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Information Systems Management And Strategy: Educational Services

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Question:

Discuss about the Information Systems Management and Strategy for Educational Services.
 
 

Answer:

Organization Overview

AusEd Inc is a not for profit organization that is based out of Australia and provides various educational services and programs to the student all across the globe. A major section of the students that are engaged with the organization belong to Australia, Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific Islands. The organization is legally registered as not for profit higher education provider in Australia. Distance education programs that the organization offers can be studied by the students from anywhere in the world and the organization arranges for various modes of learning such as e-classes, one on one discussions with a lecturer online and many others. There are various other Information Technology and business educational programs that are offered at the bachelor and master levels. Sales, course delivery and operations are the three major areas that the organization deals with.

Competitive Environment

Online learning is one area that has increased with the advancement in the technology and digital innovations. There is also a shift that has been seen in the educational system over the past few years. There are many people who prefer distance learnings due to a number of different reasons such as job location, family issues and many others. It is because of the demand of such courses that many public and private firms have been offering the online educational services and programs to the students on a global platform. The primary domain in which AusEd Inc provides its courses is Information Technology and Business which is again a high on demand course that has a lot many providers in the market. There is an annual growth of over 8.7% that has been seen in this industry and thus the numbers of competitors are huge (Ibisworld, 2016).

 

Assessment of Information Systems Maturity

The three primary areas in which the organization functions are Sales, Course Delivery and Operations. There are a number of different Information Systems that are being currently utilized by the organization for various purposes (James, 2016).

The organization has its two prime objectives as listed below.

  • To enhance the income by expanding the source of funding
  • To keep the cost associated with the non-core activities as low as possible (Norton, 2015)

Existing Systems

The company makes use of MYOB – Mind Your Own Business as the accounting software that provides services such as accounting, tax related and many others to the small and medium scale businesses. The company also aims to make use of Moodle for learning management and Photo-Exam as an add-on to Moddle (Myob, 2016).

Review of Current Information Systems

There are a number of improvements that can be done to the existing Information Systems to achieve the objectives that are set for the organization.

Cost Comparison of Accounting Software Packages in Australia (Carey, 2015)

The cost associated with MYOB for the basic software package is more than many other accounting packages that can fulfill the needs of AusED Inc in terms of required accounting services. The organization can make use of Reckon or Xero as the accounting packages for reducing the cost that is involved (Afpbb, 2016).

 

Emerging Information and Communications and Technology

Social Media Integration

Social media networking and integration is on a rapid increase in the current era. The same can be utilized for the achieving the first objective of the organization. This innovation in the field of ICT has come up as a disruptive innovation and has introduced a number of new values in the same field. The active presence of the organization on the social networking platforms and the advanced integration with the same would allow the expansion of the business network and will also be easy to manage. The management and administrative staff will also be able to understand the student preferences and choices in a better way by keeping a track of their likes, dislikes, choices etc. through social media platforms. This will allow better data analysis and will also make the administration to extract useful reports.

NoSQL Databases

AusEd Inc is a not for profit organization and the employees that are associated with the same are engaged in a number of different tasks and responsibilities. The organization may use NoSQL as the databases that are based on cloud computing techniques and are specifically designed to store and manage Big Data. The numbers of students that are associated with AusEd are increasing rapidly and therefore the necessity to store, manage and handle the data is also increasing. NoSQL databases will serve the requirement at a negligible cost as there are a number of open source databases that are commercially available (MongoDB, 2016). There will also be a number of advantages that these databases will offer to the organization such as it will be able to efficiently handle and manage large volumes of data along with enhanced features such as maintenance of logs, extraction of reports, data analytics, data statistics and many others. These databases can be easily used by a non-technical executive and the same will result in cost savings associated with operations and resources as well (Januzaj, Ajdari and Selimi, 2015).

Opportunities for Competitive Advantage

There are a number of opportunities that are present for the organization to gain competitive advantage with the development in the field of information systems management.

  • Online learning and education is expanding rapidly in Australia along with other parts of the globe which will provide the organization to attract a huge number of students from various areas
  • Information Technology and Systems is one area in education that has a huge demand among the students
  • There are various modes of operations that can be used by the organization to provide quality education services and courses to the students
 

Methods of Overcoming Resistance to Change

There will be a number of changes that will be introduced in the organizational structure and policies with the modifications and advancements done to the information systems that are being utilized in the organization. These changes that will be introduced will be associated with the students as well as for the employees. These changes might impact the level of satisfaction for the students as well as the employees. It would be necessary for the organization to make sure that the changes are not resisted for long and are overcome quickly.

These changes will be overcome by a series of defined steps to manage and handle the same.

  • Preparation for Changes: The changes will be planned in this phase for preparation of the same to be managed and reinforced with ease.
  • Management of Change: The changes will be managed and handled in this phase by streamlining them and arranging for various trainings for the users and employees by creating a training schedule.
  • Reinforcement of Change: The changes will be reinforced, monitored and reviewed in this phase to make sure that the resistance to the same is completely overcome (Hedge, 2016).
 

Leadership and Governance Structure

It is necessary to have a required level of leadership and governance structure in the organization to make sure that the objectives of the organization are met and the activities performed by the employees are done correctly keeping all the ethical, legal, quality and technical considerations in to perspective.

The management and leadership structure shall be cascaded in a number of different levels and shall be mapped to the team members and resources for communication purposes. The levels shall be divided as top level, middle level and low level management. The team members shall be made clear about their immediate and advanced points of contact in case of conflicts and disputes along with any other discussion that is required.

Reviews, audits and monitoring of the activities are extremely important task of the leadership to maintain required governance and validate and verify the activities that are performed. The leaders of the organization must make sure that the timely reviews and monitoring is carried out to understand the progress of various projects and the adherence to the best standards and practices. There shall also be informal discussions that shall be conducted by the leaders so that the employees may not hesitate in bringing up the issues and problems in focus. It would aid the leadership to resolve the issues in a timely manner and would also reflect on the positive results.

There are various leadership and management methodologies that have been defined and can be adapted by the leadership to understand and follow a defined process for the overall management. There are also a number of automated tools that are now available for free for the leaders for various leadership and reporting activities. These points shall be implemented in the organization to achieve effective and enhanced leadership and governance in the organization.

 

References

Afpbb, (2016). The Australian Accounting Industry. [online] Available at: https://www.afpbb.net.au/Resources/TheAustralianAccountingIndustry. [Accessed 22 Oct. 2016].

Carey, M. (2015). Cloud Accounting Overview 2015: MYOB Essentials vs Xero vs Intuit QuickBooks Online vs Reckon One - Digital First. [online] Digital First. Available at: https://www.digitalfirst.com/2015-overview-cloud-accounting-software/ [Accessed 22 Oct. 2016].

Hegde, A. (2016). What is Change Management. [online] Available at: https://www.andrewneang.com/research/2008-GTP/ChangeManagement_v5.pdf [Accessed 22 Oct. 2016].

Ibisworld, (2016). Online Education in Australia Market Research | IBISWorld. [online] Ibisworld.com.au. Available at: https://www.ibisworld.com.au/industry/default.aspx?indid=1907 [Accessed 22 Oct. 2016].

James, D. (2016). 7 accounting packages for Australian small businesses compared: including MYOB, QuickBooks Online, Reckon, Xero. [online] BIT. Available at: https://www.bit.com.au/Review/344651,7-accounting-packages-for-australian-small-businesses-compared-including-myob-quickbooks-online-reckon-xero.aspx [Accessed 22 Oct. 2016].

Januzaj, Y., Ajdari, J. and Selimi, B. (2015). DBMS as a Cloud service: Advantages and Disadvantages. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 195, pp.1851-1859.

MongoDB, (2016). NoSQL Databases Explained. [online] MongoDB. Available at: https://www.mongodb.com/nosql-explained [Accessed 22 Oct. 2016].

Myob, (2016). Online Accounting Software for Businesses | MYOB. [online] Myob.com. Available at: https://www.myob.com/au/accounting-software/compare [Accessed 22 Oct. 2016].

Norton, A. (2015). Mapping Australian higher education 2014-15. [online] Available at: https://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/816-mapping-higher-education-2014.pdf [Accessed 22 Oct. 2016].

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