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Centre for Financial and Management Studies (CeFiMS)

Management Information in Business

Unit value:

Introduction

To many, information has become a strategic asset that any organisation should acquire, maintain and use. Information is now seen as a key to corporate growth and sustainability. Therefore, talking about information becomes part of the day to day job of managers at different levels. Important investments are made to automate the management of information, in other words to make information electronic and facilitate its flow, exchange and storage. With information, employees are continuously encouraged to discover and seize opportunities to attract clients, increase sales and maintain a company’s strategic position. Nowadays it is also customers who demand to electronic information at the palm of their hands, in their computers, tablets or mobile phones.

The use of information requires careful thinking about how it is providing value to businesses and customers. Many investments can easily become a liability if they are not made with care and sensitivity, and most importantly by considering the possibilities and limitations that information can offer together with the abilities of managers and customers to make strategic use of it in their daily work.

This course therefore seeks to address three issues:

  • the great potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to support the management of information and thus contribute to organisational transformation, improvement and sustained success
  • the reasons behind the widespread failure of information-based systems and technologies to achieve that potential.
  • the possibilities of, and constraints on, closing the gap between what information and technologies offer together and what can actually deliver to organisations.

This course is directed to managers who are responsible for or taking part in projects that bring competitive advantages through the use of information and associated technologies. We will often term them as ‘information managers’. Within this group we also include managers who perform activities of strategic planning, information systems design and implementation, contracting of information and technology services from third parties or people who lead projects to develop and implement software applications.

Resources

Your materials consist of the course text – eight weekly units of teaching text, designed to introduce, amplify and question the associated readings. These readings are both from textbooks and extracts and articles that are relevant to the particular section you are studying, which are reprinted in the Course Reader. The readings are a mix of case studies and analyses of computerised information systems in public sector organisations from around the world. Through them you will learn about a wide variety of experiences and research on public sector information that you can use in your assignments and exam.

Two textbooks that are supplied with the course:

  • E-commerce and E-business Management
  • Systems Practice in the Information Society

E-commerce and E-business management is authored by Dave Chaffey, a leading practitioner in the field. It is a practical text which provides an overview of how organisations can enter the ‘online’ world and make the best of it. Its coverage is extensive and in some chapters too technical or too commercial (marketing oriented). The key message of the book is that organisations should become e-businesses, and in doing so they need to carefully plan their projects or initiatives. We will focus on the strategic aspects of an e-business and how they can help you/ your organisations adequately plan and implement initiatives to use information to your advantage. The book has three main parts: fundamentals, strategy and applications, and implementation. We will cover several chapters in each part. We will leave out material which is too oriented to marketing or electronic commerce or that is too technical. So please bear in mind that we will not cover all the content from the chapters.

Systems Practice in the Information Society is written by José-Rodrigo Córdoba-Pachón (course author). The book provides conceptual foundations on systems thinking for the practice of management in the context of the information society. We will use this book to look at how systems thinking can help you become more aware of the diversity of issues (technical and non-technical) that need to be addressed if IS are to deliver value to your organisation. Using ideas of systems-thinking, the book offers several examples of human-centred information systems planning, design and evaluation. This book aims to complement rather than replace existing knowledge to plan and implement information systems in organisations.

While the unit texts will guide you to the specific pages in each textbook that are relevant to the unit’s topic, you are strongly encouraged to read beyond the required pages and explore your textbooks in detail.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

Aims & Objectives

The course objectives are to:

  • explain latest developments in information and communication technologies (ICTs) and information systems (IS)
  • analyse why computerised information systems fail so frequently with reference to the role of information, knowledge, decision making, and types of IS.
  • Understand the basic features of different types of software applications and related ICTs that support information systems, as well as their capabilities, benefits and costs (financial and non-financial)
  • demonstrate different ways in which information systems and the software applications that compose them can be better planned, developed and maintained
  • Offer systems thinking as a way to bring together different issues (technical and non-technical) to be considered in the adequate planning, development and implementation of IS.

In covering these components, the following central messages appear throughout the course units:

  • Information can support and enhance corporate strategy if a vision of an organisation as an e –business or networked organisation is continuously informing any technological investment.
  • Technology is not enough. Management of information requires an information system (IS), in other words a set of processes, people and technologies which together support organisational activity through the provision of electronic information.
  • Introducing a new IS requires a degree of organisational change, which could bring more benefits to the organisation but may also mean an increased risk of system and technology failure.
  • Following from the above, not every organisation should undertake radical changes, this depends on a number of aspects that make an organisation what it is and what people (customers included) value about it.
  • Therefore, successful management of information and information systems requires continuous alignment between strategies, people who are to manage information systems, and the technologies that allow for the electronic flow and storage of information. Information managers need to be sensitive to organisational, cultural and personal aspects that will inevitably influence how information is used by people.
  • Systems thinking can help information managers continuously align their ideas with the possibilities given by ICTs and the organisational requirements to offer value through the provision of electronic information.

Scope and syllabus

Course Units

The course consists of eight ‘units’ of work, each with its own core text, set readings and questions.

  • Unit 1 - An Introduction to Information Systems in Organisations
  • Unit 2 - Information and Communication Technologies in the Network Society Era
  • Unit 3 - The E-business Environment and E-business Strategies
  • Unit 4 - People and Information in Networked Organisations
  • Unit 5 - Types of Information Systems
  • Unit 6 - Planning Information Systems
  • Unit 7 - Information Systems Development
  • Unit 8 - E-procurement and Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Method of assessment

Students are individually assigned an academic tutor for the duration of the module, with whom you can discuss academic queries at regular intervals during the study session.

You are required to complete two Assignments for this module, which will be marked by your tutor. Assignments are each worth 15% of your total mark. You will be expected to submit your first assignment by the Tuesday of Week 5, and the second assignment at the end of the module, on the Tuesday after Week 8. Assignments are submitted and feedback given online. In addition, queries and problems can be answered through the Virtual Learning Environment.

You will also sit a three-hour examination on a specified date in October, worth 70% of your total mark. An up-to-date timetable of examinations is published on the website in April each year.