AS Level ICT - Topic 5 Capabilities and Limitations of ICT

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ICT over Manual Methods of Processing Data - +ves

Repetitive Processing

- Computers are very good at repetitive processing and repetitive processing can perform a mail merge, send the same e-mail to everyone in your e-mail address book etc.

Speed of Processing

- Depends on speed of processor, speed of communication and speed at which the data arrives for processing

 - Faster data can be processed, faster results or output is produced

Data Storage Capacity

- Organisations have realised that the more data they hold the more they can process data to produce useful information e.g. supermarket through its loyalty scheme

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Speed of Searching

- Computer-based searches are faster and it is easier to produce searching conditions which will only allow specific information to be extracted

Accuracy

- Humans make mistakes whereas computers don't (if programmed correctly) which means that the accuracy is much higher with computer-based systems

Speed of Communications

- A majority of companies communicate with each other using networks due to the fact that manual methods are too slow e.g. lots of companies promise delivery of goods within 24 hours from placing an order and without the use of networks / Internet this would be impossible

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The Ability to Produce Different Output Formats

- Complex numerical data can be put into different formats like text and tables

 - A picture can save a thousand words and being able to change output formats is a huge advantage of ICT

The Ability to Search and Combine Data in many Different ways that would Otherwise be Impossible

- Modern databases allow huge stores of data to be searched using complex search conditions

 - For example, the police can search for all white Ford Fiestas with registration numbers that start with the letters MT and end in 08 - IMPOSSIBLE USING A MANUAL SYSTEM

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Improved Security of Data and Processes

- Data is easily backed up -> Data can be copied (copying manual data takes time and you have to have somewhere to put it)

 - Fewer mistakes are made during processes -> Lack of human involvement = fewer mistakes

 - Better security of data -> Protected by passwords and only certain staff are given permission to change data

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Factors Affecting the Efficiency of DPS

Effects of Hardware

- Certain software will only run on hardware that it is able to run on

 - Speed at which the rocessing haens is reliant on the type and speed of the processor and the quantity of RAM

 - More RAM = More program instructions and data can be held

The Effects of Software

- Poor software can be frustrating for users and it is difficult to use or doesn't work in the way that the user expects it to

 - There can be bugs or errors which lead to the computer crashing (this can cause work to be lost)

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Factors Affecting the Efficiency of DPS Continued.

The Suitability of the Operating System

- New application software requires the latest version of OS software to run on

 - Some new applications software won't run using older OSs and some older applications software won't run with new OSs

The Effects of Communication

- Must be communication between the developers and the users of the system at all stages of development otherwise the users won't know what they are doing

The Effects of Input (GIGO = Garbage In Gargabe Out)

- System cannot produce some output because further inputs are required which weren't thought of at the time of development

 - Inputs aren't accurate because the data validation and verification techniques aren't comprehensive

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Limitations of Data Processing Systems

Problems and Limitations

The Nature of Computer Software - Issues include ability to transfer data, bugs, compatibility and poor design of software

 Changes in Circumstances During Development - Businesses need to adapt quickly to change which therefore means that they need to change their systems regularly to cope with the new demands of the business -> However some systems take a long time to design and implement and during this time the needs of the business change which means this is a waste of time and money

Organisations are Constantly Changing - There is also a necessity for the information systems they use to change too e.g. mergin with other companies or being bought out

Speed of Implemation - Systems need to be developed quickly to be useful which can cause problems like insufficient testing and this can cause the software to crash (not tested for bugs)

Compatibility - Needs to be compatible with data, software and hardware

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Limitations of Data Processing Systems Continued..

Insufficient Testing - Thorough testing hasn't been done causing frustrating software, irrelevant software (doesn't do what it is meant to do), incorrect results and undetected bugs

Poor Communications with User - User or anyone who has interest in the system should be consulted during every stage of development and poor communications can cause the system not matching the user's needs

Abilities of the User - Developer should find out about the skills of users and the systems should consider this when being developed -> If this isn't done, problems occur like user frustration, increased training costs, delay in tasks (help desk calls) and resistance by users to use the software

Poor Post-Implementation Procedures - Ensures that system is performing as it should do and if not then it should be changed so it does, ensures that bugs and problems with software are recorded and reported so they can be corrected and ensures that support is given to users if it is required

Maintenance Procedures - Problems include not taking regular backup copies of programs and data, not updating software regularly and not changing password regularly

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Limitations of Data Processing Systems Continued..

Cost - Limits amount of time spent producing systems, amount of hardware and software whch can be bought, staff training and ability to do regular updates

Hardware - All systems must be fully justified financially and there has to be a good reason to replace older hardware with newer hardware

Support - Some users may feel that they aren't given appropriate support e.g. feel that hardware problems aren't dealt with fast enough and that they haven't been given appropriate user training

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