Some of the main categories under which these procedures fall are: Information path flows Records management systems Prioritizing jobs Ensuring privacy in multi-user environments Assigning passwords in multi-user environments
INFORMATION PATH FLOWS To show the big picture, data flow paths can be used, set across an appropriate background context. The background might be of departments or managerial decision levels or a data structure diagram.
Fig. 5.4.2 is an example of a diagram that represents the data flow paths. State Manager Western Northern Eastern Southern Manager Manager Manager Manager Store Managers Store Manager Personnel Store Deli Groceries Hardware Admin.
Whatever the representation chosen, once the flow path is documented and displayed for all staff to see. It acts as reminder to follow the established information handling procedures It also guides systems manager, when installing new programs and allocating passwords, on who should have access to what (see Fig. 5.4.1)
Figure 5.4.1: Password allocation Computer Services Head office FILE SERVER APPLICATION Head office Brunswick Deli P Admin. P Word processing P Eastern P A A A Region A S S S S FrankstonFruit and Fresh Spreadsheets S S S Western S Veg. Produce W W W Region W O O Accounting O O Dandanong Diary R R R R Groceries Southern D D Database D Region D St. Kilda Accounts Presentation Northern Region
RECORDS MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS Procedures for managing records include for example, making sure that records are printed in a particular order. A small sports club with a simple spreadsheets, database and wordprocessing package might insist that the surname field in the members’ file is always sorted alphabetically when lists are printed, as in Fig. 5.4.3.
Figure 5.4.3: Produce for sorting surname field alphabetically Member Surname First name Member Surname First name Number Number 1 Jameson Slyvia 4 Alberto Jo 2 Brown Alex 2 Brown Alex 3 Silvano Frank 1 Jameson Slyvia 4 Alberto Jo 3 Silvano Frank Sort A to Z Alphabetical sorting allows easy access to member informationMembership numbers areassigned as new members join.
In larger organizations, the clients’ personal information tables, stock lists and transaction records are all saved in different files. These files are constantly interacting electronically. Procedures for managing these files need to be electronic to keep up with the speed at which the actions are happening.
A set of programs written to manageOpeningClosingProcessingSavingPrintingof files is a records management system.
Libraries, video hire shops and equipment hire business lend goods to customers for a fee. Lending businesses need two databases: one for their stock and another for their borrowers personal details. Records management systems match the item loaned to the borrower’s record.
This creates a relationship between the two data-bases while that item is on loan. These are called relational databases. Fig. 5.4.6 shows an example of how relationship is created.
Key Field Key Field Borrower Surname Borrower Video Video Title Number Number Number Number 241 Christos 55621 All the Kings 389 Johnson 389 02749 15872 Jenny 742 Adams 14146 Red Riders 381 Nygen 12981 Runners 629 Polizia 02749 Three Mice Borrower/member Video database file database file Borrower number is attached toFigure 5.4.6: Creating s relationbetween key fields Video number
Medical clinics have a database which includes;patient recordsdrug and medication inventory accounts and Medicaresocial security reports.
The records management systems available to medical practices have electronic procedures which;open the patient fileupdate the informationprint an accountclose the filestore it back on hard disk.
PRIORITIZING JOBS In many organizations situations arise in which a non-routine project has to be completed by a certain date. The organization might be having its fiftieth anniversary, for instance, and the directors may decide to compile a history of the company.
This means that managers have to think about who should do the various tasks involved and decide in what order they should be done.Part of this process is outlined in Fig. 5.4.7.
Figure 5.4.7: One-Off Projects Investigate Design Produce Evaluate •dates •content •template •conduct survey •people •format •booklet •compile responses •resources •evaluation •survey sheet •costs •survey •cost estimate Contents History of the Thanks Survey Company to: Milestone 1 Milestone 2 Milestone 3 Milestone 4START First draft Deadline Assess success Roster of Tasks of History to Printer
Prioritizing jobs for non-routine or one-off project can be more difficult than a large volume or mass production situation. In a repetitive situation such as printing a daily newspaper, the procedures for passing information from one stage to the next can be altered if they are seen not to be working.
Microsoft Project and similar programs provide managers with a set of procedures for working through an unfamiliar project finding the clashes on paper before too much time, money effortis wasted.
In respect, programs which provide managers with such a set of procedures greatly improve efficiency.
MULTI-USER ENVIRONMENTS AND PRIVACY In a singular-user environment, the privacy of the information largely defends on the care and integrity of the user.
While the attitude of the group is very important in maintaining privacy in a multi- user environment, there is sometimes a sense of diminished responsibility in groups.“If don’t’ fix it someone else will characteristics the attitude of some members of groups.
Tapping is possible when data is in transit between terminals, and events which decrease privacy in one part of the network may not occur in other offices.
MULTI-USER ENVIRONMENTS AND PASSWORDS Passwords can be set on a file, on a program, on a workstation or on access to a network.
Some files also have their attribute (a status defined in the file menu of a file management program) set to –P (minus P), which means they cannot be printed. The Internet is the ultimate multi-user environment and provides an example of the use of passwords in an otherwise totally open environment.
Passwords are required to access Internet e- mail accounts and to upload Web pages. Networks within organizations are usually closed networks; that is, they are not open to the general public unless at one very well protected access point.
Many companies who do not normally have a public point of access now have to deal with the page and e-mail. To illustrate the various procedures pertaining to passwords in different organizations, those for a public library and those for a “closed” company are outlined in table 5.4.1
Table 5.4.1: Closed and open home pages INSURANCE COMPANY – LIBRARY-OPEN HOME PAGE CLOSED HOME PAGE No password access Password access to borrowing and loan renewal. E-mail to information desk E-mail to information desk Open access to catalogue of books ,etc.
Illustrated in table 5.4.2 are some general strategies for effectivelymanaging information.Table 5.4.2: Strategies for effectively managing the quality of information AREAS OF MANAGING OF EFFECTIVENESS QUALITY Completeness Set up reference files or checklist templates which show all areas to be included in an information product. Accuracy Establish electronic and manual procedures to validate and test for errors and hacking. Timeliness Ensure that times and dates are included the footers of all printed documents, and identify the last update for all saved files. Relevance Provide users with file names and category headings which make it easy to find and select the data or information they need.
TECHNIQUES FOREFFICIENTLY PROCESSING ANDMANAGING INFORMATION TO MEET CURRENT AND FUTURE NEEDS
TECHNIQUES In computing, a technique is the skill used when handling software and hardware to perform a task. If a skill is judged on the level of efficiency it brings to the performance, then we can examine many techniques in terms of the time, cost or effort that they save the user.
For example, one technique for copy and paste is to use the following keyboard sequence:• Select the text or image <shift+cursor keys> <control+C>• Move the cursor to the new location <cursor keys> <control+V>.
If text is to be copied to a position close to the original location, say on the same page, and the user is skilled typist, then the whole copy and paste operation is efficiently performed with keyboard only. If, however, a graphic image is to be copied to a location in another file, then a technique that uses the muse icons will be more efficient.
Below is an analysis of the savings achieved by using the mouse-icon technique in place of the keyboard only technique: Time is saved because the user can move diagonally to the correct position on the screen for selecting and placing text and images. Movement using the keyboard is restricted to vertical and horizontal.
Effort is saved because the mouse technique relies on hand-eye coordination and visual recognition of the required icons.Control key functions have to be memorized and recalled as they are needed.
Cost is saved because it takes less training to use the mouse-icon technique than the keyboard-only technique.Many icons are standard packages, so that the users who initially unskilled can learn to use new software on the job.
REDUCING ERROR RATES Computer users working under pressure to produce more given amount of time might proofread documents hastily and, as a consequence, make more mistakes.
Organizations often meet this challenge by;Stimulating that staff use established macrosTemplatesShortcut keyswhen producing information products that are frequently used and which show the company logo and contact details.
MACROS TEMPLATES SHORTCUT KEYS•A long series of often •A document with special •Shortcut keys are used torepeated key stokes can be layout, such as an record frequently usedrecorded using the macro application form, can be commands such as tickfunction; for example, the saved as a template. boxes.company contact details of •This allows the original •The user can choose toaddress, phone, fax and e- layout to be preserved when assign Alt+t to this task, andmail. a new user opens the save the time it takes to call•Macro commands and document to enter data. up the insert symbol menumacro buttons are used to •Application forms saved as when needing to place a tickassign and record macros. template files and sent box in a survey, for example.•When correspondence is to electronically save workbe sent via e-mail or paper, when they are returnedthe contact details saved as because the data theya macro can be added by contain in a standard format.clicking the macro button. This makes them easy toThis saves the time and validate, saving time andeffort required to constantly effort.retype and check thisimportant information beforeit is sent out.
CURRENT AND FUTURE NEEDS Techniques associated with saving and backing-up files are important not only insuring the efficient processing information for current needs but also in meeting future needs.
In organization that is conscious of protecting the value of information for the future users of the information system should use the following techniques:Templates, which include the prominent location with the date of processing clearly displayed; for example, an invoice with the current date in the top right-hand corner.
Macros, which require the user to choose a present filename structured to indicate the version of the file; for example, the fourth draft of a club magazine cover for March might be: marcovdraft4.doc.