Individual Assignment 1 1

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a) There is a growing movement within business and the public sector to treat information as a key shared asset in the same way as property or finance. Assess how information management can be used to increase an organization`s efficiency and competitiveness. Since the beginning of trade and commerce, entities have tried to improve their position within the market through information management. Even during the days of batter trading to ensure that what one received was equal in value to what one gave was through effective information management. Information management (IM) has been defined as the means by which an organisation efficiently collects, organizes, uses, controls disseminates and disposes of its information (O’Brien, 2003). The more sophisticated and seamless the organization’s information management the more effective it is, this also in turn could result in an increase in its competitive advantage. Organizational effectiveness has been described as its ability to perform functions with optimal levels of input and output (Gish).1 In essence if the organization inputs little and translates that into affordable products or services that are in high demand, its IM is highly effective. This assignment will assess how IM can be used to increase the chances of the outcome just highlighted. It will illustrate how the use of appropriate information systems (IS)2 at various levels within an organization can be used to achieve effectiveness thereby increasing the competitive advantage. It will also look at the pitfalls of IS implementation and poor IM and how these can have an adverse effect on profits and ability to generate those profits. As stated earlier IM has been a significant tool in trading and commerce since the beginning of time. However what sets an organization apart is its ability to change data into information as efficiently and cost effectively as possible. Before we tackle this issue, defining data and information is important for the sake of understanding the context they will be used. Data is defined by O’Brien (2003) as raw material resources that are processed into finished information products. Information is data that has been converted into meaningful and useful context for specific end users (O’Brien, 2003). Hence, it is safe to say that data becomes information when value is added to it either through organizing, analysis and evaluation and placed in the correct context for the end user. If this statement is true then we can deduce that the better the organization is at completing the above process, then the more effective it is, and if it can streamline this process enough to provide the end user with a service or product that they are willing to pay for, it will have increased its competitiveness (Gabor, 2008). For instance, a car manufacturer that assembles luxury cars wants to increase the effectiveness of their organizational system. They would start by looking at each component of the organization highlighting areas in which they can improve on quality, control and cost. In manufacturing they might want to introduce an Operating Support System (OSS) which is specific about the requirements at the plant to complete assembly of a car. The data inputted into the system requires that the inputter be specific about supplies, number of hours worked, number of people required to work on a particular car or day etc. The system will process and store the data for the next user, in a form that they will understand. Here the organization may look at the improvement of its networking system as access of the information is made easier and faster with the use of the intranet (O’Brien, 2003). Other elements that will add value to this process, thereby giving context to the next user is the compilation of relatable data such as energy usage, space required, reputable suppliers, financing and human resources. These might be inputted by other systems within the organization such as...
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