Benefits of Information Technology
In a broader sense, information is structured, processed and organised data used to provide context for other data. For instance, a single customer’s sale in a restaurant is data this becomes information the business can utilise when making a decision about which staff member to hire. A great deal of the time, this data is represented in financial form such as accounts and reports, but it can be in any format that the business needs it to be. It’s important not to get so wrapped up in the particular format that the data takes up that the details of its analysis are lost.
Information systems and information technology are intimately connected and one can often be designed to work well alongside the other. One example is the development of complementary networks, which allows companies to work together to share and distribute processing, analysis, collecting and communication of that information technology. As one example of such a system, the Australian Government Exchange recommends that companies use the Structured Settlement Information Technology (SSIT) approach in their efforts to make decision-making easier. This article looks at how SSIT is being used by governments and other bodies to achieve this goal.
SSIT, which was earlier known as Structured Settlement Information Technology, is a web-based management information system that offers business functions such as order entry, quality assessment, and real-time updates. The resulting system has enabled businesses that previously would have been concerned with storing, organizing and managing large amounts of data, the ability to manage those aspects using a web-based application. SSIT is the brainchild of a group of researchers, who began working on this concept in the early nineties. The intention was to create a simple but effective framework for businesses to use so that they could make the best decision for their business functions. SSIT can save a large amount of money, which in turn enables smaller businesses to provide better services.
The Australian Government Exchange reports that in the last ten years, more than eighty percent of the world’s largest banks have established or are in the process of installing information systems that utilise information technology. Some of the concerns banks have about not having an information technology system include time, staff and cost. In response, the ABS has released the National Information Technology Strategy, which states that: “A successful information technology system must be easy to access and use, cost effective and provide a high level of user control.” The ABS further stated that it expects there will continue to be an interest in the purchase and installation of new computers and other related software over the next decade.
Another benefit of using information systems is that people involved in a company are able to collaborate and communicate with each other more effectively. SSIT makes it possible for people in various departments to work together. The result is that certain departments may be reporting data to other departments, which then report back to the mainframe computer. By allowing people to communicate with each other, it minimises errors in the transmission of information between different departments and levels of government. For example, if there is a report of a problem involving one department, it can easily be forwarded to the mainframe.
The ABS believes that every government agency should have an information systems component in place. As more computers are used, it is expected that the demand for people who know how to use these computers and programs will increase over time. The ABS report that in the past, around sixty percent of all government agencies required IT expertise to run their operations. The ABS reports that as technology changes and becomes less expensive, the government will also be forced to change to these new technologies.