Businesses need information that's timely, useful, cost-effective, accessible, organised and accurate. Therefore, information systems must be constantly maintained and upgraded to meet the company's expectations and customers' needs. To do this, managers must be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of these systems.
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Maintaining a state-of-the-art information system involves five elements, including hardware, software, data, people and process. Hardware must be reliable and must be equipped to handle various workloads. Software must carefully be designed and evaluated for its effectiveness. All data must be entered accurately into the computer. Selectively trained staff should be skilled and knowledgeable enough to handle the latest information systems, and users must be taught how to operate the system.
A good information system allows the user to access, understand and respond to information quickly and effectively. Whenever necessary, users can get the most accurate information needed to do an activity. A good information system also offers users a variety of ways to change and present information, as well as perform different tasks. For businesses, this capability -- changing data into useful information -- is invaluable for good business success and problem solving.
Information systems may not always function properly. This happens for a number of reasons. Systems break down, interrupting smooth operations and causing customer dissatisfaction. For instance, customers may be charged for the wrong services or for merchandise that they did not order. Also, defective information systems can deliver the wrong information to other systems, which could create further problems for the company and its customers. Furthermore, systems are vulnerable to hackers and fraud.
When Systems Fail
Companies are responsible for correcting the defective operation of their information systems in order to avoid loss of revenue and customer loyalty. However, information system failure must be expected at times due to growth pains. As the company grows, the information system usually grows with it. However, when information systems break down, customers should be notified immediately, informed of the problem and the time it will take to fix it. Immediately informing customers of what's going on goes a long way in proving the company's reliability.
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