Managing Computer Systems

Main Topics of Study:

A. Organisational Structures

  • Hierarchical structures in business.
  • Matrix structures in business.
  • Management by objectives.
  • Centralisation of a business. Affects of decentralisation.

B. General Management Principles

  • Management control of a business.
  • Planning and scheduling.
  • Time management.
  • Reporting methods. Reporting to management.
  • Communication channels in business.
  • Motivation.

C. Information

  • Distinction between data and information.
  • Information at different levels – operational, tactical, strategic.
  • Presenting information – different methods.
  • What makes “good” information?
  • Form and report design.

D. Business processes

  • Forecasting.
  • Budgeting.
  • Decision systems. Executive information systems. Decision support systems. Expert systems.
  • IT aids for the manager.

E. Network Analysis/PERT

  • Network analysis as a means of project control.
  • Definitions of Activity, Event, Critical path, Float, Dummy activity. Activity resources.
  • Conventions for drawing a network diagram.
  • Draw a network from a table of activities.
  • Determine critical path and minimum project duration.
  • Gantt Chart. Draw a Gantt. Aggregating resources within a Gantt chart. Levelling resources over the duration of the project.
  • The role of the computer in project control.

F. IT Personnel – The roles of IT personnel in the business – their job descriptions.

  • Data Processing Manager, Computer Manager.
  • Network supervisor/controller.
  • Systems Analyst.
  • Programmer, Systems Programmer, Programmer Analyst.
  • End users and data clerks.

G. Training and Recruiting

  • Methods of recruiting particularly for IT staff.
  • Methods of selection particularly for IT staff.
  • Benefits/drawbacks of training existing staff against recruiting new already-trained staff.
  • Training needs. Individual training programs. Personnel development records (PDR).
  • Means of providing the right training.

H. Security and Privacy of computer systems

  • Difference between Security and Privacy.
  • Threats to the security of computer systems – hardware, software and data.
  • Means of minimising security problems.
  • Privacy issues in business data.
  • The manager’s role in controlling security and privacy problems.

I. The effects of computers on business

  • Managing changes in business methods.
  • Changing role of personnel.
  • Changes which affect customers.
  • Health issues related to computer use.
  • Data Protection Acts and other laws relating to computer systems which affect management and staff.

J. The small business

  • Differences in running a small business compared with larger organisations.
  • Benefits of IT for the small business related to a PARTICULAR business
  • Business plans.
  • Choosing the right computer system.
  • Problems facing the small business with regards to IT.
  • Leasing and Maintenance contracts.