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Chapter Map

Chapter 5: IT Infrastructures

Productivity

Decision

Making

Team

Collaboration

Business

Partnerships &

Alliances

Global

Reach

Organizational

Transformation


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Information technology infrastructure includes:hardwaresoftware andtelecommunications equipmentthat provide the technological foundation for the organization’sgoalsprocesses andstrategies.


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An organization’s goals determines everything it does. For example, a goal of the Canadian military would be to keep military secrets confidential and secure.To support this goal, the military has a hierarchical organizational structure.


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IT infrastructure components support the following roles and goals of IT:

  • increase employee productivity

  • enhance decision making

  • improve team collaboration

  • create business partnerships and alliances

  • enable global reach and

  • facilitate organizational transformation.


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1. Factors that increase the productivity of employees:

  • Availability (Knowledge workers should be able to access to the IT system when needed.)

  • Accessibility (Employees who need information should have the right to use the IT system.)

  • Reliability (The IT system must provide accurate information. Data cleansing ensures all information is correct.)


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More factors that increase the productivity of employees:

  • Scalability (When needed, the information system can grow.)

  • Flexibility (The system can be changed quickly.)

  • Performance (Time for each process can be measured. A benchmark is a set of conditions used to measure how well a system functions.)

  • Capacity planning (The IT infrastructure must support demands for more capacity or new equipment in the future.)


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The following IT infrastructure components help increase the productivity of employees:

a)Client/server network (Client computers access hardware, software and/or information kept on a server computer.)

b)Internet (Global reach refers to the ability of a company to do business with any customer that accessible using the Internet.)


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More IT infrastructure components help increase the productivity of employees:

  • Intranet (This is a company’s own Internet guarded against outside access by a firewall.)

  • Extranet (This is an organizational Internet for a company which grants customers and suppliers permission to access their system.)

  • Portal (This technology that gives access to information.)

  • Digital dashboard (This screen layout gives managers access to key information from a number of sources.)


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More IT infrastructure components that help increase the productivity of employees:

  • N-tier infrastructures (Companies may use some servers for applications and others for storing data.)

  • Backupand recovery (This entails making copies of data and ensuring that backup information can be reinstalled if need be.)

  • Disaster recovery plan (This addresses what should be done if experiencing a disaster like a power outage, fire, flood or hacking.)


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2. Enhance decision making of employees with

  • integration

  • enterprise application integration (EAI)

  • enterprise application integration middleware (EAI middleware) and

  • information architecture.


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System integration enables communication between separate systems so that

  • the organization can control its information better and

  • information from multiple systems can be gathered quickly.


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Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) combines both business information and business processes so they appear as if they were one unified system.


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Enterprise Application Integration Middleware(EAI middleware) is prebuilt software used to translate and transfer information between systems. ActiveWorks is an EAI middleware package.


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The IT infrastructure must include the information architecture which gives the details on where and how information is stored on storage devices.


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3. Collaboration between team members may be enhanced by using one of the following collaboration software components:

  • Documentation management system used from the creation of a document right through modification, access, approval, distribution and archival of that document.

  • Enterprise information portal (EIP) used by knowledge workers to access company information on the Web.

  • Workflow system which manages the flow of information within a business process.


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Types of workflow systems

  • Messaging-based workflow infrastructure uses email to assign tasks. It then tracks each task and assigns the next task once the current one is completed.

  • Database-based workflow infrastructure keeps the document in a central location for knowledge workers to access when needed for editing.


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4. The following IT infrastructure components can help create business partnerships and alliances:

  • A customer relationship management system (CRM) serves customers better by addressing their needs, wants and behaviours.

  • Sales force automation (SFA) tracks all steps in the process of making a sale.


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More IT infrastructure components that can help create business partnerships and alliances:

  • Electronic catalogues use the Web to present products for sale.

  • Supply chain management (SCM) tracks inventory and information among business processes and across companies.


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Supply Chain Management System Infrastructure


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5. The following IT infrastructure components enable global reach:

  • An internet service provider (ISP) is a company that provides access to the Internet.

  • An application service provider (ASP) is a company that sells business software.

  • A collocationfacility rents space and telecommunications equipment to another business.

  • A server farm or server cluster is a central location for a number of servers.


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When a company uses global IT infrastructure components, it can support employees, suppliers, distributors or customers anywhere there is an Internet connection.


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6. The following facilitate organizational transformation:

  • enterprise resource planning (ERP) which gets and keeps an overview of each part of the business so they can be coordinated

  • enterprise software that includes common business applications, tools for modeling the entire organization and development tools for building the organization’s software

  • a data warehouse to consolidate all of the information and

  • documentation of the entire IT infrastructure.


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