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INTRODUCTION:

Information system used in business environment is the best method to solve all problems and providing ease in operations. There are different types of information systems that are used to manage the activities and store data (Pearlson,  Saunders  and Galletta,  2016). The requirements of systems depend on nature and size of business. Also, different departments use various types of information systems. Implementing system in the organisation helps in effective operating of overall functions. This report will show different systems are used in functional areas and how they help in solving business problems. Moreover, how system generates useful and accurate information for solving a problem. For this report, organisation selected is Marks and Spencer. It operates in retail sector globally and faces many problems. Thus, this report will help in providing needs of systems in different functional areas.

TASK 1

1.1 Evaluate the information needs of at least four functional areas in Marks and Spencer

Information systems are implemented according to the needs of organisation. It depends on the nature and size of business (Galliers  and Leidner,  2014). Marks and Spencer is a MNC that operates all around the world. It requires various types of information systems in their operations. With this, it has become easy for them to maintain smooth flow of operations. Besides this, retail sector has diversified range of products in clothing, toys, electronics, etc. Thus, they have to maintain and measure each product’s quality in the market. Also, Marks and Spencer has to maintain their employee’s performance in order to enhance their skills and qualities. So, this is not possible without implementing the information systems. Along with this, Marks and Spencer has to develop strategies to solve the business problems. For this, accurate and effective data is required. Furthermore, by analysing market information, plans are made on how Marks and Spencer will grow and develop (Grabara,  Kolcun  and Kot, 2014). All these help in taking better and effective decisions. The information needs in different functional areas of Marks and Spencer are described as below:

Finance department – All the finance related activities are managed by this department. It takes various decisions like resource allocation, developing budgets, maintaining payroll of employees, etc. Besides this, their function is to do audit of all departments in order to measure their performance. It helps in getting expenses and expenditures of different departments. With this, financial reports and statements are prepared. Therefore, for performing all these functions, information systems are required (Abbasi,  Sarker  and Chiang,  2016) It helps in collecting overall information and data for developing the report. System makes it easy by maintaining the records. Also, it helps in analysing the financial performance of various departments. Generally, Marks and Spencer analyses financial statements on quarterly basis. This helps them to allocate the resources in an efficient way.

Human resource department- This department performs functions related to managing employees in organisation. It performs functions in a wide area. Human capital is needed to perform daily activities so that goals and objectives can be effectually achieved. There are several decisions taken. It involves allocating employees, managing them, providing training, measuring performance, etc. Business also develops strategies by collecting the data. It includes recruitment, appraisal, etc. (Cassidy, 2016). Thus, information system is required in providing accurate data so that Marks and Spencer is easily able to manage its human resource. This will help them in maintaining efficiency in work and improving their skills and abilities.

Sales – It is the most important operation in every business. It helps in the growth and development of business by increasing sales. It is highly essential to maintain sales data so that strategies can be effectually developed (Chang,  2015). This department performs functions like analysing market demand, formulating strategies, developing product, etc. All these decisions help in increasing the sales of Marks and Spencer. Usually, marketing department requires information system. It helps in collection of data from various markets. Also, with this current marketing strategies are analysed so that weak areas can be identified and improved. It also helps in assigning tasks to sales team according to their skills.

Training- It is a sub division of HR department in Marks and Spencer. It takes decisions regarding training of employees. Training must be provided to employees to improve their productivity (Bonham-Carter,  2014). This is done by finding out loop whole in business operations. Also, what new tools and equipment are required to train employees are training functions. Hence, installing information system will help in identifying the current technological methods used in providing training to employees. Also, what additional resources are required and how it can be implemented in training procedures or methods are taken have to be taken by HR.

Administration- This department is responsible for maintaining better working environment in Marks and Spencer. This is done by developing the policies and procedures. Also, it is required to identify conflicts so that effective relations can be maintained in between management and employees (Fichman,  Dos Santos  and Zheng,  2014) Moreover, information regarding ethics and culture is collected by administration. It helps in identifying employees who are indulged in illegal activities or any misbehaviour. Thus, identifying and correcting this creates a better organisational culture and a positive brand image in the market.

Thus, by implementing information system in Marks and Spencer, it will help in better and effective working of operations. This will provide an ease to business by enhancing its performance. System will maintain the data and information through which strategies will be formulated. It will help in the growth and development of Marks and Spencer (Cecez-Kecmanovic,  Galliers  and Vidgen,  2014)

TASK 2

2.1 Describe different types of Information Systems

There are different types of information systems that are available. These systems have their own features and qualities that helps business to manage their operations. Each system is works in its own way. Also, implementing system in department depend on requirements or type of system (Wager,  Lee and Glaser,  2017). Marks and Spencer can implement various types of information system in their organisation. It is as follows :-

Transaction processing system – This system is implemented in financial department that will provide all data and information regarding accounts. It collects and records daily transactions. It provides accurate data so that effective decisions can be taken. By keeping records of expenses and revenues Marks and Spencer can analyse its financial position in the market (Stair  and Reynolds,  2017). This system records transactions including receipts, order entry, bank transactions, etc. It helps in allocating resources to departments. Marks and Spencer has implemented TPS that has benefited them in taking finance related decisions. With this mangers are able to allocate resources to departments on basis of their needs rather than performance. It has helped them to maintain data. It has improved the efficiency of finance functions.

Management information system- This system is used by management to formulate strategies and plans. Generally, it helps in taking effective decisions, controlling and planning of business operations in Marks and Spencer (Taylor and Joudrey,  2017). It provided information regarding performance of department and employees. This makes it east for management to take effective decisions. Also, by comparing past data plans are developed for future. This system is used to produce reports on quarterly, yearly or monthly basis.  With this it becomes easy to analyse business performance.

Decision support system -  It is an automated system that helps middle level management to take effective decisions. Generally, it is used in specialised task where it becomes difficult for manager to take decision (Armstrong, G., Harker  and Brennan,  2015). Thus, by gathering information decision support system helps managers. It is designed for solving complex situations. Also, it is having more analytical power than other information systems. This provides a wide range of decisions models to make it easier for managers. Moreover, it provides an interactive environment to work directly with any change.

Executive support system- It is a computerised system that helps top level management in decision making. It is different from DSS and MIS. There are many problems that occur in business. To solve them strategies are formulated by top management. Furthermore, it helps in tracking activities, monitoring progress, and forecasting (Pearlson,  Saunders  and Galletta,  2016). Generally, it is used for analysing external environment like market condition, new competitors, change in laws, etc. These all ca affect Marks and Spencer operations to large extent. Therefore, ESS is implemented that has helped in taking better decisions.

Knowledge management system – It is a specialised system which is used for providing information about different tools and equipments. It helps business to integrate technical  knowledge into business. These are user friendly based systems that helps in accessing data and information quickly and easily (Galliers  and Leidner,  2014). The examples of system are given below :-

  • Computer aided design systems- It uses computers for designing of tools and equipments. Generally, in this production related tools are designed. It helps in making production more efficient and effective.
  • Financial workstations- It uses external as well as internal sources for collecting market data and management reports. It helps in analysing situations and developing portfolio management of finance (Grabara, Kolcun  and Kot, 2014)
  • Virtual reality systems- These systems are generally used for simulating business problems or cases. The overall simulation looks like real. It is used in business work to solve critical problems. The results of simulation can be implemented in business.

            Marks and Spencer has implemented these information systems in their organisation. This has helped management to take decisions. Due to this overall performance of business operations has improved allowing them to grow and develop. It has enhanced every department productivity and efficiency (Argyris,  2017).

2.2 Investigate the current trends in using Information Systems applications to solve business problems

Every department uses different types of information system according to their operations. It has allowed lower, middle and top management to take effective decisions. Also, they are now able to take solve complex business problems. There are various trends that occurs while using IS. Thus, changes in IS has to made in order to work effectively otherwise these changes can affect business operations (Fichman,  Dos Santos  and Zheng,  2014) It will also affect organisation growth and development. Also, business problems can not be solved with this. Therefore, it is necessary to implement current trends in systems so that solution can be found out quickly.

There are any  changes occurring in information system due to market condition. It has forced business to modify their systems so that it can work according to changes. Besides this, organisation problems are becoming more complex (Baglieri,  Metallo  and Iacono,  2014). So for this alternative solutions must be there to solve those. It has enabled business to make modification in systems according to current trends. With these changes problems can be easily solved. The current trends are as follows :-

ESS- in this system current trend is it has now combined with DSS that helps to management in decision making. Now it been designed to determine vision and scope of strategy that helps in solving business issues (Qrunfleh  and Tarafdar,  2014). Also, this process includes three stages that are intelligence, choice and design. With this effective decision can be taken with constant feedback on operations.

Apart from this, MIS needs both internal and external sources of data to process information. By this report is generated only when someone requests for  a particular information. Besides this, automatic reports are delivered when a business problem arises. Moreover, now reports contains detailed information of data that included past data as well. Feedback is given by MIS on basis of operations (Siponen,  Mahmood  and Pahnila,  2014). This helps Marks and Spencer in keeping updated about any change in market condition and developing strategies for new products that can be produced.

Data storing – Each system is having its own database for storing data. This requires more IT infrastructure. It will help in providing accurate data in quick time for decision making. Also, if there is data loss, it can be retrieved easily from database. It has made it easy to solve business problems.

Data processing – There has been significant change in data processing. It has transformed the way of providing useful information (Cummings  and Worley,  2014). This has made it easy to process data without using many resources. Apart from this, business operations can be performed in effective manner. Also, it has made it easy to take daily operational decisions. It has made it easy to solve business problems.

These changes in current trends has made it easy to provide solution for solving business problems. Managers are able to make decisions in proper time so that operations are not affected. Furthermore, data and information provided to them is accurate (.Amador,  Pérez  and Peñas,  2016).

2.3 Evaluate the suitability of Information Systems for different functional areas of Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer can use different information system in different functional areas according to their requirement. It will help in enhancing their operations and increasing quality of product (Baglieri,  Metallo  and Iacono,  2014). Moreover, system will help top, middle and senior level management in managing operations. Each system is having its own features. It depends on organisation needs that how suitable will be the system in various functional areas. Therefore, it is very essential that each system suitability is checked and then implemented. The suitability of IS in different functional areas are as follows :-

Transactional processing system – This system can easily handle the operation of finance department. It can keep and maintain accounts in Marks and Spencer. It can be used in accounting function. Also, is is suitable to Marks and Spencer because company operations are spread worldwide so this system cam maintain data of  each county. It will help in analysing overall performance of Marks and Spencer.

Management information system –This system can be used by top management to develop strategies (Qrunfleh  and Tarafdar,  2014). As Marks and Spencer is MNC so effective strategies are required for growth and development. Moreover, it will keep record of all data in every unit. This will be useful to identify resources, employees, profits, etc. Along with this, it will help in formulating strategies according to market condition in different countries. This system is suitable to Marks and Spencer because it is very big organisation so to develop effective plans managers need support of MIS.

Decision support system – It can be used by managers in middle level management. It can be used in operational function. Also, human resource department can use it to manage work force. It will be easy to take decisions regarding daily operations. It is suitable because decisions are taken on the basis of market situations. These situations varies according to countries economic condition (Siponen,  Mahmood  and Pahnila,  2014). Thus, Marks and Spencer can implement this for taking effective decisions.

Executive support system- This system can be used by top management to develop strategies. It can be used in marketing functions. It will help marketing manager to develop marketing strategies. As Marks and Spencer is MNC so effective strategies are required for growth and development. It is very important to develop strategies so that Marks and Spencer to attract a large number of people in the market and these strategies depends on competitors, target market , product , etc.  as well. Also it will help in finding out vision and scope of strategy.  (Cummings  and Worley,  2014).

Knowledge management system – It can be used in technical work that in sales operation. Sales force can be provided training with the help of this.  Marks and Spencer can use in it their production process for improving quality of product. As Marks and Spencer is having variety of products it can use this to collect information about each product (Amador,  Pérez  and Peñas,  2016). Moreover, it can be used to provide knowledge about change in taste and preference of customers and market condition. Accordingly, product can be developed to fulfil needs of customers.

The suitability of DSS and ESS is limited as it restricts management to analyse internal and external factors on regular basis. It can be used in sector where there are frequent fluctuations in market conditions. Sectors are stock market, commodity, etc. but Marks and Spencer can implement certain information  systems in their organisation. It will help in each function according to their need. With this, strategies and plans can be developed effectively. The integration of overall functions of company will automatically improve its productivity. Strategies can be implemented properly. Communication between each unit will be improved leading to proper managing of operations. This will provide an ease to business by enhancing its performance. System will maintain the data and information through which strategies will be formulated. It will help in the growth and development of Marks and Spencer.

TASK 3

3.1Use an information system to generate valid, accurate and useful information for a given problem

Marks and Spencer is very large organisation. So it is very important to get accurate data so that effective decisions can be taken. If data will not be accurate it will affect operations and strategies to a great extent (Seeber,  Waldhart  and Maier,  2014). Thus, it is essential that proper information system are implemented so that decisions can be taken. Besides this, solutions can be found out for complex problems. Various operations like finance, management, CRM, etc. needs to be integrated to get appropriate information.

For example – a problem arises in human resource department regarding performance of employees. There is no data available about which employee has achieved goal and much resources are been used by him. So management is not able to measure performance of employees. There is no such system. In this case MIS can be implemented. This system will keep records of all data. It will enable HR to know efficiency of employees. MIS will provide accurate data and information of each employee. Thus, by using this HR can analyse data and measure performance of employees. It will also help in allocating resources to each department. Moreover, MIS can be by other department as well. HR can identify each unit efficiency so that shortage or excess of employees can be known. With this, it will be easy for HR to plan for future. Besides this, a systematic process can be developed for performance appraisal.

In this major problem is integration of process while running of numerous applications. In many cases applications are packed, it means they are not designed for single process. So in this it becomes difficult to operate. For solving this issue developers are making changes according to market condition. Marks and Spencer management must hire experienced experts to make changes in their systems (Schnackenberg  and Tomlinson,  2016) For this methods can be developed. It will help in sharing of data significantly. Moreover, integration process is classified as follows. Information portal, data replication, etc. Marks and Spencer must use ESS and MIS system for decision making process. Data collected will be processes by developers in order to identify its accuracy. It will be synchronised by them. At last data will be sent to data warehouse. In this way each centre information can be accessed in proper manner.

3.2 Evaluate alternative methods of solving the problem.

System integration is necessary as it will help in providing alternative solutions for solving complex business problems (Paré,  Trudel  and Kitsiou,  2015) But Marks and Spencer can also implement new systems or methods through which problems can be solved. Sometimes, it can be used in case of emergency. For getting quick solutions methods can be used. Manager does not need to waste extra resources on solving problems. for solving small issues other system can be used.  It will help in improving efficiency of business operations. Also, manager can focus on other areas to improve them. Generally, these system are used by employee that enhances their skills and efficiency as well. The alternative methods are described below :-

Database – every department can install their own database in which data can be stored. Also, a centralised database can be implemented. In this data can be stored according to their designs such as numeric, text, images, etc. (Kerzner  and Kerzner,  2017). This will help in providing information in quick time thus increasing efficiency of business. Moreover, with this effective decisions  can be taken in less time. Furthermore, if there is loss of data it can be retrieved easily. Sensitive data can be stored in this as well.

Client server- Customer makes different kinds of requests. Therefore, Marks and Spencer can implement this  method (Demetis  and Lee,  2017). It will help in processing request faster and providing results. Also, it will set up relationship between customer and Marks and Spencer. This will make it easy to increase customer satisfaction as their demands will be met on time. It will also reduce burden on Marks and Spencer. Customer issues can be solved quickly.

Expert system – This system can be  implemented to resolve conflicts between employees and management. Also, with this issues can be handled and solved. Generally, this system is used by human resource department to manage employees (Baglieri,  Metallo  and Iacono,  2014). It helps them to solve queries, issues, managing human resource, etc. it helps in welfare of employees and creating better environment by reducing conflicts.

Artificial intelligence – It is the most advanced system used by every organisation. In operations like checking bills, security check, etc. requires manual control in Marks and Spencer. Thus, artificial intelligence can be deployed that will help in doing all these. It will also help in keeping eye on employees (Qrunfleh  and Tarafdar,  2014). The burden of Marks and Spencer can be reduced by this. In today’s time companies are entirely dependent on AI. They have implemented it in production process. It had made it easy in  monitoring it. Moreover, a minor defects in products can be detected by AI. Thus, Marks and Spencer can implement it. Furthermore AI has been used in various business operations. It has provided ease to business efficiency and growth. The use of AI has increased in making overall production process automatic. This has resulted in reducing cost per unit and improving quality of product.

Therefore, with all methods Marks and Spencer productivity can be enhanced. It will help in solving problems and issues. The overall organisation effectiveness will be increased without any external resources (Siponen,  Mahmood  and Pahnila,  2014). Each department will be connected with centralised system. Thus, decision making process will be effective.

CONCLUSION:

From this report it is concluded that information system helps in providing effective data to solve business problems. Information system are implemented according to needs of organisation. It depends on nature and size of business. With this it becomes easy for them to maintain smooth flow of operations. There are different types of information systems that are available.  Marks and Spencer can use different information system in different functional areas according to their requirement. It is very important to get accurate data so that effective decisions can be taken. If data will not be accurate it will affect operations and strategies . System integration is necessary as it will help in providing alternative solutions for solving complex business problems

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