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Information Technology Essay

  1. DEFINE AND CONTRAST TECHNOLOGY, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND INFORMATION SYSTEM.

Technology is the branch of knowledge that results in the usage of technical means of and systems of life. It is often referred to as the practical application of science to our lives or certain aspects of it like the field of commerce or business etc. Information technology refers to both the hardware as well as the software of a system. These are used to store, retrieve, process and manipulate data with the help of servers that reside in an operating system – which comprise the information system. (Mario Salexandrou, n.d.).

The study, development, design, planning, and implementing this plan through the support of management of a computer based information system comes under the category of information technology. Information system refers to the creation, storage, manipulation and dissemination of knowledge. A sub section of this forms the information technology which are the systems themselves e.g. Apache server.

  1. LIST AND DEFINE THREE TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE AND/OR SKILLS CORE COMPETENCIES.

Prahlad and Harnel’s core competency model refers to the existence of three core competencies that shape the position of a business. These include:

  • Provision of access to a many markets
  • Perceived consumer benefits being high
  • Core competency such that it becomes difficult or almost impossible for competitors to imitate it. (Value based management, n.d.)

For an IT firm, the main core competencies include value to customers, technologies and intellectual properties security as well as value creation differentiated service. (1000Ventures, n.d.)

  1. DESCRIBE WHY DATABASES HAVE BECOME SO IMPORTANT TO MODERN ORGANISATIONS.

Databases are gaining immense importance these days in modern organizations. This has been primarily because of the advantage of storing copies of data in the form of backup at locations that are off site. This helps with the recovery of information when organizations go through a natural disaster of data loss. Databases hence help with the restoration of data along with the coordination activity it carries out to connect the many different servers located at various geographical distances from each other. The recovered data can then be made into a new database for use in the future by the organization. (SQL, n.d.)

  1. DESCRIBE WHY COMPANIES WOULD CHOOSE TO IMPLEMENT OPEN-SOURCE SOFTWARE OVER FULLY LICENSED SOFTWARE.

Open source software is more beneficial to companies since users of this kind of software have more freedom to use the program without having to worry about licensing and rights. The user is able to study, and modify as well as redistribute copies of such a software – either the original version of this or the modified or changed / revised version and gain royalties as well as a result. In the digitally advanced world of today it is a blessing to have free software like this type available since it can be used in commons-based peer-production approach as well, unlike its counterpart.  (Dwheeler, n.d.)

Disadvantages of licensed software like loss of control of the software (since the licensor must give away some control to the licensee by disclosing some information); and less brand recognition, recall and a poor customer contract overall (since the licensee has control, he or she can use his or her own name even and increase one’s bargaining power in the distribution network thereby. And often direct contact with customers too is lost) also make the open source software more preferable. (Utahbar, n.d.)

  1. DESCRIBE THE REASONS WHY ORGANISATIONS ARE CHOOSING TO OUT-SOURCE BUSINESS ACTIVITIES.

There are many reasons for organizations to choose out-sourcing over in-house business activities. These include:

  • Can focus on core and main activities more and better
  • Efficiency is there since cost savings can be done
  • Overhead costs for many businesses through outsourcing certain tasks and functions go down
  • Departments with poorly controlled or out of hand or rising costs can be outsources to make better use of one’s time and skills on something else
  • Seasonal and cyclical demand patterns can be better handled through bringing in more resources on a need basis therefore allowing for greater flexibility.
  • When there is high turnover of employees, there is greater risk in business functioning due to levels of high uncertainty. This can be better handled through reducing this risk via outsourcing.
  • Internal staff of the company can be worked on and given skills as per the tasks that they do. Therefore, greater customization is present. (Operations tech, n.d.)

5. LIST AND CONTRAST THREE CHALLENGES OF OPERATING IN THE DIGITAL WORLD.

In the digital world today there are many challenges present owing to factors that can often go out of hand. Firstly, chaos, inconsistency in economics of our world and turbulence can hinder performance. Secondly, the emerging science of social networks in the digital world undermine the status and impact of other media, therefore new types of business analysis become necessary.

Lastly, the presence of Web 2.0 and the semantic web call for adjustments pertaining to revolutionary changes in the way the world currently functions. The intertwining of all functions and operations via the interdependence created by these semantic technologies is something that places the biggest impact on how the digital world functions today. (Digitaltonto, 2010)

  1. WHAT ARE THE ATTRIBUTES OF A LEARNING ORGANISATION?

A learning organization tends to have the following characteristics:

  • Greater willingness and ability to adapt to environmental changes
  • Continuous improvement
  • Presence of both collective and individual learning
  • High result orientation
  • Better coping abilities with reference to unexpected changes and inconsistency in things
  • Greater flexibility and more change adaptation
  • Allowing front line employees to feel empowered and take more initiatives so as to better deliver results in accordance with customers’ needs.
  • Presence of a nurturing environment
  • Increases interaction and communication
  • Modern tools and techniques that promote creativity and efficient problem solving techniques
  • Higher motivation and more competitive skill set (Skyrme, n.d.)
  1. WHY IS SUCCESSFUL APPLICATION OF INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES AND SYSTEMS OFTEN DIFFICULT?

It is often difficult to successfully implementing innovative technologies primarily due to resistance in change management,  lack of interest in the new technology, inappropriate existence of infrastructure, very minimal support by the management, little or no empowerment, and no or little flexibility in systems as well as procedures and amongst the employees. (Docstoc, n.d.)

Also, the presence of ill-analysis resulting into redundancy of information and systems also creates an obstacle in the efficient implementation of innovative technology. Short-term approach in strategy making as well as problem solving also makes implementation difficult. (Cleland, Bidanda, and Chung, 1995)

  1. EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE INTERNET, AN INTRANET, AND AN EXTRANET, AND DESCRIBE THE COMMON BOND BETWEEN ALL THREE.

Internet refers to the World Wide Web that focuses on the physical and technical networks through the web that makes easy access to these possible through internet as a forum. (Telleen, 1998) Intranet is the internet network within an organizational entity or unit or company. Whereas, the extranet connects employees and stakeholders of again one company via an external network accessible through password protected domains. Extranets are basically collaborative Meta networks. (IORG, n.d.)

The technical infrastructure for all three remains the same however, this being a commonality between internet, intranet and the extranet. (Forums, n.d.)

  1. DESCRIBE M-COMMERCE AND EXPLAIN HOW IT IS DIFFERENT FROM REGULAR E-COMMERCE.

M-Commerce or mobile commerce refers to trade activities of buying and selling that occurs on the wireless forum of handheld devices like cell phones, smart phones, mobiles, personal digital assistants etc. M-commerce is a step ahead of e-commerce, which refers to the same buying selling and distributing of services and products over the internet. There is a difference in technologies for both as well. Where, M-commerce uses WAP or wireless application protocol, e-commerce uses the World Wide Web. Many mobile and hand held devices today come equipped with web-ready browsers that are built only for these devices to make use of m-commerce activities.

  1. WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF WEB-BASED COLLABORATION TOOLS?

Collaboration tools are used in project management and are of two types – web collaboration tools and client based collaboration tools. The advantages of web collaboration tools include greater flexibility and convenience in managing project teams that are virtual and temporal in nature.

These help with having cost and time savings, increasing efficiencies and getting work done as per need and status. There is no need for physical meetings and hence instantaneous results can be achieved as well. Disadvantages of these tools however include high dependence on the internet facility and speed of this; issues with browsers; recurrent payments; probability of loss of data, and risk of data theft even. (Task management soft, n.d.)

WHAT IS TAGGING, AND HOW ARE ORGANISATIONS USING IT IN THEIR WEBSITES?

Tagging refers to Web 2.0 efforts that make use of third party data collection and pre-determined site searches in response of new searches based on one’s personal history with the engine or web-site. There is hence a lot of delivery of instant customized results and preferences as per the tagging done on these websites. Advantages of tagging are what influence organizations to adopt these via the Web 2.0 innovation.

There are cached pages stored and counting activities carried out automatically by the company that are the result of tagging. Server-log analysis is present as per the tag which companies do through writing these codes in JavaScript and usage of Flash. Additional information is used in the tag and his is collected by companies through log file analysis collected by the server of the website for the company. Page tagging manages cookies for the site and now it is a prominent part of web analytics.

  1. EXPLAIN THE PURPOSE OF A MODEL WITHIN A DECISION SUPPORT SYSTEM.

Decision support system is a way through which data is modelled in a way that decisions can be based on the information such a system carries so to add quality to the analysis. The main purpose hence is to use the human component of strategic and analytical thinking through the facilitation of a decision support system. Large amounts of data are fed into this system which helps sift through all this information to make it into a meaningful knowledge base on which decisions can be based. Integration of such a system into one’s business functions has competitive advantages since sound decisions can be based to construct strategies in future.

  1. WHAT IS A KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM, AND WHAT TECHNOLOGIES MAKE UP A COMPREHENSIVE SYSTEM?

Knowledge management systems are systems that make use knowledge as an “intellectual asset” highlighting unique sources and functions critical to the business. Protection of this is done through these systems resulting into seeking of new opportunities, enhancing the quality of decision making and adding intelligence and value as well as flexibility to the business functions. Through these systems quality management and business process re-engineering as well as organizational learning can also be done. (KM, n.d.)

Nonaka’s model highlights the organizational knowledge creation framework with respect to this. Explicit knowledge related technologies are what is used by these systems and rarely is tacit technologies used in the process of knowledge management.  (Marwick, 2001).

  1. HOW DOES CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT DIFFER FROM SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT?

Customer relationship management or CRM refers to a company managing its relationships with customers in a very organized manner via building a database of these customers and then detailing about their profiles so as to better deliver results (which is directly done by sales persons, brand activation teams etc.) Matching of customer needs is done more efficiently and offerings done in a customized way the way each customer would want it thereby capitalizing on these relationships to gain high customer service. (CRM, n.d.)

Supply chain management or SCM is very different from CRM since it refers to the oversight of all raw materials, work in progress items, information, finances etc. To flow smoothly through a process and channel from the supplier to the end consumer. Inventory is better managed and costs reduced through effective SCM activities while monitoring product, information and finances flow. (Tech Target, n.d.)

  1. WHAT ARE THE FOUR OPTIONS FOR SYSTEM CONVERSION, AND HOW DO THEY DIFFER FROM EACH OTHER?

The four options include: “Direct”, “Parallel”, “Phased”, and “Pilot”. Direct conversion is the immediate or instant conversion to the new system without care about loss of data or information. The disadvantage here is that if the new system fails to function then there is no backup at all. Parallel conversion is different from the rest since it involves the working of both types – new and old systems simultaneously as operations are slowly fed into the new system while the old system works. Data is safeguarded from loss henceforth till the new system is not completely ready.

Phased conversion involves gradual implementation via phases of the new system. All operations are in stages tested first on the new system after which the old one is completely done away with. Lastly, pilot conversion is the trying out of the new system in a small part of the organization only so as to allow for sufficient room for backup. This is very similar to the prototyping of models that is done by companies before implementing or bringing out of the entire thing.

  1. WHAT IS AN INFORMATION SYSTEM SECURITY PLAN, AND WHAT ARE THE FIVE STEPS FOR DEVELOPING SUCH A PLAN?

Information system security plan refers to the ensuring of the development, documentation and presentation of security options for an information system while also allowing for training activities to better able to implement this plan. The security plan does five things in it. It informs the user about how sensitive information needs to be handled. Secondly, it tells how to properly maintain an identity with a password protected interface.

Thirdly, appropriate responses to potential threats and intrusions are highlighted so as to use intrusion detection etc. Fourthly, it tells how workstations and internet can be used in a secure manner. And lastly, it informs the user how to properly use the corporate e-mail system. (Windowsecurity, n.d.)

  1. DESCRIBE RISK ANALYSIS AS IT RELATES TO INFORMATION SYSTEMS SECURITY AND EXPLAIN THREE WAYS TO APPROACH SYSTEMS SECURITY RISK.

Information systems security refers to having a proper policy in place that allows for security controls necessary to protect one’s information inside the system from breach, intrusion and theft. Security with confidentiality is hence the main purpose behind this as to respect the integrity of the information that is held by these systems. Through this, it is ensured that all information created and used is secured, all facilities are not being exploited, correct login details are being used with password protected interfaces supported by information systems etc.

Systems security risk can be approached by establishing policies for accessing that information, filtering sensitive content through messages sent and received through the electronic platform and controlling the risk of exposure associated with the database. Apart from these three primary approaches, security training should be given; awareness increased so to facilitate these approaches. (Foster, 2008)

  1. COMPARE AND CONTRAST INFORMATION ACCURACY, INFORMATION PRIVACY AND INFORMATION PROPERTY.

Information accuracy refers to the submission of true information that is not misleading in any way and hence is correct in nature. Raw data is a valuable thing to have and it should be ensured that there is high respect given to this information so as to not let others intrude into it and use our personal information for their own means. Information privacy hence is the protection of this data from outside, illegal and unauthorized access of these third parties. (Media-Awareness, n.d.)

Information property on the other hand is intellectual property that refers to the creation of the mind through inventions, creativity, literary works, arts, symbols, names, codes, images, designs as well as colours etc which are used in the field of commerce then. (WIPO, n.d.)

  1. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE DIGITAL DIVIDE AND COMPUTER LITERACY?

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Digital divide refers to the economic gap between countries, communities and societies with reference to accessibility of technology, the internet and information systems like computers. The ability to use such systems too creates a divide when one party possesses the former while the other does not. A divide in literacy of computer means low promotion of computer education and this is the basis for the digital divide basically. Computer literacy borrows from general literacy which when is not there about technologies, internet, and interaction between each other on virtual platforms, it is said that the digital divide occurs since many programs and information systems are absent in such communities. (Charity, n.d.)

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Mario Salexandrou (n.d.) Information technology. [Internet] Available from http://www.mariosalexandrou.com/definition/information-technology.asp [Accessed May 16th, 2010]

SQL (n.d.) Importance of database backups and recovery plan. [Internet] Available from http://www.sql-server-performance.com/articles/dba/Importance_of_Database_Backups_and_Recovery_Plan_p1.aspx [Accessed May 16th, 2010]

Foster, B. (2008) New Ways to Approach Security in a Web 2.0 World. [Internet] Available from http://www.csoonline.com/article/447763/New_Ways_to_Approach_Security_in_a_Web_2.0_World [Accessed May 16th, 2010]

WIPO (n.d.) information. [Internet] Available from http://www.wipo.int/about-ip/en/ [Accessed May 16th, 2010]

Charity (n.d.) Digital Divide. [Internet] Available from http://charity.lifetips.com/cat/61492/digital-divide/index.html [Accessed May 16th, 2010]

Media-Awareness (n.d.) Privacy [Internet] Available from http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/privacy/ [Accessed May 16th 2010]

Betts (n.d.) Moodle [Internet] Available from http://bettscomputers.com/moodle/course/view.php?id=6 [Accessed May 16th, 2010]
CRM (n.d.) CRM [Internet] Available from http://searchcrm.techtarget.com/definition/CRM [Accessed May 16th, 2010]

Tech Target (n.d.) Definition. [Internet] Available from http://searchmanufacturingerp.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid193_gci214546,00.html [Accessed May 16th, 2010]

KM (n.d.) What is. [Internet] Available from http://www.km-forum.org/what_is.htm [Accessed May 16th, 2010]

Task management soft (n.d.) Project management collaboration tools. [Internet] Available from http://www.taskmanagementsoft.com/solutions/articles/project-management-collaboration-tools.php [Accessed May 16th, 2010]

1000Ventures (n.d.) Core Competencies. [Internet] Available from http://www.1000ventures.com/business_guide/crosscuttings/core_competencies.html [Accessed May 16th, 2010]

Value based management (n.d.) Core competence. [Internet] Available from http://www.valuebasedmanagement.net/methods_corecompetence.html [Accessed May 16th, 2010]

Dwheeler (n.d.) OSS / FS [Internet] Available from http://www.dwheeler.com/oss_fs_why.html [Accessed May 16th, 2010]

Utahbar (n.d.) Introduction to software licensing. [Internet] Available from http://www.utahbar.org/sites/midyear/html/introduction_to_software_licen.html [Accessed May 16th, 2010]

Operations Tech (n.d.) Outsourcing Advantages. [Internet] Available from http://operationstech.about.com/od/officestaffingandmanagem/a/OutSrcAdvantg.htm [Accessed May 16th, 2010]
Digialtonto (2010) Crucial business challenges that are shaping the future of business. [Internet] Available from http://www.digitaltonto.com/2010/3-crucial-business-challenges-that-are-shaping-the-future-of-business/ [Accessed May 16th, 2010]

Skyrme (n.d.) Learning organization [Internet] Available from http://www.skyrme.com/insights/3lrnorg.htm [Accessed May 16th, 2010

Dosctoc (n.d.) Successful systems implementation. [Internet] Available from http://www.docstoc.com/docs/10292706/Successful-Systems-Implementation/

IORG (n.d.) Advisor [Internet] Available from http://www.iorg.com/papers/iw/19981019-advisor.html [Accessed May 16th, 2010]

Forums (n.d.) Networking security [Internet] Available from http://forums.techarena.in/networking-security/1133880.htm [Accessed May 16th, 2010]

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