Information System Essay
Information System is corner stone when it comes to developing a successful of businesses today. It is becoming a core support function which increases company’s productivity and efficiency. It eliminates isolated data handling systems in each department or function within an organization and replaces them with singular system across all functions, i.e. human resource, finance, marketing, sales departments of the organization. Data and information is still managed at their originating departments but information system makes it’s sharing much simpler. Organizations also use management information systems to build core competencies in their businesses. Information systems makes it possible to use personalized customer relationships and reduced inventory levels helping organization in increasing profit and lowering their costs (Laudon, 2006).
MIS is a actually an organization wide network. It is linked through a database, resource planning software and network devices. It enables organization to plan strategically and understand requirements as well as performance of a company.
Selecting Information System:
When selecting an information system, an organization’s Information Systems experts start by identifying information requirement of organization, studying current systems, explore available options, conduct a cost/benefit analysis and planning to implement it (Galvan, 1998).
Analysts need to find planning software that best fits with the organizational workflow and flow of information. Once such software is discovered, its features can be effectively used by selecting an information system that consolidates procedures and information at all levels on one platform. Varying from organization to organization; it is crucial to consider that what will be employee resistance level and how much training would be required once a new system is in place. Furthermore, businesses need to study their existence systems and analyze degree of change a newer system will bring into organization. It is also important for organizations to select such information system that would easily be upgrade-able and any future modifications are easy to implement.
Small Businesses and Information System
Information system is an organizational strength even in small businesses. Its web spread from supplier relations, tracking marketing activities, recording accurate inventory levels of materials as well as human resources to effective customer relations.
Information Systems are more beneficial for small businesses because it simplifies record keeping tasks, makes data manageable and lets organization work with smaller number of employee rather then having a large force working on data consolidation and report formatting.
In small and medium sized business, MIS continue to serve the strategic planning tools and benefits that it offers to large organizations. Simulations for business plans can be made. Projections regarding future demand and sales enable to raise production levels to optimal mark. Existing strategies can be tracked and tested for effectiveness whereas future strategies can be checked for any loopholes and sensitivity (Lederer, Sethi, 2001).
Selection of Information System in Small Businesses
In small businesses unavailability of firms Information Systems experts becomes a hindrance in selecting and implementing an information system. Lack of expertise in this area can lead to selection of a system that does not entirely match the organizational requirements or is too sophisticated for current business model.
However, several consulting services have come up in recent years that act as a facilitator for selecting an apt information system for an organization. They conduct all strategic analysis that an in-house IS expert would do and arranges for an IS implementing company that can lead the organization from there.
Advantages of Selecting Information System through consultants
Selection of information system through consultants provides small business with expertise that is not available to them in-house. It keeps them from making any un-informed decisions. The cost incurred due to consultancy is fairly low then recruiting an in-house expert for a small business.
The consultants assist the organization in finding the vendor who can provide them with most feasible solutions. Since consultancy firms are expert in their area, any threat of selecting an incompatible vendor is minimized. Moreover, they also negotiate with the vendor on behalf of firm regarding any cost, pricing and implementation issues. Finally, consultants can again be called back to assist on the project when any up-gradation is needed. As they have previously worked on the project and understand organizations needs, an effective conclusion can be easily reached (Eductech International, 2004).
Disadvantages of Selecting Information System through consultant
Sole disadvantage that a firm can face incase of a vendor is that when conducting information audit, their estimate of organization’s information needs can be off the mark as they do not know the organization inside out like an in-house expert would. If this initial step has any erroneous findings, it could lead to a flawed information system that would not only cost to firm but would not reap any of the benefits that a company expects to receive.
Also, consultants charge additional fee for their consultancy services even if they work on the cost aspect with the vendor for information system implementation.