Wjec A Level I.C.T - Importance of up to date, accurate and complete information

Wjec A Level I.C.T - Importance of up to date, accurate and complete information

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  • Created by: Vicky
  • Created on: 08-05-12 11:11

How information aids decision making

information aids decision making in the following ways:

  • the more information there is that is relevant to making the decision, the less risk there is in taking the decision
  • information enables a manager to take remedial action e.g. if a customer owes a large amount of money then no orders should be sent to them until they are up to date with their account.
  • simulations can be performed using spreadsheet software to experiment with "what if" scenarious using the information in order to arrive at a decision
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Up to date

information should always be stamped so that there is no danger of using out-of-date information. if the information is personal information, then under the terms of the data protection act 1998 there is a legal requirement to be kept up to date.

there are a number of consequences of using information that is not up to date, these are a few:

  • if the information being kept is personal and the person whom the information is about suffers loss as a result of information being wrong because it was not updated, then the organisation can be sued.
  • you could send a letter to a customer threatening legal action for a bill that your records show had not been paid when the customer had paid but this had not been up dated on the computer
  • a letter could be sent to someone who has died, which would distress the family of the bereaved.
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Accurate

information from a computer system must be as accurate as it can be because errors can result in the following problems:

  • customers being sent the wrong items - this costs money to sort out and will upset the customer.
  • customers being invoiced the wrong amount- this will waste time sorting out and will also upset the customer and damage any trust that they will have had with the organisation
  • buyers basing their stock order decisions on incorrect sales information resulting in stock having to be sold of cheaply
  • misreading gas or electricity meters resulting in embarrasing mistakes, with ordinary domestic customers being sent bills for thousands of pounds.
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Complete

it is important that all the information is complete, as incomplete information can cause a number of problems including:

  • an order might only be partly fulfilled because an item was not in stock at the time. then the rest of the order is not sent later , resulting in an upset customer.
  • not includinjg the postcode on a letter,resulting in the letter being reciever late.
  • a manager has asked for a sales report and some of the information she asked for on the report is missing, resulting in her having to base a decision on only part of the information, which is more risky.
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Costs of obtaining good quality information - Data

Information is never free , since there is always an associated cost of collecting it in the first place. Therefore it is vital that the costs of obtaining the information does not outweigh the financial benefits from having the information to start with. 

To make sure that this doesn't happen, managements usually perform a costs/ benefit analysis. This is to make sure that the costs in collecting information do not outweigh the benefits obtained.

For example: if certain information results in an increase in profit to the organisation of £200 , yet it costs £250 to collect then it is not worth having the information to start with.usually the information provided by a system will provide them with the following:

  • reduce costs
  • eliminate losses
  • reduce wastage
  • use rescources more effectively
  • provide better management information to aid more accurate decision making
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Costs of obtaining good quality information - Data

Costs associated with the collection of data include:

  • cost of employing an expert to design data collection forms
  • the setting up of questionnaires to collect data
  • the production of online forms to collect data from customers
  • the travelling costs and other expenses involved in people performing interviews
  • the costs of staff employed to work through documents to collect information

Data collection can be direct or indirect. Data which is collected directly by the organisation is called direct collection.

An example of direct collection is where a store collects information it's self about the increase in sales as a result of an advertising campaign for a certain product.

Indirect data collection is where the data is obtained from a third party rather than the organisation collecting it them self.

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Costs of obtaining good quality information - Data

The costs associated with data entry can be divided into:

  • Human resource costs - the costs of any staff performing data entry, the costs of training these staff, the costs of any specialist staff needed for programming etc.
  • time costs- the entry of data, especially using keyboard, takes time. This can slow down the whole process from collecting the data to the production of the final information.
  • hardware costs- sometimes by spending money on automatic methods of data entry using barcoding, optical mark reading, magnetic ink character recognition, speech recognition etc. the human resource costs can be lowered.
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The costs associated with processing and maintenan

once data has been collected and then put on to the ICT system, the next stage is to process it. There are also a number of maintenance activities that will need to be performed such as :

  • keeping data in the database or other system up-to-date
  • taking backup copies of data for security purposes
  • small changes to the structure of the program or database so that the relevant processing can occur.
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The costs associated with processing and maintenan

there are costs associated with the processing and maintenance of data and these costs arise in a number of ways:

Financial costs:

  • data may need to be transferred from one place to another using expensive communication lines.
  • outside firms may be used to ensure that the data is backed up offsite

Human resource costs:

  • specialist staff will need to be given the instructions to the database to process the data by extracting specific details.

Time costs:

  • the backing up of large amounts of data is necessary but time consuming.
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