Global challenges in information systems Spring 2009, BIS 221 Mr ...
Global challenges in information systemsSpring 2009, BIS 221Mr. Narcissus Shambare Sr. Rosemary Arrah, HHCJ5/4/2009<br />Executive Summary<br />The subject matter of my project is the global challenges in information systems. Businesses and organizations are increasingly selling their products online; companies are coordinating team work across geographical boundaries, languages and cultural boundaries. The difficulties they encounter play an important role in the global economy and affect the design of effective computer-interfaces. My goal is gain more insight on the increasing challenges that face information system as technology develops and to look for possible solutions to these problems. In solving these problems I will look at the existing systems and the attempts that have been made to solve the problem. I hope to learn more about challenges that different systems face when using information systems. My project will give me the opportunity to practice what I have learned in this course.<br />Paper preview<br />What is information system?<br />Stair and Reynolds (2008) define an information system as a set of interrelated components that collect, manipulate, store, and disseminate data and information and provide feedback mechanism to meet an objective (p.4). With this definition I will go ahead to preview my paper. The internet has provided access to information from a variety of sources. Today information is not a problem to get provided you have access to the internet. Individuals and organizations are able to access information today from databases, sites with information through the web, gopher, WAIS. Globalization has a great impact in information system. According to Thomas Friedman (2005), we are entering a phase where more people than ever before in the history of the world are going to have access to this tools- as innovators, as collaborators, and alas, as even terrorist” (p. 45). Friedman calls the new era globalization 3.0 which is the era of global connection of people, corporations, and countries using the internet and powerful technology tools to change relationships across the globe. Workers in different corporations use the internet for team work and designing of projects. Markets have expanded; people and companies do their shopping and receive services from different parts of the world. There are challenges that come with globalization and the need to gain access to information from many sources all over the world. In this paper I am going to explore those challenges that are global to information systems. I want to know how organizations are making use of networked technologies to sell their services to domestic and international markets. What are the barriers they face in engaging in international markets and how do they overcome the barriers. I will focus on technological barrier, regulations and tariffs, electronic payment mechanisms, different language and culture, economic and political considerations, different measurement standards, legal barriers, and different time zones. The barriers to global information system apply to any given organization that seeks international business. I will focus on portals like yahoo and Google to show the different interfaces in different countries. <br />The body of the paper:<br />With the advent of the internet global markets have expanded. There are thousands of business transactions that go on each day over the internet internationally. The use of information technology makes it easier for business to business transactions and business to customer transactions. In this part of my project I am exploring the challenges and solutions of global information systems. <br />The challenge of technological Barrier and solutionChallenge: the challenge that information systems face is that many countries do not have adequate information technology infrastructures. Some countries do not have quality electricity and water supply. The telephone and internet services may have limited access and even the employees are not skilled to handle the changing technological infrastructure. Companies having branches in countries with low bandwidth have the challenge of creating their websites. Portals like yahoo and Google have the challenge of using the technology of different countries in their interface as we will see later in this paper. In countries with low bandwidth internet the system will be very slow.<br />Solution: companies need to create two versions of websites to offer alternative to compensate for the slow bandwidth. I think companies also need to work with the infrastructure that works best for those countries.<br />Cultural challenges and solution<br />Cultural challenge: the information system is challenged globally by cultural differences in other countries and regions of the world. Each country has its tradition and culture that may not apply in another country. Organizations and individuals seeking global trade are affected by these differences. The challenges that businesses will face are tastes, gestures, treatment of people, ethical issues and conservative groups against “Americanization”. A company like McDonalds that is American company may face the challenge of tastes in Africa. The technology that works for attracting customers to McDonalds’ taste of food in the United States may face a challenge in Africa. There are cultural variations in information interface in portals like yahoo and Google. The icons on the yahoo home page represent different aspects of the culture of the country represented. For example in the Chinese culture, the color “red” is representation of passion, celebration, and happiness which is a good sign. Even the stocks are represented in red. On the other hand in Yahoo Taiwan, green is a sign for good and red is a sign for danger or something bad. The interface of the icons varies with cultures. Those creating websites and portals in different countries have to pay attention to what appeals to the culture of the people.<br />Solution: Multicultural firms should employ personnel locally to design versions of the websites to appeal to a particular country. Organizations dealing with products that has to do with taste need to explore ways of incorporating local taste to their food to meet the local demand.<br />Language differences and solution<br />Language challenge: English is a universal language of the internet but the percentage of English speaking countries is 38.8% as opposed to 62.2% of non English speaking countries. There is a challenge of translating information to different languages which makes it difficult to translate the exact meaning of the information from one language to the other. Google and other portals have to figure out a way to translate Google into different languages. Google is translated into 150 different languages. The challenge is that international partners have to agree on a common language. Information needs to be translated because the computer cannot translate accurately; English is considered “de facto” international language. Countries require information and systems in their own language. Some countries require that the account system be written in their languages. It is a challenge to have a universal accounting system.<br />Solution: <br />Large companies translate information in local languages. Website design and translation should be done in local offices. For example Google is design and translated in 150 languages. Organizations need to create multiple accounting systems in different languages. Google uses language codes. Users specify the language which they intend to do their search and they are able to search in any language of their choice.<br />The challenge of Regulation and tariffs and solution: <br />The challenge: information system faces the challenge of regulation and tariffs. Countries have different importing regulations. The regulations have a variety of issues, trade secrets, patents, copyrights, protection of personal or financial data, and privacy. It is time consuming to keep track of the regulations and tariffs of computer systems in multinational and transnational organizations. Employees may not know how to comply with laws, regulations and tariffs of destination countries.<br />Solution: programs like Nextlinx can help importers and exporters for web commerce. Nextlinx is specialized in global trade. It provides solutions to importers, exporters and logistics providers. Nextlinx is integrated in the firm’s systems. Nextlinx handles all the logistics in international order of software. It determines cost, trade agreement, trade import and export, and global knowledge.<br />The challenge of differences in payment mechanism<br />The challenge: the value of currency is a great challenge for international trade. The method of payment too is another challenge to international trade. Some countries do not have debit or credit card for online transactions. A country like Japan avoids using credit card. Even though there are some credit cards and debit cards are gradually being used in Japan it is not as easy as it is in the United States to use the ATM machine. Due to the use of the Post Office cash machine it is easier to open an account in Japan than to use your credit or debit card. So it becomes difficult to do international transactions online. The United States uses debit and credit card for online transactions. On the contrast the US does not use mobile payment method which is mobile payment on method on the cell phone to do electronic commerce.<br />Solution: international firms must have multiple payment mechanism. The goal of most people is the use of one device of payment for international trade. Japan is making some improvement on the Post Office cash machine to accept international credit and debit cards. <br />The challenge of time and distance and solutions<br />The challenge: time differences make it difficult to talk to people on other sides of the globe. It takes days and sometimes months to get products to other countries. This leads to delays in business transactions. It is difficult for employees and customers in different countries to get connected. Time stamping could be a challenge to keep track of creation and modification time of a document.<br />Solution: Teleconferencing systems can help with accommodation of employees in other time zones. Chart rooms and bulletin boards for communication are other ways to bridge the time gap. Customer support personnel to work 24/7. Companies create standard policy for time stamping documents.<br />The challenge of Legal Barriers and solution<br />The challenge: every state and country has laws that must be obeyed by citizens of that country. There are barriers in areas like data collection privacy, international transfer of data, free speech, and location of legal proceedings. Other differences include auctions, gambling, sale of liquor, and drug prescription. Most democratic countries have laws that protect the privacy of individuals. In the United States there are laws that protect the privacy of medical records which pose a challenge to the information system. In 2004 Christine Lehmann in her article on legal barrier of information technology said “The Government Accountability Office reports that health care facilities and medical practices worry that they will run afoul of federal laws if they provide health information technology to their physicians.” (Lehmann, 2004)I don’t the present how far health care facilities and medical practices can with the use of information technology. This challenge goes a long way to hinder the use of information technology in the health system. I think the main reason for this barrier is the issue of privacy of medical information because the law warrants that patient’s medical record protected from unauthorized users.<br />Solution: the Department of Health and Human Services in the United States is making effort to promote the adoption of health information system by health care providers. I think this solution have been greatly improved the procedures in health care facilities. For example at my work place at Immanuel Terrace, we can now reorder residence’s prescription online as opposed to using paper forms and faxing the order to the pharmacy. <br />Conclusion<br />The project has been an interesting one. It has increased my knowledge of the global challenges of information systems. The cultural challenges and language differences have given me more sight in the development of systems. I have come to appreciate the ability of Google to meet the needs of other language in creating their website. I am more fascinated with the importance that culture play in information system .The project has been a good learning experience for me and now I understand better the materials that we covered in the class. It was difficult for me at first to come up with the project that will interest me. The greatest challenge was to get the materials that I needed to complete this project. <br />References<br />Friedman, T.L. (2005). The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.<br />Gray, A. ( 2008). Using credit and debit cards in Japan. Retrieved May 2, 2009, from <br />http://www.globalcompassion.com/japancredit.htm<br />Google. (2009). Language tools. Retrieved April 20, 2009, from http://www.google.com.au/<br />language tools<br />Jones, M.C., Rathi, D., Twidale, M.B. & Li, W. (2006). One system, worldwide: Challenges to global information system (Technical Report ISRN UIUCLIS--2006/10+CSCW). Retrieved April 15, 2009, from http://www.isrl.illinois.edu/~twidale/pubs/<br />one_system_worldwide.pdf<br />Lehmann, C. (2004). Federal laws impede spread of information technology. Psychiatric News, 39(18), 9. Retrieved April 20, 2009, from http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/<br />cgi/content/full/39/18/9<br />Management Dynamics Inc. (n.d.). Trade compliance. Retrieved April 20, 2009, from<br />http://www.managementdynamics.com/html/solutions_itc.shtml<br /> Miniwatts Marketing Group. (2009). Top 10 languages on the internet. Retrieved April 15, 2009, from http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats7.htm<br /> Pilgrim, M. (2002). Dive into accessibility: 30 days to a more accessible web site. Retrieved April 15, 2009, from http://diveintoaccessibility.org/day_7_identifying_your_language.html<br />Schlosser, E. (2001). Fast food nation. New York: Houghton Mifflin.<br />Stair, R.M., & Reynolds, G.W. (2008). Fundamentals of information systems (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Thomson Course Technology.<br />