Information is a very significant resource in any organization and business. It enables businesses such as industry, education, travel and communication to overcome the challenges and difficulties that they face and it holds the business structure. Every organization does collect and distribute information. This information plays a key role in ensuring sustainable development of the business. Consultations aimed at improving capacities for business organizations will help the decision makers, the public and professional to access and use the information which will be essential for achieving sustainable organizational business growth. It will also help the business to understand the role of information, opportunities to meet the organizational and its business needs. This paper will examine the importance of information to a business; explain the available opportunities and the application of technology to meet organizational information and business needs. We will also examine the implications of information systems and how they affect people and the whole business management.
Management Dimensions of Information
Any organization that has a good information and knowledge management will most definitely be successful especially in this digital age. It will be of an advantage for that kind of business to adapt to the technology that will aid in its information and knowledge management so that the business will be able to effectively compete with its competitors and ensure that they are not behind their competitors. Information technology is virtually found in every part of the business, tools for managing information and knowledge in the business will be of importance to run the business with ease. The power of information management is dependent on ability of an organization to collect, organize process and maintain the required information about the business environment, the various operations of the business and about the organization’s clients. This enables the organization to conduct its activities effectively so as to ensure customer satisfaction with the organization products.
The information society is characterized by the high levels of the information density in people’s daily life by the use of compatible technology for a wide range of business activities. Also, the ability to receive and transmit data characterizes the information society and this data is effectively transmitted and received irrespective of the distance of separation between the two parties (receiver and transmitter).The data is then analyzed to get valuable business intelligence, this will help to get valuable reports on the financial performance of the business, plan for its future, and have a forecast for the business. These technological advances that have been achieved in the last few decades have brought a new kind of revolution in the business world, affecting nearly all kinds of businesses. Information can be transferred in a matter of seconds anywhere in the world. Employees no longer need to be physically present with their clients or fellow workmates but can effectively work from anywhere. These new technologies are able to improving every aspect of business, for any company to be afloat nowadays, and then they need to keep pace with increased speed and complexity of information technology in business.
An effective approach towards achieving the necessary collection of information and decision rights will depend on the costs of information transmission and processing of such information or the organizational redesign of solution of moving the decision rights. Through these information resources, there’s a midst of transformation of the organizational work. Many industries which used to have mass production of vertically integrated hierarchically organized firms are now giving way to more flexible forms of internal organization and industrial structure. Work is now being accomplished by smaller and more focused enterprises. A point in case is in the computer industry, the industry was dominated by large and vertically integrated firms which created products and services throughout the value chain, but now this is replaced by a series of layers which is a separate industry.
The challenges that mighty face the information management in an organization include legality whereby the organization fails to manage its information as required by the set ethical standards, accessibility whereby the organization is not able to access the right information, value challenges whereby this information management cannot assist the organization to achieve its set objectives and security challenges especially in the case where the information is not well properly protected from threats.
To ensure proper management of information in any organization, regular auditing of the information should be carried out. This involves an examination of the information resources and how it is utilized. It is done by referring to the involved people or stake holders and checking the existing files in order to determine the degree to which the information management contributes to the overall organization’s success.
This auditing is important in determining how the information flows in an organization. It also determines the technology used and the cost effectiveness in terms of its effects, quality and contribution to meeting the target of an organization.
The client information is necessary in an organization. The interaction between the customers and the organization needs a long term commitment, constant development and monitoring. This is important as it is a significant revenue source and it enhances proper market penetration to the organization since it gives correct business environment knowledge.
Information and Competitive Advantage
The competitive advantage is located for the organization in the resources that includes skill base for the employees, the intellectual properties and systems of businesses. In order to achieve the organization goals in the future, the information available should be measured in order to realize success because when driven by correct information, an organization can be able to outdo its market competitors. Good information management enables this organization to innovate and create new products which is an advantage over other organizations. The right management of the organization’s enterprise knowledge leads to creation of intellectual capital and value of the stakeholders unlike to the competitors.
IS and IT Strategies
To enhance success, the organization should make use if IS/IT strategies. IS strategy defines the demand of the business for information to support the overall organization strategy while the IT strategy is concerned with the outlining of the organization’s vision on how the requirement of information and systems will be affected by the available technology. These two strategies are related in a manner that they have effects on other strategies in an organization. The effective application and implementation of IS/IT strategies enables an organization to get a competitive advantage, improve the overall performance, facilitate new organizational management methods. It also assists in the formation of strategic alliances and facilitates business innovations.
Changing Role of Information Technology
Most organizations are now recognizing that information is a key resource of the organization. In fact information can be comparable to capital or human resources in the organization. Some experts argue that just as labor was crucial in the agricultural age, and as capital was critical in the industrial age, information is also crucial in the post industrial age. It is believed that the ways in which an organization is able to manage its information will increasingly determine its survival and its growth in the future.
There are dimensions on which the role of information technology is changing in an organization. Information technology is shifting from the perceived support administrative function to the mainstream and strategic function. Unlike other support functions like training, personnel or travel, information technology is considered more important in the income generation of revenues. This is so true especially in those organizations where just in time operations are highly critical like in the banking industry, retailing and emergency service sectors.
This can be well illustrated by a survey of companies; it revealed that the top 10 companies in diverse industries were those that had put high technology to work. These companies the survey revealed that they had elevated the role of information technology from administrative support function to a strategic operations integrated function.
An example of a firm where information technology has seen an organization out do its competitors can be illustrated by that of Easy Jet, a low cost airline founded by Haji-loannou. Easy jet ensures very high efficiency in its operation. This is a good strategy because it enables the firm to reduce its operation costs. The firm makes use of the internet for ticketing where the tickets are sold through its website. This is a good information management strategy because it reduces the firm’s costs as no agents are involved in the ticketing process and other operations.
The second example is Citicorp which out did American express in the use of information technology. It spends $900 million annually on computer hardware, software and research and development, this was nearly twice its nearest competitor, the Bank of America. Thirdly, Wal-Mart stores computerize their inventory control systems electronically; orders merchandise from suppliers and maintain order in their warehouses and its distribution from the stores receiving dock to the shelves. The retailer is now using Wal-Mart Satellite Network (WSN) which is a multimillion project to join its 1,200 stores in a satellite communication network. This has resulted to information technology receiving top management attention some who have seen the importance have led the way for making the use of information technology.
Although information technology is an important part of running any business, it has got its drawbacks and they include; the training cost. Companies that are installing new technology have to bear the cost of installation as well as that of training workers to use the new technology. Another limitation is the upfront cost. New technologies will most definitely involve high upfront costs technology requires large initial investments before the technology can assist in the production. Another limitation is that technology causes unemployment. One or few workers can produce the same amount of work that can be produced by several people without technology. Thus it leads to layoffs and making some jobs redundant.
The use of well managed information is increasingly regarded as a strategic resource for any organization and thus gaining top management recognition. For instance, the success of the organization lies in familiarizing itself with various techniques and methodologies of information. The top information managers should get involved in the strategic planning process of their organizations and they should be aware that the required information management resources are available today due to increased advancements in technology and research.
The organization’s management is required to be consistent in maintaining the formats of information so as to realize a sustainable success.
The importance of information technology can be attributed to four forces; increased competition, globalization of the business industries, organizational changes and the fact that information technology has become more affordable improved their performance in the recent years.