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7.05 - IT for the support processes

Take a Process View of the Business

The support services shown below are those which provide essential administration (accounting and personnel administration systems) support to the core value-added business processes of new product introduction and manufacturing operations. One of the prime roles for IT is to provide information in simple and well constructed forms to support decision making and to facilitate the operation of a team in their meeting their measures of performance (MOP’s).

A Business Process Structure

Principal Support Processes

  • Facilities maintenance
  • Information and communication systems support
  • Inbound materials logistics
  • Outbound materials logistics
  • Customer enquiry and order processing
  • Health, safety and environmental protection and control
  • The customer billing and invoicing process
  • Financial administration and payroll
  • Commercial administration and pricing policy
  • Personnel development, administration and support

They must be performed efficiently and cost effectively so as to enhance the competitiveness of the business. The role of IT in these areas is to contribute efficiency and cost reduction of the operations they support by:-

  • Providing cost effective information processing and flow so reducing the effort involved in carrying out routine clerical tasks
  • Avoiding wasteful and repetitive data capture
  • Providing a simple integrated information database
  • Provision of Executive Information Systems (EIS) or Decision Support Systems (DSS) to improve speed and accuracy of decision making

The support processes are rarely unique to one business and the most effective way of using IT to support these areas is to use packages (or standard) commodity software. There is an abundance of software on the market in all these areas providing:-

Basic data collation and processing

The reporting processes

Some typical standard commodity software infrastructure (many now available as Open System) elements for administrative information flow management and processing are:-

  • Spreadsheets
  • Word Processing
  • Graphical Presentation Software
  • 4th Generation Languages
  • Relational Database Platform
  • Report Generators and Writers
  • Graphical User Interface

All the above are usually designed to be deployed on Local Area and Wide Area networks (LAN’s and WAN’s).

Decision Support Systems

Decision Support provides the means for selecting, manipulating and presenting the important information required as a basis for decision making as shown below:-

Benefits of Decision Support Systems

  • Improves personal efficiency
  • Speeds up the process of decision making
  • Increases organizational control
  • Encourages exploration and discovery on the part of the decision maker
  • Speeds up problem solving in an organization
  • Facilitates interpersonal communication
  • Promotes learning or training
  • Generates new evidence in support of a decision
  • Creates a competitive advantage over competition
  • Reveals new approaches to thinking about the problem space
  • Helps automate managerial processes
Further Reading