This research study is concerned with the role played by information systems management within an organisation. The company under exploration, in this case, is Infosys Solutions, an information system management company that provides information systems solutions to government, corporate and individual organisations. Following a brief description of the industry under which the company that is to be explored falls, an assessment of the organisations has then been undertaken, with respect to the markets under which the organisation operates, the products and ‘or services it deals with, as well as the market.
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Moreover, the role of this researcher within the organisation has also been highlighted. The information revolution has had a profound impact on the business environment, and this has been explored in his study, along with the development and use of systems for the management of information. There is a need to ensure that the flow of information within the organisation is in line with the objectives of such an organisation, in addition to ensuring that the collection of data is done in a timely and uniform manner. Furthermore, the application of human knowledge within an organisation cannot be overlooked.
The scope of this research study shall entail the issue of information systems management, as it impacts businesses. The use shall be made of secondary sources of information from scholarly journals and books to further explore the issue of information systems management with respect to the business environment. Emphasis shall be on the use of a qualitative form of data and not the quantitative one. The market and products that the company, Infosys Solutions, deals with shall also be explored, along with the type of information flow that this particular organisation has put in place.
The employer for this writer is Infosys Solutions, an information system management company. It is mainly outsourced by different customers such as the individual, corporate and even government agencies for the purpose of provision of information system management solutions. In order to ensure effectiveness in the provision of its services, Infosys Solution Company has got a department of information management services. This department is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that communication, as well as information technology services, are provided to those in need of it to their satisfaction.
The information system department provides diverse services. Some of the services that are provided by this department include server, web and desktop support, application development, geographic information system, reprographics, IT acquisition services, database management, mail services, documents management, and SANS. The organisation has a wide range of workstations to ensure that it is effective in serving the divergent needs of the customers.
On its part, the web division of this organisation manages to process a total of 6,000 individual visitors within the company’s website. Additionally, utility bills that run into millions of dollars get paid online, thanks to the efforts of the personnel in this department. On the other hand, the mail division of this company is able to process nearly 2 million emails on an annual basis, whereas the personnel at the helpdesk are able to handle approximately 1,000 calls every month.1.
The firm’s main product is a service that is a consultancy in nature. This is due to the fact that it deals with the provision of management information services for different clients. With an experience of 12 years in the industry, Infosys Solutions has managed to offer such services as integration, independent consultancy support, as well as the development of systems to industrial and individual clients, and also government organisations not just within the United Kingdom but also in the wider overseas market.
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For instance, one of the firm’s major clients is the city council within the UK. This is due to the fact that the firm has designed a system that enables the city councils, customers to pay their bills online. This has led to an increment in the council’s effectiveness in terms of service delivery.
The same services are also available to the individual customers and also other commercials organisations that now form a part of the rising number of Infosys Solutions client base.
Infosys Solutions has government organisations, commercial firms and individual entrepreneurs within the UK as part of its target market. With regard to these clients, Infosys Solution designs and implements information systems that are relevant in their operation. As a part of ensuring customer satisfaction, the firm also offers comprehensive advice to these firms. This enables them to manage and maintain the system in a more cost effective manner.
To be the leading information management systems solutions provider of choice by 2012.
To assist clients with sound information management solutions.
- Customer focus: an intense and profound customer focus is the driving seat of the success of our organisation.
- Excellence: at Infosys, we endeavour to attain excellence in all that we accomplish, in addition to promoting an ideal environment for innovation and continuous innovation.
- Integrity: we endeavour to establish relationships that are long-term, on the basis of reliability, professionalism and trust.
- Teamwork: we believe in working together as a team through the cultivation of cooperation and mutual respect, and at the same time also combining our resources and talents to attain the best results.
Role of the researcher in the organisation
The primary function of this writer within the organisation is to provide technical support to both the networks and users of the information systems. With the growth and expansion of the organisation (Infosys), the client base is also rapidly increasing.
Therefore, there is a need to align the information system so as to accommodate this expansion. Therefore, this researcher provides technical assistance to network support and development within the company’s research and development department. As such, this writer has had to spend additional time offering assistance and support to users, in addition to networks that have been lately implemented. The maintenance of an information backup system against potential losses is yet another role that this writer performs for the company.
This research study seeks to explore the current information management systems of Infosys, for purposes of exploring its limitations, in view of the activities of the organisation. Further, the study also wishes to explore how the department, for which this researcher works, manages to liaise with the larger organisation. Ultimately, it is the intention of the research study to identify areas of improvement of the systems to an ideal one. In this case, a qualitative method of research has been adopted for this particular research study, with the use of a secondary source of data being adapted to aid in the obtaining of the required information.
Definition and scope
Information systems management has been described as “a subset of the overall internal controls of a business covering the application of people, documents, technologies, and procedures by management accountants to business problems such as costing a product, service or a business-wide strategy”2. It is important to appreciate that there is a distinct difference between, on the one hand, information systems management and, on the other hand, regular information systems. In this case, information systems management application when it comes to the issue of assessing the other types of information systems that find use in the operational activities of the organisation3.
From an academic point of view, the terms find to use while describing the various techniques of handling information management, and which are often linked with support or the automation of the decisions making process by the human resource (for example, expert systems, decision support systems, as well as the executive information systems). An ‘MIS’ system has also be defined as a planned structure that aims to help in gathering, processing, then storing and finally, disseminating information that is necessary for purposes of ensuring that the various roles of management to an organisation are accomplished.
In terms of scope, information systems management integrates computer resources with human-based ones so as to gather, store, and later on retrieve data in the form of information and utilise it to manage the different operations of an organisation efficiently. In this case, information systems management may be seen to be mainly concerned with internal as well as the external delivery of information to the various members of an organisation, either down an organisation structure/hierarchy or upwards.
Therefore, it is the intention of information systems management to assist in the running of a given business entity in a smooth manner by way of ensuring that the needed information is availed to the parties that are in need of it in a timely manner. The evaluation of such information shall then assist in the activity of a timely and calculated decision-making process4.
The information revolution in business and management
Information management is increasingly turning into a vital activity, as we see more and more organisations executives who are forward-thinking and intelligent waking to the realisation that the evolution of information is extremely dynamic and for the organisations to maintain a competitive edge in the market, it is important for the management to ensure that keep abreast of the information revolution5.
The revolution of information within a business setting now transcends the floors of the factors and channels of distribution. Computer modelling, for instance, has to a large extent reduced the cost and time necessary for the designing of items that could include skyscrapers, motor vehicles and even commercial airlines. Yet, the information revolution has not just been limited to the production and manufacturing sectors. Even in the medical fraternity, it is now possible to accomplish through diagnoses of patients, in both a fast and accurate manner, thanks to the advances that we have in ICT.
Instant access to information has meant that treatment can now be hastened, in addition to the fact that it now becomes quite possible to eliminate, to a large extent, hours of procedures6. What is more, there had been an enhanced potential when it comes to the issue of discovering a treatment that is more effective, courtesy of the paralleled revolution that has been witnessed in the medical fraternity, such as in the area of biotechnology, like the efforts that are still underway, to entirely map-our the whole human genome.
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If we did not have in place systems that are able to gather, process and even store data in staggering quantities, then we could very well not have managed to realise this kind of work. Furthermore, the revolutions that have characterised information technology may also be said to have added an impetus towards the issue of merger and strategic alliance of companies, which has been seen to rise every other day7. A majority of the business deals have been hastened and made possible as a result of the enormous opportunities that have been created by the existence of advanced technology within the business fraternity- for instance, those businesses that border on telecommunications, the internet, as well as the media. In the absence of information technology that is highly sophisticated, Tipton and Krause (2003) say that the management of firms may as well prove to be quite impossible to the level of sophistication and complexity that we have today. Besides, we now have new technologies that have sought to advance full mergers, which enable various firms to fully exploit economies of scale with the result that the overall costs of operating businesses have been seen to reduce.
The impact of information management on organisations
The fundamental objective of information management within an organisation is to exploit information capabilities and information resources within such an organisation, with a view to enabling such an organisation not only to learn but also adapt to possible environmental changes8. The creation of information, its acquisition, storage, possible analysis and the eventual dissemination or use serves to accord an organisation an intellectual latticework whose role is to enable the growth as well as the development of an organisation in question. The management exercise of information ensures that such kind of information receives both a purpose and meaning, by way of sharing the same with a multitude of individuals in an organisation.
The impact that information management has had at the organisational level has been immense. To start with, it has now become quite possible to understand with relative ease, the changing context of an organisation, such as the change in the top-managements. Through the allocation of information technology, changes within an organisation may be implemented quite fast. Furthermore, it is also possible for the top management to keep abreast of the various forms of developments that may be taking place in, say, remote locations of an organisation, without the need of the managers physically visiting such a site.
The existing system
Infosys Solution is involved in a number of activities in its operation. This makes it incorporate a number of organisational systems. These include the transaction processing system, the expert system, office automation system and the executive information system. The transaction processing system assists in the maintenance of employees’ records, handling of accounts receivable, the control of human and material resources in the organisation, in addition to accounting finance resources.
The organisation also has incorporated the office automation system. This has ensured that such activities as document imaging, electronic calendar/E-mail and word processing get accomplished. Through this, it becomes possible to share information amongst departments in various forms.
At the management level, We have in place a system that assists in data compilation through the use of tools of analysis and models to facilitate the arriving of a decision-making process that is non-routine. Furthermore, this is also where the cost analysis of contracts get done, the scheduling of reduction, in addition to the computation of the profitability analysis of the organisation9.
Considering the fact that Infosys Solution operates in the outsourcing business, the existing information system within the information service department is the expert information system. The firm has incorporated the expert system in its operation due to its effectiveness. Currently, the technology environment is very volatile due to rapid developments. This means that the firm has to have an information system that will enable it to make the necessary adjustment that will enable the customers to solve their problems effectively.
Infosys is made up of a network of roughly 1700 NT boxes. These have been distributed to various locations within the city of London and its environment. The machines owned by Infosys operate on a combination of both NT 4.0 and 3.51. Additionally, a number of these machines differ in terms of the service packs that they have been installed with. Also, we have a number of these that have no packs at all.
Whereas there are those machines whose random access memory (RAM) is in the range of 32 megabytes, we also have others with as little as 16. There are those machines that are characterised by large hard drives, meaning that they also have ample free space. At the same time, there are other machines that lack such free space. What this implies is that the current system that is run by Infosys is somewhat non-homogenous, in addition to the fact that proper documentation regarding the configurations of each of the individual machines is lacking.
With regard to information flow within Infosys Solution, the firm has adopted a top-down flow amongst its departments. This means that it is possible for the individuals within the organisation to know what is happening in the organisation. It is also important since the organisation’s management is in a position to access information across the organisation hierarchy. For instance, the top level management, such as strategic management, can be able to obtain information necessary in the formulation of strategies to ensure the success of the organisation. This is due to the fact that there is no restriction with regard to information flow.
The firm’s strategic management can obtain information that is ad hoc and from a wide scope. This means that the information supplied to the top level management is rich and valuable. This makes the decision that the management makes to be more comprehensive.
The top-down flow of information enables the organisation to achieve its objective of ensuring customer satisfaction. (Infosys Solutions), values are a necessity when it comes to needing recognition for information. For example, it is the responsibility of the management team to see to it that the need of the clients is recognised, so that measures can be put in place to ensure that the requirements are fulfilled in a timely manner.
The objective of the Information service department is to ensure that the organisation meets the needs of the customers efficiently. This is through enabling the clients to implement an information system that is will result in timely and effective decision-making.
There is a well-defined link between the organisational and the departmental system. This is due to the fact that the management has recognised the need to ensure that the information required is prioritised, reviewed, and documented prior to either the commencement of the expansion of various processes of information needs measurements. Owing to the preference given to information needs identification, it has become necessary in my organisation that its management information needs are selected in an orderly manner10.
The expert system uses the information that is supported by other information systems, such as the transaction processing system. Through this information, it is possible for the expert system to make decisions necessary by the management.
At an organisational level, the quality of data is often taken as an index of the effectiveness and reliability of a given data in question, and more so in as far as the making of decisions is concerned. This is what Al-Hawamdeh (2002) reports in his work. Data of high quality is one that is comparable, accurate, and relevant and can be re-used.
In certain instances, there may be situations where the operational levels of an organisation are characterised by episodes of customer dissatisfaction, costs that keep on increasing, reduced employee morale and job satisfaction, and also lost revenue due to lack of information flow11. At our organisation, there are often various decisions that are reached at the various levels, that is, the tactical, operational and strategic. At both the tactical and the strategic level, the management is usually concerned with the financial costs that are necessary to ensure that certain projects that have been initiated get accomplished in a timely manner through ensuring the free flow of information.
The objective of the information technology system at our organisation is to assist the employees in appreciating the role that information systems management plays at an organisational level. In this case, a SWOT analysis shall be used to explore the current system.
- A wide range of experienced staff in management information systems solutions
- Far-reaching knowledge and international experience on issues of compliance and regulations for information systems management
- Flexibility and the capability of the employees to give customised solutions that are in line with the products and services that customers have specified.
- Lack of sufficient administrative procedures
- A lack of homogeneity in terms of service perks installed into the information systems machines
- A lot of organisations now recognise the need to have their information systems managed by professionals, and this means more business for Infosys.
- More and more clients are looking for customised solutions to be both unique and versatile. Infosys seeks to provide customised solutions to its clientele, and for this reason, it is quite easy for the organisation to establish long-lasting relationships with the clients, built on trust, friendship and professionalism.
- There is an increasing number of management information systems solutions providers in the market, and this may, in effect, result in restricted growth for Infosys.
- An increase in the number of information systems providers may act to poach the experts at Infosys, thereby threatening the professionalism of the organisation.
The organisation that this particular study has sought to explore (Infosys Solutions) has a bright future ahead of it, going by its increase in terms of revenue and market share in recent years. Furthermore, the potential for the information management system that this particular organisation has employed is quite high, given that at the moment, the system is also underutilised. It is also possible to extend to enhance this system, with the aim of realising added benefits. Further, in the event that the existing information technology system at the organisation was integrated with others, there is a likelihood that more added benefits would be realised.
Even as this particular system may be seen as being quite critical, nevertheless it is also important to point out that the quality of the data that it processes and, consequently, the information obtained is relatively poor, with the result that problems are not uncommon in the running of this system. Furthermore, there is a need to redevelop this system so as to meet the challenges in the future. Such a redevelopment is especially necessary so as to make it more cost effective by reducing the resources that are needed for its maintenance and operation.
For an organisation that is dealing with information system management, there is a need to ensure that the information so obtained is also secure from unauthorised disclosure, access, use, modification, disruption, and destruction12. For a business socially, the fact that confidential information from an organisation could be accessed by existing or potential competitors may very well result in lost business, and so the more reason why organisations should ensure that they protect their information. In light of this, my organisation has ensured that only authorised individuals have access to the information. Some of the measures that have been instituted towards this end include authentication procedures and also information cryptography. We cannot also forget that when a system is overloaded with information, such other activities as processing, storing, and retrieving are also rendered rather difficult to attain13.
Even as information continues to be a vital asset in the management of modern organisations, there are a number of problems that have been seen to impact information systems. To start with, we have the issue of low productivity, not to mention that the level of failure of some information systems has been seen to be on the increase.
With regard to low productivity, what this means is that the demand for establishing novel or enhanced information systems seems to increase at a faster rate than the capability of the professionals in this area, resulting in what industry experts have termed as “software crisis”. The organisation that is the target of this particular study has been criticised for having in place an information system that is aligned poorly with respect to the business needs. In this case, the organisation has been seen to spend more resources towards searching for, recording, refining, evaluating, storing and retrieving information.
Areas of improvement
In today’s competitive world, it is important to ensure that an organisation keep at pace with the needs of its clientele. Otherwise, they will shift to the competitors. In order for the firm to remain competitive, Infosys Solution should ensure that its information system is aligned with the needs of the various customers14. This is due to the fact that the firm has wide categories of customers, which makes their information system needs to be different. This will enable the firm to capture a wide market for its products.
In this respect, Infosys Solutions needs to ensure that its information system is upgraded so as to serve the needs of the customers better and, by extension, enhance the satisfaction of the same. It is also important that the available resources (financial and staffing) are equitably allocated so that we do not have a case whereby some of the departments are starved of resources while others have been allocated with unnecessarily huge amounts of resources.
System options and selection
In order to enhance the efficiency as well as the effectiveness of the information systems management at Infosys Solutions, the organisation needs to constantly monitor trends and developments with regard to information technology within the organisation, in addition to exploring the possibility of augmenting the existing system.
In order to ensure that the best system for the organisation gets selected, there is a need for the various software that are in use to get evaluated in a proper manner. In addition, the necessary efforts and costs for such a system also require to be properly estimated. Furthermore, the requirements and objectives of the systems need to be defined properly. Possible expansions of the systems should also be planned well in advance. During the selection process of a system, there is a need to ensure that the applicable methodology is, by nature, structured.
The implementation of an information system is a process that calls for the input of all the major players involved. It is this plan that offers the specific details concerning the responsibilities, activities as well as target dates for which the process of implementation is scheduled to take. In light of this, this writer wishes to propose an implementation plan that would be accomplished within a period of 6 months and which is pegged to cost approximately 20,000 pounds. In order to facilitate a successful implementation, it shall also be necessary to employ the services of three information systems design experts. Further, the staffs require to be trained on the improved version of the information system, and this shall require a further 25,000 pounds. A breakdown of the budget is provided in the table below.
|Item||Amount (in pounds)|
|Training of personnel||20,0000.00|
Table 1: A budget for information systems implementation plan.
- The quality of the information gathered should be enhanced through the collection of data whose sources have been authenticated. Information authentication is very important if it is to be used in the information system. This is due to the fact that the information gathered affects the quality of the decision. The decision that is arrived at by the management is related to the original data collected. If the data is not reliable, then it means that the firm ends up making a decision that can be costly. One of the ways that the firm can ensure the credibility of data is by putting in place a market research department that would note collect and collate all the environmental information.
- There is a need for the management at the organisation that has been highlighted by this study to ensure that the information systems that it adopts are in line with the needs of the organisation.
The purpose of integrating information systems management within an organisation is with a view to integrating computer-based resources with human-based ones for purposes of gathering, processing, storing and retrieving data in the form of vital information. Such information is needed by an organisation to make crucial decisions. For this reason, it is important that such information is protected and also to ensure that the system is not overloaded, as this would compromise the resulting quality of data. This research paper sought to explore the issue of information system management from the point of view of an organisation that has been outsourced by a city council, to enhance service delivery by the said city council.
In this case, the information flows and needs within the context of the organisation are the question that has been explored, and the importance of ensuring that such information is of quality has been explored as well. Further, the various information technology systems that have been implemented at this particular organisation have also been explored. With regard to the issues of systems evaluation, it has emerged that in as much as the information systems could be vital to the organisation nevertheless there is a need to ensure that it is enhanced to facilitate a better quality of service and increased quality of data.
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