3.5 - Business Systems

Exam Board:

OCR

Specification:

2016 - Unit 1 

Businesses have developed many systems to manage and manipulate data and aid business practices.

Management Information System (MIS)

An MIS is used to collect, store, analyse and present data for an organisation. 

 

The system processes a large amount of data and organises it (such as in databases) so that it can be used for decision making and general data analysis.

 

An efficient MIS can be used to display the financial status of an organisation, highlight areas of improvement and generate sales forecasts based on current data.

 

Specifically, a bank could use an MIS for:

  • Looking at numbers of customers that visit each branch.

  • Forecasting takings based on historical data.

  • Profiling customers.

  • Identifying customers who haven’t saved recently to target them for email.

Benefits of an MIS:

  • Integrated system: 

    • A Management Information System shares a large amount of data from multiple departments within an organisation to produce accurate reports. For example, financial data can be used to generate accurate pay slips.
       

  • Decision Making:

    • An MIS can be used to inform an organisation's decision making by highlighting areas that need improvement within the company.
       

  • Powerful analysis: 

    • ​An MIS will use large data sets to provide accurate data analysis that can be used in many different ways by an organisation. Trends and patterns can be identified easily.
       

  • Backup capabilities:

    • Data can be stored centrally and backed up easily if a disaster occurs.

Limitations of an MIS:

  • Cost and installation:

    • An MIS is an expensive tool that needs to be professionally set up and requires technical knowledge to maintain.
       

  • Requires accurate data:

    • If any data is incorrect or out of date then the analysis will consequently be inaccurate. Potentially disastrous decisions could be made as a result of incorrect data.
       

  • Training:

    • Employees will need to be trained to use the software accurately for maximum efficiency.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

A CRM system is used to improve the relationship between an organisation and its customers.

 

It can be used to increase customer loyalty with those who already subscribe to their services as well as used to try and increase the customer base by attracting new customers. 

 

The ultimate goal of a CRM system is to increase and retain customers which will result in more sales and higher profits.

 

Examples of CRM systems:

  • Marketing teams tracking which promotions customers are responding well to.

  • Customer service teams responding quickly to customer complaints, through a variety of channels (such as social media, emails and telephone calls).

  • Marketing teams rewarding customers who have spent a certain amount in a year.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

A standard operating procedure is a comprehensive step-by-step guide of how to carry out a business routine.

 

An organisation will create an SOP to abide by legal requirements and high company standards.

 

SOPs must be followed in exactly the same method each time and by each employee to ensure the same outcome and remove any inconsistencies

Benefits of Standard Operating Procedures:

  • Ensures consistency:

    • The outcome should be the same each time when following SOPs which ensures an efficient result.
       

  • Fewer errors:

    • If all employees follow the SOP carefully then there should be no errors.
       

  • Meets legal requirements:

    • The SOPs will be designed to meet up-to-date legislation as well as any standards that the company have set.

Limitations of Standard Operating Procedures:

  • Inflexible practice:

    • A lot of time may be spent on creating the paperwork and admin instead of the actual job.
       

  • Legal updates:

    • The SOPs must be periodically reviewed and updated to take into account any new laws.

Sales Ordering Process (SOP)

This is the process of a customer buying a product or service and the company reviewing the purchase.

 

1. The customer orders a product or service, usually via email or telephone conversation.

 

2. The order is confirmed and a sales order is created. This is a document that lists the customer’s requirements and exactly what they have purchased.

 

3. The sales order is sent to the relevant departments (e.g. production, finance and delivery) so they can fulfil the customer’s request. Once the order has been completed the customer will be sent an invoice for payment.

 

The SOP is important as it creates a clear plan for ordering a product. Each department can use the sales order to know exactly what jobs to perform.

Help Desk

Help desk software is used to provide real-time support to a user from a trained member of staff to overcome a technical problem.

 

The customer logs an issue in the form of a ticket and is assigned a technician. As the technician tries to communicate with the user and solve the issue they must follow a service level agreement that defines the high standards the technician must keep to.

 

When the problem has been solved the ticket is closed. All tickets are archived so that persistent problems can be checked. If Help Desk software is used within a company to report and solve issues it is known as in-house.

Benefits of Help Desk software:

  • Keeping Track:

    • ​Customers can see that their issues are being dealt with and administrators have clear records of the problem.
       

  • Audit Logs:

    • All tickets are archived so if a problem occurs on the same machine the previous solution can be attempted again.
       

  • Communication :

    • Formal messages between the customer and the administrator mean there are no mixed messages and a running dialogue can take place as the problem is fixed.

Limitations of Help Desk software:

  • Cost:

    • Setting up the necessary software and hardware and paying for an administrator to run the system can cost a large amount of money.
       

  • Availability issues:

    • A technician might not be available 24/7 or during holidays.
       

  • Formal structure:

    • This is a formal system that takes time to record and respond to which might annoy staff when it is only a minor issue to be fixed, like resetting a password.
       

  • Knowledge:

    • Technicians need technical expertise regarding the company's computer systems and need to be able to fix both hardware and software issues. This might require additional training every few years.
       

  • Ticket Response Time:

    • Administrators must ensure that all tickets are read and responded to in reasonable time so that productivity in the company is not affected.

Questo's Questions

3.5 - Business Systems:

 

1a. What is the purpose of an MIS[2]

1b. Describe 3 ways a bank could use an MIS[3]

1c. Describe the benefits and limitations of an MIS[10]

2a. What is the purpose of a CRM[4]

2b. Describe 3 ways that a CRM could be used by a company[6]

3a. What are standard operating procedures (SOP) and why are they used? [4]

3b. Describe the benefits and limitations of SOPs[10]

4a. What is the sales ordering process (SOP)? [2]

4b. Why is the SOP important in a company? [2]

4c. Summarise the 3 stages of the SOP. [4]

5a. What is the purpose of help desk software? [2]

5b. Explain how help desk works, including tickets, technicians and service level agreements[3]

5c. Describe the benefits and limitations of Help Desks[10]

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