Question one: Types of software and software trends are relevant to managers
Personal productivity software
This is the most common application software used by managers to enhance performance on a specified range of common duties. Personal productivity software supports the management and analysis of databases, authoring and presenting data, and tracking notes and activities. This productivity software employs spreadsheet software system that eases analysis of data and to enable a manager connect to different telecommunication networks, enabling information exchange with other managers or systems (Laudon & Laudon, 2012, p. 118).
This software entails provision of information in graphical forms that assist managers to understand different business proposals and performances and in the process designing appropriate decisions to strategically implement or improve on the same (Laudon & Laudon, 2012, p. 121).
Multimedia Authoring software
This software enables managers to design relevant multimedia presentations with great graphic imageries and computer animations with high fidelity sounds. It makes it easy for a manager to move to another issue of discussion from another during presentations and is not obliged to sequentially scan through the information (Laudon & Laudon, 2012, p. 125).
Communication software and web browser
This software allows managers to directly connect to telecommunication networks for information exchange with other firms or customers. The manager is able to send and receive electronic mails and to download programs or data files at a work station from a remote computer. Web browser is a computer program that enables managers’ access to electronic documents and resource materials that are instrumental for management processes (Laudon & Laudon, 2012, p. 128).
Question 2: Recent trends in Information Technology (IT) impact competition and ways to work
The Chief Information Security Officer role (CISO Role) is being employed more and more by different organizations as a corporate security strategy. More complex mobile phones developments, social to guard against fraud, data theft and system hacking. More applications of advanced Encrypted technology by organizations as unencrypted data in the firewall is more prone to detection by hackers. There is a strong urge to increase security operation in organizations using more advanced sensor services, the M2M Devices, and the Embedded Systems. Increased acceptance of biometrics for online identity verifications, for instance, increased application in electrical processes and registration of persons by many countries especially in Sub Saharan Africa. Increased use of Security Automation Devices as a better management device for security to closely monitor market trends, reports, and duly act on any security intelligence (Laudon & Laudon, 2012, p. 132). Increased use of BYO Wearable such as smart glasses and watches by corporate professionals makes IT evolution even more complex. Application of cloud computing technologies allows organizations to compete at higher levels as more companies are able to share, store and use resources cheaply and more flexibly. Cross devise software with quick responses enabling quicker and cheaper programs downloads and installs the same program on more than one devise. Finally, more organizations are starting to encourage their employees to bring their own devices to work to keep them in constant contact with other business partners thereby increasing productivity (Laudon & Laudon, 2012, p. 134).
Question 3: Two examples of specific DSSs used in decision making
DSSs (Decision Support Systems) refer to a category of computerized information system that helps in decision-making processes. Two examples of DSSs include:
Model- driven DSS (spreadsheets with formulas, statistical forecasting model, optimum routing model)
This example of DSS stresses on access to and manipulation of models on statistics, finance, simulation and optimization. Model-driven DSS employs diverse programs and data availed by an expert to assist in deciding and analyzing a situation at hand. Model-driven DSS analyzes a decision and assist in making a choice between ranges of options and mostly used by strategic decision managers, employees of a firm and by interested firm stakeholders (Laudon & Laudon, 2012, p. 148).
Data –driven DSS
Otherwise known as retrieving DSS, or data-oriented DSS, the Data-driven DSS stresses majorly on accessing and manipulating time series data of internal and external organization data. For instance, access to AMMIS data base from January 1989-july 1999 for CH124, and accessing border security database for any current and past incidents in a sector are a few examples of Data-driven DSS. A purchasing manager can use the Data-driven DSS to question a warehouse database incase of a suspected fraud (Laudon & Laudon, 2012, p. 151).
Question 4: Examples of expert systems that are being used to assist in decision making
Expert Systems refer to an intelligent computer program that uses knowledge and reasoning procures to solve difficult problems. The Expert System (ES) only mimic the user’s reasoning and thinking to solve a specified problem (Culnan & Swanson, 2006, p. 289). The ES is not designed to replace the user Expert, they only make their expertise, experience and skills widely used and applied.
ESs applies the use of inference engine (software that combines data input by an expert), neutral networks (majorly mimics human brains), and an intelligent agent (a dormant software unless it detect an event and carry out a prescribed action) (Culnan & Swanson, 2006, p. 289). For example, ESs are employed in medical diagnoses to assist health workers diagnose disease symptoms advice on treatment options. Similarly, ESs usage in evaluation of credit card, analysis of financial reports and in detecting insider securities trading has been a success so far.
Question 5: What is a virtual team, and why do IT managers need new approaches for managing such a team?
A virtual team also referred to as a geographically dispersed team can be defined as a group of people who works across time, space and boundaries of organizations with relatively strong links to communication web technologies. A virtual team possesses complimentary skills with strong commitments to common purposes, interdependent work objectives and common work ethics. Without consideration of location, a virtual team enables an organization to employ and retain the best workforce (Culnan & Swanson, 2006, p. 290). A virtual team grants employees personal flexibility, makes them develop technological sophistication and hence more productive, and in the process giving an organization a competitive advantage over other organizations. Similarly, revolution in Information Technology has enabled organizations (with the help of virtual teams) to pool quality workforce from different parts of the world without necessarily relocating them.
Virtual teams face a number of challenges ranging from building team rapport, technological ignorance and cultural differences. Therefore, in managing virtual teams, IT Managers must ensure that enough resources are available to help purchase and consistently support highly reliable communication devises for all members of a team, a corporate memory system databases and sufficient technical training to team members.
Question 6: Describe the difference between project, program, and portfolio management
Refers to a special process of coordinating and controlling activities with specified start up and finish dates aiming to achieve a set of objectives under constraints of time, cost and resources. Project management mainly aims at creating unique products, services and results with a progressively elaborated scope during and after the project’s life cycle. A well managed project is determined by its compliance to budget, quality of the product and project, time adherence, and level of satisfaction customers derive from it. In project management, project schedule (elaborates duration taken to deliver on the expectations of the project) and proper management of risks (threats) is a prerequisite (Culnan & Swanson, 2006, p. 292).
Program management refers to a process of coordinating related projects with an aim of obtaining benefits and controls and includes elements of related activities outside the domain of a discrete project. Program management, unlike project management, is scoped widely and is more concerned with deriving benefits. Successful program management is characterized by the level of satisfaction (benefits and needs) derived from it. Similarly, a program schedule (which essentially refers to aggregation of the components of the program) is necessary. Unlike in project management, risks in program management are considered opportunities and a program manager designs mechanisms to monitor and control relations and conflicts in departments in an organization (Culnan & Swanson, 2006, p. 293).
Portfolio management refers to effective coordination of a range of projects and programs with an aim of achieving organizational objectives. Portfolio management does not have a viable schedule as individual programs and projects have well defined respective schedules. Risks in portfolio management are considered deviations from general expectations and are managed using a portfolio balance (Culnan & Swanson, 2006, p. 298).
Culnan, M. J., & Swanson, E. B. (2006). Research in management information systems, 1980-1984: Points of work and reference. Mis Quarterly, 289-302.
Laudon, K. C., & Laudon, J. P. (2012). Management information systems: Managing the digital firm. Boston ; Munich [u.a.: Pearson.