(1) How could information systems be used to support the order fulfillment process illustrated in Figure 2.1? What are the most important pieces of information these systems should capture? Explain your answer.
1. Compared with generating order, the order fulfillment is much more complicated, because the whole complete process requires each major step of coordination and consistency. In addition, excellent information systems can ensure efficient operations of all steps of the order fulfillment process. With an example of Figure 2.1, information systems connect three major parts: sales, accounting, and manufacturing & production, and keep all steps of each part can be operated well at the same time. Information systems can also transmit information and result to firms，which can accelerate firms’ decisions with business partners and customers.
2. It’s critical to catch the important pieces of information from different systems, because there is no single system can provide all the information an organization needs. There are four major functional systems can support firms’ management, are below:
(a) Transaction processing systems: The abbreviation is TPS, which provide operational managers the tracking information of track sales, receipt notes, security deposits, pay bills, credit decisions, and the material flows in a company. On the other hand, TPS also performs and records the daily necessary business development steps, such as: order processing, hotel bookings, staff record keeping, and shipping.
(b) Management information systems：The abbreviation is MIS, which is a kind of systems for business intelligence. MIS summarize and report on the organization’s essential performance by using data from TPS, and then provide
the report of the organization’s current performance to middle managers. As a result, managers can use information to monitor, control and predict the business.
(c) Decision-support systems: The abbreviation is DSS, which is another kind of systems for business intelligence, which assist more non-routine decision-making. DSS pay attention to problems, which are characteristic and rapidly changing. DSS not only use internal information from TPS and MIS, but also gather data from external sources, such as: present share prices.
(d) Executive support systems: The abbreviation is ESS, which is also a kind of systems for business intelligence. Major functionts of ESS are to combine information from external sources (such as: new laws), and also to draw summarized data form internal MIS and TPS. DSS show senior managers analytical information in graphs, charts and portals.
(2) Identify the steps that are performed in the process of selecting and checking out a book from your college library and the information that flows among these activities. Diagram the process. Are there any ways this process could be improved to improve the performance of your library or your school? Diagram the improved process.
(3) Use the Time/Space Collaboration and Social Tool Matrix to classify the collaboration and social technologies used by TELUS.
TELUS is one of Canada’s famous telecommunication companies, and the headquarters is located in Vancouver, British Columbia. TELUS has branches in different cities.
According to the Time/Space Collaboration and Social Tool Matrix, present TELUS should have all four kinds of circumstance, because company’s HQ and branches are located in different cities and business happens everywhere. Moreover, issue sometimes can’t be solved immediately.
(a) Same time with same place: The circumstance means business collaboration happens within HQ or branch, and issue can be solved in short time. In this situation, the best social technology is face-to-face communication. Staff can use meeting room or working table to discuss issue and finish task.
(b) Different time with different place: The circumstance means issue and collaboration happens in a same office location, but some issues can’t be solved immediately. The situation happens a lot in continuous task. The key of collaboration is to mark progress. E-mail, bulletin board or notepapers are all good social technologies to mind people process.
(c) Same time with different place: The circumstance means collaboration occurs between HQ and branch, or among different offices, and issues can be solved in short time. Some great social technologies (such as: Skype meeting, instant message, shared screens) help staff to finish cooperation. Timeliness is the key to solve issues.
(d) Different time with different place: I think this situation should be the most difficult one, because you need to cover the barriers of time and space. In this situation, both communication and coordination are keys for collaboration. The best social technologies are e-mails, bulletin board, blogs, meeting recording, version control, etc. Actually, I think staff can use all the social technologies they can think to ensure excellent firm performance.
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