Introduction to Business Information Systems Essay Example

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Part A: Business Intelligence

1. Data, Information, Knowledge

Data is a collection of numbers or characters with some form of interrelation to one another. In the case study provided, there are several forms of data to be considered. The main one is the employee’s data. The growth of the staff from the initial two to a hundred requires adequate data recording and storage. Another form of data in the company is the sales. With the listing of the company in the shares market, data on sales, profits and loses should be well kept and recorded. One more form of data is the stock inventory. With the many branch offices established, comprehensive stock inventory should always be available to avoid disappointing customers.

Information is that from which data can be obtained. Information is key to the growth of MicroTel. Through information, Microtel can open up new markets, to meet the clients’ demands, to eliminate competition and also to raise its financial status through wise investments. The introduction of the internet and the Local Area Network greatly increased the avenues of information gathering for MicroTel.

Knowledge is what is derived from being informed. It is the ability to make sound decisions from the information acquired. The board of directors should have the required knowledge to be able to drive MicroTel to greater heights. The decision to enlist MicroTel in the shares market was a wise decision based on acquired business knowledge by the founder Mr. Reilly.

2. Business Intelligence

Commonly referred to with the abbreviation BI, Business Intelligence is a set of theories, methods, technology and forms of business architecture that help in the analysis of collected data to make it useful in deriving information for business purposes. These models provide past, present and future trends of business operations. It greatly supports decision making in a business. In the case of MicroTel, the decision to enlist it in the share market was a crucial and profitable move, which was dictated by the expansion and the increased demand for capital. This was a perfect of business intelligence in practice.

3. Databases

A database is a well organised collection of data. It represents a relevant aspect of reality, in a way, which facilitates processes that may require this information. The company should have a database on all its employees so as to facilitate easy salary payment, as well as monitor the progress of each of the employees. MicroTel should also have a database on all is sales and revenue margins to facilitate future predictions on sales and demands.

Part B: Ethics, Privacy and Security

4. Privacy

Privacy is the right to be left alone when you want to be, to have control over your personal possessions and not to be observed without your consent. Between individuals, there cannot be trust without privacy. Since e-business is based on the exchange of large amounts of private data, many people are not comfortable with online interactions. When MicroTel opens its online business transactions, it is of paramount importance that it assures its clients on the privacy of the data they provide and that the data will only be used for business purposes only. (Chen, 2012)

5. Security

Most security threats come from insiders who purposefully or accidentally misuse their access. Others give their passwords away due to social connections such as spouses. This is dangerous to the security of the information. The three main data security areas are:

  • Identification and authentication: Whoever requests access to data must have permission to do so.

  • Prevention and resistance: This involves the use of firewalls to prevent online data theft from external sources.

  • Detection and Response: This is the detection of unwanted intrusion into data and the actions taken to get rid of it, such as the use of antivirus.

MicroTel should ensure its databases are safe and face no direct threat from within or outside (Chen, 2012).

6. Monitoring of Staff

General staff monitoring is encouraged to ensure productivity at work. However, the IT department at MicroTel should refrain from reading employees personal material such as emails to ensure privacy. This is unless such emails are a threat to the company.

Part C: Information Systems Development and Management

7. Business Process Models

A business process model is a diagrammatic representation of the processes involved in a business or enterprise so that it may be analysed and improved. The MicroTel board of directors ought to come up with the business model of the enterprise, and identify areas where improvements may be made in terms of productivity and cuts may be made in terms of costs.

8. Projects

A project is a temporary activity undertaken to produce a specific, unique product. The project in the case of Microtel will include the establishment of an online presence so as to embrace e-commerce. This requires a project manager to oversee the project, preferably an IT expert.

9. Outsourcing

Outsourcing is an arrangement where an organisation provides a service for another organisation that chooses not to perform them in-house. This has a number of advantages such as:

  • Allows a company to maintain an up-to-date technology infrastructure while freeing it to focus on resources offering the greatest return on investment

  • May be cheaper to employ workers from another country

able to acquire best-practices process expertise

  • The significant increase in merger and acquisition activity created a sudden need to integrate multiple core and non-core business functions into one business

  • Barriers to entry, such as lack of capital, are dramatically reduced in the world of e-business due to the internet. New competitors enter the market daily.

  • As markets open worldwide, competition heats up. Companies may engage outsourcing service providers to deliver international services.

Part D: Connectivity

10. The Internet

The internet has become one of the most used commodities in the business world today. Online business transactions are growing every day and, therefore, must MicroTel’s board of directors introduce online business transactions and purchases to tap into the market.

11. Social Media

Social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, are used by billions every day in today’s society. Such sites have the potential to greatly increase the clientele of MicroTel and, therefore, should be used as avenues to reach customers. An online social platform should also be introduced to view the customer feedback, complains and recommendations.

The older generation might however not take to this idea of social media, therefore, the traditional one on one method of sales must also be maintained. The use of social media may however require the company to employ an extra employee to manage these social media accounts and handle the customers’ complains.

12. Mobile Devices

The widespread use of smart phones in the society, today calls for the IT professionals in the company to develop a platform to reach the customers through their devices. Developing an app for MicroTel would be a great advantage as well as using already established platforms such as WhatsApp for their advertising purposes.

Part E: Competitive Advantage

13. Competitive Advantage

The company has to be able to compete with the already established and with new and upcoming companies, in order to maintain its revenues. A wise business decision has to be made to enable MicroTel have an edge over the competitors. Such a decision might be to reduce its price by a small percentage, but make sales in large quantities.

14. Value Chains

A value chain is a chain of activities performed by a company in a specific line of business or industry so as to enable it deliver a valuable product or service to the target market. MicroTel should establish a value chain assessment for its products and aim to developing better quality services to its customers. It should try and look at its suppliers and see what areas can be improved to deliver efficient products to its clients.

Part F: Strategic Initiatives

15: CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

This involves managing all aspects of a customer with the aim of retaining their loyalty to the company and profiting the company. Its advantages include: Enables 24/7/365 operations, individualized service, improved information, speeds up problem identification/resolution, speeds up processes, improved integration, improved product development, improved planning.

The main challenge is it gives more power to the customer and a single customers complain can affect millions of customers.

16: ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)

ERP is a technique where all the data from across the organisation is collected and correlated into a single IT system, generating an enterprise-wide view. The three core components of EP are:

  • Accounting and finance

  • Production and materials management (Operations)

  • Human resources

The main challenges associated with ERP are cost of implementation and maintenance and complexity of the management system.


Chen, D., & Zhao, H. 2012. Data security and privacy protection issues in cloud computing. In Computer Science and Electronics Engineering, 2012 International Conference on, Vol. 1, pp. 647-651. IEEE.