Information systems management at IBM and Dell

Introduction

The management of information systems in any organization is indeed an inevitable that cannot be ignored by an organization bearing in mind that the modern business world largely relies on the optimal flow of information as part and parcel of improving production.

It is also worth noting that information plays a key role right from the point of production up to the level of final consumption. While some organizations might find it unnecessary to establish and subsequently manage their information platforms, it goes without saying that such organizations indeed miss out on vast opportunities through which they can expand their operations on a day-to-day basis.

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A case study of Dell Inc. and IBM Inc. in terms of information management is indeed typical of dissecting the relevance of thorough management of information systems in organizations. This paper examines Dell Inc. and IBM’s management of information systems to determine how it aids the two companies in managing internal operations, making decisions and gaining a competitive edge.

A brief background of IBM and Dell Inc.

IBM has developed into a formidable company that employs information system in conducting both internal and external business operations for many years. Studies reveal that IBM’s historical development began can be traced back to a time when the use of technology in business had not been fully realized. Research indicates that the company was began and set out to operate as a as a

Tabulating Machine Company. Under the leadership of Hollerith Herman towards the close of 19th century (1896), studies reveal that the company’s line of specialisation and products was in the development of punched card data machines.

Its products were widely sold and bought in both local and global markets, a consideration that was driven by massive marketing campaigns and better business strategies. It is imperative to point out that the demand for tabulating machines and application of new technology to make quality and efficient products grew by leaps and bounds thereafter.

The 1896 punched cards gave the impetus for the generation of machines which would later be referred to as IBM. However, in 1911, the business exchanged hands when Charles Flint bought it at slightly over two million dollars. This enabled the original founder of the company to develop Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation (CRT) which was later incorporated on 16th June 1911.

On the other hand, the multinational American computer technology corporation (Dell Inc) was formed back in 1984 and has over the years developed and grown in its application of technology to develop support and sell quality computer products and computer related services.

Its leadership and management team have ensured effective application of information systems, a consideration that has seen the company attain a competitive edge over others and emerge as o0ne of the largest technological corporations in the world today. Some of its products that have dominated the market include software, data storage devices, servers, computers, network switches, printers, cameras and HDTVs.

Over the years; IBM and Dell have been able to manage effectively their operations and information systems through mergers. According to recent studies, the need and articulation of mergers in Dell and IBM is based on their holistic need to formulate a common unit which guides their operations mainly through assimilation of common objectives.

The management both companies as noted by Rao (2010), sought to establish a highly integrated system where key players were represented in the management. Particularly, these companies formed the major baseline and therefore determined the model that would be followed in running the widely spread system. Besides, the structure was further expanded to smaller holding companies which were equally affiliated to the different mother countries.

Comparison of Dell and IBM’s use of information systems in management

At a time when the business trends are increasingly becoming reliant on the global market dynamism which is driven by an ever-changing consumerism patterns, effective management of information systems remains the most critical aspect that can guarantee a business’ success. Studies indicate that the emergence of the computer system and its subsequent adoption in mainstream business circle is one of the key developments in business.

It is worth noting that the systems that have been developed to aid organizations in meeting their information needs and approaches to development of strategies in the current business environment have developed due to availability of information (Rao, 2010). Information systems are therefore a critical factor in the current business environment whose role in ensuring that the needs of the society are accurately addressed makes it vital to operational success.

Effective management of Information systems has taken a fundamental position in modern business operations. As a matter of fact, it has led to the simplification of tasks and speeding up of business transactions thus leading to sustainable profitability.

Both Dell and IBM have form many decades used their information systems to mange their internal operations and make key decisions that impact positively on their success. Studies reveal that one of their objectives in managing their information systems is assure their investments in IT to generate business value (IBM 100, 2012).

This has ensured that their information systems provide the required services throughout its life span thus meeting the needs of all users, particularly the critical ones. For instance, Dell has invested huge finances in IT system expecting to reap the benefits associated with it (Dell, 2012). It is worth noting that effective management of its information systems has continued to provide it with numerous operational benefits.

Studies indicate that success of adopting and using an information system in organizations is dependent on a system selection process. The system Dell has selected has been designed in a way that ensures that the organizational objectives are timely met and the system adopted has a long lifespan.

Developments in both computing and internet technologies have mainly been aimed at ensuring greater operational stability, improving the speed of the transactions and ensuring security. Most new technologies apart from adding to functionalities are generally aimed at ensuring greater speeds and dealing with security threats that are faced by previous architecture.

Many are aware of the application of e-commerce systems though few are aware of its internal systems and fewer have mastered the art of efficiency in implementation of e-commerce systems (IBM 100, 2012).

The management of information systems at Dell and IBM in internal operations and decision making have been designed in such a way that they seek to generate value within the businesses. The use of information systems in decision making has led to its being cited as a strategy which can be implemented in three distinct stages; production, processing and reception that are interdependent on each other.

Their communication strategies, appraisal and even promotional strategies have been effectively carried out with the aid of information systems (MBA Knowledge Base, 2012). There is no doubt that the role played by information systems in theses companies in generating value and as a platform for implementing organisational operations cannot be ignored.

The managements at Dell and IBM have ensured that procedures, policies and even standards have been developed with the sole aim of developing a clear approach employed by manufacturers in developing their systems which has played an important role in ensuring the development of more robust systems (IBM 100, 2012). Over the years, their operating system designs, security system designs and even the role played by information have transformed and presented security as one of the key threats that they face in developing an e-commerce presence.

Awareness on the role played by information system in their security is not a recent development in their business segments rather it is one of the key areas that they have guarded jealously over the years. Besides, they have traditionally guarded their strategies against competition and kept their finances in well guarded safe houses and accounts due to awareness on insecurity (Rao, 2010).

One of the major problems that IBM encountered before fully adopting information system in decision making was brought by its increasing consideration to promote high level focus and raise the value outlined in its vision. Even with its organisational structure of five discrete divisions that handled strategy and change in the organisation, the initial dilemma of decision making in all its operations appeared to continuously haunt the company (IBM 100, 2012).

The primary objective was to focus on growth opportunities available for it. However, the steps to follow in achieving this strategy were unclear to the management and the company as a whole. To effectively assimilate a clear outline that would enhance the ability of the company to maintaining a stronger competitive advantage, information systems applications based on growth standards were established with target being set at high profitability (MBA Knowledge Base, 2012).

As studies reveal, living to the same status generated vast pressure to the company and its structures. The outcome of this pressure led to decentralization of information systems in the company. However, at the initial stages, managing the assimilated information system was still problematic to handle the new transformation demands (IBM 100, 2012).

Competitive advantage

It is worth noting that management of an organization’s information technology strategy for decision making and managing internal operations is essential in determining how well an organization articulates the main procedures.

It was from this consideration that Information and Communication Technology managers at both IBM and Dell were able to focus on effective strategy that consisted of major concepts like global standardization which was later built on to promote growth and development. The strategy entailed change articulation in all the systems to infer the necessary re-alignments that dictate its overall ability to capture and edge out the correct niche that can give it a competitive advantage over others in the market (Dell, 2012).

The ability to address complex situations was harmonized at the management level and articulated in the most viable option that facilitates higher returns. Clear implementation of information system strategies as exemplified by Dell and IBM must therefore precede all aspects of management that have higher chances of enhancing greater returns.

In IBM, the use of information systems is crucial for decision making on short and long term strategic planning for the corporation so as to realize growth, seize opportunities, strategising change within the organisation as well as maintaining high profile market competition in order for the organisation to remain profitable. Besides, it is also used for communication with the Customer Relationship Management that handles all customer related queries such as general inquiries and complaints.

In Dell, the communication and organization of the Supply Chain department is effectively conducted via the use of information systems. This aid it in the efficient distribution of Dell products and services from manufacturing points to the target market. In addition, it is also used in financial management responsible for all the monetary or financial matters of the corporation (MBA Knowledge Base, 2012).

Organizational consequences of the use of information technology potential security breaches

It is important to note that the challenges that businesses are faced with in operations that are a result of their internal systems and changes within their macro-environment are commonly perceived as threats. The security of a business relying on technology can be looked at from both strategic viewpoints and as component of information systems.

There are multiple threats that Dell and IBM face in implementing their information systems which present a large number of factors that have to be considered in formulation. A research that sought to determine the areas that business lack in developing their strategies points to the lack of awareness on the threats that businesses face in formulating strategies as being central to a number of security breaches that are being recorded in e-systems (Rao, 2010).

Various reasons have been cited as being central to the vulnerabilities that systems and even applications display. Though there have been numerous developments in computing, secure programming techniques are yet to be well developed.

Most applications are developed in a manner that does not place priority on security of the resulting package. The commercialisation of software development effectively implies that software packages are developed in a rush to meet deadlines owing to the high level of competition that is being displayed in software development.

Research have identified highly competitive Dell and IBM e-commerce segments as potential breeding grounds for application that have been developed for the sake of competition and place no emphasis on security of applications which plays a role in determining the level of usability that can be attained by the developments (MBA Knowledge Base, 2012).
Some of the security threats that may face

a) Viruses

Viruses are computer programs that easily copy and infect a computer without the owner’s knowledge. Due to the fast growth of use of technology, viruses have become a major problem to businesses that rely on computer systems to manage information systems as they adversely affects the hosts’ computers causing massive malfunctioning in them.

Some of the most important viruses that may impact on information systems operations at IBM and Dell include resident viruses like W32-Randex, Dloadr-CMJ, and Elvirus which dwell in the RAM and corrupts the files from there to the programs that are either copied, opened, or renamed in the computer.

Perhaps one of the most important aspects that these companies can resort to limit insecurity is the understanding of how to address the virus threats (MBA Knowledge Base, 2012). Owing to the fast developing technology and globalization that threatens to consume the same world that it operate in, there is need to generate the necessary guarantee that can secure businesses operations systems.

It has been predicted that viruses will continue being a major threat to e-commerce as competitors seek to gather competitive advantages in the market. Stronger technology should therefore be constantly sought to generate the correct traces for the viruses and destroy them before they affect and cause malfunction of the businesses systems (IBM 100, 2012).

b) Trojan Horses

A Trojan horse is a destructive program that masquerades to majority of the computer programs mostly as benign application. To infect the computers, Trojan Horses claims to get rid of the computer viruses but instead introduces them to the system. Trojan horses occur in seven different forms that are classified based on their breaching and damage that they affect in the system (Rao, 2010). To begin with, Remote Access Trojan usually hides in the smaller programs and wait for activation of the PCs to affect their damages.

Data Sending Trojans provide attackers with very sensitive information such as log file, passwords, Instant Messaging contacts, and Credit card information. In most of the cases, these Trojans seek particular information by installing key loggers and sending the records to the attackers (Dell, 2012). According to Rao (2010) Data Sending Trojans are some of the most dangerous threats to the on-line businesses globally.

In order to affect the smooth functioning of information systems at Dell and IBM, the destructive Trojans will delete files of the attacked computers. Just like the Data Sending Trojans, Destructive Trojans causes great inconveniences and losses to the involved businesses when their respective information on their transactions and accounts are lost (MBA Knowledge Base, 2012). A vivid chance will indeed be given to the attacker by a proxy Trojan. As a result, there are quite a number of transactions that will be effected by this kind of attack.

For instance, an entire business system may be affected by a single wave o Trojan attack. In addition, there are other forms of Trojans that may interfere with any well established security system and as a result, be able to gain access to important and discrete data in an organisation (IBM 100, 2012). In this respect, they stop or kill the programs like antivirus without the user’s knowledge. Finally Denial of Service Trojans attacks a network by flooding it with useless programs that are not authorized by the owner of the computer.

Conclusions

To sum up, it is clear that at a time when the business trends are increasingly becoming reliant on the global market dynamism which is driven by ever-changing consumerism patterns, effective management of information systems remains the most critical aspect that can guarantee a business’ success. IBM and Dell are some of the leading companies that have greatly relied on information systems to make important decision and carry out effective internal operations.

Information systems as brought out in the discussion have played a key role in creating a competitive edge for the two companies. However, issues of security and threats related to use of modern technology have presented immense fears on possible attacks which may affect the smooth operations of the businesses.

References

Dell (2012). Data Center Systems Management. Retrieved from http://content.dell.com/us/en/enterprise/data-center-system-management.aspx

IBM 100 (2012). Information Management System. Retrieved from http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/ibm100/us/en/icons/ibmims/

MBA Knowledge Base (2012). Case Study: Management Information System at Dell. Retrieved from

Case Study: Management Information System at Dell