An to assist clients in any possible way,

An Information System (IS) is a coordinated system for the
collection, organisation, storage and communication of information. More precisely,
it is the study of integral networks that people and organisations use to
collect, filter, process, create and distribute data. “An information
system (IS) is a group of components that interact to produce information. It
focuses on the internal rather than the external” (Kroenke, 2014).

The relationship concerning the client and the IS consultant
is extremely critical in developing the cooperation needed to create a product/system
that satisfies the customer’s needs. A significant part of a project’s planning
phase should be reserved to recognise the client’s activities and the
environment they operate in (Innovative
Architects).

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IS consultants needs to make sure clients are informed of
their active role in the project and that everyone is clear on who is accountable
for decisions in each phase. The consultants also have to plainly state the
boundaries of their role, along with those of the consulting team so the
processes can run smoothly.

The role of the IS consultants is to assist clients in any
possible way, which can comprise of training, implementation of the system or
suggestions on what to implement. The consultants will need to be ready to
tailor recommendations to the expected results and take into account everything
that will be required to get those results.

 

Literature
Review

IS success is one of the earliest research traditions in IS
research. At the first ICIS conference (International Conference on Information
Systems) in 1980 questions concerning what is and what determines IS success
were raised ( Petter, DeLone, & McLean,
2013).
The seminal paper by DeLone and McLean hinted that IS success should be the
preeminent dependent variable for the IS field (DeLone & McLean, 1992). They
proposed a taxonomy of six interrelated variables to explain IS success: System
Quality, Information Quality, Use, User Satisfaction, Individual Impact, and
Organisational Impact. Since the original publication of their model in 1992,
researchers have examined, modified, or extended the concept of IS success (Dwivedi , Wastell, Henriksen, & De’, 2015). One of the significant
extensions is the service quality dimension of information technology (IT) departments
( Petter, DeLone, & McLean, 2013), incorporated
in an updated model published in 2003 (Delone & McLean, 2003). The original
and revised models are among the most cited frameworks in IS research (Lowry, Karuga, & Richardson, 2007) and have been
validated by various studies as good predictors of IS success (Iivari, 2005; Petter, DeLone, & McLean, 2013).

Numerous literature reviews have supported the explanatory
power of the IS success model ( Petter, DeLone, & McLean,
2013).
Petter et al (2013) identify 43 elements
that have been posited to affect one or more of the IS success variables. These
43 success elements are organised into three dimensions: tasks, people, and
structure. These elements, and the different dimensions of IS success as proposed
by Delone and McLean (2003), can be defined
as the state-of-the art of IS success research.

Research focusing on IS failure, rather than success, have
also been noticeable over the last four decades. Such studies focus on the
shortfall between actual and required performance (Bignell &
Fortune, 1984).
IS failure can be outlined as “either the implemented system not meeting the
user expectations or inability of creating working or a functioning system” (Mensah, 2003). In this
context, the need to learn from failures has been reviewed when implementing IS
in organisations (Scott & Vessey, 2000). Nevertheless,
many case studies of IS failure are explained and discussed in the literature,
and different causes and consequences of IS failure have been proposed (Avison & Wilson, 2002; Barker & Frolick ,
2006). The resulting reasons for IS failure are as contrary as the
projects themselves.

Based on the investigation of different studies, several approaches
have been proposed to describe the concept of IS failure and its causes. Early proposals
include Lucas (1975), Lyytinen and
Hirschheim (1988), and Sauer (1993). These
authors explain IS failure largely from a social and organisational point of
view. For example, Lyytinen and Hirschheim (1988) emphasise the
importance of correspondence, process, and interaction factors, and Sauer (1993) of
termination factors causing IS failures.

These initial concepts of IS failure have been expanded
during the last couple of decades with a deeper focus on an IS project, or
project management, perspective. Nelson (2007) probed 99 IS
projects and identified 36 classic mistakes which determine the possibility
that an IS fails. He categorised these mistakes into four categories: process,
people, product, and technology. The first category “process” emphases on IT
project management factors, including both the management process and technical
project management practices.

The “people” category encapsulates factors related to the
people involved in a project, and the “product” category describes the
characteristics of the project itself. The final category “technology” summarises
those factors leading to IS failures which are established on the use and
misuse of modern technology.

The strength of having a set of factors is that it helps finding
common characteristics across cases. Such “factor research” (Mohr, 1982) has been extensively
discussed and criticised in IS research. The main criticism is that it
“black-boxes” categories of explanations. The Bangalore Panel provided an chance
for the research community along with practitioners to open the black-box and debate
the issue of success and failure of IS from a range of perspectives, underlining
some weaknesses of prior research and pointing out some directions for future
research.

Business
Organisations

Many
organisations in all sectors of industry, commerce, not?for?profit,
and government are now essentially reliant on on their information systems (IS)
and information technology (IT). In industries such as telecommunications,
media, entertainment, gambling and financial services, where the product is
already, or is being progressively, digitised, the survival of an organisation relies
on the effective application of IS/IT.

 

Speed and
accuracy are at the heart of making right decision for business organisations.
Every successful organisation has to go through a comprehensive market research
process which enables management to make the right decision.  Market research can be done in many ways
through online surveys, forums, blogs, and group discussions using World Wide
Web and of course through in-person interviews as well. Currently Big data,
Google Analytics and Microsoft CRM Dynamics are also great tools to extract
useful information which can impact on decision making. These online tools not
only provide real time responses from the potential audience but also ensure
the accuracy of data by minimising the risk of human errors. A great example of
this is when Twitter came into existence. Twitter was designed as a platform to
create, browse, and share podcasts. They were making a bet that podcasting
would become a mainstream medium for sharing news and broadcasting opinion.
They would eventually be proven correct, but not before Apple launched podcast
support for iTunes in June 2005. Twitter took a step back and researched the
new market, exploring user adoption rates, technology, and customer acquisition
costs. They concluded that they had no real chance of competing against Apple. Crucially,
however, they didn’t simply give up. They realised that the platform they had
built had tremendous scalability and potential. Twitter hired Gartner to
support and advise them on how best to move forward (Gartner,
2015).
Gartner suggested that Twitter introduce a new much simpler system. They
doubled-down on simplicity, and just made a portal where people could share
what they were up to. They looked at existing social networks like Facebook,
and researched customer dissatisfaction. Users loved Facebook for photo-sharing
and friend-snooping, but often found the News Feed to be overwhelming and
cluttered (Washington , 2013). Gartner didn’t just advise on
the changes but designed, tested and purchased the necessary hardware needed
for the new system. If Twitter hadn’t sought the help of IT/IS consultants then
it wouldn’t of achieved the success it has.

 

Higher level
of customer satisfaction is the key to success which cannot be achieved without
a real time customer support process. Business success depends on knowing its
customers’ needs, trends, behaviours and satisfaction level. Effective
communication is the best tool to understand the customer demands, problems and
their solutions. Thanks to the Internet Technology that has enabled organisations
to communicate with millions of potential or existing customer in the real
time. IT/IS provides many channels to communicate with the customer without
going out in snow or rain. Some of these channels are email, webinar, social
media, member portals, online newsletters and text or multimedia messaging
through the smart phone.  Enterprise
organisations normally use customer relationship management systems (CRM) to
hold valuable data for understanding customer behaviours and future needs.
Munchery is a small business that provides a delicious alternative to standard
food delivery. High-quality meals created by talented chefs are delivered
directly to a customer’s home, office, or any other location. By supplying
customers with food that was ready to eat, whenever and wherever a customer was
in the mood, Munchery soon discovered that managing their growing number of
repeat customers while also catering to new ones was becoming overwhelming.
They called upon Avanade, a consulting firm to help them find a solution.
Avanade clarified with Munchery the nature of the business and understanding
their work practices. They presented a number of proposals that best suited
their needs and provided detailed advice which included the types of hardware
and software that would be needed (Avanade, 216). 
A CRM solution that involved an integrated proprietary app used by their
drivers made it possible for last minute order changes to be implemented at a
moment’s notice, resulting in happier customers and better returns. As CEO of
Munchery, Conrad Chu, explains, “Our goal is to go above and beyond, so that
ultimately we can turn someone from a frustrated customer into an evangelist.”
Additionally, Munchery uses CRM to monitor performance, measure customer
satisfaction, track the ordering process, and share feedback with their chefs (Salesforce, 2017).

 

Resource
management plays a crucial role in business success. When it comes to medium or
large organisation, it is very hard for the top management to manage all the
resources manually. These resources may include tangible, financial or human
resources etc. IT and IS have played a vital role in automating such complex
problems by introducing user friendly solutions. A decade ago, most of the
resource management solutions were desktop based. Thanks to the internet and
cloud technology which enables software engineers to introduce cloud based ERP
(Enterprise Resource Planning) solutions. Now, the managers can manage or monitor
their organisational resources virtually anywhere in the world by using their
personal computer, laptops, tablets or Smartphone. This concept has introduced
the idea of globalisation. Most of multinational companies (Microsoft, Google,
Amazon, McDonalds etc) in the world use these cloud based solutions to manage
their virtual or physical offices and staff worldwide. MacKay & Sposito is
a civil engineering consulting firm that was having difficulty measuring which
projects and segments were most profitable and they decided to implement a new
ERP system (Microsoft Dynamics SL.) By connecting the company’s entire
business, including project, financial, and materials management, they have
improved cash flow and profitability on a job-by-job basis. To control project
costs and maximise resource utilisation they now track performance at the
sector level and make adjustments to stay within budget. Microsoft Dynamics SL
gives executives the reporting they need to measure their performance against
established goals and focus business development efforts to maximise profits.
The firm has reduced month-end closings from five days to two days and now does
payroll in only two hours twice a month. To top it all off, their estimators
are more precise with bids because of having easy access to historical data;
this gives them a competitive edge in winning more profitable contracts ( Ciecierski , 2013).

Information Systems

Information systems (IS) and Information Technology (IT) are
frequently considered synonymous. In actual fact, information technology is a
subgroup of information systems. The perception that these terms can be used
interchangeably can source confusion for individuals keen in pursuing a
technology related career. While both these fields deal with computers, they
have distinctive characteristics and particular career paths that require
different training. 

Information systems is an generic term for the systems,
people and processes designed to create, store, manipulate, distribute and
disseminate information. The field of information systems bonds business and
computer science. One of the reasons people may not differentiate between IS
and IT is that they assume all information systems are computer based systems.
An information system, however, can be as simple as a pencil and a piece of
paper. Simply, the objects are just tools. Used together, they create a system
for recording information. Despite the fact information systems are heavily
reliant on computers and other technology based tools; the term predates
computers and can include non-technological systems.

Information technology falls under the IS umbrella but deals
with the technology involved in the systems themselves. Information technology
can be categorised as the study, design, implementation, support or management
of computer based information systems. IT typically includes hardware,
software, databases and networks. Information technology often governs the
acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of digitised information, or
data, generated through the disciplines of computing and telecommunications.
Information technology focuses on managing technology and improving its utilisation
to advance the overall business goals. IT/IS consultants aren’t just confide to
giving advice but also designing, testing, installing and monitoring new
systems. This goes to show consultants have a huge span of knowledge and
responsibilities.

There are numerous different types of systems out there
ranging from data warehouses and enterprise planning to office information and geographic
information system to support the accumulation and distribution of data.

There are a number of benefits of enterprise wide IT/IS
systems some of which include organisational and managerial benefits. Having
enterprise systems aids the purpose of synchronising the functions of different
departments. An integrated system reduces the time used in processing
documents, such as payrolls and other external documents. An example of this is
when Mondel, a food manufacturer grew rapidly, their operations became more and
more complex. Manufacturing software supported the automation of business
operations cross-departmentally, providing accurate, real-time information to
everyone utilising the solution. ERP increased efficiency and productivity by
helping users navigate complex processes, preventing data re-entry, and
improving functions such as production, order completion and delivery.
Streamlined, efficient processes throughout the organisation (Workwise).

Managers find it less hectic to oversee operations and to
ensure that key business objectives are achieved through enterprise systems.
Because they are able to access information from a centralised server, managers
find that the decision making process becomes more informed and yields better
results.

Additionally there are also drawbacks to enterprise systems
such as costs and storage. Purchasing the software architecture, implementing
it, and training staff are some of the overheads incurred, in terms of both
money and time. Enterprise systems do not always produce anticipated benefits,
thus creating a risk of double losses. Generally, enterprise systems have a
lifespan of 10 to 20 years, after which point they can be upgraded. While this
might seem like a long time, data within organisations accumulates
exponentially and may prove too difficult to manage and store using a single
software system. Data overflow and a subsequent slowdown in one department will
certainly have a ripple effect in other functions/departments of an organisation.
When British telecom provider Vodafone consolidated its CRM systems onto a
Siebel platform, they ran into problems: not all the customer accounts migrated
properly. The company didn’t go out of its way to advertise this, of course,
but people started to notice when their accounts weren’t properly credited for
payments made. The consequences was Vodafone receiving a £4.6 million fine from
Ofcom (Fruhlinger & Wailgum, 2017).

Conclusion

Once an organisation defined the needs to take a business to
the next level, a decision maker will define a scope, cost and a time-frame of
the project. The role of the IT/IS consultancy company is to support and
nurture the company from the very beginning of the project till the end, and
deliver the project not only in the scope, time and cost but also with complete
customer satisfaction.

One of the major factors that sometime hinder the
implementation of a proposed system in the cost as projects can go over budget.
IT/IS consultants can support organisations by offering them a number of
solutions and providing the positives and negatives of each proposal. Consultants
have a large network they have built up while working on different projects amongst
which are vendors who provide hardware and software that can be bought at
cheaper prices by the consultants for the organisation.

If an organisation is small and requires new system and has
the funding, they have everything they need. With any business or organisation
time is of essence. IT/IS consultants can bring can bring speed to the whole
process of implementing a new system. Their experience from previous project
have given them an insight to what could go wrong and build bridges to overcome
these problems which will benefit both the client and the consultants.

Looking at IT/IS consultancy I feel that it is a vast area
in which substantial amount of knowledge and expertise is needed. Saying that I
do find it extremely interesting with coming up with solutions to fixing
problems and issues the organisations face and allowing me to stay up to day
with the latest innovation that is happening especially with current topics
such as artificial intelligent and the cloud. Maybe not now but with at least a
decade of experience under my belt I would consider going into IT/IS
consultancy.