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44095: IT for Management. Review & Part 1 Requirements By: Ian Perry Room: C48 E-mail: i.p.perry@hull.ac.uk Tel: 01723 35 7287 http://itsy.co.uk/ac/0607/Sem2/44095_IT4M/. Why IT for Management?.

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44095 it for management

44095: IT for Management

Review & Part 1 Requirements

By: Ian Perry

Room: C48

E-mail: i.p.perry@hull.ac.uk

Tel: 01723 35 7287


Why it for management
Why IT for Management?

  • Understanding the application of Information Technology (IT) is vital to Business Management students;

    • as all business organisations rely upon the ability of their IT-based systems to provide and support the knowledge required for all levels of management decision-making, i.e.:

      • Strategic

      • Tactical

      • Operational

Learning outcomes
Learning Outcomes?

  • By the end of the module you will be able to:

    • Understand the distinction between data, information & knowledge.

    • Relate theoretical information technology models to business organisations, in order to understand business needs.

    • Assess an organisation, to identify the role of IT-based support systems in a given business context.

    • Use software tools to produce a working example of an IT-based support system which addresses specific business needs.

Data information knowledge
Data, Information & Knowledge

  • Data = ?

    • A series of observations, measurements, or facts (transactions/events). [Collins Concise English Dictionary]

  • Information = ?

    • Data + Structure + Context

      • The same data can give different information if a different structure and/or context is applied.

  • Knowledge = ?

    • that which is gained by the possession of information that enables people to have a ‘better’ understanding of a situation and/or make ‘better’ decisions.

Data is the root of all decisions
Data is the ‘root’ of ALL Decisions

“Data is only potential information; information is potential knowledge; and knowledge is potential competitive advantage if it is used in a creative, flexible, and above all, accurate way.”

Adrian M (1990) Let’s Get Serious. Focus News. Winter.

Need to view organisations as a system
Need to ‘view’ Organisations as a System?

  • What is a System?

    • A set of interrelated components which act together in an organised way in order to achieve an objective (i.e. a known/defined/agreed purpose).

  • As with data/information/knowledge, each System may be:

    • defined/viewed/interpreted in different ways by different people.

  • Systems Concepts provide a common language with which to describe Systems of all types.

    • diagrams are VERY IMPORTANT.

System sub system element
System, Sub-System & Element

  • Each System is composed of a number of related Elements.

    • Only elements which have a relationship with another element of the system can be a component of that system.

  • Elements with close relationships should be grouped together into Sub-systems.

    • A Sub-system is therefore a set of elements which is a proper subset of the whole system.

Boundary identity
Boundary & Identity

  • There must be a way of defining which elements are to be included within the system under analysis.

    • All systems MUST have a boundary;

      • which encloses those sub-systems & elements that are components of the system.

    • All systems MUST have an identity;

      • to distinguish them from other similar systems.

All systems exist within other systems
All Systems ‘exist’ within other Systems

  • These “other Systems” are referred to as the Environment of the System.

    • The Environment of most Business Systems is composed of;

      • Customers, Suppliers, Competitors, Government, Etc.

  • Must make a distinction between:

    • External Environment - over which we have little or no control.

      • E.g. The Government puts up the rate of VAT; causing costs to rise.

    • Internal Environment - which we may be able to control to some extent.

      • E.g. Money is disappearing; so we implement a new security system to attempt to catch the member of staff who is stealing from us.

A system in context diagram
A ‘System in Context’ Diagram

Shows that;

The System is composed of a number of Sub-systems (i.e. the Internal Environment).

The System has a Boundary(which separates it from other Systems) and a ‘unique’ Identity(which distinguishes it from similar Systems).

The System ‘exists’ within other Systems (i.e. the External Environment).

Connection interaction
Connection & Interaction

  • Systems do NOT ‘exist’ in isolation:

    • they are both ‘connected to’ and ‘interact with’ other Systems.

  • Connection between Systems MAY be:

    • Permanent or Ad-hoc.

  • Interaction between Systems, in most cases, MUST be considered to be:

    • A two-way process.

A high level systems diagram
A ‘High Level Systems Diagram’

In addition to all of the things that the ‘Systems in Context’ diagram depicts, this diagram also;

Names the Elements which are components of each Sub-System.

Shows the connections & interactions;

between this System & other Systems (i.e. in the External Environment).


between the Elements of each Sub-System (i.e. in the Internal Environment).

What now
What now?

  • Having previously ‘discovered’;

    • the main building blocks of the system under investigation, i.e.:

      • sub-systems & elements.

    • and a number of important External Environmental factors, e.g.:

      • Customers, Suppliers, etc.

  • We must now explore the system in much more detail;

    • especially the connection and interaction of the components of the system.

44095 it for management

  • Our aim is to understand (i.e. name) the Information flows:

    • Connecting the System with its External Environment, i.e.:

      • Interactions between specific elements (i.e. individual processes), of specific sub-systems; and other systems that exist in the external environment.

    • Connecting the sub-systems of the Internal Environment, i.e.:

      • Interactions between specific elements (i.e. individual processes), of specific sub-systems; and other sub-systems within the internal environment.

A detailed information flow diagram
A ‘Detailed Information Flow Diagram’

Viewing Customer Services as the System.

The ‘Elements’ are Processes which were ‘hidden’ on the ‘High-level Systems Diagram’.

Processes require ‘Inputs’ (i.e. data) and produce ‘Outputs’ (i.e. information).

NB. It is only at this level of detail that we know enough to suggest where IT might be employed effectively?

Assessment method
Assessment Method

  • A single assignment, in two-parts, based upon a common Case Study scenario, i.e.;

    • The General Insurance Company (GIC)

  • Part 1

    • Analyse the current information system, as presented by the Case Study, using appropriate systems diagrams. (30 Marks)

    • Where, and how, might Information Technology (IT) be used to improve the efficiency and/or effectiveness of Case Study organisation’s information system? (20 Marks)

Gic case study
GIC – Case Study

  • The General Insurance Company (GIC), is based in Manchester, and was originally set-up in 1996 by David and Jane Cowper, who had just completed their undergraduate degrees.

    • Since then the company has experienced modest growth, and they now employ a staff of 6 Insurance Clerks (based at the Head Office in Manchester) and 12 Insurance Advisors who deal directly with Customers in one of 4 Regions of the UK.

  • GIC offer a range of general insurance products, including Motor, Home, Travel and Life Insurance, which are sold to Customers by one of the Insurance Advisors for the Region in which they live.

Gic case study continued
GIC – Case Study (continued)

  • The 4 Regions of the UK, and the number of Insurance Advisors operating in each Region, are as follows:

    • The South-East 4

    • The South-West 2

    • The Midlands 3

    • The North 3

  • All of the Insurance Products offered by GIC are sourced (from major Insurance providers) by the Head Office, who;

    • let the Insurance Advisors know which products can be sold to their Customers, and provide a range of

      • Brochures (which describe the products)

      • Forms (to be completed and signed by the Customers).

Gic case study continued1
GIC – Case Study (continued)

  • It is the job of the Insurance Advisors to;

    • visit Customers in their homes in order to ascertain their insurance requirements,

    • and to help them fill in the Insurance Forms (some of which are quite complex) that must be completed in order to provide an accurate Insurance Quotation.

  • Two ‘types’ of Customer:

    • Existing Customers (i.e. those who have already bought insurance products from GIC) often contact one of the Insurance Advisors for the Region in which they live to arrange such a visit when they need advice on other insurance products. Insurance Advisors might also instigate a visit (usually on an annual basis) to review the insurance products already held by the Customer.

    • New Customers might be visited by invitation (i.e. having been introduced to friends/family of existing Customers) or as a result of advertisements in local/regional newspapers, or even by cold calling (which the Insurance Advisors do not like doing).

  • First thing every morning, each Insurance Advisor sends any Insurance Forms that they helped their Customers to complete the previous day back to the Head Office in Manchester.

Gic case study continued2
GIC – Case Study (continued)

  • When the Insurance Forms arrive at the Head Office, the Insurance Clerks set about the task of interpreting the data on the forms in order to calculate Insurance Quotations.

    • GIC deal with a wide variety of Insurance Providers, and will ‘shop-around’ on behalf of their Customers in order to find the best deal on offer.

  • Once an Insurance Quotation has been calculated it is sent by post directly to the Customer.

  • Upon receipt of an Insurance Quotation, the Customer must then decide if they wish to go ahead with the insurance, in which case they must sign an Acceptance Form and send this, together with a cheque for the full amount of the premium back to GIC’s Head Office. If they do not want to go ahead, then they simply do nothing.

  • Upon receipt of a signed Acceptance Form, and accompanying payment, the Insurance Clerks send out the relevant Insurance Certificate to the Customer.

Gic case study continued3
GIC – Case Study (continued)

  • GIC are having particular problems with the following areas of their business activity:

    • Building up their customer base – they want more people who require general insurance to know they exist and what they have to offer.

    • Supporting new and existing customers with information – to help them decide on the right type of insurance to match their requirements. Insurance Advisors often spend a great deal of their time, travelling to visit customers, and answering the same, predictable, questions.

    • Capturing the data for insurance calculations – some of the data that needs to be gathered before an Insurance Quotation can be calculated is quite extensive, and often involves filling in quite complex Insurance Forms. The completed forms then have to be sent by post back to the head office, which delays things by up to 3 days.

    • Calculating accurate insurance quotations – which often requires a number of quite time-consuming, and hence error prone, manual calculations to be performed. The forms are often difficult for the Insurance Clerks to read/interpret, as some of the Customers do not fill them in very legibly.

The assignment part 1 a
The Assignment - Part 1 a)

  • Analyse the current information system, as presented by the Case Study, using appropriate systems diagrams. (30 Marks)

    • For this part of the assignment, you MUST produce TWO systems diagrams, i.e.:

      • A ‘High-level Systems Diagram’; showing the connection between:

        • specific External Environmental factors and named Elements within the sub-systems of the Internal Environment

        • named Elements of the sub-systems of the Internal Environment

      • A ‘Detailed Information Flow Diagram’, of ONE Sub-system (i.e. from your ‘High-level Systems Diagram’); which details (i.e. names):

        • the information flowing into, through and out of this Sub-system.

The assignment part 1 b
The Assignment - Part 1 b)

  • Where, and how, might Information Technology (IT) be used to improve the efficiency and/or effectiveness of the Case Study organisation’s information system? (20 Marks)

    • With reference to your ‘Detailed Information Flow Diagram’ (i.e. of ONE of the GIC Sub-systems);

      • discuss the employment of IT in support of the Interaction between this Sub-system:

        • and its External Environment.

        • and its Internal Environment.

    • Do NOT ‘simply’ discuss the application of IT in general;

      • which could be ‘true’ for any organisation.

    • You MUST illustrate exactly where, and how, IT might be employed by GIC;

      • by actually ‘using’ (i.e. referring to) your ‘Detailed Information Flow Diagram’ (i.e. of ONE of the GIC sub-systems).

Remaining lectures workshops in it4
Remaining Lectures & Workshops (in IT4)

  • Mon / 19 Mar (6:00pm to 9:30pm)

    • Useful Spreadsheet Functions / a ‘simple’ Spreadsheet Model

      Easter Break – 24 Mar 2007 to 15 Apr 2007

  • Mon / 23 Apr (6:00pm to 9:30pm)

    • Worksheets, Named Ranges, and Macros / a ‘complex’ Spreadsheet Model

  • Tue / 08 May (6:00pm to 9:30pm) [Monday = Bank Holiday]

    • Review of Module & Part 2 Requirements / Part 2 - Assignment Support

      Assignment Deadline = Monday, the 14th of May, 2007.