What is data and why is it important to a business?
Raw facts that describe the characteristics of an event or object. Sales numbers for example.
What is the relationship between data, information, business intelligence, and knowledge?
Data is just raw facts to describe the characteristics of an even or object. Information is data converted into a meaningful and useful context. Business intelligence is information collected from multiple sources such as suppliers, customers, competitors, partners, and industries that analyzes patterns, trends, and relationships for strategic decision making. Knowledge includes the skills, experience, and expertise, coupled with information and intelligence that creates a persons intellectual resources. Knowledge workers use business intelligence with personal experience to make decisions based on both information and intuition and are a valuable resource for any company.
Why is it important for a company to operate cross-functionally?
Because decisions being made in one department will surely have an impact on another department. Each department has it’s own focus and data, none can work independently if the company is to operate as a whole. All departments must work together as a single unit sharing common information and not operate independently or in a silo.
Why would a company want a CIO, CPO, and CSO?
All deal with MIS but a chief information officer (CIO) is responsible for overseeing all uses of MIS and ensuring that MIS strategically aligns with business goals and objectives. A chief privacy officer (CPO) is responsible for ensuring the ethical and legal use of information within a company. A chief security officer (CSO) is responsible for ensuring the security of business systems and developing strategies and safeguards against attacks by hackers and viruses. All help with the businesses needs for management information systems.
Explain MIS and the role it plays in a company and global business.
It is a business function like accounting or HR, which moves information about people, products, and processes across the company to facilitate decision making and problem solving. MIS incorporates systems thinking to help companies operate cross functionally. It is a tool that is most valuable when it leverages the talents of people who know how to use and manage it effectively.
Do you agree MIS is essential for businesses operating in the information age? Why or why not?
It is essential because data can be used and refined into information and with business intelligence can be used by knowledgeable individuals to make good decisions for a company.
Why is it important for a business major to understand MIS?
As a business major chances are we will at some point be in a position where we will need to make decisions for a company (possibly out own) and management information systems are there to help in making data driven decisions, which are the best decisions to be made.
Explain systems thinking and how it supports business operations.
Is a way of monitoring the entire system by viewing multiple inputs being processed or transformed to produce outputs while continuously gathering feedback on each part. It supports business operations because it lets the business react to feedback (positively or negatively)
What business strategies would you use if you were developing a competitive advantage for a company?
The focused strategy is what I would try to use as a business strategy. This would allow for a more sustainable competitive advantage as opposed to a strategy that competitors could copy later on.
Explain Porter’s Five Forces Model and the role it plays in decision making.
Buyer Power, Supplier Power, Threat of Substitute Products or Services, Threat of New Entrants, and Rivalry among existing competitors make up the Five Forces model. Buyer power is the ability of buyers to affect the price they must pay for an item. Supplier power is the suppliers ability to influence the prices they charge for supplies. Threat of substitute products or services in high when there are many alternatives to a product or service and low when there are few alternatives from which to choose. Threat of new entrants is high when it is easy for new competitors to enter a market and low when there are significant barriers to joining a market. Rivalry among existing competitors is high when competition is fierce in a market and low when competitors are more complacent.
How could a company use loyalty programs to influence buyer power? How could a company use switching costs to lock in customers and suppliers?
Switching costs make customers reluctant to switch to another product or service including financial and intangible values. Loyalty programs reward customers based on their spending, think frequent flyer miles.
What are porters 3 generic strategies and why would a company only follow one?
1. Broad cost leadership 2. Broad differentiation 3. Focused strategy. Trying to be all things to all people would be a disaster, since doing so makes it difficult to project a consistent image to the entire marketplace.
How can a company use Porter’s value chain analysis to measure customer satisfaction?
It views a firm as a series of business processes that each add value to the product or service. The goal of value chain analysis is to identify processes in which the firm can add value for the customer and create a competitive advantage for itself, with a cost advantage or product differentiation.
What is the relationship between critical success factors and key performance indicators? How can a manager use them to understand business operations?
The relationship between critical success factors and key performance indicators are that critical success factors are crucial steps companies perform to achieve their goals and objectives and implement their strategies. Key performance indicators are quantifiable metrics a company uses to evaluate progress towards critical success factors. So basically key performance indicators are metrics that bring a company to critical success factors.
What are the three different levels found in a company? What types of decisions are made at each level?
Strategic, managerial, and operational are the different levels found in a company. The strategic level consists of decisions that are unstructured, nonrecurring, and one time. Executives, senior management, and leaders in a company are the ones that make these types of decisions. Managerial level decisions are semi structured and based on unplanned reporting. They are basically there to focus on efficiency and effectiveness and are usually done by middle management and managers, or directors. Operational level decisions are structured, reoccurring, and repetitive. Lower management, department managers, analysts, and staff make them. A good example of operational level decisions is a decision that needed to be made to keep working that day.
Define transaction processing systems and describe the role they play in a business.
A transaction processing system is the basic business system that serves the operational level (analysts) and assists in making structured decisions. A good example is an order entry system. It helps when entering orders because it shows operational functions.
Define decision support systems and describe the role they play in a business.
Decision support systems provide assistance in evaluation and choosing among different courses of action. It allows high-level managers to examine and manipulate large amounts of detailed data from different internal and external sources. It takes in data from multiple sources all over the place but a good example is when a doctor is trying to diagnose a patient will enter symptoms into a support system to help find a diagnosis.
Define expert systems and describe the role they play in a business.
Expert systems are computerized advisory programs that imitate the reasoning processes of experts in solving difficult problems. They include a knowledge base containing various accumulated experience and a set of rules for applying the knowledge base to each particular situation. They are important in the business setting because they fill the gap when human experts are difficult to find or retain or are too expensive,
What are the capabilities associated with digital dashboards?
Digital dashboards support visualization, which tracks KPI’s and CSF’s by compiling information from multiple sources and tailoring it to meet user needs. They are capable of providing a hot list of key performance indicators, refreshed every 15 minutes. They also provide a running line graph of planned versus actual production for the past 24 hours. They also can provide a table showing the actual versus forcased product prices and inventories. They can provide a list of outstanding alerts and their resolution status. Finally they can graph stock market process. They deliver results quickly and are getting easier to use.
What are the common decision support system analysis techniques?
The ways to analyze decision support systems are the “what if” analysis, sensitivity analysis, goal seeking analysis, and optimization analysis. The “what if” analysis is when the DDS checks the impact of a change in a variable or assumption on the model. What will happen to the supply chain strategy if there is a hurricane here and inventory is reduced? The sensitivity analysis is a special case of what if’s is the study of the impact on other variables when one variable is changed repeatedly. It is useful when users are uncertain about the assumptions made in estimating the value of certain key variables. Changing prices in small increments will then allow to see what impact price has on sales. Goal seeking analysis finds the inputs necessary to achieve a goal such as a desired level of output. It is the reverse of what if and sensitivity analysis. Instead of observing how change in a variable affect other variables, goal seeking analysis sets a target value (a goal) for a variable and then repeatedly changes other variables until the target value is achieved. For example a goal seeking analysis could determine how many customers must purchase a new product to increase gross profits to $5 million. Optimization analysis is an extension of goal seeking, here it finds the optimum value for a target variable by repeatedly changing other variables subject to specified constraints. By changing revenue and cost variables in an analysis like this it allows managers to calculate the highest potential profits.
What is the difference between the ability of a manager to retrieve information instantly on demand using an MIS and the capabilities provided by a decision support system?
The difference between the ability of a manager to retrieve information instantly on demand using an MIS and the capabilities provided by a DDS are that MIS systems obtain the data that managers require. The information for these requests is structured in advance. In DDS systems the capabilities are much broader. Managers can get information in a number of ways and these systems manage the questions that come up. DDS systems also provide capabilities for a manager to do interactive modeling in order to make informed decisions. It supports semi structured and unstructured decisions faced by individual managers.
What is artificial intelligence? What are the five types of AI systems? What applications of AI offer the greatest business value?
Artificial intelligence simulates human thinking and behavior such as the ability to reason and learn. It’s ultimate goal is to build a system that can mimic human intelligence. The 5 types of artificial intelligence are Expert systems, neural networks, genetic algorithms, intelligent agents, and virtual reality. Expert systems are computerized advisory programs that imitate the reasoning processes of experts in solving difficult problems. Typically, they include a knowledge base containing various accumulated experience and a set of rules for applying the knowledge base to each particular situation. Neural networks are also called an artificial neural network. It attempts to emulate the way the human brain works. They analyze large amounts of information to establish patterns and characteristics in situations where the logic or rules are unknown. They learn and adjust to new circumstances on thir own, lend themselves to massive parallel processing, function without complete or well structured information, cope with huge volumes of information with many dependent variables, and analyze nonlinear relationships in information (they have been called fancy regression analysis systems). Insurance companies use these neural networks to help identify fraud. Genetic algorithms are systems that mimic the evolutionary survival of the fittest process to generate increasingly better solutions to a problem. It’s an optimizing system it finds the combination of inputs that give the best outputs. These are best suited for situations where there are millions of possible solutions. For example investment companies use these to help in trading decisions. Intelligent agents are special purpose knowledge based information systems that accomplish specific tasks on behalf of it’s users. Intelligent agents usually have a graphical representation such as “Sherlock Holmes” for an information search agent. The best example of an intelligent agent is a shopping bot that goes to competitors’ websites to find pricings. Virtual reality is a computer-simulated environment that can be a simulation of the real world or an imaginary world. It was built to build more natural, realistic, multisensory human-computer interfaces. It enables tele-presence anywhere in the world where someone can do something in once place and end up doing it in another. Best example is remote access surgery. Expert systems provide the greatest value because they are programmed to find solutions that an expert would have. It is better than having an expert on hand (which is expensive) and this is available whenever it is needed.
What is a business process and what role does it play in an organization?
Business facing processes are also called back office processes, they are invisible to the external customer but essential to the effective management of the business. They include goal setting, day to day planning, giving performance feedback and rewards, and allocating resources. In business processes there is also customer facing processes or front office processes. This results in a product or service received by an organization’s external customer. They include fulfilling orders, communicating with customers, and sending out bills and marketing information.
Why do managers need to understand business processes? Can you make a correlation between systems thinking and business processes?
Managers need to understand business processes because if they are to make decisions they should really know both the customer facing processes and the business facing processes. Reason being, the decisions they make in the company will have an impact on one or both of these processes and any change could be good or bad and the options need to be weighed. The best example of a correlation is when a company is adopting new CRM software. When a company does this they are changing their business facing policy because they have new software to work with and it changes the way they gather information from a customer. It changes the customer facing processes because the goal of the software is to service the customer more effectively.
How can a manager use automation, streamlining, and business process re engineering to gain operational efficiency and effectiveness.
Business process improvement attempts to understand and measure the current process and make performance improvements accordingly, which obviously will improve operational effectiveness and efficiency. Automation is the process of computerizing manual tasks. This then makes those tasks more effective, efficient and, lowers operating costs. This improves operational effectiveness and efficiency dramatically. Streamlining improves business process efficiencies by simplifying or eliminating unnecessary steps.
Explain the difference between customer-facing processes and business-facing processes. Which one is more important to an organization?
The difference between customer facing processes and business facing processes are that customer facing processes are the processes that customers see when doing business with the company while business facing processes involve everything behind the scenes that goes into providing a good or service to a customer. One isn’t more important than the other in every instance but in some companies one may be more important than another. For example if a company provides a service for a customer there is most likely going to be a large emphasis on customer facing processes since employees will be doing something for a customer think about technical support for example. Technical support employees need to be able to interact with customers and help those customers find solutions to their problems. In a manufacturing company like an oil refinery they almost never directly interact with customers they are focused mostly on the business processes that encompass oil refining.
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