All companies use information to establish strategies and achieve objectives of business. A good strategic information management system will aid in reaping benefits for the companies to gain insight to better support strategies and identify crucial relationships among organizations. A good strategic information management will aid an organization to reduce operating cost, improve efficiency and profitability, ensure regulatory compliance, minimize litigation risks etc (Lim, 2010).
This report aims at explaining how data and information is used to have positive impacts of management information system of an organization namely Tesco. Tesco is a British multinational general merchandise and grocery retailer which is headquartered in Cheshunt, England. It is called as the second largest retailer in the world measured by profits after Walmart. Its stores are across 12 countries in Asia, Europe and North America.
The report further explains, how Tesco determines legal responsibilities for dealing with data sourcing, sharing and storing, and analyzes patterns and trends of data and information. It also evaluates decision making tools and techniques available to understand impacts of information on strategic decisions of Tesco.
Data – It is defined as gathering of facts about events. This gathering of facts is often in raw form which means that an unprocessed and unorganized form, which cannot be utilized for any meaningful reason. For example, name, age, gender, price etc (Attia, 2012).
Information – It is defined as a very well-organized, meaningful and well-processed form of data produced from raw data. The end users may utilize this meaningful data while making a decision easily. For example, sales report, employee records etc (Attia, 2012).Features of data and information are explained as under:
In business environment, data is called as the valuable asset for any business. The data must be gathered cautiously because business processes of decision making are based on the produced information from data (Khosrowpour, 2000). While selecting data as well as information for the purpose of decision-making, Tesco must apply some criteria to the selection process which is explained as under:
The criteria as explained above must be followed by Tesco in order to select sound and useful data and information to support decision making in organization.
Impacts of management information system on Tesco are explained as under:
Increasing Productivity and Creativity – Management information system offers knowledge to workforce accessing sources of information. Using the knowledge acquired, productivity of Tesco can be increased quickly in terms of offering more products to consumers with a number of more assortments of products in short time. It can also bring new ideas as well as inspiration into company (Curry, 2006).
Use of Strategic Information Sources – In management information system, the sources of strategic information will aid Tesco in boosting its productivity and bringing new innovation. Company will be capable of undertaking new planning and execute new policies efficiently. Strategic information will enhance the use of sources of information in business to make use of business strategies effectively (Mooi, 2010).
Developing Policies – Management information system will help Tesco to get maximum benefits from collected information to devise policies and make use of them in the most appropriate manner.
Understanding ICT – Management information system also makes it possible for Tesco to use tools of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) effectively to access information. These tools are known to facilitate company to access any sort of information such as researches, products, new developments, competitors, quality standards, communication with customers and employees etc (Zaraté, 2008).
Market and Customer Information – Use of information management system allows Tesco to make use of market information which involves data related with competitors, trends and other factors that can affect decision making of company effectively. It also provides knowledge about customer preferences, niche markets and culture within the society so that effective marketing campaign can be planned and initiated.
Legal responsibilities of Tesco in sourcing, sharing and storing information are discussed as under:
Confidentiality – Special care is required to be taken by Tesco when sourcing, sharing and storing any sort of information and this is to be done in order to fully comply with the Data Protection Act. Company is also required that information about employee or any other part of organization must not be revealed without their permission (Walford, 2002).
Copyright and software Protection – Any type of data, information and software is required to be used by Tesco only under Copyright and Software Protection Act. This clearly means that using someone else work must be permitted or authorized by the person or any firm to which it belongs.
Contractual Obligation – In case of sourcing, sharing and storing of conditional information, Tesco must not violate the conditions which mean that all operations must be in accordance with terms as well as conditions of contract (Rana, 2004).
IS and Crime – This involves frauds which involves dishonestly using information and infringement which further involves breach of rules and regulations, and miss use of information for the reason of making any other company or person unpopular.
Tesco must understand that obtaining, accessing and processing of information must be in according with the Data Protection Act, which is known to offer right to individual organization, person to know what sort of information is held about them, the reason of holding of information as well as assuring to them that any personal information is held properly. The information should be offered and access to it must be allowed in the conditions as discussed under:
Fairly and Lawful Process – According to the first principle, personal data of an individual or organization must be processed fairly as well as lawfully. This clearly means that the data subject i.e. individual or organization has permitted processing of their own or personal information for any legal and legitimate reason such as employment, health and safety, justice etc (Varshney, 2004).
Process for Limited Purpose – According to second principle, any personal data must be acquired and processed for a limited purpose i.e. for one or more lawful purposes. When there is a need to process personal information for further use, then data subject or concerned individual must be informed and further processing must be in accordance with consent of data subject (Somerville, 2006).
Adequate, Relevant and Not Unnecessary – According to third principle, any personal data must be adequate, relevant and not unnecessary with respect to the purpose it was obtained for and processed. This must assure to data subject that processing of their personal data is relevant to the purpose specified and is also not unnecessary.Accurate and Up To Date – According to fourth principle, any personal data has got to be accurate as well as up to date if required. This means that data accuracy must be ensured anything it is obtained directly from subject of data or third party (Culver, 2006).
Information can be offered in various formats throughout Tesco which are discussed as under:
Electronic/Manual – In this type of format, information are offered through means that are electronic which are computer generated such as Ms Word file, E-mail, Excel Sheet, Database etc. Manual information are often offered on papers i.e. handwritten or printed such as manual order book, log books, letters, reports, books etc (Thompson, 2004).
List of Individuals – List of individuals are more of computer generated or manual containing details about Tesco employees, managers and other staff responsible for various task in organization. Usually, this involves names, contacts, designation etc.
Libraries – Libraries are known to be well-structured and well-organized system of data storage used often in computer in order to hold files, folders, pictures, records and videos of data in a suitable order etc (Sutterfield, 2007). Now days, there are a number of electronic libraries that are known to share information and are used in most organizations including Tesco while using large number of manual libraries containing books, research papers, journals and reports etc.
Folders – Folder is a kind of container used by a computer system for arranging and organizing folders, files and programs on a disk in graphical interfaces of user majorly symbolized with an image which is graphical of a file of folder in computer screen or desktop. Manual folders are often used for holding papers and sharing them with a specific format (Abdelazim, 2005).
Documents – Document which is computer generated is any piece of work which is self-contained and is created with aid of an application program saved with some unique file name. This unique name of file is often used to regain that document. It is also one format of offering information.
All the above formats are normally used to offer information in the format which is required by a party.
With the assistance of information system, Tesco can identify and foresee patterns and trends in every facet of business such as competition, market, demands of customer etc. Based on analysis of information, company can make good strategic decisions. This is explained in detail as under:
The Market – Information system analyzes collected data from market and based on this analysis, Tesco can decide about improvement of product quality, increasing productivity, adjust price of product, and deciding about introducing new products in new markets and future plan of organization (Marti, 2004).
The Competition – Based on information market data analysis, Tesco can decide about reduction in price of product, improving quality, enhancing campaign of advertisement, more customers and stakeholders’ facilities, easily availability of products etc. in terms of competition with other similar organizations in industry.
The State of Economy – Based on the analysis of information system, Tesco can offer economical product to customers with low cost and also can make use of available resources effectively (Yeates, 2004). This can be done by reduction in operations time, essential use of materials, required product amount, minimizing defects in operations and production of product.
Legislation Development – Information system is known to enhance the system of legislation of organizations like Tesco. It is also known to be completely compliance with the Data Protection Act, standards and laws of international level and legal rights of region where organization is currently operating. Based on the analysis of information, company can also take up legal steps in order to attract customers, competing well with competitors, utilizing sources of information as well as related hardware and software, and sharing of information significantly (Song, 2005).
Customer Demands – Based on the analysis of information system of the gathered data from market, Tesco can foresee demands from customers in terms of what a customer really wants, areas in products for improvements, probability to introduction of new products, availability of products to customers, needs for change in legislation and policy, customers commitment and complaints as well as advices to them, and whether or not they are happy with current pricing level of products (Kodama, 2002).
There are various sources available in today’s world to assist in analyzing data and information. These sources are discussed as under:
Organizational Sources – Organizational sources involve data, information as well as knowledge which are the most valuable asset for an organization like Tesco. Information in terms of data, information and knowledge must be gathered cautiously and along with legitimacy since the decision-making processes of organization are often based on these functions. Organizational sources involve company financial reports, marketing strategy, production function, company structure and culture and the environment that is responsible to affect decision-making processes of company as well as analyzing data and information (Chan, 2003). All these sources must be identified and organized well in order to keep benefitting from them as they are the most valuable source of information for Tesco.
Technological Sources – Tesco can also benefit from its technological sources of information in order to process organizational data and information in terms of detail of product, employee detail, information for stocks and accounts, manufacturing etc. Appropriate technological sources like hardware such as printers, computer systems etc. and software such as application, database system, tools for data analysis etc. must also be available to managers as well as staff of Tesco (Pattinson, 2002). Using these technological sources will reduce time of production, operations, minimize cost, and enhance communication throughout organization structure and also with its customers and other stakeholders.
People Sources – People sources of information encompass employees, staff and managers of Tesco which are the vital part of organization that can assist effectively in analyzing data as they are known to offer internal data of organization. Internal data such as quantity of manufacturing, stock, cost etc can be acquired by people sources as they use available equipments, computer software and systems etc for the purpose (Pattinson, 2002). In an organization, there are often trained people for operating specialized software and hardware for the purpose of information processing, reporting and analyzing information. These people are responsible for offering data and information for analyzing.
There are a range of tools and techniques for decision-making to support strategic decisions in Tesco and they are explained as under:
SWOT Analysis – SWOT analysis is a kind of tool which provides a company with a structural analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that the organization may be facing. Tesco can use this tool to know what all strengths it already has to exploit them in present so that organizational competency can be improved. Analysis of weaknesses will allow firm to know where it needs to improve so as to keep competitors from outperforming the firm (Fensterseifer, 2002). Opportunities will aid organization to develop and expand its business and threats will have business gain insights into present as well as future uncertainties that can affect in a negative manner. By using this tool, Tesco can strengthen its strategic decision making.
Critical Success Factor – Critical success factor helps an organization identify factors within its structure and layout that are the most competitive and strong and can be used to exploit opportunities in market. These factors can be identified and used by Tesco in order to outperform competitors and acquire competitive advantage in market and industry. This will help firm to shape its strategic decisions which will further lead to attainment of goals and objectives (Williams, 2001).
Data Mining – It is the process of data analyzing from different perspectives. There is software for data mining which can be used by Tesco and this software can act as a tool available to analyze data from different angles, and categorize data to identify their relationships with each other in a summarized manner. This can lead to strategic decision making when relationships among data are known.
For higher level of management information, Tesco can use different methods for information evaluation in order to ensure reliable and trusted information management system. These methods are discussed as under:
Data Governance – Data governance is called as the overall data management employed in a firm. It ensures availability, usability, security and integrity of the data employed. A governing body or council is known to run a well-organized program of data governance will a well-defined range of procedures as well as plans for implementation of defined procedures in the right direction (Song, 2005). Three key elements of data governance are ability of using timely, trusted, reliable information for driving business, enhancing quality of decision-making of business, and ensuring consistent information use.
Management Information Value – Management information value is another method that analyzes the value of information by undertaking a number of aspects such as timeliness, content, format, cost etc. These aspects are significant for evaluating because they are the factors that shape authenticity as well as quality of information in hand.
Timeliness involves bunch of information to be acquired on time so that it does not become isolated. Content of information decides as to what is required and what is involved in the current bunch in hand of Tesco. Format is important as it helps in understating everything involved in the bunch in hand (Spiliopoulou, 2006). In the same manner, cost must be economical and not so high so that overall cost of collecting information from different sources can be managed.
Process of analyzing impact of information on strategic decisions to be made is discussed as under:
Set Objective of Process – Information analysis facilitates decision-maker to develop and establish objectives as well as allocating resources that are required for attainment of these objectives in Tesco. Thus, Tesco’s top level management is getting advantaged from analyzing information in making developing strategic planning (Durmaz, 2007).
Evaluate Achieved Goals – Information system also allows Tesco to evaluate whether its goals and objectives are achieved or not. In case of failure, redefinition of process is done with using more of resources, care, expertise and carefully investigating to ensure outcomes’ quality.
Assess Reasons for difference from Target to Actual – The diagnosis of performance is carried out by relating knowledge to performance to ascertain whether or not operations, processes and functions are producing quality outcomes. Each process is evaluated carefully to check that overall process is running smoothly (Curry, 2006).
Revising and Implementing New Approaches – If there are any mistakes in the current process then they are retested and revised. Sometimes attainment of desired goals is done through new approaches which are implemented and sometimes problems in attainment of outcomes lead to modification in goals (Zaraté, 2008).
Methods of developing information to capture, inform and support strategic decision-making in Tesco are discussed as under:
Tesco can use this model from both the sides. The technology side will help organization in making strategic decision by collecting data, converting it into information and knowledge, then using them for driving actions from customers and acquiring results. In the other case, the results as acquired from actions of customers are collected and gathered as knowledge, then information and data which are to be analyzed and evaluated in order to understand them and later on coming up with customer-oriented approach (Murray, 2002).
ASHEN Model – Ashen model is used for knowledge quality assessment at the points like decisions, problem solutions, solution creation, judgment and learning points. These points are also called as factors that are used for making strategic decisions in the right place as well as direction (Rana, 2004). They also help in finding solutions in suitable manner and finally facilitating end user to learn distinct approaches for desired task solution. It will help Tesco in identifying solutions to problems in hand and thereby making sound strategic decision-making.
The report has explained features of data and information which are useful for an organization. It has also explained the importance of information sharing in the organization and thereby acquiring various benefits of it.