Chapter Map Chapter 5: IT Infrastructures Productivity Decision Making Team Collaboration Business Partnerships & Alliances Global Reach Organizational Transformation
Information technology infrastructure includes:hardwaresoftware andtelecommunications equipment that provide the technological foundation for the organization’sgoalsprocesses andstrategies.
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.
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.
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.)
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.)
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.)
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.)
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.)
2. Enhance decision making of employees with • integration • enterprise application integration (EAI) • enterprise application integration middleware (EAI middleware) and • information architecture.
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.
Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) combines both business information and business processes so they appear as if they were one unified system.
Enterprise Application Integration Middleware(EAI middleware) is prebuilt software used to translate and transfer information between systems. ActiveWorks is an EAI middleware package.
The IT infrastructure must include the information architecture which gives the details on where and how information is stored on storage devices.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When a company uses global IT infrastructure components, it can support employees, suppliers, distributors or customers anywhere there is an Internet connection.
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.