Information technology falls under information system that involves using computers systems for storing, retrieving, transmitting and manipulating information for example in business or enterprise contexts. Information technology systems is therefore the umbrella term used to define people, systems and processes designed to create, storing, manipulating, distributing and disseminating information. It is worth noting that information systems can be based on non-technological systems. There are different types of information technology systems for example expert systems, management information systems and transaction processing systems. Every system has its specific use in the business environment. In the context of this assignment, my focus will be on information technology systems and their application in business (Laudon & Laudon, 2015).
In today’s world, the business market environment is growing at a fast rate. Competition in the market is based on how well a business can apply the current trends to attract its customers. Therefore, it is imperative that companies stay updated with the changing technology trends. Companies should consider information as an essential resource. Thus, information systems come in to help business people achieve their goal of gaining competitive advantage in an ever-changing market environment.
Information systems enable the managers to manage their businesses efficiently. Information systems are also crucial in marketing businesses, for example, the social media marketing. Additionally, communication within and out of business becomes easier when information technology systems are applied. Another interesting fact about information technology systems is that they can make decision making easier by providing data models and statistical projections from analyzed data which help managers in making quality decisions. The transaction information system makes it easier for transactions to be done faster with most of these systems giving room for multiple transactions to be done simultaneously, thus making work easier.
The information technology system is made of different components. Contrary to what most people assume, information technology systems include many elements apart from the technological components. The people involved in information technology system include managers and the employees. They are responsible for managing the systems. Also, the organizational components of an information system cover the procedure and the processes in the organization. The technology components of the information system include the computer software and hardware, databases, data warehouses and telecommunication Stair & Reynolds, 2017).
Information technology systems work by using the computers to manage business information. Information management is very essential in business since it streamlines the control of the business operations and makes it easier for managers to make right decisions concerning their businesses. Information systems use software, databases and hardware resources needed in supporting the entire business process.
Problems associated with information systems can be solved using a four-step approach to solving business problems. The model is essential since it helps in understanding the problem and identifying technological, organisational components and people that can aid in solving the problem. The first step involves the identification of the problem whereby the manager finds out where the problem with the information system is. Secondly, a solution is designed. The designed solution is then evaluated and finally implemented. Implementation involves activities like software testing and employees training (Van & Berends, 2018).
As a part of growing business, it is essential to have the necessary skills in information system management. Since information system management is the role of every employee who is part of the business, these skills are essential to enable them to contribute positively to the company. Knowledge of technologically based systems like software, hardware and database implementation and designs is necessary. The manager and employees should be able to thoroughly interact with these components. This knowledge requires training; thus organisation can set aside some funds to cater for employees’ training on using these components. Also, skills like communication, creativity, innovativeness, planning, analytical skills, problem-solving, time management, networking and leadership are very essential for successful business information system management (Pearlson, Saunders & Galletta, 2016).
With the rise of technology use in the business world, new technologies have been used as information system tools that give businesses a competitive edge in the global market. Such tools include emails, social networking, messaging, mobile and smart devices. Email as a communication tool has been widely used in businesses (Strauss & Frost, 2016). Email has been used as a useful marketing tool which is cheap and very efficient. With email marketing business can target their marketing to specific contacts. With targeted emailing, the audience receives precisely what they need. Customized emails for customers foster good relationships with customers (Wheeler & Chintagunta, 2016). On the other hand, social networking has been an effective tool used by some businesses to compete globally. With the advent of social media, a company can make itself known globally (Hartemo, 2016).
Social media tools like websites, Twitter, Instagram among others are increasingly being used by companies to market themselves globally. With social networking, online purchasing of goods has become common thus attracting even international customers. Mobile and smart devices marketing is the approach most businesses should use to go global. A significant proportion of the population spend most of their time in their mobiles and smart devices, thus marketing a business through mobile or smart devices is effective in reaching more people which is the goal of marketing (Ulusu, Durmu? & Yurtkoru, 2015). Messaging tools can also be used in mobile marketing. There is software available to customise messages and send them to the targeted audience (Todor, 2016).
Walmart is an excellent example of a business that has used the information technology system tools to enable it to go global. In trying to gain a competitive advantage over its competitors, Walmart has a website with a perfect user interface. Through the website, customers can access products easily after logging in into the website through from the product categories. Also, customers can search for particular products by typing the keyword on a bar at the top of the website (Todor, 2016). The website is also made in a way that the users can place an order for a product by adding the product to the shopping cart. After ordering, the product is shipped, and the user receives it from wherever they are. Wal-mart also uses a database which aids in the better management supply inventory. The database is dual owned by the store and the supplier, and it stores all the sales information and can be relayed to the participants in the entire business process. Additionally, Wal-mart pioneered in using the RFID and the barcode system in the management of inventory (Todor, 2016).
To ensure efficiency in the delivery of ordered products to the customers, Walmart uses the package tracking system. The tracking systems inputs include, package details, current location, billing information, time of delivery, time-card details, signature of the customer, clearance documentation of the client and parcel pick up. The processing includes transmission of purchase data to the central computer where it is stored to enable easier retrieval. Reorganization of data is done to allow for package tracking using the customer’s account, date, and driver among other criteria. The package tracking system output comprises the pickup time, delivery time, package recipient and location while in transit. Also, summary management report, list of packages ordered by the specific account, the name of the driver or route through which the parcel is being delivered can be found in the outputs.
By using information technology, Walmart achieves it key business competitive strategies. One of the key strategies of Walmart is to dominate the marketing over its competitors Walmart aims to expand. The website is an effective tool to enable Walmart to dominate a wider market including the global market (Bourgeois, 2014). The shared database, the RFID and barcode system have enabled Walmart to achieve the strategy of lower product prices always in that proper management of inventory reduces irregularities and makes products always available for customers at cheaper prices. The website offers the customers an advantage of receiving their packages wherever they are through shipping and also at times in the nearest Walmart store thus promoting shopping experience flexibility. The package tracking system has also been a way of gaining a competitive edge over competitors for Walmart (Barney & Ray 2015).
The Walmart information system addresses Walmart’s business objective of expanding multi-channel schemes and improving it returns. The website can offer exactly what the customers need and ensure that the customer securely receives their package. The website is an achievement of Wal-marts objective of developing and executing a worldwide e-Commerce strategy. Wal-mart has promoted the growth of the worldwide online shopping channel through its website as competitors try to copy the approach. By using information technology systems like the shared database for inventory management, barcode system Wal-mart has been able to increase its returns by eliminating the irregularities that come with poor inventory management (Walmart’s Objectives", 2011).
Every company needs to apply information technology to enable it to grow and dominate the world market. Without the information technology systems that Wal-mart uses, it would not have been able to achieve its business objectives. Therefore, Wal-mart could have been easily overtaken by its competitors and thus failed to achieve its business objective.
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