Saturday, October 25, 2008

Chapter 10 - Week 12

Chapter 10 Questions

Section 10.1 - Before You Go On… 1. What are some problems associated with assessing the costs of IT?

Some of the problems include allocating fixed costs to different IT projects. Also once a system is complete, more costs are brought forward with the repair and maintenance, and upgrading of the systems and software.


2. What difficulties accompany the intangible benefits from IT?

The inability to put a dollar value on it. To be successful a company must implement the new technology successfully, yet this is rarely the case and it also but be cutting edge technology.

3. Define NPV and ROI, and business case approaches.

NPV is Net present value which convents the future value of benefits to their present-value equivalent by "discounting" them fat organisations cost of funds.
ROI is Return on investment which is managements effectiveness in generating profits with their available assets.
Business Case Approach, a written document which is used to justify funding one or more specific applications for projects.

Section 10.5 - Before You Go On… 1. What type of companies provide outsourcing service?

Outsourcing services are provided mainly by large software companies for developing, operating and maintaining IT applications.

2. Define ASPs and list their advantages to companies using them.

ASP is Application service provider which is an agent/vendor which assembles software needed by enterprise and packages the software with services such as development, operations and maintenance.
Advantages include:
Save Costs.
Reduce software maintenance and upgrades
Reduce user training
Increase competitiveness

3. List some disadvantages of ASPs.

Disadvantages include:

-ASP might not offer adequate security protection
-Software not perfect fit for all desired applications
-Must make sure existing software and communications can work well with new ASP.

Section 10.6 - Before You Go On… 1. List the major steps of selection of a vendor and a software package.

-Step 1 Identify possible vendors
-Step 2 Determine the evaluation criteria
-Step 3 Evaluate Vendors and Packages
-Step 4 Choose the Vendor and Package
-Step 5 Negotiate Contract
-Step 6 Establish a service level agreement.

2. Describe a request for proposal (RFP).

RFP is a document that is sent to potential vendors inviting them to submit a proposal that describes their software package and explains how it would meet their company needs.

3. Describe SLAs
SLAs are formal agreements that specify how work is to be divided between the company and its vendors. Based on a set of agreed upon milestones, quality checks and what is situations.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Chapter 9 - Week 11

Chapter 9

1. Describe the decision-making process proposed by Simon.

It is composed of 4 major phases. Intelligence, design, choice and implementation
Intelligence phase is comprised of:
-Organisational objectives
-Search and scanning procedures
-Data Collection
-Problem Identification, Classification and Statement

Design phase is comprised of:
-Formulate a Model(assumptions)
-Set criteria for choice
-Search for alternatives
-Predict and measure outcomes.

Choice phase is comprised of:
-Solution to the model
-Sensitivity Analysis
-Selection Analysis
-Selection of best alternative
-Plan for implementation(action)
-Design of a control system

Implementation is comprised of:
-Implementation of solution.

2. Why do managers need IT support?

Managers need IT support because it is very difficult to make decision without relevant or valid information. Decision making is becoming more difficult due to:
-Number of alternatives to consider
-Time pressure
-Increase in complex decisions

3. Describe the decision matrix.

The decision matrix is the 3 primary classes of problem structure and the 3 broad categories of the nature of decisions can be combined in a decision support matrix that consists of 9 cells(as seen on pg 266) of your textbook).

It states that lower management perform the structured and operational control orientated tasks where as middle managers have more responsibility and senior executives have the most and perform the highest responsibility tasks.


Section 9.2 - Before You Go On… 1. Describe the capabilities of data mining. Section

Data mining is the search for valuable business information in a large database or data warehouse.
Capabilities are to predict trends and identify unknown patterns.
Data mining address the issue of why something is happening and provides predictions of what will happen in the future.

9.3 - Before You Go On… 1. What are some of the capabilities of digital dashboards?

Digital dashboards are an evolved version of executive information systems which are information systems designed for the information needed for top executives.
But now it is widely used across whole businesses.
It provides rapid access to timely information and direct access to management reports.
Advantages include it is very easy to use as it displays information in graphic form.
Also allow the information to be drilled down into specific details.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Chapter 8 - Week 10

Chapter 8 Questions

Section 8.1 - Before You Go On… 1. What is a Transactional Processing and the role of TP systems. State the key objective of TP/TPSs.

TPS is the transaction processing system. It collects, monitors, stores and processes data in a database. All this information is inputs to the businesses database.
TPS allows the owners of the business to get functional information from every purchase such as knowledge management, customer relationship management and e-commerce.
Key objectives include
  • Collect and store functional information,
  • Ability to handle high volume efficiently,
  • avoid errors,
  • maintain privacy and security.

Section 8.2 - Before You Go On… 1. What is a functional area information system? List its major characteristics.

A functional area information system provides information via reports to lower and middle level managers in their functional areas mainly used to help plan control and organise operations.

  • Major characteristics include
    -They provide routine reports at scheduled intervals
    -They provide Ad-hoc reports when needed and
    -Exception reports which are reports with information not related to the other two

2. How does an FAIS support management by exception? How does it support on-demand reports?

It supports management by exception as some managers prefer this. They prefer simpler reports with information only relevant to them.
It supports on-demand reports as exception reports are only needed when they are on demand(ad-hoc).

Section 8.3 - Before You Go On… 1. Define ERP and describe its functionalities.

ERP is Enterprise resource planning systems which integrate planning, management and use of all of an organisations resources. This allows information to flow seamlessly across all the functional areas.
This allows certain functional areas to be affected by others thus making all information accurate and up to date.
Also allows a business to control its business process(set of steps to reach specific outcome.

2. List some drawbacks of ERP software.

Some drawbacks of ERP include:

-It is extremely complex software
-It is very expensive software
-Time consuming to implement

Section 8.5 - Before You Go On… 1. Define a supply chain and supply chain management (SCM).

A supply chain is the flow of materials, information, services and money from raw materials through factories and warehouses eventually ending at the customers.
Supply chain management is the plan, organisation, information and service provided to customers.
Used to reduce friction along the supply chain by reducing costs, and time.


2. List the major components of supply chains.

Major components of supply chains include:

3. What is the bullwhip effect?

The bullwhip effect refers to erratics shifts in orders up(orders, info, payments, returns) and down(Products, services, info) the supply chain

4. What are some solutions to supply chain problems?

Solutions to supply chain problems include:

  • Using inventories-building up securities again supply chain uncertainties
  • Information sharing-along supply chain
  • Vertical integration-cutting away suppliers.

Section 8.6 - Before You Go On… 1. Define EDI and list its major benefits and limitations

EDI is Electronic Data Interchange which is a communication standard that enables business partners to exchange routine documents eg purchase orders electronically.Usually sent through the Internet.
Limitations include:
-Needs significant initial investment as costs are high
-High ongoing operation costs
-EDI systems are very inflexible.

Chapter 7 - Week 9

1. Identify common wireless devices and their application to business

Common wireless devices include:

  • Mobile phones-which are used to reach people when not in the office to discuss business matters
  • Wireless Internet- which allows you to be online at all times, able to both and a receive emails.
  • Bluetooth-which is used to sync calenders from PCs to mobile phones or to use hands free devices when driving.
  • GPS-which is used to help locate businesses or other places of interest.

2. Describe the various types and general characteristics of wireless transmission media/technologies - microwave, satellite, infrared and radio waves.

Microwaves are used in conjuction with satellites for high volume, high bandwidth line. To work they need a clear line of sight with no obstacles. The signal can be distorted by environmental interference or other objects blocking the line of sight. Microwaves and satellites are used to transmit Television signals, GPS signals and Mobile Phone signals just to name a few.

Infrared transmission is the cheapest and easiest way to communicate wirelessly. An LED is used to send the signal(pulses of on and off) to another device. It is most commonly used in remote controls for electrical devices.

Radio waves are used in the transmission of signals by electromagnetic waves. Radio waves don't need a medium and can be reflected or refracted around objects. Radio waves are used to transmit Audio, Video, GPS and Radar.


3. What is bluetooth/how is it used?

Bluetooth is wireless radio communication that allows close range connectivity between devices eg mobile and bluetooth headset or send files from one computer to another wirelessly.

4. What are WLAN's, Wi-Fi, WWAN's, WiMax?

WLAN is a Wireless Local area Network-which uses radio waves to transmit data to and from computers on the same network

Wi-Fi is a wireless Ethernet technology that allows people with laptop computers to connect to the Internet while out and about at hot spots" where Wi-Fe is enabled.

WWAN is Wide Area Wireless Network which allows users to connect over a a very large geographical network.

WiMax is the successor to Wi-Fi it is a new wireless broadband technology with a range of up to 80km.

5. What are the drivers of mobile computing and m0bile commerce

Drivers include

  • Widespread availability of mobile devices
  • No need for a PC-can use mobile phone now eg blackberry or iPhone
  • declining prices of technology
  • Bandwidth Improvement eg 3G networks

6. Be able to explain how mobile technologies can be applied to business solutions

Mobile technologies can help business in many ways such as

  • Mobile banking which allows fast and easy payment for goods online
  • Mobile wallets allowing people to make purchases with a click of their phones.
  • Location based services and advertising which allows businesses to target a segmented market eg advertise car parts at a F1 Race.
  • Cellphone culture has allowed almost everyone to have a phone on them at all times making everyone always contactable.

7. Explain the nature of RFID

RFID is Radio Frequency Identification Technology. It was invented to replace barcodes but wasn't as successful as first conceived due to its high cost over a barcode and its larger size. It can be used in stores to speed up the transaction process and also be used in warehouses to faster count inventory coming and going out of the warehouse.

8. Identify the 4 main security threats that arise from the use of mobile technologies

4 Main security threats include :

  1. Rouge Access point which is an unauthorised access point into a wireless network
  2. Ware Driving is the locating of WLANs whilst walking or driving around a destination with wireless networks, allowing users to access free Internet
  3. Eavesdropping refers to unauthorised users access to data that is travelling over a wireless network
  4. Radio Frequency jamming is intentionally interfering with wireless network transmissions.