Information System

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Information System

Information System

The importance of information and systems for management are widely accepted (Jessup, 2006:14). Applications such as finance, payroll, customer relationship management (CRM), and inventory management support operations and strategy. Within any organisation the IS infrastructure may comprise many different functional elements and associated software applications.

Information systems need to support core business functions and to ensure that the overall infrastructure is integrated. Integration provides accurate, timely information across the organisation. One route to integration is through Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, which arose from earlier developments of Materials Resource Planning (MRP) systems (Langenwalter, 2009:49). These systems evolved from linking stores and production departments (sales, design, manifacturing) to their current manifestation that include modules for sales, finance, human resources, quality and project management. Enterprise-wide implementations are generally provided by a single vendor and utilise a common database architecture, simplifying integration and data exchange. The systems typically require major process realignment, significant investment in hardware and systems architecture, and training.

Here, an IS is a system that manages corporate information within or across a department, an entire organisation or for a specific function. The classification of IS functionality was referenced to identify functionality and to functional elements. In order to explore departmental and organisational dimensions the audit considered individual departments (business areas) and the central information technology (IT) function. The second auditing activity considered all software applications, their purpose or function and software licences. This activity was undertaken for each department (sales, design, manifacturing) and considered all hardware. These activities identify the functional elements of the IS infrastructure and examine IS infrastructure expenditure.

The approach establishes and audits software applications and elaborates their functions. These functions are not supported by, or limited to, a particular software application or suite. However, particular functions are frequently supported by a single dedicated software system.

Establishing the principal functional elements of the IS infrastructure is key to understanding information handling elements within the Bright Light Limited. It also provides the basis for comparing the typical suite of IS applications with an empirical model representing the current infrastructure.

The difficulty in distinguishing functional elements of the IS infrastructure can be attributed, in part, to the nature of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) systems. Often systems implemented to deal with particular functions are capable of dealing with related ones, such as those associated with production and planning. As a consequence, organisations and users frequently classify a particular software application and its entire functional capability as a single element of the infrastructure.

In the case of planning or production, two thirds of the organisations, where two functional elements can be identified, use only a single computer-based system to perform both. The inability to determine which systems support which functional elements can significantly frustrate the capacity to plan and develop the IS infrastructure. For example, it is more difficult to specify the requirements for new systems and assess the capabilities of potential solutions to meet these.

In addition to problems of distinguishing between elements of production and planning, there is overlap between the functions ...
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