Information Systems and Their EfficiencyEssay

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¶ … INFORMATION SYSTEMS IN Business & ORGANIZATION

Case

IT governance at PPCWG

Effectual information technology (IT) governance, undeniably, is dictated by how such activities are organized, as well as by where the organization's IT-related decision-making power is located. Establishment of an efficient governance system is another major process of an information management (IM) strategy. This is particularly crucial if many stakeholders are involved, with conflicting information needs. A governance system clearly defines the authority level and procedures and processes by which key, strategic operational decision-making is carried out. Proper information management governance outlines the relationship between various stakeholders, the process of decision-making, and the manner by which problems are solved. It guarantees that ongoing operation continually supports the plan that stakeholders have agreed upon. Public agencies come across frequent management changes that impact processes, priorities and policies. Governance systems can facilitate managing of change, such that information management changes depend on assessment of overall effect corresponding to the vision and mission of the organization, instead of on the present direction taken by political winds (PPCWG, n.d a).

A strong necessity exists to create multi-sector data-sharing opportunities to reduce the total reporting load on families, youths, and children who are served, as well as to increase effectiveness within our family and child serving systems (education, health, public child welfare and mental health). Use of different arrangements directed by varying regulations and policies, and lack of consistent data elements, leads to development of a sluggish, cumbersome procedure when public agencies in child welfare need to supply external stakeholders with data. Agency leaders establishing an efficient information management strategy must visualize a future for data exchange on public child welfare across systems, as well as beyond existing margins. For effective and efficient IM to occur, the overall responsibility of overseeing and implementing the IM strategy must be assigned at the topmost possible level, ideally at county, tribe, or state cabinet level. This model is called the Federated Model of Governance. This structure of governance maintains agencies' authority to handle program-specific IM strategies. Technological functions common to systems are directed at the topmost level. The model backs the principle that technology decisions are driven by programmatic needs (PPCWG, n.d a).

Decision- making process

Partners aren't always in agreement. The process to maintain partnerships should encourage opportunities to talk about and settle differences. It is indeed true for every partner, especially those who might also be recipients of services from partnerships. Who has authority and who makes decisions should be defined, and parameters in every partnership should be specified. In some cases, both partners take on all or some of the decision-making accountability and authority. It may be the case that, at particular instances in the field, the agency has to act alone to uphold its unique function -- that of a public agency- using a certain mandate. Particularly where decisions should be made with regards to child safety, maximum input is sought by the agency; however, it is legally in charge of making decisions pertaining to removal. Confidentiality, in legal issues, must be maintained where families don't voluntarily release information. Both decision-making and power, except with judges and courts at case level, has to be shared mutually among partners for effective achievement of consensus and partnership goals. This is especially true where (a) a fiscal relation exists between partner and agency for child welfare and (b) families, youth and children are involved in the partnership (PPCWG, n.d b).

A centralized strategy structured in a federated governance model

In case of the centralized governance model, top-down accountability for delivery of solutions, conceptualizing, creating and applying IT solutions in every part of a business is directed by a central authority. This model is cost-efficient from the standpoint of skill as well as overhead. However, it does not do much in building relationships with clients, cultivating business know-how in IT personnel, or further aligning IT with organizational needs, as solution- customization to suit the business may prove difficult. In case of the federated governance model, an IT division extending across the state, such as the Chief Information Officer's (CIOs) office is primarily responsible for architecture, standards decisions, and common services and infrastructure, while every agency's IT department is primarily responsible for decisions pertaining to application resources. IT managers of the agency report to both agency director and the chief IT firm. The federated governance model offers a sound balance between local innovation and enterprise. Additionally, it is fairly effectual at aligning business needs and IT. This model's disadvantages include complexity of organizing so many businesses, the issue of dual- reporting relations, and, most essentially, the high staff and administrative costs associated with supporting numerous IT firms (Ironbridge LLC, 2007).

The centralized plan (configured in the federated model) has the following potential benefits:

Statewide standards of cross-systems, which promote direct electronic interaction between systems of individual agencies.

Single joining up of cross-systems among different data repositories, which enables tribal, local or state users to access shared information on families and children accessing various service domains.

Methodologies that support numerous applications, which can advances as technologies advance continually.

Permitting communication to external and internal stakeholders for promoting an accountable, open government system.

IM staff, within distinct agencies, should be present with policy and program staff to comprehend agency requirements and contribute to the discussion for improving service delivery using technology. A process to aid IM staff in maintaining positive and close relationships with staff of public child welfare is by developing and maintaining an IM advisory committee, and including child welfare personnel in it. Whenever modifications are considered, in the IM or technological systems, child welfare personnel are impacted the most. These personnel are in charge of providing the system with data; they are a key stakeholder group that requires information to assist them in improving their system. The IM advisory committee must include IT representatives, policy and program staff from every agency area, and representatives from topmost leadership levels; all of these committee members should have a well-developed IM sensibility. This committee could also comprise private providers, local jurisdictions representatives, or stakeholders dealing with any IM process of the agency. The committee will develop explicit communication messages for all staff members on the benefits and purpose of any project of the system, to explain the value of the project, generate enthusiasm, build momentum and enable a two-directional flow of data interchange and feedback. The advisory committee members will offer assistance on the IM system's structure and help generate buy-in from local personnel regarding the significance of accurate and complete data entry in the system (PPCWG, n.d a).

Module 2 -- SLP (3 pages)

Decision Making and Information Politics

If a firm decided to establish a help-desk from the bottom-up, the primary challenge would be how to make a good start. A clear mission, quantified service goals, and explicit allocations of budget will be the blueprint; however, as the popular expression goes, mistakes are usually made in the small details. One among the initial topics of concern that must be scrutinized closely is the help-desk's physical aspect- the physical design that service levels rely on - and the technologies that customers and staff will depend on (Bayan, 2003). The instruction is clear- establish a successful, efficient bottom-up help-desk. Double check the list of priority tasks, and make sure that most physical arrangements are looked after: ergonomic chairs, sound-controlled workstations, and wireless, hands-free sets are all ready; the help-desk application is configured expertly. If the above points were all that is required for ensuring high levels of productivity, the firm would be ready. However, the difficult component is the human element. Some recommended efficient and successful strategies required for every new help-desk manager to begin are listed below (Bayan, 2004).

1. Define your goals

The Marketing Director at AltiGen, Jim Puchbauer, stated that the very first question one must ask oneself is what the help-desk's goals are. The four most popular help-desk goals, as enumerated by him, are:

• To work with more customers

• Personalized handling of customer dealings

• To deliver expert interaction

• To make agents a traffic cop in resources. Much like librarians, agents point customers to other resources/areas from which they can find the required solutions

Puchbauer revealed that the above objectives could have contradictory ideals. According to him, expert interactions need agents who are more skilled, whereas a resource provider requires access to various kinds of information; however, he may not need to know everything. With well-defined objectives, suitable programs for agent-training and skill-based channeling competences will enable one to get the right call across to the right individual the very first time. All such situations have different agent expectations and will require varying tracking mechanisms. If technical expertise is offered, one should find out whether or not a customer was required to call back on the very same problem. If one's goal is handling several callers who have simple queries, one will hinge on a CRM application (customer relationship management) integrated into… [END OF PREVIEW]

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