The benefits of IT - Essay Example

Contained within an information strategy there should be, a defined policy on the standardisation of equipment and software, responsibilities defined with regard to centralised control and distributed computer processing, all systems development should be fully documented in accordance with the standards for this methodology, there should be a code of practice defining procedures covering legal, security and confidential aspects of information management, targets should be set for the training and induction of non-systems staff in the use of IT, adequate contingency plans should be put into place to rescue the information resources when threatened, the strategy should be subject to a regular review.

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Some of the benefits of IT for an organisation using it: As time went on the computers ability to repeatedly carry out a process with consistent accuracy at high speed was perceived as a major benefit. The ability to store a large amount of information in a relatively small space was perceived as advantageous.

The way in which this information could be made readily available and could be accessed at relatively high speed was again a major benefit to business organisations. Automation of routine tasks meant fewer people were required to do the same work. Other benefits were enhanced by the computer’s enabling the same work to be done at less cost, or permitting more work to be performed at the same cost. Cost reduction was perceived as a primary aim of computerisation and a major benefit of the use of information technology. Using networks communication software and hardware. Information could be accessed faster even at remote geographic distances. So more information was available to more people at more locations.

Problems arise through, lack of standardisation and computability, duplication of staff efforts, duplication of files and processes, ill-prepared staff through lack of training, duplication inevitability leads to inconsistency of data, leading to muddled decision-making, portable inaccurate forecasts of needs leading to overspending of allocated budgets, loss of efficiency through lack of overview, possible breakdown of IS and communications systems if there are no contingency plans for emergencies. Lack of expertise may lead users to rely on inaccurate computations in simple spreadsheet models and this can lead to poor decision making. Impact on strategy: There is a theory that in order to achieve survival, profit maximisation and growth in modern business all organisations must aim to successfully implement one of three generic strategies, cost leadership, differentiation and focus.

For cost leadership the IS division can reduce labour costs through automation of manual procedures, can reduce manufacturing costs through automated scheduling and monitoring of throughput and yeald etc, and can improve decision making through speed of access to readily available, accurate and up to date information. Product differentiation can be achieved through computer-aided-design and manufacture (exemplars may be identified in areas as different as the knitwear and automobile industries). Focus marketing can be achieved through use of IT in market research, statistical/demographic analysis and identification of trends and targeted sales forecasting. In a few years we may see TV advertisements directed at specific households based on knowledge of previous purchases made through interactive TV shopping.

Goals and objectives: In order to achieve goals an organisation will implement a strategy. The strategy identifies courses of action, which will ensure the achievement of the goals. Sometimes the strategy will be influenced by the time frame within which the goal is to be achieved – long, medium or short term. Beyond the principal goals identified above, organisations may have other secondary goals. Often these will be seen as contributing to the achievement of the primary goals. For example, an organisation might have goals referring to employee development because that is seen as a way of helping ensure the greater goals are met – by having motivated, highly trained staff.

In the not-for-profit sector the goals may come from the original propose for which the organisation came into being e. g. , education, care of the sick etc. Nowadays customer care and value for money are common goals for non-profit making organisations. Departmental and functional objectives: Consider a sales manager who sets an objective of never having to say we can’t deliver immediately. Then consider an accountant who sets an objective of say, reducing capital tied up in stock by 10%. These are unlikely to be completely compatible. Such an example is typical of the conflicts, which arise when everyone is aiming to do their job to the best of their ability. Organisation Implementing its IT Strategy

(Re-training) Staff often worry about the impact of IT on jobs and what is required if them. A key to getting staff to accept change and show enthusiasm is to offer the necessary re-training and support. If the change means that staff are to gain skills and so make themselves more secure then they are more likely to welcome the changes. Involvement and consultation can be used to establish particular training needs. (Early retirement). It may be that the changes are so radical that some older staff are offered retirement as an option. Although these staff have been identified as not having the necessary skills in the IT field, there has to be consideration given to what is being lost in terms of the “business we’re in”.

In organisations where a great culture change is necessary, retirement deals are one way of bringing about a change in personnel to speed up the culture change. (Change management). Consultation is commonly held to be a good thing when implementing IS initiatives or attempting to bring about change. The consultation should be genuine however. If people are listened to, and can see evidence of this, they are generally more likely to make a system work. If it is possible, we should relate change to the subordinate objectives held to be important by the staff. User involvement is a key to successful management of change. We should as much as possible let people own their systems. When the design process is under way, users should be consulted regularly.