Information Flow • An information flow diagram is a useful way of showing how information moves into and out of an organisation and between individuals or departments within it, • To draw a diagram we need to discover who needs or uses what information and then draw some links. Example diagrams could include: • Customer Orders, Purchase Orders to Suppliers, Design and Production Drawings, Wages and Tax-Paid Details, Records of Staff Training, Names and Addresses of Employees, Stock Details, Invoices Paid, Monthly Income, Monthly Outgoing, Web Publicity Pages, Monthly Profit or Loss.
Communication Methods • Information within an organisation can be broadcasted in number of different ways: • Telephone and Voice Mail, • Post (internal/external) • E-Mail (internal/external), • Memo, • Letter, • Meeting, • Reports, • Purchase Order, • Two Way Radio, • Face to Face, • Central Database (MIS), • Invoice, • Appointment, • EDI and E-Commerce, • Fax, • Internet / Intranet, • Mobile Phone (verbal and sms).
Establishing Flows • To draw information flow diagrams you will need to interpret a written description of the information movement during a situation, • This could be done by highlighting different words within the case study paragraph in different colours / styles – I use • Bold for senders / receivers' • Italic for the information being sent • Underline for the method
Drawing Information Flow Diagrams • Mark up the case study paragraph showing the sender / receiver, information and method, • Put the names of senders and receivers of information in boxes around a page, • Draw arrows between the sender and receiver for each type of information (arrow head show direction of flow), • Rearrange the boxes on the diagram so that flows don’t cross, • Label each arrow with the information flow and the method used to communicate it.
Example Flow Diagram • Draw an information flow diagram based on the following passage: A customerposts an order to the sales department, the order details are entered into a centralised database which is accessed by the warehouse to makeup the order. A delivery note is attached to the goods and handed to the despatch department for delivery. On delivery, the member of the despatch departmenthands the goods and delivery note to the customer. The sales department creates an invoice that is posted to the customer. The accounts department assesses a copy of the invoice from the centralised database.The customerpostspayment to the accounts department.
Customer Order - post (exteral) Sales Department Customer Invoices - post (external) Order Details -centralised database Payment - post (external) Accounts Department Delivery Note - hand (face-to-face) Order Details - Centralised Database Warehouse Dispatch Department Delivery Note - hand (face-to-face)
Drawing Information Flow Diagrams • You can draw organisational structures using: • Pen and paper, • The standard drawing tools in any office application, “Marks were most often lost because of the candidates’ inability to manipulate text boxes so that the labelling of the information flows was ambiguous. Candidates may find it easier to label the flows unambiguously if they hand write the labels on the arrows.” Maggie Banks (Principle Examiner G041) Reports on the Units June 2007 • Therefore ensure that all flows are clearly labelled and its clear which label belongs to which flow. • Each flow and its label could be a different colour • A key is allowed as long as diagram and key on same page.
WARNING……Labels on diagrams • Many students throughout the country lost marks last year but not labelling diagrams in the correct way… “marks were lost when candidates described processes on the arrows, such as ‘the Membership Manager detaches the direct debit mandate and hands it to the Finance Clerk’, rather than identifying the information and method, i.e. ‘direct debit mandate by hand’.” Maggie Banks (Principle Examiner G041) Reports on the Units June 2007