues…