Does IT really matter? Definitely YES!

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It has been a few months after I enrolled the subject Management in
Information Systems (MIS) and I didn’t expect that it would give me
different perspective towards Information Technology. In this fast
paced generation of today, IT has proven to be evident in the
different sectors of the society such as in education, business and
industry trade and even in our personal lives. This subject had opened
the window of opportunities in pursuit for maximization of its use,
innovations and new ideas.

For some time, there was an idea that crossed my mind that is there
really a need to have a formal study on MIS where these can be learned
through the availability of the technology itself? I mean, I think I
can have these modules browsed in the internet rather than taking a
formal course in school. Well this is just one of my realizations as
we go through with our series of topics and discussions in class. For
little I know, IT is just the internet, the gadgets and other that
that, who cares?

A deeper understanding in IT through specific topics such as Business
Intelligence tools (BI) and collaboration tools enables me to
appreciate more on how IT gives competitive advantage to organizations
nowadays. I can personally relate on these topics essential to my
current nature of work and the platforms and tools we had. I have at
least now a better understanding why such companies invest on these
innovations and how to augment productivity and work efficiency.
IT security, governance and ethics also make us aware on the
responsible use of IT and in preservation of privacy safety as top
priority. It allows us to use IT in a positive way and mitigate its
inevitable drawbacks.

Laboratory activities and access has been a good refresher and new
learning in database management which definitely a good help for us
who encounters a lot of data in a daily work-life routine. A new set
of techniques was learned in excel and access which I have now adapted
in making reports and generating data.

I was also challenged on the blog post requirement weekly and
admittedly had a struggle during the first few weeks. I’m not fond of
writing and definitely not good at it. We were used to play with
numbers way back in my undergrad courses in engineering but eventually
this course (MIS) had made me at least a “blogger” for one trimester.
I am writing this last blog write up hoping I could post this before
12 midnight since I’m spending my holy week vacation in my childhood
hometown. And guess what, there is no internet connection and even
have no mobile service! There are so many things to relate on the
importance of IT and this is so far the best one. And now I say, IT
really matter and definitely will always be.

Social Media : Use and Responsibilty

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Can you imagine yourself living a day without checking your facebook account? I bet most of us can’t. This generation has indeed influenced by social media will it be for personal or for business sake. For some of us, like in my case,  can’t deny  the fact that its one of our guilty pleasures. Social media isn’t good nor bad, it is still depends on how we make use of it.

Communication and collaboration are some of the  evident benefits brought to us by social media. By just a click, it makes us connected to anywhere and anyone in a vast virtual space – the internet.  Social media like facebook and instagram became my stress reliever and a quick break from my daily stressful work life. It’s one of my outlet to disconnect my self to the real world when I feel burnt out with my daily tasks. It also helped me to widen my social network, made the right circle of  friends and had a chance for new acquaintances and get in touch with old friends and relatives.

I took the advantage of the availability of information and current events in social media. Real time updates in construction industry allows me to have a visibility of prospect projects to acquire and respond to the needs of the market cement industry.It somehow helped me to formulate strategies in attaining short term goals and targets such as closings projects and volume performance in cement sales. It enables me to have better insights towards industry trend, augment awareness through other people and gain valuable information which helped me to have better judgement and reference for effective decision making.

Social media sites however, should be used accordingly with personal management. Most of us spend hours browsing in these sites where it affects our productivity in our workplace  and even defeating the purpose of socialization with other  people. The power of social media is unpredictable as well as its immediate negative effects and drawback to ourselves and to society’s welfare as a whole. The need of responsible use of social media starts within ourselves, therefore I will live with my own personal commitments as  follows. First, I will limit my use of social media apps for only up to 2 hours a day. I will set as well a “no social media day” every month where I  will not allow myself to open any social media app a  whole single day monthly. Secondly, I will make sure that my posts will not offend someone’s feelings and always ask permission with other people when tagging and uploading photos. I will also  respect other’s post rather than criticism. I will also limit myself to share only interesting topics and sensible information. And lastly, I will be careful enough in securing my accounts’ privacy to protect my personal and my friends’ sensitive information.

 

What is interesting is the power and the impact of social media… So we must try to use social media in a good way.  – Malala Yousafzai

image source: http://www.afiahealth.com

 

Software Piracy : Practicality + Ethical Responsibility

Technological advancement has a lot to offer. Once there is a reaping benefit we get from something new, there will always be a  inevitable negative effect on it. Information Technology and its uses is no exception. In the era where  everything can now be find in an instant click, malicious intentions of some has taken the advantage. Software Piracy  is one of the evident drawbacks in the use  of IT. Though this seem to be not new, impacts on the business sector ,society  and human welfare  should not be taken for granted.

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image reference: http://videohive.net/

Software piracy has marked  the Philippine market and software industry. We cannot deny the fact that copyright infringement has been commonly practiced by locals, sad but true  and we still  do patronize these pirated products. Among the common considered piracy acts are “software cracking”  where software can be used without the need of  a product license. Indeed sounds practical and economical, however underlying risk  is at stake. In a country where using pirated software may be not considered unethical, and licensed products can cost up to twice our monthly salaries, I think we cannot blame some users who ended up installing unlicensed software rather than not having to use at all. This may be applicable to students or individual users who can not afford the full licenses. However, if these software is to be used for the purpose of generating financial gain, like business entities whether proprietorship or a corporation, this is a big no.

While the government is striving in enforcing against piracy,complete mitigation could be a huge leap for government alone.Software companies can consider offering a business plan packages like longer trial period for software  especially to small and medium enterprises where they can generate funds for software investment during the trial period before paying the premium license. Offering discounts and developing versions where can offer lower cost with the same competency in terms of use. It may generate lower revenues to software companies but its a way better than having nothing to profit at all. Government may also subsidize software licenses for students in public schools and individual users can also use open office as substitute and last resort. In this way we see a better grasp in social and ethical responsibility with a bit of practicality.

 

 

 

Knowledge Management : A Corporate Stategy

People are the most important resources of an organization and so as knowledge as the core operation and innovation; integrated together to become the most valuable assets towards efficiency and productivity. Ability to utilize, organize and collaborate organizations’ knowledge with the right potential individuals represents a deliberate and systematic approach to knowledge management .

As experienced working in sales and distribution of a construction commodity, having the right people and the right knowledge  in attaining project win and quality  customer service is crucial. Hitting monthly targets and  getting  project deals is no joke  in an environment where construction market is aggressive and healthy. Good thing that the management had invested into modern KM tools through the use of information technology and definitely took an advantage to survive in the competition. As a global player in providing construction solutions, best practices across the regions are shared through  a common platform  such as intranet where information are made  available. Collaboration has been also improved where transmission of useful information, sharing data and remote discussions has made easy and possible using google applications.

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However, the recent merger with another leading cement global player somehow affected the present organization’s environment due to culture indifference. A change in management affects the organization not only in KM initiatives but with the people as well. Resistance to change, self parochialism and implementing new systems brought by restructuring of organization are the hindrances to effective KM.

Knowledge is power but knowledge sharing is empowerment. Organizations can benefit with the right knowledge in formulating new strategies in  pursuit of better innovations. Maximizing these knowledge through sharing across the organizations opens new opportunities and better perspectives. With the right knowledge shared, individuals and the company as a whole can be  empowered  to make better decisions, directions that will lead to  an effective corporate strategy.

 

 

 

Applying Business Intelligence : Positive not Punitive

In today’s new era of modern economic market, it is important  that business succeed in finding ways  to stand out in the competition. The need of Business Intelligence or BI is essential for organizations’ strategies towards gaining competitive advantage and to spot new business opportunities. BI is an umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize decisions and performance – gartner.com.

BusinessIntelligenceimage reference: https://www.ariasystems.com

BI initiatives  may perceived by some as  value added and  not essential to many users, thus resistance in adaptation is always a challenge. But how this resistance can be translated into motivation ?  Effective and comprehensive communication plays a vital role to encourage use of BI tools. Relying in classroom training to change behaviors may not be effective but rather let people engage and raise awareness in improving insights emphasizing on BI’s positive business impact. For some organizations, BI utilization has been a part of their KPI’s ( Key Performance Indicators)  where employees are required to do so. I can relate on this using our BI platform at Salesforce.com as percentage of our performance metrics are coming from user adaptation.

SFDC

screenshot image from SFDC

Providing rewards and incentives is a good stimulus to drive people utilize BI tools and models. While  every individuals are motivated in different ways, organizations should take a look on its categorized incentive program promoting  mutual benefits between the employers and its employees. On the other hand, I agree that inflicting punishment could  not increase the level of engagement of people in a certain BI initiative.  Punitive programs may only inculcate a mere compliance working culture resulting to inefficiency and low productivity.

References:

 

http://www.gartner.com/it-glossary/business-intelligence-bi/

http://www.ciall.com/the-challenges-of-business-intelligence-bi/

https://hbr.org/2010/04/8-steps-to-smarter-it-part-2/

Shopping Cart No More: Thoughts on Online Shopping

Everybody loves shopping. It is indeed one of our stress relievers and  guilty pleasures. But have you ever imagine the number of shoppers who go mall/store-shopping nowadays? Well its countless, but its pretty sure that a big chunk of the  pie had their shopping spree at home because of online shopping.

online-shoppinghttp://www.aloe-vera-remedies.com/online-shopping.html

Convenience – most people prefer to shop online rather than to squeeze through over long counter queues. Despite of the fact that its way lower in terms of cost, it also offers a vast variety of options and choices. Freedom, as we can shop anytime and anywhere we want. It contributes to society welfare as well as we can reduce traffic, save gas and more time for family and other personal matters. However, drawbacks in online shopping are inevitable. Security threat when using credit cards and identity theft  are major and common issues. Legitimacy and reliability of the sites should be checked before doing transactions. High rate of return and exchange of products as some purchases did not meet our expectations due inability to physically check the items. Shipping costs sometimes are taken advantage by online sellers and opportunity to negotiate for lower cost is lost.

Personally, I’m into online shopping. But of course considerations should be taken to make sure that we are giving away the money the right way. Tickets ( plane, events and movie), hotel reservations and printed medias ( books and magazines) are the things I will absolutely buy online without hesitation. I used to travel at least once a month for work across the region and online hotel and flight bookings had never caused me any problem at all. I can actually choose a convenient schedule at a cheaper rates! Events and movie tickets are mostly sold by the events organizers and movie operators (especially in malls) and I think  buying online is nothing to worry about. Popular sites like Amazon has established its reputation through good reviews and feedback that made books more popular to purchase online.

image source:blog.olx.com.pkwww.shutterstock.com

For  quite some time and until now, had a dilemma if buying gadgets online is ideal. My major concern is the product authenticity and validity of its warranty. It would cost you a lot if you ended up with fake products. Clothes and Shoes online made me also think as pictures can always be deceiving. It may not give the perfect fit as well. While drugs and cosmetics, for me should be bought over the the counter still. Risks in health are high if we intake unapproved drugs. Luxury goods like signature watches are discouraged to buy online. Genuine watches are now almost perfectly imitated especially in grey markets.

It’s best to check first the reviews and feedback when buying online. Choose only reputable and trusted sites before spending your hard earned money. Happy Shopping!

 

Refernce:

http://couponing.about.com/od/bargainshop/a/hiddencosts.htm

Cut the Knot : Towards Wireless Technology

Wireless technology is the transmission of data without using cables or electronic wires but instead transferring information through an advanced medium such as radio frequencies, electromagnetic waves, infrared, bluetooth, etc. Wireless communication is one of the most significant and useful contribution of technology to mankind today and  evident to most of the companies and firms due to its reaping benefits.CRO_money_cuttingbills_12-13

photo:http://www.consumerreports.org/

Getting Rid of Wires – Aesthetically, going wireless is an advantage as we can now have our office without those hanging wires and cables. It is  also cost efficient as wired connections are expensive in labor installation not to include the cost of cables itself. Wireless devices such as routers may be expensive but cost effective in the long run in terms of reduction in  regular maintenance. It promotes safety as well as hazards like tripping over  and trailing wires can be eliminated.

Working Anytime and Anywhere – Using WiFi connections enable employees to work more flexible and increased mobility.  Multitasking field and administrative  work are made possible due wireless gadgets and data connections which improves our output productivity. Some of the companies like in our case, all of our employees even office-based are being issued with laptops instead of conventional desktop computers and we are allowed to carry our tasks even at home.  It promotes higher efficiency at the same time convenience.

Safety First – As most companies are moving towards technological advancement in doing business, this advancement had also open a window to security threats. Like in our case, our top management and IT group had established rules to maintain IT security as top priority.

  • Only company IT can install programs and software to every employee’s computer unit. VPN or (Virtual Private Networks) are used to to protect sensitive data when connecting to a public network.
  • Mandatory 3-Month Password change – Our log in access are prompted automatically every 3 month to secure password  against breaches.
  •  Regular updating of system Firewall – Always check firewall when connecting in public networks.
  • Use  of Verification Codes. Log in access are provided with verification codes sent to our mobile through SMS for user authentication in times of failed – log in  attempts.

Moreover, using wireless network is definitely  a personal responsibility. Observing a prompt and regular reporting culture to your local security IT service desk and or superiors can reduce risks in IT threats.

 

References:

http://www.quadratek.net/blog/news/2013/12/12/9-advantages-to-using-a-wireless-network