Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Chapter 2 - Week 2

Chapter 2
Q1. What is the difference between an 'application' and a computer-based information systems?

An Application is known as a program that was designed to perform a specific function directly for the user or for another application program eg, Microsoft word or Excel.

Where as a computer-based information system is an information system that uses specific computer technology to perform required tasks, these include hardware, software, database and network.

Q2. What are strategic information systems?

Strategic information systems are systems that help an organisation gain a competitive advantage and provide an other advantages to an organisation such as helping it organise and implement strategic goals and increase its performance and productivity.

Q3. According to Porter, what are the five forces that could endanger a firm’s position in its industry or marketplaces?

5 Major forces that could either enhance or endanger a company's position in a given industry include:

  • The threat of entry of new competitors

  • The Bargaining power of suppliers

  • The bargaining power of customers(buyers)

  • The threat of substitute good or services

  • The rivalry among existing firms in the industry

Q4. In relation to Porter's value chain model, what is meant by primary activities and support activities, and how does IT support these activities?

Primary activities involve the the purchasing of materials, the processing into products and delivering to the customers. Primary activities relate to both the production and distribution of the firms good and services creating value for which customers are willing to pay.
Primary activities are made up of:

1. Inbound Logistics 2. Operations 3. Outbound Logistics 4. Marketing and Sales 5. Services

Support Activities do not directly add value to the firms products or services, the contribute to the firms competitive advantage in the industry by supporting the primary industry.
Support activities are made up of:

1. The Firms Infrastructure 2. Human Resource Management 3. Product and Technology Development 4. Procurement

IT supports these activities by monitoring any changes or finding out and implementing faster and cheaper ways to achieve desired goals.

Q5. Discuss the logic of building information systems in accordance with the organizational hierarchical structure.

Each information system is built in accordance to it purpose or specific area. In this case of organisational hierarchical structure, systems are based on management level, where certain systems have certain information regarding to the rank or position in a company for example the information for Partners of a company are not in the same information system as the managers as they don't need to know that information.
When something is built or created for a specific purpose or area it is specialised in the way that those people work and over times is fixed so it is very efficient with no bugs.

Q6. How has the Internet affected each of the five forces in Porter’s competitive forces model.

The Internet has affected:

  • The threat of entry of new competitors- with the Internet almost all companies have the opportunity to have a global market place and compete with global companies for market share in an industry which led to an increase in new competitors.

  • The Bargaining power of suppliers-The increase in suppliers has allowed the the buyer to get a better deal as prices are reduced to attract more buyers

  • The bargaining power of customers(buyers)-As above the increase in the number of choices available the lower the prices they are sold for.

  • The threat of substitute good or services- The threat has increased as the Internet has allowed for an increase of substituted goods on the market

  • The rivalry among existing firms in the industry-With more company's competing for the same business they must become competitive and reduce prizes to attract more consumers to them rather then other firms in the same industry.

Chapter 1 - Week 2

Chapter 1

Q1. What are the characteristics of the modern business environment?

The modern business environment is more complex now then it has ever been. At one time we were sending letters and expecting a response in the next couple of days but now with such technologies like the Internet and email this gap has shortened from a couple of days to matters of minutes. Because we can send and receive information almost instantaneously we also expect a response just as fast.

Some of the characteristics include:

  • A fast paced environment,
  • The expectation of in depth knowledge of all technologies and software used in your business and in others,
  • Obsolescence of a lot of human jobs and an increase in computers and robots working with humans,
  • Larger target market for both buyers and sellers as the Internet has allowed us to become an international buyer/seller almost in minutes eg-with an EBay account.

Q2. What is meant by a web-based, global platform, what does it provide, and how has it affected business?

A web based global platform is a global platform which allows individuals to connect, compute, communicate, collaborate and compete everywhere, anytime with unlimited access to entertainment, knowledge and information. This is all thanks to the Internet and the World Wide Web (WWW), "this platform enables globalisation" (ch1 pg 8 Intro to Information Systems). Businesses have now drastically changed with the introduction of the Internet and the world wide web enabling them to act globally and nationally with just a click of a button opening them up to a whole new world of customers and suppliers.

Q3. What are the main pressures that characterize the modern global business environment?

The main pressures that characterise the modern business environment include:
  • Business pressures which include organisational performance, organisational response and IT Support.
  • Market pressures which include the global economy, global competition, the changing nature of the work force and powerful customers,
  • Technology pressures which include technological innovation, technological obsolescence and information overload,
  • Societal/political/legal pressures include social responsibility and ethical issues.
Q4. What are/discuss some of the common, IT oriented organizational responses to these pressures?

Some of the the IT orientated organisational responses include:
  • Global economy and Strong competition- the introduction of a global platform allowing fast and easy transfer of data and knowledge.
  • Powerful Customers the introduction of the Internet has allowed consumers to gain a lot more knowledge about products they are buying. This has made the sellers increase the promotion of the products to not only attract further customers but also to retain existing ones.
  • Information overload- to sort through all the junk and useless information on the Internet one must have the knowledge to navigate, retain and utilise the Internet in the best way they can.
  • Ethical Issues- The use of IT not only raises ethical issues but can also be the cause of them, so actions must be put into place block or disallow this sort of content eg,using Norton Security to block websites that may contain this.

Q5. How are IT architecture and IT infrastructure interrelated.

IT architecture is a high-level map or plan of the information assets in an organisation. It integrates not only the organisation but also all the individual users as well

IT Infrastructure is the physical facilities, IT components, IT services and IT personnel that support the entire organisation.

They are integrated in the way that they integrate all the IT components, IT personnel and IT services to the not only the organisation but also all the individual users.

Q6. Is the Internet an infrastructure, an architecture, or an application program? or something else. Why?

The Internet is all of these components, it is an application program as it has a purpose, it has IT components, IT personnel and IT services and it is a high level map/plan linking to world to one large and continuously growing network