Information systems and technologies
Database Management Systems (DBMS)
Within a Database Management System (DBMS), data forms the largest and most important part of the database system. DBMS are implemented in order to process all types of data. Data forms the bulk of the activity being handled by many firms. Typically, the role of data is to link the software and hardware parts of the system. Data categories are of three main types. User data refers to information that is stored in tables, metadata and application metadata (Ward, 2008). Hardware consists of the physical infrastructure that consists of electronic equipment such as storage devices, computers and other input and output devices like mice and keyboards.
Databases can be having various designs from a single workstation having basic hardware to mainframe systems containing server hardware, routers and cooling systems. Typically, the capability of the hardware in DBMS is crucial in determining the level of efficiency. Powerful servers having large storage volumes and faster processing speed are recommended if the database is to perform well. The software components of a DBMS perform the complex and difficult functions. It consists of applications and programs that are used to control the database and other digital parts of the database system.
The most common software includes the DBMS software that is used, the computer operating system and other programs and applications that compliment the DBMS for instance C++ or Visual Basic. These people will be implementing the product i.e. the DBMS. Users may be employees, clients, managers or individuals to whom the database system is specifically designed for. The term “users” may also be interchanged with the programmers, designers and administrators, all of whom access the database for whatever reasons.
Network topology refers to the layout or organization of the various components of a computer network. The bus topology is a structure that uses one common backbone to connect to the other computers and devices. One cable referred to as the backbone acts as the source from which all other devices are connected. Sending and receiving of information passes through this wire first. The ring topology mimics a circular path along which computers are connected. Each device acts as a repeater to boost the data signal until the destination (Sharma, 1990). The whole topology is likely to suffer failure if a cable breaks in between two workstations.
The star topology is a common feature in many home and cyber cafe networks. Typically, the star topology consists of one hub that acts as the hub where the network is administered. Other computers are thus connected round it in a star fashion. The star topology is slightly more expensive but provides a more stable platform. This is because failure on one computer or cable within the network is easy to solve and does not jeopardize the whole network. Other topologies include tree, mesh, and hybrid and daisy chain networks.
Transaction Processing Systems (TPS)
Transaction Processing Systems are information systems that coordinate the transactions initiated by users like bank transactions. The Sales and Marketing Systems within a TPS have the function of supporting the selling of the firms’ goods or services. This section deals with promotion, innovation, research and pricing among other things. Human and resource systems on the other hand, are responsible for supporting the development of the organizational work force. These systems deal with the activities such as outsourcing labour, selection and training of employees and maintaining databases on the employees. Human resource systems also seek to identify the work force requirements that will enable the firm to reach its long-term goals (Krishnamurthy & Murthy, 1991).
Types of E-Commerce
Ecommerce is the conducting of business transactions over the Internet and other computer networks. Business to business ecommerce (B2B) involves two or more firms doing business directly with each other for example manufacturers selling to wholesalers.
Business to consumer (B2C) ecommerce involves businesses transacting with the public thereby circumventing intermediaries. This type of ecommerce has greatly influenced the power of consumers in making choices concerning what to buy, which price to buy it and where to buy. Through the web and the Internet, customers are able to buy both goods and services. There is a high level of security and trust in B2C ecommerce because of the wide span of unknown customers. However, some customers are tagged as “trusted business partners” who have established a constant relationship with different firms.
Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) ecommerce deals with the coordination of sales and purchases between and among consumers. C2C allows consumers to sample what other consumers have put up for sale and make complete transactions even up to payments. This has been done through innovations like Pay Pal where money is easily exchanged. EBay is one such example. Here, people put up different goods to be sampled upon which transactions and other necessities are done between the two parties ending in a purchase.
Medium communication channels comparison
These are the various means through messages are communicated. A medium will decide on the efficiency, relevance and timeliness of the message being sent or received. In terms of speed, the telephone is the fastest medium of communication followed by the email, brochures and memos and lastly, letters. In terms of costs, the email is the cheapest followed by the telephone, brochures and lastly, letters. The dominance of email and telephone has been largely due to the advent of information technology and its integration into communication.
Application controls can be classified as automated program controls that are designed to regulate the data processing starting from the input to the output. Controls are as varied as the business purpose for which they are applied. Authentication controls have the function of ensuring that only the right users can access the resources for example using identification card or numbers. Authorization controls ensure that the correct user can access a particular process. This is mainly done by using passwords. Input controls have the function of ensuring data integrity from the source up to the destination and within the application systems.
Validity controls are implemented to minimize the errors occurring from duplication, wrong entry or miscalculation in any process. Only valid data is thus processed in this way. Other minor controls include completeness controls that check to ensure that all processes were performed to completion. Forensic checks are also some controls that act as checkers to ensure the data is scientifically verified according to mathematic principles.
Ethics is the application of the study of right and wrong behavior. Within the workplace, there are different individuals having different behavior. In order to achieve a degree of efficiency, it is imperative that standardization is implemented in the work environment. Ethical principles are the translations of these standards into rules and regulations
Marketing is a business function that attempts to identify and expound on the customers’ needs with an intention of satisfying their needs better than any competitor. Marketing creates value that attracts other customers as well as retaining the initial ones. The cycle of marketing goes from research to market segmentation to planning, implementation and post-sale analysis.
Production is the process of creating a good or a service that will ultimately be sold. Production handles the customers’ needs by responding in kind by producing it. Production is closely related to manufacturing and these two terms are used interchangeably. Manufacturing is the process use using machinery to create goods. The factors of production include land, labour, capital and entrepreneurship. Primary sector production involves agriculture, mining and other raw material production. Secondary sector production involves construction and other manufacturing activities.
The accounting function deals with business data collection from all departments of the organization. Various financial data that is collected have to be interpreted into information that is relevant to the management. The usage of financial statements and quarterly reports are the best examples that accountants use to convey their financial information. Other functions of accounting include auditing and bookkeeping (Bocij, Greasley & Hickie, 2008).
Tools of group decision-support system (GDSS)
GDSS tools are components that are designed to assist groups of employees to interact in their work environments. The function of GDSS that is to help in preparing complex plans, solving detailed issues, conflict resolution and proper prioritization is greatly enhanced by these tools. Using such tools, employees can synchronize their efforts into finishing a project satisfactorily. Examples include databases, statistical analysis packages and models.
Information systems and organizations
Information systems have several advantages to an organization. One advantage is the ability to network the management and the employees. Information technology promotes horizontal as well as vertical communication through organization e-mail services and other innovations. The performance of basic functions like file sharing, assignment issuing and queries is done in a faster and more efficient way. Electronic communication has enabled easy linkage between and among members of a firm. Workers can now easily relay their finished jobs to their superiors that can be used in a timely manner.
Information systems have also assisted in the growth and expansion of businesses. The elimination of geographical challenge has been made possible by the use of integrated networks like internet and intranets. Managers can access the company’s databases from anywhere in the world via Internet. Information systems also help in the planning of the organizational goals and objectives as the management can use the sales records to come up with relevant future strategies. Constant recording of the sales trends for various goods helps the management to make informed choices that will benefit the firm (Vijay & Seungjin, 1991).
Bocij, P., Greasley, A., & Hickie, S. (2008). Business information systems: Technology, development and management. Harlow, England: FT Prentice Hall.
Krishnamurthy, E. V., & Murthy, V. K. (1991). Transaction processing systems. New York: Prentice Hall.
Sharma, R. L. (1990). Network topology optimization: The art and science of network design. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
Vijay, G., & Seungjin, W. (January 03, 1991). The impact of information systems on organizations and markets: perspectives on a changing world. Communications of the Acm, 34, 1, 59-73.
Ward, P. (2008). Database management systems. London: Cengage Learning.