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PRDV208: Information Management and Processing

Unit 2: Information Management Tools and Business Requirements   In this unit, you will examine how information management tools are applied to business requirements, which are a broad range of components (e.g. Human Resources, sales, marketing, product development, etc.) used to effectively run an organization and to eliminate any potential issues; you will learn more about this topic in sub-subunit 2.1.2. Information management tools exist to drive the value of an organization by supporting organizational needs, objectives, and strategies. 
 
More specifically, you will learn how to develop memos, graphs, and reports to support customer communications and interactions. You will focus on the application of the standard office suite tools that are used by most organizations and businesses to address business needs for planning and operations. You will learn about the key features of each tool and examine how these tools may be used to deliver valuable information to a business or organization such as writing memos, using building presentations, sales forecasts, and fund-raising projections. For example, you may be asked by your boss to write a memo to a client or to create a presentation describing a new service your organization is about to offer. In these cases, you would need to know how to use information management tools. This unit will show you how an organization would apply information management tools to achieve the desired results. You will also learn how the use of these tools can overlap. For example, after completing the memo and presentation task, your boss may then ask you to develop a spreadsheet that tracks the responses or even collect the responses in a database and produce weekly or monthly reports. This unit will also give you an overview of information management tools and how these tools are applied to business requirements.

Unit 2 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 3 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 2.1: 0.75 hours

☐    Subunit 2.2: 0.75 hours

☐    Activity: 1.5 hours

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- identify and describe the role of the customer or business owner as an information user and processor; - define the term business requirement; - identify a business information-management need, and develop an effective business requirement to reflect that need; - explain the key functions and features of typical information-management tools used to design solutions to business needs; - determine which tool to use for a specific business need or problem. - identify and create solutions to business problems by using information management and processing tools that address the complete business need; - explain how to identify, validate, and secure data/information to address business requirements; - explain the role of the business owner (client) in data selection and validation; and - explain how public and proprietary data and information are used.

2.1 Determining Customer Needs and Business Requirements   2.1.1 The Role of the Customer or Business Owner   2.1.1.1 Information Users   - Reading: The National Academies Press: Managing Microcomputers in Large Organizations: “The User Era” Link: The National Academies Press: Managing Microcomputers in Large Organizations: “The User Era” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, scroll down to the
“Table of Contents,” and then click on the link titled “The User
Era” to access the PDF. Read pages 124–129.  

 Reading this article and taking notes should take less than 15
minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.1.1.2 Information Processors   Information processors is a term used to describe business or knowledge workers who are involved in the process of data collection and storage, transformation of business systems, and dissemination. This is an evolving role that grows and shrinks with the advancement of technology and organizational process maturity.

2.1.2 What Is a Business Requirement?   - Reading: The National Academies Press: Managing Microcomputers in Large Organizations: “Managing Microcomputers and End-User Computing” Link: The National Academies Press: Managing Microcomputers in Large Organizations: “Managing Microcomputers and End-User Computing” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, scroll down to the
“Table of Contents,” and then click on the “Managing Microcomputers
and End-User Computing” link to access the PDF. Read pages 81–92.  

 Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 30
minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.1.3 Determining Which Tool to Use   The secret to determining which tool to use is that there is no secret.This process should be based on the culture of the organization or target audience. Many organizations openly embrace presentations, while others prefer a detailed word document with graphs and charts. The key is to ask the customer or make an open suggestion and ask for feedback. Some professional presenters will use multiple tools (presentations, fact sheets, flyers, etc.) to deliver their message. As a business analyst, you should communicate with your boss and target audience to determine their preferences.

2.1.4 How to Design a Solution for a Business Need   2.1.4.1 Templates   Do not reinvent the wheel. One of the advantages of an office suite and access to the Internet is the availability of templates. Templates are available to solve almost any communications challenge and with only minor adjustments, a standard template can be transformed into a custom document. The first step for any information management and processing assignment should be centered on identifying a public domain (freeware) template or an existing organizational template. Once a great document has been created, you should consider converting the structure of the document into a reusable template for the organization.

2.1.4.2 Business Processes   As defined by Laudon & Laudon, business processesare the unique ways in which organizations coordinate and organize work activities, information, and knowledge to produce a product or service.1 This definition or some derivative of it is used as the standard to describe business processes and information technology processes which are applied in a business environment.  In both industries, business processes refers to the unique manner in which work is organized, coordinated, and focused to produce a valuable product or service.
______________________
1 Laudon, K. C., and Laudon, J. P. (2012). Management Information Systems (12th ed.). Prentice-Hall, New York.

2.1.4.3 Business Standards   Business standards are processes that are used to facilitate a constant business practice. The purpose of implementing business standards is to ensure the success of the targeted goal. Organizations develop or implement business standards to compete effectively or develop a strategic advantage. Without effective business standards, organizations may find themselves at a disadvantage. The office suite that we are using in this course represents business standards. These standards allow organizations to share data information, which results in the ability to use standard business processes.

2.2 Identifying Data and Information to Address Business Requirements   2.2.1 How to Find Reliable and Accurate Data   - Reading: The Open University’s An Introduction to Data and Information: “Section 4.2: Finding Information: the Web” Link: The Open University’s An Introduction to Data and Information: “Section 4.2: Finding Information: the Web” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and read “Section 4.2
Finding Information: the Web” to learn about methods used to find
reliable information from the web. Make sure to click on the “Next”
link at the bottom of each webpage to read subsections 4.2.1 through
4.2.3; there are four webpages total. Focus on the example, and make
sure you answer the questions at the end of the webpage. You may
click on “Reveal Answer” to check your response against the one
provided.  

 Reading this section and completing the examples should take
approximately 20 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.2.1.1 Validating Information and Data   One of the major challenges when retrieving information or data from an Internet source is the accuracy of the information/data. To address this challenge, we suggest that you find a second web source that confirms the information/data and list the source of the information/data within your document. This action will serve two purposes:

1) it will allow others to validate your source of the information, and 2) it will allow you to explain any challenges to the information/data.

2.2.1.2 The Role of the Business Owner or Client in Validating Data   As a business analyst, it is important that you obtain reliable information from the business owner or client. When preparing a report or presentation that represents data from a business owner/client, you should ask for the original source of the data and the date that the information was created. This information should be included as a footnote or reference.

2.2.2 How Should Information Be Secured?   Securing information is a major issue in most business environments. It is possible that you are working on a document that has sensitive data about the organization that can have an impact on the public or your organization. Some believe that if the document is on one’s own computer or stored on a computer server, then it is safe. In reality, this just means that it is difficult to acquire access to the data, but it is not safe. One of the best practices for protecting a file or information is to password-protect the information.

2.2.2.1 Securing Proprietary Data and Information   - Web Media: YouTube: DemoTrainer’s “Excel, Word, PowerPoint 2007 Demo: Set a Password on a File” Link: YouTube: DemoTrainer’s “Excel, Word, PowerPoint 2007 Demo: Set a Password on a File” (YouTube)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and watch this
tutorial about how to set a password on a file. It may help to open
a Word document and follow along with the tutorial.  

 Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 10 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.2.2.2 Securing Public Data and Information   Although some people may think that protecting public data and information is not important, in many cases the data/information we obtain from a meeting, Internet source, or a presentation given by a vendor may be sensitive. When using pubic data/information, you should document the sources and ask the source provider if the information can be republished. This process will protect both you (your organization) and the provider of the information. In addition, it will provide disclosure of how the information was obtained.

  • Web Media: YouTube: HelpVideoGuru’s “File - Prepare for Sharing - Privacy Issues - Microsoft Word 2010” Link: YouTube: HelpVideoGuru’s “File - Prepare for Sharing - Privacy Issues - Microsoft Word 2010” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above and watch this tutorial about how to prepare a file for sharing.

    Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 10 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “PRDV208 Course Discussion Board” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “PRDV208 Course Discussion Board”

    Instructions: After reviewing the unit materials, please post and respond to the following topics on the course discussion board. Feel free to start your own related posts, and respond to other students’ postings as well.

 1.    Think of a situation in which you have had to or in which you
might have to develop a weekly one page newsletter. Describe the
template(s) that you would use to facilitate this weekly event.  
 2.    Think of a situation in which you have had to or in which you
might have to develop a weekly one page newsletter. Describe the
business processes that you would use to facilitate this weekly
event.  
 3.    Think of a situation in which you have had to or in which you
might have to develop a weekly one page newsletter. Describe the
business standards that you would use to facilitate this weekly
event.  

 Completing this activity should take approximately 1 hour and 30
minutes.