Information Technology means the usage of software and computers to manage information effectively. It refers to a set of methodologies, processes, equipments and tools to gather, analyse, process and distribute information (Information technology, 2018). This is also used to analyse computer networks which involves overall systems in a company from software to hardware. The following report is based on Sainsbury's, which is one of the biggest retail organisation in the UK and involves value of effective IT systems in an organisation, It includes analysis and use of IT systems with various functions of a company and analysis of ways in which IT systems store and process data for knowledge management, customer relationship management, data as well as communication management. It also involves evaluation of how IT systems can be used to support value-added change and practical IT systems solutions for various organisational scenarios. Read about a selection of Information Technology platform on IMT Custom Machine Company.
1.1. Analysis of use of IT systems with different functions of an organisation
Information Technology is one of the most key aspect in the current business scenario for a company to adopt. This is because with enhancements of technology, IT systems have successfully been used to ease complex functions within an organisation. As per the scenario, there are various functions which could use IT systems in Sainsbury's . These functions are mentioned below:
One of the major function of a firm is marketing. With rise in customer awareness, marketing has become one of the most effective measure to enhance this awareness about the firm and the product is marketing. With innovative techniques for IT systems like HubSpot Marketing and Exponea, Sainsbury's could effectively market its offerings and services to the people. Moreover, these software would help the firm to handle the marketing campaigns with ease. There are various ways in which these systems would help the store:
- Creation of Content: IT systems would help the firm in creation of various graphical and animated content that it could use in its advertising. It could also be used to make compelling videos that would attract target customers easily (Laudon and Laudon, 2016).
- Advertising: IT systems would help the firm in advertising the content to the customers. With various measures and techniques, it would help the firm determine the best medium through which the firm must advertise its offerings. This would help the firm in maximising the return of the campaigns as well as cost-effectiveness.
- Research: One of the most complex function of marketing that could be easily accomplished by IT systems is research. The firm could identify customer trends, wants and preferences as well as effective market opportunities that would help in its growth and sustainability (Rajnoha and et. al., 2014).
Accounting and Finance:
Another major function that Sainsbury's must accomplish with ease is management of cash. It includes effective cash flow engagement, budget allocations, sales forecast, investment management and so forth. There are various software like FreshBooks, Xero, etc. that enable effective finance and accounting management to companies. Sainsbury's must use effective IT systems like these to ease this function. It would effectively help the firm in managing their financial assets as well as would help the firm in record keeping. With proper authorisation, it would even safeguard company's financial resources which could strengthen the firm internally.
It gets quite hectic for any organisation to manage daily operations effectively each day. There are various factors which could hinder this consistency such as underperformance of staff, absence of managers and so forth. Various Transaction Processing Systems (TPS) handle the activities at the operational level of the organisation. This means that it would eliminate chances of such inconsistency and would keep the pace of operations in the organisation.
1.2. Contribution of IT systems in achievement of objectives
For assurance of a long run in the marketplace and to keep up the motivation of employees, it is imperative that Sainsbury's achieve its objectives consistently and effectively. IT systems could help the firm in achieving its objectives in efficient manner. Some of these objectives are described below:
Human Resource Management:
Any organisation, small or big, is required to manage their human resources effectively as they are the drivers of the company (Xiang, Magnini and Fesenmaier, 2015). This is one of the main objectives of Sainsbury's . There are various Human Resource Information Systems that would help the organisation in hiring, training and retaining effective and skilled employees that would contribute in firm's success. It would also help to manage the performance of these employees which could save cost incurred in training and development programmes of the company. The firm could use software like Zoho People and SuccessFactors (SAP) as effective HR software.
Customers are the main reason for a company's existence, IT Systems would help the firm in integrating efforts in maximisation of customers. IT systems would help the firm in providing personal assistance to each customer. These help in distribution of personalised offers and effective management according to their needs which would help the company in retaining its customers. Freshsales and Bitrix 24 could help the firm in enhancing their customer experiences to a great extent.
2.1. Ways in which IT systems store and process data
One of the main agendas of using IT systems in any organisation is to effectively store and process data for various aspects that are necessary to run a firm. IT systems could be an effective tool for Sainsbury's as it contributes in data storage and data processing for elements described below:
Within an organisation, knowledge plays an important role in its growth and effective management. Throughout the life of a company, different knowledge about customers, tools, equipments, market, competitors and so forth is gathered, processed and implemented as an when required (Urquhart and Fernandez, 2016). In case of Sainsbury's , few IT software like Canva and Instacart would enhance this gathering and dissemination of knowledge necessary for the firm throughout its organisational life-cycle.
Customer Relationship Management:
To fulfil its objective of enhancement of customers, it is imperative that Sainsbury's effectively follow Customer Relationship Management. It refers to the interaction and management of company's existing as well as potential consumers. There are various software like SAP CRM and Microsoft Dynamics CRM that would help the company in enhancing its relationship with management. These software would allow the firm to collect personal data of customers, their buying behaviour and patterns, their feedbacks regarding the products and operations of the firm, etc (Pearlson, Saunders and Galletta, 2016). All of this information would be segregated, stored and provided effectively and quickly by these IT system's that would help in the management of the company.
One of the major aspects of an organisation is management of data. It includes all the information regarding the organisation, internal as well as external. It is crucial for Sainsbury's to manage this data effectively to avoid any limitations in the working of the organisation. There are various databases and software like Oracle Database and SAS which would help the firm in managing its data (Ismail and King, 2014).
- Storage: IT systems would convert the raw data into format that could be storable and could effectively help the firm to store large data without wastage of space. It would also help the firm to fulfil its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by avoiding the use of paper for data storage.
- Management: For Sainsbury's , it is important segregate the data in order to enhance its usefulness. IT systems would help the firm in perfectly sorting this raw data so that it could be stored in a systematic manner. This in turn eliminates wastage of time.
- Access: The access of data is an equally important aspect. IT systems provide various security measure to secure this data and provide authorisation to certain individuals in the organisation who would control its access.
With enhancement in technology, it is fairly easier to manage communication within the company. IT systems could organise and manage ways in which communication could easily happen within as well as outside the company. Through Emails, video conferencing and collaboration software, it could provide a platform where communication within each department and within stakeholders could happen with utmost ease (Piotrowicz and Cuthbertson, 2014).
3.1. Evaluation of role of IT systems in supporting value-added changes for improving business performance, operations and sustainability
Change is required in organisations in order to enhance its performance. There are certain value-added changes in Sainsbury's that increase effectiveness in operations and ensure its long term sustainability in the market. An organisation needs to adapt according to certain forces of dynamic business environment. IT systems effectively support these value-added change to ensure overall improvement in the organisation. This evaluation is discussed below:
- Technological Development: One of the most basic and value-added change in an organisation in introduction of new technology. It is inevitable in an organisation to adopt new technologies and equipments that ease their operations and enhance their performance. IT systems could play a major role in adoption of new methods and technologies as it would clearly articulate the induction and the instruction to make employees familiar with the changes. Moreover, it could help the organisation to track efficiencies of employees in working with the new technology (Chang, 2016).
- Strategic Changes: Formulation or modification in existing strategies is another value-added change that is required by a company. In case of Sainsbury's , new strategies are required to be developed in order to stay ahead of the competition as well as enhance its profitability. Effective Strategic Information System would allow the company to acquire knowledge about firm's offerings competitors, processes which would help the firm to develop strategies according to these information. These systems would also help the firm in implementing these strategy and monitor its effectiveness.
- Effective Training: Human Resource in an organisation like Sainsbury's is one of the most important factor in ensuring its long term sustainability. It is required that their performances increase consistently in order to enhance their competence. IT systems can be effectively used to train these employees by tracking and monitoring their performances and segregating them according to their performance. In this way, the organisation would provide them training regarding their job roles. They could also be provided training related to various IT systems that could help them enhance their performances.
4.1. Practical IT solutions for organisational scenarios
Information Technology has been consistent in recent years in covering business problems that hinder the performance of organisations (Wagner, Beimborn and Weitzel, 2014). Various situations are likely to arise in organisations in various sectors where information technology play an important role in solving the issues. Some of issues and their practical IT solutions are discussed below:
SCENARIO 1: INVENTORY MANAGEMENT
Sainsbury's is one of the most effective retail organisation in the UK. It consists of wide variety or products for its customers and has huge storage warehouses for storing their offerings effectively. However, there might be some ineffectiveness and certain items could be stored in different sections (Eason, 2014). These situations are could be a major business problem for such a company. It adds to negative reputation in the market, as well as inefficiencies in its operations. Software like QuickBooks and Odoo could help the firm in proper inventory management. Such system would allow them in proper inventory management. These systems would provide proper segregation of items, and effective management of each section at the time of allocation and dispatch of items of their respective section. IT systems would also allow to manage the items' expiration so that through automation so that customers get fresh and healthy products.
SCENARIO 2: CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT
The Ledbury is a restaurant in London which entertains a lot of guests each day. It is considered one of the best restaurants in the city as well as in the UK. However, the firm might face issues in customer engagement due to such huge range of customers and limited staff. Here's when the role of IT arises in the firm. With the rise of Artificial Intelligence, IT could help the restaurant solve this problem effectively. The restaurant could employ in-built touchscreen feature in each of their tables which could enable customers personally place their orders with ease and without delay. It would also allow them to notify the staff regarding the estimated time which could be a great help to the employees preparing the food items. Thus, such effective IT system would help The Ledbury solve this problem.
SCENARIO 3: LOGISTICS
Logistics refer to the management of a firm's offerings from the manufacturers to its customers. This process needs effective guidance as well as monitoring to successfully and safely deliver the products to the customers. Jaguar is vehicles organisation which is one of the biggest in the UK as well as in the world. The firm manufactures and provide luxury vehicles to its customer all around the world. The biggest problem the firm could face in this is the threat of stealing. The act of theft could definitely hinder its performance and the firm could suffer major loss due to this one problem. IT could effectively solve this problem for the firm (Valacich and Schneider, 2015). The firm could effectively track its vehicles and manufacturing products by developing trackers that are effective and could help the firm in tracking the location of their products. Software like Cloud Logistics could effectively help the firm in tracking and eliminating this threat. It could also be used to determine the safety levels of their cars.
Thus, it is concluded by the report that Business Information Technology Systems could be used to handle organisation's operations effectively. The report covers use of IT systems with different functions of a company. These systems also contribute in achieving organisational objectives. Companies could use IT systems to store and process data for knowledge management, CRM and data management. It is necessary to evaluate the role of IT systems in supporting value-added changes for developing a deeper understanding of its importance. Lastly, IT systems effectively solve various organisational problems through efficient use by organisations in various sectors.
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