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    A2 Module 4 Information Systems within Organisations


    13.1 Organisational Structure

    Understand the basic concepts of organisational structure as they impact on/affect ICT systems.

    13.2 Information Systems and Organisations

    • Understand the difference between an information system and a data processing system.
    • Understand the role and relevance of an information system in aiding decision making.

    Definition of a management information system (MIS)

    • Recall that an MIS is a system to convert data from internal and external sources into information.
    • This is communicated in an appropriate form to managers at different levels, enabling them to make effective decisions for planning, directing and controlling activities for which they are responsible.

    The development and life cycle of an information system

    • Recognise the existence of formal methods, the need for clear time scales, agreed deliverables and approval to proceed.
      Success or failure of a management information system
      Understand the factors influencing the success or failure of an information system, e.g.
      • inadequate analysis;
      • lack of management involvement in design;
      • emphasis on computer system;
      • concentration on low-level data processing;
      • lack of management knowledge of ICT systems and capabilities;
      • inappropriate/excessive management demands;
      • lack of teamwork;
      • lack of professional standards.

    13.3 Corporate Information Systems Strategy

    Describe the factors influencing an information system within an organisation:

    • organisation and functions of management,
    • methods for planning and decision-making,
    • legal and audit requirement,
    • generalorganisation structure,
    • responsibility for the information system within an organisation, information flow,
    • hardware and software,
    • standards and behavioural factors, e.g. personalities, motivation, ability to adapt to change.

    Information flow

    Describe the methods and mechanisms of information flow within an organisation, both formal and informal, and the constraints imposed
    upon that flow by organisational structures.

    Personnel

    Understand the levels of task/personnel within an organisation: strategic; implementation; operational. Relate the needs of these three levels to the information system.

    13.4 Information and Data

    Data

    Understand that data may require translation or transcription prior to entry into the system. This can affect the accuracy of the data.
    Discuss the impact of quantity and quality of data on the method of data capture together with the control and audit mechanisms required
    to manage data capture.
    Information

    Understand management information needs: the concept of relevance and methods of interpretation.
    Understand that information has many characteristics and can be classified in many ways. Examples include:

    • Source - internal, external, primary, secondary
    • Nature - quantitative, qualitative, formal, informal
    • Level - strategic, tactical, operational
    • Time - historical, current, future
    • Frequency - real-time, hourly, daily, monthly
    • Use - planning, control, decision
    • Form - written, visual, aural, sensory
    • Type - disaggregated, aggregated, sampled.
    • Discuss the value of information in aiding the decision making process.
    • Understand the difference between internal and external information requirements.

    Describe the characteristics of good information and delivery, e.g.

    • relevant;
    • accurate;
    • complete;
    • user confidence;
    • to right person;
    • at right time;
    • in right detail;
    • via correct channel of communication;
    • understandable.

    Describe the advantages and characteristics of good information within an applications context.

    Effective presentation

    Understand the effect that the method and style of presentation has upon the message/design in relation to the intended audience.

    13.5 The Management of Change

    Understand that the introduction or development of an information system will result in change which must be managed. Changes could
    occur in relation to re-skilling, attitude, organisational structure, employment pattern and conditions, internal procedures.

    13.6 Legal Aspects

    Understand the need for a corporate information system security policy and the rôle it would fill within an organisation.

    Factors could include

    • prevention of misuse,
    • detection, investigation, procedures,
    • staff responsibilities,
    • disciplinary procedures.

    Describe the content of a corporate information system security policy.
    Describe methods of improving awareness of security policy within an organisation, cross-referencing to training and standards.

    Audit requirements

    • Understand that many information systems are subject to audit.
    • Understand the impact of audit on data and information control.
    • Describe the need for audit and the role of audit management/software tools in information systems.
    • Understand the function of audit trails and describe applications of use, e.g. ordering systems; student tracking; police vehicle enquiries.
    • Disaster recovery management
    • Describe the various potential threats to information systems, e.g.
      • physical security;
      • document security;
      • personnel security;
      • hardware security;
      • communications security;
      • software security.

    Understand the concept of risk analysis.
    Understand the commercial need to ensure that an information system is protected from threat.
    Describe a range of contingency plans to recover from disasters and relate these to identified threats.
    Describe the criteria used to select a contingency plan appropriate to the scale of an organisation and installation.

    Legislation

    Understand that implementation of legislation will impact on procedures within an organisation.
    Describe the methods of enforcing and controlling data protection legislation within an organisation.
    Describe the methods of enforcing and controlling software misuse legislation within an organisation.
    Describe the methods of enforcing and controlling health and safety legislation within an organisation.
    Discuss the implications of the various types of legislation.

    13.7 User Support

    Describe the ways in which software houses provide user support, relating these to cost and package credibility.
    Describe the range of user support options available with industry standard packages.

    These could include

    • existing user base,
    • support articles,
    • utilities,
    • specialist bulletin boards,
    • communications systems, e.g. Internet; e-mail.
    • Select and justify an appropriate user support system for a particularcontext.
    • Explain the need for different levels of documentation related to user and task.
    • Training Explain the need for different levels of training related to user and task.
    • Understand the need for continual skill updating and refreshing.
    • Describe the methods by which users can gain expertise in software use and discuss the relative merits.
    • Understand the need to develop training strategies to respond to growing user awareness.
    • Understand why projects are often sub-divided into tasks and allocated to teams.
    • Describe the characteristics of a good team, e.g.
      • leadership;
      • appropriate allocation of tasks;
      • adherence to standards;
      • monitoring;
      • costs;
      • control.

    13.9 Information and the Professional

    Discuss the social, moral and ethical issues associated with the introduction and use of information and communication technology
    systems, which affect a professional working within the industry.

    • Understand that ‘codes of practice’ exist which are separate from any legal requirements with which professional organisations are expected to comply.
    • Understand the need for a code of practice for ICT users in an organisation.
      Employee code of practice Understand what is meant by an employee code of practice or acceptable use policy.
    • Describe the contents of such a code of practice e.g.
      • responsibilities;
      • authorisation;
      • security;
      • penalties for misuse.
       

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