Sadly, this is our final blog. We thought we’d share a few of our insights about our experiences developing these blogs over the 7 weeks. In that time we’ve posted 17 blogs. Although we took the same broad topic, we were really given an amazing creative license to pursue any aspect of information systems in business that interested us. Here are our final thoughts on our blogs below:
So over the last few weeks, I have worked my way up the corporate information systems pyramid and discussed each stage in detail. Before I began this series, I personally felt that information systems in the corporate world were a little obscure as I was very familiar with the customer-facing aspects of these systems but had no idea what went on behind the scenes. Taking transaction processing systems as an example, I was very comfortable with how payment processing and inventory management systems worked, having had previous experience with both. But as I worked up the hierarchy of corporations, a more investigative approach was needed.
As a student, I have never operated a Management Information System, or a Management Support System so conducting literature reviews was my new strategy. Through collating and aggregating sources from across the web and academic institutions I slowly got a feel for how these management-level systems are designed and the purpose they’re trying to achieve. SAP, Oracle and IBM were the 3 main incumbents in this space and their history was fascinating. There’s no doubt that software packages for enterprise resource planning and data analysis have, and will continue to have, a profound impact on corporate growth and innovation. Yet my final thought on this topic is a simple one: Where will we see the next big breakthrough in Corporate Information Systems?
I personally will be keeping an eye out on future support systems being used in executive decision making at large companies. Big Data is a popular buzz word at the moment and rightfully so, it is revolutionising many industries. However, at the very top of the decision-making pyramid, many problems are so unstructured, dynamic and often unsolvable even with the finest algorithms and copious amounts of data. So, the thought that I have pondered over the last week is whether we will ever see an elaborate information system being used to automate this decision-making process? Despite the continued advances in machine learning and advanced analytics we still see many CEO’s rely deeply on their intuition, ingenuity and ‘gut’ instinct to propel their companies forward. So, perhaps we are on the cusp of Industry 4.0. and major growth in artificial intelligence but in my opinion, we are still a long way off from beating the most powerful information system of all: the brain.
Cathal here again, well that semester’s flown by. At the beginning of this module, I set about trying to explore the impact Information Systems have on the hiring cycle in different firms. This was borne out of frustration at not being able to thwart the game that is the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that most multinationals and even smaller firms implement.
My first post discussed the ATS at surface level, describing how it can keep track of CVs and key-value match certain role-specific strings when whittling down applications. I feel that while this is an incredibly useful example of IS in the workplace to make business decisions, one visible downside can be seen in how people are now structuring their CVs. Video game designers often complain about human nature resulting in players “optimising the fun out of our work” and this is no different when beating the ATS. Instead of selling themselves on their CV, today’s applicant is simply trying to have the optimal amount of matches present for the role.
In my second post, I went deeper in my discussion of the ATS and how it works higher up in the firm, and how it is managed at HR/Exec level. It was incredibly interesting to read about how ATS sorts candidates’ compatibility with several roles all through one application, and it is now commonplace to have roles filled with an incredibly compatible candidate who had applied to a different role. The structure of the ATS is incredibly impressive as well. I noted that it has a hand in almost every department of a modern firm, with job specs being written by management, handled by HR and reviewed by entry-level or graduate employees. From top to bottom the ATS has resulted in a more streamlined and efficient hiring cycle than ever before.
My final post discussed the infamous IKEA France spying scandal that occurred between 2009–2012 that only recently went on trial. While entirely insidious, the practice of spying on employees was both systematic and ultimately fit into my niche of IS in the hiring cycle. It brings up an excellent point inadvertently about the ethics of IS in the hiring cycle. One of the problems with systems like the ATS is they aren’t immune to humanity’s many biases. This can be seen in a simple subconscious ranking of one University over another and expresses itself far worse in practices like spying on employees since they have a nice car and you believe it may be illicitly gotten.
All in all, I’ve really enjoyed my exploration of IS in the hiring cycle and fully intend on continuing to read about such things in the future. My endeavour for a summer job finally proved fruitful the other day, so I feel like it’s right to end off this journey on a happy note too. Take care everyone.
Hey there, Inga back for one last blog instalment. Over the past few weeks, I have learned a lot about the implementation of Information Systems in the more creative aspects of business, learned about innovation practices and how Creativity Support Systems (CSS) can support and enhance creative processes within companies. As these were areas I had very little practical knowledge or experience of, I was mainly relying on research papers and books online to learn about them- a scary thing for an engineer who hasn't spent much time reading or writing since hitting college! I did find that a lot of the research conducted in the area of creativity was very cross-disciplinary and this made for some interesting but complicated reading. In my two blogs about CSS, I distilled this information down to explain the purpose of the different categories of CSS and then took a more in-depth look at CSS that supported creativity frameworks such as Brainstorming and also the newer area of the application of AI in CSS.
I mentioned in my first blog post that I wanted to research the use of IS in the creative industry but unfortunately, I found very little on the subject in all of my searches. Now, there are two possible reasons for this… reason the first: the creative industry doesn’t make use of IS or, reason the second: there is just very little research and analysis on the implementation of IS in the creative industry. I would argue that it is probably the latter. I’d be interested to see how, as the world moves towards becoming more and more digital, the creative industries might respond by integrating more IS into their processes.
I really enjoyed the process of researching this niche area of IS, it definitely allowed me the chance to read a lot more literature in subject areas outside of engineering which was a fun challenge. Keep safe and well everyone!
Ciarán here on the blog for the last time. As a student engineer, I’m a pretty numerical person. I’m good with numbers and typically tend to favour mathematics-based modules that have really strict guidelines and parameters. In other words, you are either right or wrong. I was initially intimidated by this assignment considering how broad it was when it came to choosing a topic and content. Since Information Systems are pretty much incorporated into every single structure we have nowadays, it was pretty difficult to know what to pursue. Despite my apprehension at such a subjective module with far more writing than I am used to, I really enjoyed this assignment. Unethical uses of Information Systems in businesses was a topic I relished researching. Considering the amount of corruption that I kept hearing about in Irish businesses as I was growing, it was great to finally investigate it a bit more and find out exactly what was wrong with what people were doing.
I began with my blogs starting off with how data was being secretly collected or how people were manipulated into consenting to it. I then discussed the purposes it was used for, like targeted ads. I then moved on to ways to protect yourself from Information Systems companies employ. Then for my final few short snippet blogs, I discussed companies like Facebook, Apple and managed to collaborate with Cathal on the IKEA France trial, which I really enjoyed. Writing this blog was great for figuring out in layman’s terms what exactly cookies are and how they work. It was also good to find out exactly what the Cambridge Analytica scandal was about and the implications their actions had. It’s almost a shame we can’t keep writing our blogs, it was a nice break from the usual mundane assignments. I hope you enjoyed reading our blog as much as I enjoyed researching and writing them. Bye!
Overall, we gained a lot of new information from this experience, not only through writing out own posts but also through reading what everyone else had researched and written. It’s been cool to experience such a different teaching and learning method and it just goes to show what a little thinking outside the box can do for our education.