Master of Computer Application (MCA) – Semester 4 MC0076
MC0076 –Management Information Systems
Question 1- What do you understand by Information processes data?
Information is a complex concept that has a variety of meanings depending on its context
and the perspective in which it is studied. It could be described in three ways,
1 As processed data,
2 As the opposite of uncertainty, and
3 As a meaningful signal-to illustrate the richness of the concept of information.
Information as Processed Data
Data are generally considered to be raw facts that have undefined uses and application;
information is considered to be processed data that influences choices, that is, data that
have somehow been formatted, filtered, and summarized; and knowledge is considered to
be an understanding derived from information distinctions among data, information, and
knowledge may be derived from scientific terminology. The researcher collects data to test
hypotheses; thus, data refer to unprocessed and non-analyzed numbers. When the data are
analyzed, scientists talk about the information contained in the data and the knowledge
acquired from their analysis. The confusion often extends to the information systems
context, and the three terms may be used interchangeably.
Information as the Opposite of Uncertainty
A different perspective on information derives from economic theory and defines information
as the negative measure of uncertainty; that is, the less information is available, the more
uncertainty exists, and conversely, the more information is available, the less uncertainty
exists? In microeconomic theory the equilibrium of supply and demand depends on a market
known as a perfect market, where all buyers and sellers have complete knowledge about
one another and where uncertainty does not exist. Information makes a market perfect by
eliminating uncertainties about supply and demand. In macroeconomic theory, firms behave
according to how they read the economic climate. Economic signals that measure and
predict the direction of the economy provide information about the economic climate. The
firm reduces its uncertainty by decoding these signals. Taking an example of Federal
Express in USA, each incoming aircraft has a scheduled arrival time. However, its actual
arrival depends on unforeseen conditions. Data about when an aircraft departed from its
destination is information in the economic sense because it reduces uncertainty about the
aircraft’s arrival time, thereby increasing Federal Express’s ability to handle arriving
packages. Managers also define information in terms of its reducing uncertainty. Because
managers must project the outcomes of alternatives in making decisions, the reduction of
uncertainty about the outcomes of various alternatives improves the effectiveness of the
decision- making process and the quality of the decision.
Information as a Meaningful Signal
Information theory, a branch of statistics concerned with measuring the efficiency of
communication between people and/or machines, defines information as the inputs and
outputs of communication. Electronic, auditory, visual, or other signals that a sender and
receiver interpret similarly convey information. For example, in the recruitment scenario
about, the resumes and applications for the open positions are information because they are
signals sent by the applicants, and interpreted similarly by both. The Managers in their roles
as communicators both generate and receive information. They receive reports that organize
signals or data in a way that conveys their meaning. Reports of sales trends become
information; so do reports about hazardous waste sites. Managers derive meaning from the
information they see and hear as part of communication and use it to make decisions. This
definition of information requires a manager to interpret a given signal as it was intended.
For example, a manager’s incorrect interpretation of body language in a negotiation would
not be considered to be information from this perspective, although we know that managers
use both correct and incorrect perceptions as information in decision making and other
managerial functions. Again, this view of information suggests the complexity of the concept
and the value of a multifaceted definition.
Question 2 - What are the uses of Executive Information Systems?
Executive information systems (EIS) provide direct support for top managers.
Characteristically, senior managers employ a great variety of informal sources of
information, so that computerized information systems are able to provide only limited
assistance. However, the chief executive officer, senior and executive vice presidents, and
the board of directors also need to be able to track the performance of their company and of
its various units, assess the business environment, and develop strategic directions for the
company’s future. In particular, these executives need a great diversity of external
information to compare their company’s performance to that of its competition, and to
investigate the general trends of the economies in the many countries where the company
may be doing business. Frequently, top managers equip a special "war room" with large
screens onto which the EIS projects color displays.
Characteristics of Executive Information Systems,
1 EIS provide immediate and easy access to information reflecting the key success
factors of the company and of its units.
2 "User-seductive" interfaces, such as color graphics and video, allow the EIS user
to grasp trends at a glance. Users’ time is at a high premium here.
3 EIS provide access to a variety of databases, both internal and external, through
a uniform interface-the fact that the system consults multiple databases should
be transparent to the users.
4 Both current status and projections should be available from EIS. It is frequently
desirable to investigate different projections; in particular, planned projections
may be compared with the projections derived from actual results.
5 An EIS should allow easy tailoring to the preferences of the particular user or
group of users (such as the chief executive’s cabinet or the corporate board).
6 EIS should offer the capability to "drill down" into the data: It should be possible
to see increasingly detailed data behind the summaries. Executive information
systems are a superior tool for exercising the control function of management.
Thanks to these systems, many an executive has been able to widen his or her
span of management control-in other words, to expand the number of people
reporting directly to him or to her.
Question 3 - How do you retrieve information from manual system?
Information Retrieval is the area of study concerned with searching for documents, for
information within documents, and for metadata about documents, as well as that of
searching storage, relational databases, and the Web. There is overlap in the usage of the
terms data retrieval, document, information retrieval and retrieval, but each also has its own
body of literature, theory, praxis and technologies. IR is interdisciplinary based on computer
science, mathematics, library science, information science, information architecture,
cognitive psychology, linguistics, statistics and law.
Key Drawbacks in Manual Paper Based Systems:
● No transparency.
● Limited accountability.
● Can’t retrieve information quickly.
● Chance of loss.
● Can’t track or monitoring status of file processing.
● Scope for tampering contents.
● Not able to answer customer questions.
● Status of file is not known to the applicant.
Entire organization is dependent on the file custodian for answers. Manual processes can be
unreliable, slow and error prone. Errors reduce confidence in the organization. Restricted to
onsite working hours and geography, Manual data entry, searching for lost files, and manual
rework waste time and valuable resources. Papers can be lost at any point along the
process, exposing potentially sensitive data. Physical papers can be hard to track and take
up physical space for storage.
Question 4 - What are the challenges of information management?
In identifying their information management requirements, individuals face four major
challenges in addition to securing the most appropriate information. First, they must deal
with large quantities of information that may create overload. Second, they may face
Insufficient or conflicting information. Third, they must find ways to enhance their personal
productivity. Fourth, they must acquire and maintain the technical skills needed for effective
personal information management.
1. Dealing with Quantities of Information - The gap between the amount of information that
an organization can collect and the ability of its employees to make sense of that information
has been widening rather than narrowing. The early fear that computers would so improve a
person’s ability to process and manage information that a job holder would need only one-
third to one-half the time to do his or her job has been dispelled The reverse has occurred.
Often employees face an info glut, an overload of information. As individuals move higher in
the organizational hierarchy and assume more managerial responsibility, information
overload become an even more significant challenge. To avoid such overload individuals
must carefully assess their information needs and then find effective ways of managing the
required and available information. They must also find ways to manage data better.
2. Facing Insufficient or Conflicting Information - Although computers can make large
quantities of information available to individuals, such information may not address their
needs. An official from a mobile company may wish to do some library research about
competitors’ products. In spite of the large amount of information in the library’s electronic
catalog, she may not be able to secure the precise information she needs. Because
computers process input from diverse sources, users may also obtain conflicting information
if one source updates information more frequently than another does.
3. Enhancing Personal Productivity – Employees in any organization increasingly use
information technology to improve their personal productivity. To ensure high productivity,
employees must know how to use computers to facilitate, not hinder, their performance.
They must know how to access the information they require and recognize when manual
data collection and processing is adequate. Often employees must lobby their employers to
add new technology that will help increase personal productivity. The ability to show the
cost-effectiveness of additional expenditures for diagnosing and meeting information needs
is critical. Employees must also understand and demonstrate when advanced technology is
a detriment rather than an asset.
4. Maintaining Technical Skills - Finally, using information technology effectively requires
continuous updating of technical skills. Although many companies provide training to their
employees, others do not. Ensuring that employees have the appropriate skills has both
financial and time cost implications. As a result, employees may find their mobility and
productivity limited by the extent to which they can learn new technical skills independently
of their employer.
Question 5 - Explain the different components of MIS.
The physical components of MIS comprise the computer and communications hardware,
software, database, personnel, and procedures. Almost all organizations employ multiple
computer systems, ranging from powerful mainframe machines (sometimes including
supercomputers) through minicomputers, to widely spread personal computers (also known
as microcomputers). The use of multiple computers, usually interconnected into networks by
means of telecommunications, is called distributed processing.
The driving forces that have changed the information processing landscape from centralized
processing, relying on single powerful mainframes, to distributed processing have been the
rapidly increasing power and decreasing costs of smaller computers. Though the packaging
of hardware subsystems differs among the three categories of computers (mainframes,
minicomputers, and microcomputers), all of them are similarly organized. Thus, computer
system comprises a central processor(though multiprocessors with several central
processing units are also used), which controls all other units by executing machine
instructions; a hierarchy of memories; and devices for accepting input (for example, a
keyboard or a mouse) and producing output (say, a printer or a video display terminal). The
memory hierarchy ranges from a fast primary memory from which the central processor can
fetch instructions for execution; through secondary memories (such as disks) where on-line
databases are maintained; to the ultra high capacity archival memories that are also
employed in some cases.
Hardware: Multiple computer systems: mainframes, minicomputers, personal computers.
Computer system components are: central processor(s), memory hierarchy, input and output
Communications: local area networks, metropolitan area networks, and wide area networks
Software: Systems software and applications software
Database: Organized collections of data used by applications software.
Personnel: Professional cadre of computer specialists; end users in certain aspects of their
Procedures: Specifications for the use and operation of computerized information systems
collected in user manuals, operator manuals, and similar documents.
Question 6 - Write a note on Ethical and Social issues with E-Commerce.
Electronic commerce, commonly known as e-comm., e-commerce or ecommerce, consists
of the buying and selling of products or services over electronic systems such as the Internet
and other computer networks. Still, with all these cool features E-commerce has some
downside too; most of which relate to ethical and social issues. These issues basically
revolve around four primary concerns, namely; security, privacy, identity and transactions
non-refutability. Security has always been a major challenge for internet. There have always
been people trying to hack, crack or jack a page. They are in constant search of finding a
back door to a website and steal confidential information or service from a system or
damage a system.
Second is privacy. In an online world, it’s very hard to differentiate between good and bad.
You may be browsing certain site or downloading a music video and suddenly you might get
a pop-up asking you to enter your details to subscribe to new videos or latest updates. You
simply fill up a form and then you get bombarded by emails selling pills and stuffs you don’t
have a clue about. And you thought you’re just filling up a form. Giving your information to
whoever online is like signing a death note. Third one is identity. Many times you might have
heard of credit card theft or bank account theft. While shopping online, one is exposed to
such risks. Electronic systems have a shortcoming in that they can only identify a person’s
“virtual” identity, which makes identity theft or impersonation a serious problem.
Last but not the least is the problem with non-refutability i.e. verifying whether the transaction
really happened or not online. If you just do a quick Google, you’ll find that there are
thousands of cases of disputes and refunds of PayPal and eBay. Doing a transaction online
isn’t as easy as it sounds. Both the parties have to be loyal to each other and if anyone isn’t
disputes arise and it’s very hard to determine whom to compensate.
The concept has come to mean various things to various people, but generally it's coming to
know what it right or wrong in the workplace and doing what's right this is in regard to effects
of products/services and in relationships with stakeholders. Wallace and Pekel explain that
attention to business ethics is critical during times of fundamental change times much like
those faced now by businesses, either nonprofit or for-profit. Attention to ethics in the
workplace sensitizes leaders and staff to how they should act. Perhaps most important,
attention to ethics in the workplaces helps ensure that when leaders and managers are
struggling in times of crises and confusion, they retain a strong moral compass. However,
attention to business ethics provides numerous other benefits.
Managing Ethics in the Workplace - Managing Ethics Programs in the Workplace
Organizations can manage ethics in their workplaces by establishing an ethics management
program. "Typically, ethics programs convey corporate values, often using codes and
policies to guide decisions and behavior, and can include extensive training and evaluating,
depending on the organization.
Developing Codes of Conduct - If your organization is quite large, e.g., includes several
large programs or departments, you may want to develop an overall corporate code of ethics
and then a separate code to guide each of your programs or departments.
Resolving Ethical Dilemmas and Making Ethical Decisions - Perhaps too often, business
ethics is portrayed as a matter of resolving conflicts in which one option appears to be the
clear choice. For example, case studies are often presented in which an employee is faced
with whether or not to lie, steal, cheat, abuse another, break terms of a contract, etc.
Assessing and Cultivating Ethical Culture - Culture is comprised of the values, norms,
folkways and behaviors of an organization. Ethics is about moral values, or values regarding
right and wrong. Therefore, cultural assessments can be extremely valuable when assessing
the moral values in an organization.
Ethics Training - The ethics program is essentially useless unless all staff members are
trained about what it is, how it works and their roles in it. The nature of the system may invite
suspicion if not handled openly and honestly. In addition, no matter how fair and up-to-date
is a set of policies, the legal system will often interpret employee behavior (rather than
written policies) as de facto policy.