Information systems play an important role in supporting the operations of any business organization primarily through the storage, sharing, and retrieval of information or data. In organizations, various information systems serve different functions. To maintain efficient company operations, systems that facilitate customer transactions, process organizational and personal data, aid in strategic decision-making, facilitate monitoring of company performance as well as maintain positive customer relations, is essential to organizations. Riordan Manufacturing Company is a global market leader in plastic manufacturing. Riordan business systems include the human resource system, the office automated system, transaction support system, and the decision support system among others important in the company’s global success. Unfortunately, these information systems are often prone to malware and identity theft. It is, therefore, important that an organization protect its IT systems and data essential in achieving organizational goals from improper use. In setting up an IT infrastructure, effective risk management of the systems is essential as it ensures the security of a company’s IT assets.
Information Systems and their Functionalities
As an IT assistant project director for Riordan Manufacturing Company’s new office in Seattle, Washington, I would consider Riordan’s four essential IT systems for the new office in Seattle. Along with these IT systems, I would consider appropriate IT security programs to protect the IT infrastructure of the new office. The Transaction Processing Systems (TPS) is among the first IT system I would set up in the new office to handle both internal and external company transactions (Casey, 2004, p.40). Data related to sales and purchases forms the basis of accounting of any organization; therefore, the TPS must be able to verify these data and generate standard reports. I would implement a cross-functional TPS interlinked with other main branches of the company to promote free exchange of essential information among the various functional areas in Riordan Manufacturing Company. Additionally, since most transactions involve online financial exchange, the TPS would be installed with firewall to protect and control the access of information from the server or office network.
Another critical information system for Riordan Manufacturing Company is the human resources information system (HRIS). This information system allows the collection, processing, and the dissemination of information regarding Riordan’s employees. Currently, Riordan’s HRIS tracks employee information such as recruitment dates and pay rates and organizational information. The HRIS is integrated with the financial system to track personal records of Riordan’s current 550 employees. The system is comprised of the file management system that handles employees’ files as well as an auditing system at the financial department.
The Office Automation System (OAS) that integrates office functions is another important IT system I would consider for the new office. Riordan’s OAS system consists of networked computer software and hardware that aid in the basic business operations such as processing individual and organizational data and communication (Casey, 2004, p. 41). The basic functions of OAS include electronic publishing, email communication, analysis of information through word processing, presentations, spreadsheets, and image processing, and general office management. The OAS is integrated with the Local Area Network (LAN) to transmit mails, data, and images within the office and to the head office. The OAS will not only increase the efficiency of business operations in the office, but also increase employee productivity by facilitating collaboration between departments. The OAS facilitates the storage and retrieval of business and employee information by the human resource department.
The Decision-support system (DSS) is another important IT system for Riordan that I would consider useful for the new office in Seattle. It consists of integrated hardware and appropriate software applications suitable for strategic decision making in organizations (Casey, 2004, p.43). For a new office, efficient decision making regarding investment, marketing, and strategies of establishing positive customer relations will lead to enhanced profitability. The TPS provides the essential data used to create models, tools, and methodologies for decision support through simulations and predictions. The DSS is also important in monitoring and evaluation of new investment projects and exploring new opportunities for investment. The DSS can account for many variables including environmental concerns and empirical information hence an efficient tool in decision-making. Given the importance of DSS in strategic decision-making, it is important that the components of the system including resources that store, integrate, analyze, and retrieve data, remain protected.
The Human Resource Information System
Currently in Riordan’s HR system, each individual manager keeps personal files of the employees under his or her supervision. This HRIS helps the managers to, “keep track of their respective employees through spreadsheets containing employee information including salary surveys, compensation claims, harassment complaints, and job analyses” (Charlesworth, 2003, p.96). However, currently, Riordan Manufacturing Company lacks a centralized human resource system at its headquarters to connect its various branches. Presently, the Riordan’s HR system is not automated and employee information is submitted to their respective managers who keep other information such as training records and manufacturing processes in files and databases.
In this regard, Riordan needs a new human resource system that would bring together all plants of the company, including the new office at Seattle, into a central location. At the same time, the new system should be secure to protect sensitive employee information compared to the current manual storage. Currently, the HR systems across the different plants are incompatible with one another making global interconnectivity of the HRIS among the different plants a challenge.
The lack of a centralized HR system can be problematic in case of system’s failure at the individual plants of the company. The potential results of human resource system’s failure can adversely affect employee’s productivity and lead to legal suits over breach of confidentiality. Access of confidential employee information by unauthorized personnel can force the respective employees to launch claims for exposure. Additionally, system failure could result to an intruder modifying the manufacturing instructions and in the process ruin the quality of the plastic products manufactured by the company. In contrast, if the information were centralized, it would be difficult for intruders to access the same. Payroll system failure will result to delayed payment thus affecting the employees. However, through automation of information management by Riordan Manufacturing Company, sensitive employee information can remain secure. Information automation involves online and real time access of critical information.
The human resource information system (HRIS) should be protected from intruders to maintain the confidentiality of employee information. It enhances job security and opportunities for workers by allowing restricted access to ideas and information by the employees (Charlesworth, 2003, p 217). For multinational companies, like Riordan Manufacturing, the protection of human resource information system promotes integration of workers from the many plants and offices of the company, while at the same time creating awareness of the employment opportunities that exist within the company.
In addition, a protected HRIS would allow employee to upgrade their personal data and receive information and correspondence from the human resource. Moreover, for multinational companies like Riordan Manufacturing, the protection of its automated HRIS would ensure secure trans-border transfer of employee information amongst the various plants of the company. Companies usually collect and store personal data from their customers. Thus, it is important the enterprises undertake to maintain the privacy of their customer information as per the enterprise privacy practice in order to maintain good customer relationships. To avoid access of employee and customer information by unauthorized persons, a monitoring server such as the forensic server should be integrated with the HRIS to detect the potential of any malicious attack on company databases.
Cyber crime has major consequences on the company image and productivity; therefore, it is important that companies adequately protect their personal HRIS. Firstly, if the systems were not sufficiently protected, much time would be wasted in rectifying security breaches, which would otherwise be used to improve the productivity of the organization (Britz, 2009, p.152). Additionally, in case of loss of employee and customer records, the reputation of the company is affected, which can have a major impact on the worker’s productivity and performance of a company.
Technology and information systems are essential to organizations particularly large corporations such as Riordan Manufacturing Company as they promote efficient company operations. Integrated information systems allow collaboration between the various plants of such companies. However, the security of stored information such as employee data, customer information, and the manufacturing process is a major concern. Through proper risk management of the information systems, appropriate security procedures can be implemented to protect sensitive information of a company.
Britz, M. (2009). Computer Forensics and Cyber Crime: An Introduction. London: Prentice Hall Publishers.
Casey, E. (2004). Digital Evidence and Computer Crime: Forensic Science, Computers and the Internet. New York: Academic Press.
Charlesworth, J. (2003). Privacy, Personal Information, and employment. Surveillance & Society, 1(2), 216-18.