Information Technology in an Organization

Had gone were the days when every activity of an organization was of the conventional type of customized computer group. Today’s organization seldom survives without the association of IT. Because the main applications such as Personnel Management System, Inventory Management, General Administration, Finance matters, Production, Sales, Distribution, Marketing, Services, Customer Interaction, Human Resource Management, Recruitment, Training, etc. are fully dependent on modern IT systems. Organizations depend upon their functioning, size, requirements adopt different kinds of Information systems management.

Large Organizations move towards Enterprises Resource Planning (ERP) whereas small ones maintain department-wise information systems and own customized computer systems that may not have any link among each other. ERP is an integrated software system that can handle all functions of the organization as alone. Modern information and communication technology(ICT) has developed the latest innovations and new kinds of organizational structures to face any challenges.

Among them, the latest form of business organization is the Virtual Organization(VO). “The term VO was first introduced by Davidow and Malone in 1992, who referred to the VO as a broad vision of the future which included any new form of organization based on ICT” (Source: The Role of ICT in VOs).

Once the main functions of an organization are decided, the next step is to use the connectivity methods of the systems. There are two methods of connectivity. Open Systems and Closed Systems. Open Systems is a standard protocol that allows connecting any device, which is compatible with the standard. For example, popular protocols like HTTP and HTML are always compatible and can be connected with Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer. The following figure shows how easily one can add the new devices without hindering the original system.

“Closed” and “Proprietary” are used interchangeably throughout this section to mean that characteristics of the system are hidden by the vendor from public domain.”

Being more reliable and comparatively cheap, a closed system is basically easier to design and implement for specific applications and technologies.

Along with the planning about connectivity, it is also to be ensured that what type of systems are required for smooth functioning of the organization. Functional-based systems are to be installed so that no difficulty will be faced in a later stage which may cause time and money loss. The systems involve the latest servers which may be a mail server, database server, application server, firewall server, anti-virus server, and all.

Normal PCs can be acquired as per the number of users. While procuring PCs it is to decide whether the monitor is used for graphic designing or general works. If the system is to be used for graphic designing, then the visual display unit(VDU) is the right choice. Otherwise, go for a TFT monitor. Accordingly, the storage devices, mostly CDs, input devices are to be procured. After having decided about the connectivity and systems, the next step is to get a suitable operating system that fulfills all the requirements of the organization. Network Operating systems(OS) in many types are available in the market.

Apart from the paid OS, one can also go for open sources technologies like LINIX. Unix systems may be more reliable and secured in the OS. Considering the application software, many types are seen in the market as per the needs of client organizations. Organizations can procure the application software for word processing, graphic designing, database management, etc. Those come under the categories of general-purpose, integrated (for example, SAP), and bespoke.

In case the organization possesses multinational status, it can have a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for information interchange. It is more reliable and fast than electronic data interchange(EDI). As per the requirements, the Local area network within the organization can be designed for the internal functioning of the organization. If necessary thin clients can also be used for saving extra expenses and space.

Another significant process of developing an information system is to plan to design an integrated software for the organization. For that first, the top management may discuss with the IT manager and convince him about the major and minor functions are to be carried out by the organization, whether they are financial matters, purchase, and procurement of items, HR management, sales, and marketing processes.

After having gone through with all of the above, the organization must give due consideration for the security of available resources. Formulation of a security policy (for example email policy) is inevitable for protecting the information system from any theft or intrusion from the hackers or any other illegal hands. In case of any intrusion or any information theft necessary legal action can be ensured pursuant to the existing laws like the Data Protection Act 1998, Computer Misuse Act 1990, Environmental Information Regulations 2004.