lunes, 22 de abril de 2013

IS Projects!!!

I cant avoid to admit that Knowledge Management Systems Class keeps reminding of my Change Management Class! 

We talk about Business projects and project management as well in both classes  which I think it's great because Project Management is the stream I chose for the third term. 

So, to start it is good to say that there is no such thing called IS Projects, they are actually business projects as well. So they should be implemented and manage as good as any business project.

In order to do that, managers need to plan a project. A project is made by making a plan of all the tasks, activities, phases of the projects. The methods to use, the resources, the plan, the staff, dependencies, etc. These plans are well recommended to do it in gantt charts. 

The key components of a project to have into account are all the people involved in it, the structure of the organization, the organizational culture, all the process to be undertaken and the final products. An important thing to say is that in order to succeed it is essential to manage the project succesfully, because as any project there are potential risks of failure. 

Here is a video where you can see a discussion about risks and risk management in projects and information systems projects.

In the next video, Vince Rogers briefly explains how organizations can get a competitive advantage by implementing information systems, he talks about all the things to consider in order to manage sucessfully an information system project.

IMPORTANT! Privacy and Security!!!

The most important thing that managers need to be aware in terms of privacy and security is that it has to be updated as quickly as possible! You cant take the risk of leaving the privacy and security of your company behind. So this should be a priority for managers because the company is always on threats. 

These threats could take many forms, and on this video you can see a 5 mins explanations of how important it is for organizations to protect themselves against those threats. 

Those threats could be internet related or not. 
Internet related threats can take many forms as well. You can perceive them as cyber stalking, cyber terrorism, cyber squatting, brand abuse, denial of service, among others.

Cyber stalking is used among corporations in order to harass other competitors. Cyber terrorism are basically attacks on IS motivated by politics or religions. Cyber squatting refers to selling an internet domain in order to over sale for profits to another party. Brand abuse could be any type of activity made to damage the brand of a company. Denial of service is a type of attack made in order to halt the company's IS. 

Other type of threats are online stock fraud, social engineering and pishing. They are all dangerous threats that managers need to be aware.

However, there are ways to manage those threats by applying software apps that can prevent or help you prevent these type of activities. 

You can see another interesting video about the internet related threats and all the risks that we all face .

E-Business and E-Commerce

It is widely known how the internet has changed everybody's lives in the modernist era. As it has changed our lives, it has also changed our way of buying and making business. Now we don't need to go out in terms to pay bills or just buy a dress! Yeah, it really is making our lives easier.

So companies have seen Internet as a great tool to transform their organizations in order to increase their competitive advantage and becoming more global. Because as we all know, Internet is global. However, not everything is as good as it sounds. Companies also have to face some other issues like privacy and security which I will talk about it in a next blog.

First of all, I think we may all think that e business and e commerce are the same thing. Well, let me tell you about that ladies and gentleman, you are all wrong! yep!I was wrong too!

When we think about e commerce and e business we just think simply. It is about making business through the net.

E commerce as defined by the UK government is : “ The exchange of information across electronic networks, at any stage in the supply chain, whether within an organization, between businesses, between businesses and consumers, or between the public and private sector, whether paid or unpaid”. (Cabinet Office, 1999)

So basically e-commerce is not only about selling and buying through internet. E commerce is all the electronic transactions between an organization and any third party it deals with. Those transactions could take the form as financial transactions and non financial transactions. For example when a customer requests further information about products and services, that could be said it is a non financial transaction.

On the other hand, e business is when a company has integrated the technology into all its businesses process, changing all its business model for a new one called e business. It includes all the process within the organization like marketing, development, manufacturing, logistics, etc.

So it could be said that e commerce is a subset of business.

You can see a nice video below of an explanation about e business and the differences between e business and e commerce in general.

viernes, 8 de marzo de 2013

Decision Support Systems and Information Systems

Information systems are the interaction between the people, their processes, operations and data with technology.  We can see an explanation of Information System in this video:

Decision Support Systems or DSS are basically information systems designed to support managers in solving various management issues in order to improve the decision process at a firm level.

The process of decision making in organizations is divided in five phases: intelligence, design, choice, implementation of the decision and evaluation of the decision.
The intelligence phase refers to the managers using his own effort to search any possible relevant information of the existence of the need to make a decision. This information may come from friends, colleagues, media or expert opinions.
The design phase refers to the information on the range of alternatives available and their implications. For managers, at this point, the first thing to consider is if the system is easy to use.
The choice phase is basically when the manager chooses the best option from those designed ones in the design phase. The most important thing to have in mind in this phase is that the option chosen is the one that will solve the problem. Having made the decision, the final phases are implementation and evaluation.
The next video shows a very brief explanation of Decision Support Systems' flow

DSS comprise tools and techniques to help gather relevant information and analyse the options and alternatives in order to help managers make decisions.
These systems often involve the use of complex databases to create "what-if" models.

jueves, 7 de marzo de 2013

Systems for SMEs

SMEs are basically Small and Medium Size Enterprises. These ones are determined by the number of the staff and either turnover or balance sheet total of the company. According to the EU, Medium size companies are those that have up to 250 employees. On the other hand, small and micro companies have up to 50 and 10 employees respectively.

In these tough economic times, organizations are looking for effective methods to improve the efficiency and profitability of their business.

One way to improve their business efficiency is by implementing new digital technologies and systems in order to facilitate many processes within the organisation and also to gain competitive advantage.

The adoption of technological systems may be divided in three stages which are initiation, adoption, and implementation. The initiation is concerned with gathering and evaluating information about the technological innovation. The adoption is when a decision is made about adopting the technological innovation. When the decision is to go ahead with adoption, the implementation involves implementing the technological innovation in the business.

But why implementing systems in small businesses?

Systems reduce risk, improves profitability, help organizations to grow, improve the way to manage and control information and knowledge. Systems play a key role in providing information for decision making within the organization. That is why they have changed the nature of business significantly.

The areas that small companies should definitely systemize are: Accounting systems, tracking systems, customer service systems, sales marketing systems, inventory systems, general business systems, among others.
The implementation of the system could be on site, cloud or hybrid.
Cloud is an innovative solution for small business because it can help them to save costs. The information will be stored in the servers and provided on line as a service to the company in a pay as you need manner. However, it has some risks too. Like the risks of safety in the confidentiality areas and the dependency on internet to run the system and get information.

sábado, 23 de febrero de 2013

The Cynefin Framework

Cynefin is a welsh Word which for people like me, who don’t speak welsh is pronounced k-neven.
It is a model developed by Dave Snowden while he was working at IBM. 

Cynefin framework is a sense-making model which is used  as a basis (Kurt and Snowden, 2003), because it provides an specifically  understanding of the attributes of complex systems in its non-deterministic definition, while it also gives a way to study such problems, managing the emerging patterns. 

As told by O’Neill (2004), the Cynefin Framework "explores the relationship between man, experience and context" and proposes new approaches to communication, decision-making, policy-making and knowledge management in complex social environments.

The Cynefin framework can help managers to sense in which context they are. This helps them to make better decisions and also to avoid the problems that arise when their preferred management style causes them to make mistakes. 

The framework is composed by 4 domains, the domains are separated into ordered and unordered systems (Snowden, 2005); ordered systems are those in which there is an identifiable link between cause and effect that when discovered allows us to control the future. The unordered systems are those where the relationship between cause and effect do not repeat except by accident, where too many agents interacting prevent predictive models, but where it is sometimes possible to control starting conditions and monitor emergent patterns.

The domains are: simple, complicated, chaotic and complex domain. They are well explained by Dave Snowden himself in the next video:

Many companies around the world have applied the Cynefin framework in order to enhance communication and help managers and leaders to understand the context in which they are operating. For example, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has used it to counterterrorism. Also pharmaceutical companies have applied it to develop a new product strategy. Another example is a Canadian provincial government which used it to assist in its efforts to engage employees in policy making (Snowden et al., 2007)


O’Neill, Louisa-Jayne (2004). "Faith and decision-making in the Bush presidency: The God elephant in the middle of America’s livingroom". Emergence: Complexity and Organisation 6 (1/2): 149-156.

Kurtz, C. F. and Snowden, D. J. (2003). “The new dynamics of strategy: Sense–making in a complex and complicated world,” IBM Systems Journal, ISSN 0018-8670, 42(3): 462-483.

Snowden, D. J. (2005). Multi-ontology sensemaking—a new simplicity in decision making. Informatics in Primary Care, 13, 45–54

Snowden, David J., Boone, Mary E.,. (2007). A Leader's Framework for Decision Making. Harvard Business Review,. 85 (11)