AVCE ICT – Unit 2.
ICT Serving Organisations.
Management Information Systems
Information Systems versus Data Processing Systems…
Data on items sold is collected by the data processing system and stored within a
computerised system (e.g., a database);
An operational information system then reads this data and produces a list of items that
require some form of action to be taken (e.g., re-ordering);
A management information system may analyse the sales data to highlight sales trends
and use this information to plan a new marketing campaign, adjust price levels or plan an
increase or reduction in production facilities.
The Role of a Management Information System
To support management in routine functions and decision-making.
The 5 classical functions of managers are:
Management information systems must be designed to support managers in as many of these
functions as possible, at different levels (operational, tactical, strategic) of an organisation.
Figure 1: Illustrates the basic
functions of a generalised
Capture Reports Management Information System;
how information is gathered,
processed, stored and accessed by
authorised personnel in order to
External Data Internal Data present information in different
Storage Query Responses
formats (e.g., reports).
Provision of Access
Decision-Making Supported by the MIS…
The four stages of management decision- How each stage can be supported by the
Recognition that there is a problem Timely, accurate reports can highlight
problems within the organisation.
Consideration of possible solutions What-if scenarios can be run to provide best
Choosing a solution Solutions can be decided upon based on the
results of financial and logistical analysis.
Implementing the solution Trends can be monitored as a solution is
implemented to make sure all goes according
The form of the decision can then be… Which can be supported by the MIS as
Structured (i.e. repetitive, routine, definite The decisions themselves can be built-in to
procedures) processing systems which feed their results
back to the MIS to be monitored and/or
Unstructured (i.e. require judgement, insight, Given all of the available information –
evaluation) provided by the MIS – a manager may make a
decision based on their evaluation of the
current state of the organisation.
Typical Functions of a Management Information System…
A comprehensive database holding all the information about products, customers,
suppliers and finance that would be needed to provide managers with reports for
The ability to analyse the information in the database to highlight situations that need
The ability to show figures over a period of time, perhaps in graphical format including
production and sales figures.
Ability to show a snapshot of the company’s financial situation over a period of time.
Ability to perform ‘what-if’ calculations to show what the effect would be of raising
production levels, hiring more staff, acquiring a new building etc.
Warning signals to indicate that decisions are required, such as low stock levels,
expenditure exceeding information, numbers of faulty products exceeding expectations
Audio and visual warnings when incoming orders exceed production capacity.
Daily calculation of productivity levels by analysis of costs and output.
Monthly graphs of price comparison with competitor goods or services resulting from
regular market research.
Information Systems Can Be Drawn…
Members of staff “swipe in” and
HelpDesk staff take “swipe out”, admin’ staff record
support call holidays and sick leave etc.
Admin’ staff record
Data on operational status of network is collected as an automated process.
stock used in
response to HDR call.
Staff presence/absence Local Area Network (LAN) or
and other data. Wide Area Network (WAN)
Changes in stock levels.
Support call details (e.g.,
project, fault call or other).
Provides list of engineers on Personnel Database
Holds details of the status of all
shift with relevant experience Contains staff data, e.g., which
ICT support calls (e.g., to which
(e.g., infrastructure, applications, shifts should be worked, staff
engineer a call has been
project management or programming). number, contact details etc.
assigned and what work has
been done on it to date).
Provides details of network status (e.g., whether
a server is running [up or on-line], hardware and
Provides details of what hardware and software installed and network statistics).
software is in stock for a given support call.
Stock Control Each module of the MIS Network Management
Software contributes to the management Software
Holds details of the hardware decision-making process... Holds details of the current
and software kept by operational status of the
department for use in projects network, plus hardware and
and fault calls. software inventories.
What are the major fault calls? Retrieve details of specific support calls.
What are the major user requests? How many fault calls or projects are “in-hand” at present?
How fast are they being dealt with (meets Service Level Agreement)? What engineer is dealing with a specific call/s.
How are individual engineers performing? What user has placed a given call or number of calls and user details.
What’s the average workload of an engineer?
Stock Control: Is a given item in stock?
How much stock is being held? How many are in stock?
Does this meet or exceed operational requirements (e.g., too much Is it or are they marked for work in progress?
sitting around doing nothing)?
Any stock missing without explanation? Personnel:
Who is on holiday or sick leave?
Personnel: What holiday is due to a given member of staff.
Sick leave - are any staff taking more sick leave than others? How many hours has a given member of staff worked in the last week
How many hours are staff working? or month?
Network Management: Is a given server “up”?
How has the network been running? What Operating System (OS) is running on a given server?
How many PC’s, what software to bill for support? Status of server OS or other software (e.g., anti-virus status).
Information Systems and the Law…
Any organisation (i.e., any business, charity, public service organisation or even a small village
social club) using a computer to store information has a legal responsibility under at least two
very specific pieces of legislation*.
The Data Protection Act 1998.
All computer systems dealing with personal data (i.e., data that can identify a living individual)
must be registered under the Data Protection Act 1998.
This school deals with a great deal of personal data (that of students and staff) and the
responsibility for registering the school’s information systems will be with either the school
(e.g., a nominated member of staff) or possibly with the Local education Authority (LEA).
Users in a company who develop their own systems for processing personal data should inform
their manager and seek advice on registration from someone familiar with the process.
Users of personal data must be aware of the eight principles which apply to such information,
these are detailed below as an extract from the Information Technology Security and Licence
Control Standards – Data Protection Act 1998…
Personal data shall be:
1) Obtained and processed fairly and lawfully.
2) Held for specified lawful purposes.
3) Not used or disclosed in a way not compatible with the purpose(s).
4) Adequate, relevant and not excessive for the purpose.
5) Accurate and up-to-date.
6) Not kept longer than necessary.
7) Available to the data subject.
8) Kept secure.
The Data Protection Act 1998 affects the operations of business communications systems in the
Access to individual’s information – only those who need such access should have it.
Security of information – Information should be kept secure.
Ownership of information – It should be plain which departments/individuals are
responsible for the information.
Accuracy of information – Processes should be in place to make sure that information
collected is accurate and that such accuracy is maintained (e.g., changes of
Ability to sell the information – Some businesses collect information with the intention
of selling it on to third parties (e.g., lists of names & addresses of people that have
purchased new cars may be useful to motor insurance agencies).
Costs incurred in meeting the Act – ICT hardware and software, training, staff to
The Computer Misuse Act 1990.
The Computer Misuse Act 1990 was passed to deal with the problem of hacking of computer
systems. In the early days of hacking the problem wasn’t taken very seriously – it was seen as
mischievous behaviour, rather than as something which could cause serious loss or problems to
companies, organisations and individuals.
However, with developments in technology the issue has become more serious and hence
legislation was introduced to recognise three key offences:
1) Unauthorised access to computer material.
2) Unauthorised access with intent to commit or facilitate commission of further offences.
3) Unauthorised modification of computer material.
Most organisations therefore require that users must be able to demonstrate that adequate
precautions have been taken to prevent the occurrence of any of the following three criminal
Unauthorised access to computer material
This is the lowest level of offence. It includes, for example, finding or guessing someone’s
password, then using that to get into a computer system and have a look at the data it contains.
This is an offence even if no damage is done, and no files deleted or changed. The very act of
accessing materials without authorisation is illegal. This offence carries a penalty of
imprisonment up to six months and/or a fine.
Unauthorised access with intent to commit or facilitate commission of further offences.
This builds on the previous offence. The key here is the addition of ‘intent to commit...further
offences’. It therefore includes guessing or stealing a password, and using that to access material
or services without the consent of the owner. For this offence the penalty is up to five years’
imprisonment and/or a fine.
Unauthorised modification of computer material.
This could include deleting files, changing the desktop set-up or introducing viruses with the
intent to impair the operation of a computer, or access to programs and data. The word ‘intent’
means it has to be done deliberately, rather than someone deleting files by mistake. This also
includes using a computer to damage other computers outside of the organisation, even though
the computer used to do this is itself not modified in any way. This offence carries a penalty of
up to five years and/or a fine.
Legislation – Laws that are enacted, in the case of the United Kingdom, by parliament or the
Task (40 to 50 Minutes):
(1) From the diagram above, what measures could be taken to minimise errors in the
stock control system through incorrect manual data entry?
(2) Why is it important that key data, such as personnel details are adequate, relevant
and not excessive for the purpose, kept secure, accurate and up-to-date, not kept
longer than necessary and are available to the subject?
(3) What security procedures should any organisation follow in holding/accessing the
information shown above?
(4) How can information stored in the above Management Information System (MIS)
be used to help…
The Network Manager – at her monthly meeting where she has to report on the
performance of the network (e.g., whether all servers were up and running and
performing tasks properly; were there any security breaches, i.e., hacking?; was
the system badly infected by any new viruses or not?)
Supplemental – What information would the network management software of the
school’s network have recorded in the last two months – has there been a period
where there were any problems? What information would you expect the school
system to provide and does it do what you would expect? Check with the school’s
network manager and see if it’s convenient to ask a few questions about the sort of
network management systems the school uses.
The Personnel Manager – reporting on the amount of sickness absence amongst
staff in the last two months and on the amount of overtime paid last month to
Operations Manager – who has to report on all aspects of the organisation to the
managing director. In his monthly meeting, he has to report on (amongst other
things) the amount of stock held and whether he should hold more or less, he has
to report on his staffing levels and whether he needs more or less staff to cover for
holidays, sickness and the workload generated by the HelpDesk Reference calls.
Write an account (of no more than 200 words for each manager; 600 in total) of
how the MIS will help each manager to achieve their objectives, drawing
information system diagrams of where the information for each manager comes
from, what system (e.g., stock control, network management or personnel)
processes the information and how the information is presented (i.e., the format of
the output – reports or queries).
Review of answers and class discussion (10 to 15 minutes).