Business Processes and Information Systems

What are business processes?

Business processes are a series of interrelated activities or tasks aimed at accomplishing particular objectives in a company or organization. Business processes often involve the flow of knowledge, information, or material through various departments or segments in a business in a set of connected procedures or activities. Usually, the business processes are cross-functional but may be limited to a specific functional area in cases where an organization is specialized in its operations. Some of the common business processes include human resource management, finance and accounting, sales and marketing, and manufacturing, among others.

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Relationship between business processes and information systems

Business processes and information systems are related because they share several similarities. The first relationship between the business processes and the information systems is their purpose in achieving business objectives. For instance, organizations use information systems to enhance the efficiency of their operations and processes by improving the flow of information. Similarly, organizations use business processes to enhance the efficiency of their operations by improving the flow of materials to improve production.

Another connection between the business processes and information systems is that they involve different inputs that are processed to produce a specific output. Finally, information systems are necessary for enhancing the execution of business processes by allowing various departments to perform tasks simultaneously.

Define business processes and describe the role they play in organizations

Business processes involve several structured tasks or activities that are related and aimed at producing particular products or services for a specific segment of customers. Business processes such as the operational, management, and supporting processes are crucial in organizations because they enable the organizations to operate efficiently and achieve the organizational goals. Incorporating different business processes increases the flexibility and response of organizations to dynamic business environments. Organizations often design their business operations to be performed by multiple functional units to produce flexible process chains.

How do systems serve the different management groups in a business, and how do systems that link the enterprise improve organizational performance?

Companies use several business systems such as transaction processing systems, executive support systems, and decision-support systems, among others, to improve the efficiency of business processes. The transaction processing systems are necessary for managing the routine transactions in a business, while the executive support systems provide the senior management with vital data necessary in making business decisions.

The decision-support systems integrate advanced analytical models to allow an organization’s management to make vital decisions quickly. Business systems that connect various operations in enterprises help in enhancing organizational performance by improving the flow of information and allowing fast decision making that increase organizational response. The business systems also enhance security and accountability in transactions, and this helps in minimizing the risk of financial losses due to fraud.

Describe the characteristics of Transaction Processing Systems (TPS) and the roles they play in a business

Transaction processing systems have four crucial characteristics that include controlled processing, inflexibility, reliability, and rapid response. Controlled processing in the transaction processing systems involves supporting, enforcing, and maintaining particular requirements or operations in an organization with minimum fluctuations. Inflexibility in the transaction processing systems implies that the systems process each transaction in a similar manner regardless of the client, time, or operator.

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The inflexibility is vital because it helps in preventing non-standard operations that would result in inconsistency in business operations and outcomes. Reliability of the transaction processing systems implies that the systems must have very low failure rates to prevent disruptions in business operations. Additionally, the systems should have fast and accurate recovery and backup procedures in situations where an actual breakdown of the transaction processing system occurs. Finally, the rapid response of the transaction processing systems implies that the systems must have a low turnaround, and this helps in reducing delays in production and customer service.

Describe the characteristics of Management Information Systems (MIS) and explain how MIS differs from TPS and DSS

Management information systems are designed to provide an organization’s managers with information needed in making decisions, and this indicates that the management plays a central role in designing the systems. Additionally, the management information systems integrate various functional and operational activities performed by the management. The centralization of the systems gives the management enhanced control over information flow and business operations.

Effective management information systems integrate different data relevant to an operation to form meaningful projections that allow the managers to make informed decisions. Finally, the management information systems must provide all the vital information needed in making a complete managerial decision.

The difference between management information systems and transaction processing systems is that the transaction processing systems collect primary data from business operations. On the other hand, the management information systems use secondary data that include compressed and summarized data derived from the transaction processing systems to make business decisions. Furthermore, the management information systems use data derived from internal sources, while the decision-support systems use externally sourced data in addition to data from the MIS and TPS. Additionally, the DSS is flexible, while MIS is designed to be inflexible.

Describe the characteristics of decision-support systems and how they benefit businesses

The first characteristic of DSS is that the systems provide interactive surfaces that allow users to control various routine processes. The decision-support systems are also used to offer and facilitate ancillary services to the users instead of replacing the middle-level decision-makers. DSS benefit businesses by offering complex tools for collecting and analyzing data to facilitate decision making. DSS also provides interactive and user-friendly interfaces that ease business operations.

Describe the characteristics of executive support systems and explain how these systems differ from DSS

The executive support systems are tailored to support specific senior management in making decisions. The executive support systems often integrate data from different departments in an organization to give the senior management increased insight into business operations. The executive support systems also focus on long-term, non-routine, and strategic decisions, while the DSS focuses on diverse and short-term objectives. Organizations often use DSS in making routine decisions.

Explain how enterprise applications improve organizational performance

Contemporary organizations operate in highly dynamic and competitive business environments that demand increased flexibility in responding to unpredictable situations. Furthermore, the organizations must enhance their customer service delivery, improve the execution of business processes and speed of production, among others. The use of enterprise applications allows organizations to integrate different operations across diverse business units and levels to generate a consolidated overview of business activities. Additionally, enterprise applications enhance the flow of information between businesses and other entities, such as suppliers, customers, and regulatory bodies.

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Define enterprise systems, supply chain management systems, customer relationship management systems, and knowledge management systems and describe their business benefits

Enterprise systems refer to the computer programs used by complex organizations to support data analytics, reporting, exchange of information, and business processes. Benefits of enterprise systems include enhancing customer satisfaction, improving efficiency and coordination, and enhancing organizational flexibility.

Supply chain management systems are software systems used in controlling information, finances, and materials as they move from suppliers to consumers. The benefits of supply chain management systems include tracking the movement of goods, enhancing coordination, and reducing inventory, among others.

Customer relationship management systems are computer programs that help in analyzing and managing customer data and interactions with the aim of enhancing customer satisfaction and retention. The benefits of the customer relationship management systems include consolidation of customer data for marketing and sales purposes.

Knowledge management systems are information technology systems used for storing and retrieving data used in enhancing collaboration, accessing knowledge, and mining hidden data. The benefits of knowledge management systems to businesses include extraction, storing, and distribution of information used in improving business processes.

Why are systems for collaboration and social business so important, and what technologies do they use?

The systems for social business and collaboration are important because they help in enhancing communication in organizations and improving brand presence. The social business and collaboration systems are also important because they allow organizations to respond to changing business environments. Some of the technologies used in social business and collaboration systems include cloud collaboration services such as Cyberlockers and Google Tools, virtual meeting systems, Microsoft SharePoint, and IBM Notes, among others.

Define collaboration and social business and explain why they have become so important in business today

Collaboration refers to the process of involving other individuals in a combined effort to achieve explicit and shared goals. Social business refers to the use of internal and external social networking platforms to engage suppliers, customers, and employees in business operations. Social business and collaboration are important in contemporary businesses because they enhance innovation, information sharing and enable organizations to respond to the changing business environments.

Describe a supportive organizational culture and business process for collaboration

A supportive organizational culture integrates employees in organizational decision-making and growth regardless of the employees’ hierarchy. In a supportive organizational culture, the low-level employees are empowered to participate in decision-making, and the organizations use hybrid communication structures that allow vertical and horizontal communication. The business processes for collaboration include building teams and rewarding them for organizational success instead of individual employees.

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List and describe the various types of collaboration and social business tools

Some of the social business and collaboration tools include handheld devices that allow employees to communicate with each other or with their clients. Businesses also use instant messaging, social networking sites, and email to communicate and collaborate with individuals in distant or remote locations. WebEx, Groove, and Lotus Notes allow employees to communicate through video conference and store documents over the internet. Other social business and collaboration tools include Wikis that facilitate the sharing and storage of information and Google Apps used for activities such as sharing videos, spreadsheets, and text, among others.

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