USING INFORMATION

Management Strategies

When an organisation decides to install a computerised information system, several important decisions need to be made and lots of planning undertaken. There are five areas where an organisation needs to have clear strategies when planning and using information systems. These are as follows: Networks, Security, Backup and Recovery, Upgrading and Software.

Network strategy

An organisation needs a network strategy initially to plan how to set up the network in general to manage effectively its distribution of data and information to assist its decision-making and general operation.  The network strategy should be based on sound fundamentals so that no matter the advances in technology the network will be able to adapt and still deliver the services the organisation requires.

The strategy needs to address the following areas:

Security strategy

An organisation needs a security strategy to ensure that staff or competitors do not steal important operational data.  The security strategy will also deal with those areas of the network that staff can access (you cannot have data entry clerks accessing reports meant for senior management).  Nowadays security must also deal with keeping unauthorised people from remotely accessing business networks; and, of course, it must protect against virus attacks.

Backup and recovery strategy

An organisation needs a backup and recovery strategy to ensure that operational data is not accidentally destroyed or damaged. As organisations rely more and more on information systems to store and process their data, it is vital that processes and procedures are introduced to ensure data is kept safe from loss or harm.

Upgrade strategy

An organisation needs an upgrade strategy to ensure its information systems can continue to support the core business as the organisation grows and changes over time.  There are likely to be advances in the hardware technology such as faster cabling systems, faster and more secure communications hardware and computers. Advances are also likely to be found in the software used with faster and more secure operating systems and greater functionality in the application software. Organisations need to decide whether and when to upgrade, usually when it appears cost effective to do so.

Software strategy

Initially the organisation will decide whether it needs bespoke or specially written software.  The latter is common for large organisations like banks, insurance companies, supermarkets, and companies like call centres and modern mail-order companies.  The organisation contacts a software house that will create the bespoke software.  This is always expensive and many organisations will try and configure off-the-shelf application packages to suit their purposes.  Often there is a mixture of bespoke and off-the-shelf packages in use, with managers often manipulating and analysing in spreadsheets figures produced in bespoke systems.


 

 



 

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