MIS Theory & Concepts -2

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Nov 30, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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MIS Theory & Concepts
-
2

General Systems Theory

Cybernetics

Data & Information

Organisational Context


Problems


How? Why? What? ….


What is it all about ??



Researchers / Thinkers Philosophers
-

from earliest times trying to answer
this question


The question applies to everything from the universe to the smallest particle of the atom


Early questions


was the Earth Flat / Round


Latest endeavours

»
Sending probes to outer space


is there life out there??

»
Large Hadron Collider


searching for the
Higgs Boson


why do elements which have
no mass combine to produce matter which has mass??



Once there is an understanding of the ‘problem’


we can predict what will
happen in the future


If we understand the behaviour of a ‘problem’


we can model what will happen if we introduce
new variables into the problem


Examples:

»
understanding the living cell so that we can predict how it will react to new drug
therapies, etc

»
Understanding weather patterns so we can model and hence predict how weather will
affect our economy, safety, food production, etc

Approaches to looking at problems


A number of approaches to looking at problems :



Reductionist approach



Break the problem down into its smallest components and examine these components in
isolation to get an understanding of the overall problem


This is the approach by Physicists, Chemists and Biologists to try to understand the nature of
matter the world we live in


Also called the analytic approach



Systems Approach



Looks at the context of the problem


i.e. the interactions and connectedness of the individual
components involved in the problem scenario


Example


look at all the cells in a particular structure and how they interact


Allows you to model the structure rather that the individual cell


Also called the holistic approach





General Systems Theory


First proposed by

Ludwig von Bertalanffy


a biologist



Recognised that living organisms could not exist in isolation



Living organisms removed from their surroundings soon die due to lack of
oxygen, water , food, etc



Organisms are
Open Systems


They continuously exchange matter and energy with their environment


The interact with other systems outside themselves



The environmental interactions has 2 components


Input:


What enters the system from outside


Output:


What leaves the system for the environment



System and Environment separated by a
boundary


Example: in living systems


the skin acts as the boundary


A system in interaction with its environment

environment

system

throughput

boundary

General Systems Theory (contd…)


Definition:


“Systems Theory
: the transdisciplinary study of the abstract organization of phenomena,
independent of their substance, type, or spatial or temporal scale of existence.”



Transdisciplinary


Physical, Physiological, Chemical, Sociology, Psychology, Financial, Mathematical,
Philosophical, Etc



To give a better understanding of how the system behaves



Systems can be broken down into Sub
-
systems, and sub
-
systems further
broken down into sub sub systems




Subsystems interact and respond to each other


E.g. the sub divisions of any business



»
Marketing

»
Sales

»
Production

»
Finance

»
Etc



An organisation can be said to consist of
three
major subsystems:


An Organisational Structure


A technological System (including MIS)


A Social System

Systems and Cybernetics


Cybernetics essentially deals with the ability of systems (technological, biological and
social) to exercise control over themselves to reach a goal



“Cybernetics”

comes from the Greek word (
kybernetes)
meaning
‘the steersman’


(to reach a destination by steering a course)



The word ‘cybernetics’ evolved into the Latin word
‘guberno’

‘to govern’ and hence
the word government (control of a people)


first used by Plato
.



In modern times, the term became widespread because Norbert Wiener wrote a book
called "Cybernetics" in 1948. His sub
-
title was "control and communication in the
animal and machine". This was important because it connects control (i.e., actions
taken in
hope

of achieving goals) with communication (i.e., connection and
information flow between the actor and the environment). So, Wiener is pointing out
that effective
action

requires
communication
.



Cyberspace


a place to be steered or navigated



the web!





Elements of a Cybernetic System


Information


Control


Feedback


closed loop


Communication

environment

system

throughput

boundary

feedback mechanism

Complex, Adaptive, Self Regulating Systems

Examples of Cybernetic Systems:
foxes and rabbits

Further Cybernetic systems:

CO
2
Balance

Increasing the CO
2
in the atmosphere (through cutting trees and burning fossil fuels


Greenhouse effect

A possible outcome is that the heating of the earth will stimulate more plant growth


which
would absorb more CO
2

thus having a cooling effect

Machine Cybernetic systems:
Robots


Autopilot on planes and boats


Automatically steer a course using GPS (Global Positioning System)


Compare

Alter Course

+ /
-

Comms

Destination

Current
Position

Cybernetics and the Organisation


The role of Management Information Systems in the Closed Loop System


Business Strategic Goals


Reduce Costs


Increase market Share


Increase Quality

Compare

Operations

Management

MIS

Strategic
Goals

Where
are we
now?

+

-

MIS


the Instrumentation View


MIS are the instrumentation of an organisation



The MIS interface provides the ‘dials and gauges’ that allow the
controllers / managers to read off the current state of their organisation



They record and model all or part of the organisations activities and
provide indicators of any actual or predicted change in state.



Of most value, they record or predict the rate, direction and timing of
such changes.



All business events

(issuing and invoice, goods delivery, product payment, staff
salary, holidays, etc)
provides the raw material for the MIS
-

data



Conceptual Model of an MIS sub system

Input System

Edit & Validate

Process

Storage System

Output System

GUI,

Data Collection tools

Validation scripts

i.e. javascript

Database engine,

Data mining

Data manipulation

Mathematical
Modelling

Object creation

Output Graphics,
Charts, Reports, DSS

Data
Communications,
LAN, WAN, etc

The system may be distributed across one or more locations

Conceptual Model and MIS endeavours


The conceptual MIS subsystem model is itself composed of sub systems


Each box on the model represents one field of MIS endeavour


Interface Design


HCI (Human Computer Interface)


Data Storage


database models


centralised


distributed
-

ORB


Data Communications


LAN, WAN, WiFi protocols, switching, etc


Simulation and Modelling
-



This is in the context the broken line feeding from
output

to
input


Data generated by the simulation packages is fed back into the input which generates
perturbations

in the system


The new output then reflects how the organisation could respond to the change i.e. economic
slowdown


The relative importance of the parts has changed over time



Early MIS systems emphasised the data input module


Nowadays, the emphasis is on data mining and presentation


Critical evolution in has been from concentrating on a technical product to focussing
on the Business value of MIS


Also an acknowledgement of the need for human value judgements to support
effective actions


judgements need on:


Which organisation activities to record


To what extent to monitor them


What format to display the results





Key Elements of a Management Information
System


MIS deals with the co
-
ordination and use of
three

very important
organisational resources:


People


Information


Information Technology



People use information technology to work with information



The primary aim of MIS therefore is to support the
goals

and
objectives
of the organisation as driven by competitive pressures and
determined by appropriate business strategies


Data, Information, Business Intelligence


Data:


Raw facts that describe a particular phenomenon


current temperature, price of
a car, customer address, etc



Information:


Data that has a particular meaning within a specific context


The current temperature becomes information if you are deciding what to wear


2009 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti F1 Coupe


EUR 350,000


is
not
information ( to most of us )



Business Intelligence:


Collective information


about your customers, your competitors, your business
partners, the competitive environment, and your own internal operations that
gives you the ability to make
effective

and often
strategic

business decisions

Data and Information Example

In an Excel cell you can
store a single piece of data.
Here the cell contains the
number 21
-

-

i.e. your age

Data becomes information when it takes
on meaning. Here, the information is a
list of all ages of all customers, which
starts to provide insight into your
customers

Average Age:
22.8

Youngest age:
21

Oldest age:
25

0
1
2
3
4
5
6
21
22
23
24
25
Age Distributions
21
22
23
24
25
Business Intelligence

Workbook containing many pieces of information for each
customer


Business Intelligence

We know gender of each customer

We know the number of vouchers used by each

We can compare how men and women use the vouchers


We build up a profile of our customers


Business Intelligence

Information is a more complete picture of multiple data points


In the example
age
was a single piece of data while
information was the collective ages of all the customers


Business intelligence


extends that information to include
gender behaviour, use of vouchers, total purchases, etc

Knowledge


Knowledge builds upon:


Data


Information


Business Intelligence



You acquire knowledge in a business or field through practice over time
using information and intelligence



Knowledge


a broad term to describe many things:


Provides c contextual explanation for business intelligence


Points toward actions to take to affect business intelligence


It can include intellectual assets


patents and trademarks


IP


Includes organisational know
-
how for things such as best practices, etc



Knowledge


why more women use vouchers


there placed in women’s magazines


knowledge of the
marketing strategy


Knowledge


what actions to take to get more people on PLAN B


to increase sales.