Analysis of The Application of IT in Business (Term Paper Sample)
answers to the below questions.
Define and explain the following terminologies:
Business intelligence (BI);
Management information systems;
MIS and DSS;
Data and text mining;
Question 2 [1 mark]:
Suggest a list of information technology (IT) Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and outline the advantages and disadvantages associated with IT KPI.
Question 3 [1 mark]:
What is SaaS and outline its benefit and disadvantages. Explain your answer.
Question 4 [5 marks]:
Study "Business Continuity with Virtualization" in your text book [Chapter 2, IT at Work 2.3] and answer the following questions:
What business risks had Liberty Wines faced?.
How does Liberty Wines’ IT infrastructure impact its competitive advantage?
How did server virtualisation benefit Liberty Wines and the environment?
Question 5 [5 marks]:
Study "CASE 2 BUSINESS CASE: Financial Intelligence Fights Fraud" in your text book [Chapter 3] and answer the following questions:
What data and IT problems were limiting FinCEN’s ability to fight financial crime?
Describe the IT upgrades and capabilities needed by FinCEN in order to achieve its mission.
On what does financial intelligence depend?
Why is the ability to identify patterns and relationships critical to national security?
Research recent financial crimes that FinCEN has detected and disrupted. Explain the role of data analytics in crime detection.
Application of IT in Business
Business intelligence (BI) - It is a technology-driven process that enables access to and analysis of information to enhance decision making and performance. The information helps, among other users, the business managers, and corporate executives to make informed decisions.
IT Agility-Agility in the context of business refers to the measure of how quick a business will adapt to opportunities or threat. Hence, IT agility is the degree of how efficiently the IT infrastructure of an organization can respond to external market stimuli-either through the creation of opportunity or conforming to change.
SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threats) analysis refers to the procedures undertaken by an organization to examine its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that it may face. According to Meredith (2015) ,it ensures a focus on the organizations strengths, minimization of risks and utilization of available opportunities.
Strategic planning is the process carried out by an organization in defining its strategy, or goals and channeling the necessary resources towards the pursuit of this strategy. It may include the control mechanism that oversees the implementation of the policy.
Enterprise architecture (EA) refers to the blueprint that defines the structure and operation of business. An EA guides a business in achieving its current and future goals by responding to disruptive forces through identification, analysis, and execution of change towards desired business vision and outcomes.
Management information systems (MIS)-They are computerized information systems that involve the study of technology, its users and efficient means of how technology can improve the performance of an organization.
Cloud infrastructure refers to the hardware and software components, for example, the servers, storage and virtualization software, necessary for supporting the delivery and access of virtualized resources. These resources (virtual machines, memory, network switches, load balancers, firewalls and so on) are hosted by a service provider and delivered to the user over a network or the internet. Part of the infrastructure is an abstraction layer that makes the resources virtual and presents them logically to the end users through API-enabled graphic interface or command line as explained by Hackman and Wageman (2015).
Data and text mining- It refers the process of devising patterns and trends, for example, by statistical pattern learning, to derive high-quality information from the text in the natural language format. Text analytics refers the application of text and data mining techniques to solve business problems. According to Donaldson(2014) ,fundamental business insights can be derived from emails, word documents and postings in social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Database management system (DMS) -It refers to system software that handles creation, storage, retrieval and updating of data in a computer system.
Big data refers to large and complex data sets that may be analyzed by a computer system to reveal trends or patterns, especially those relating to human interaction and behavior. Handling big data has seen requires advanced means of capture, storage, analysis, search, virtualization and information privacy techniques.
ITKPI refers to the use of IT infrastructure and techniques to achieve a measurable value that shows how effectively an enterprise is achieving its business objectives. According to Bratton(2102) , an Organization can apply ITKPI to evaluate its success at reaching targets. Some examples of ITKPI are:
* Mean Time To Repair which refers to the average time required to restore an application, network or system after a failure has been reported
* Average Handle Time which is the average time in seconds needed to handle a single call, including the after call work required.
* Calls offered which refers to the total number of calls received by a call center over a period of time of time, including those calls never answered by a representative.
* IT Expense as a Percentage of Total Expense which refers to the ratio of total expense incurred by the IT Department to the total, company-wide operational cost over a given period. It is presented as a percentile.
* First contact resolution rate which refers to an average number of calls resolved on the first contact (they do not need a transfer) to the total number of calls received over the same period, expressed as a percentage.
Advantages of ITKPI.
Identifying success indicators helps an organization to establish certain performance targets, for instance, by extracting accurate information from the sales and marketing teams which assist in making informed decisions. In platforms that allow team members to share KPI dashboards and reports in a real-time manner, collaboration, and hence better decision making are fostered according to Meredith (2015). In the long run, business is bound to make better projections that ensure optimum revenue growth.
The nature of specificity of the performance indicators may lay emphasis to a few facets of business while omitting the rest. Moreover, the use of certain matrices if indication frequently may lead to over-reliance, while omitting those models considered as less important. Also, since the models used breaks down complex financial realities to simple, easy to compare records and data, extreme data points may be omitted. Over an extended period, the records may contribute to making an inaccurate decision.
Software as a service (SaaS) is the modern and alternative software distribution model in which the applications or software are made available to the users over the internet(Meredith, 2015).As opposed to traditional acquisition and loading of software to a device, SaaS is subscription based, that is, the cloud-hosted software is directly loaded into the machine through the internet.
Some of its benefits are:
* The Costs or effort associated with upgrading and getting new releases are lower when compares to traditional models that require the user to buy and install an upgrade package
* Unlike traditional means of s/w deployment, SaaS Saves on the time spent in acquiring, installation and configuration of software since Saas software are usually ready for use.
* It is a less expensive model since the distribution in shared environments ensures a reduction software licensing costs.
* Offers better scalability and integration to software
Some of the limitations of SaaS are:
* Applying SaaS techniques implies that sensitive data has to be stored online on third party servers which compromise the security and confidentiality of data.
* There is an inherent risk of losing valuable data in case a SaaS provider goes out of business
* Its practical use depends on a high-speed internet connection, a factor that might lock out some business from its use.
* Several applications/software are yet to develop SaaS versions. Also, SaaS versions may not be as powerful as non-SaaS applications.
The IT infrastructure and the speed of servers at Liberty wines had a direct impact the organizations productivity. The IT systems were slow and required constant maintenance. In particular, the two IT employees at the company were strained at maintaining all the IT Systems. With increasing customer traffic, the servers could not handle the expanded data capacity thus directly interfering with business procedures, for example, order processing, and inventory management according to Naylor (2014). The inefficiency had a potential of reducing customers. Server virtualization helped Liberty wines to improve customer service and inventory management. With ten virtual servers in place of four physical servers, the improved app speeds translated to quicker response to customer queries. The systems stability and data security was also improved which enabled deployment of new software in a controlled environment as well as minimizing data loss .Virtual servers also had a number of financial benefits. First, operation costs were reduced owing to the few hardware replacements and low power consumption. Second, significant physical space was saved since less physical machines were required, and lastly it costs less to add a new virtual server, Liberty Wines could now easily add a backup server and keep its data protected. Virtualization ensured the IT department was more agile in terms of responding to market changes. Timely upgrades and updates at the highly scalable networks would allow the organization to adapt easily to the ever ch
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