Access Control in Daily IT Organisation Tasks

Many Businesses use IT to manage their accounts, documents and decision-making. It is, therefore important that Access Control be implemented in Organisations to prevent unwanted modification or prying eyes from being able to commit computer crimes, such as the ones outlined in the Computer Misuse Act. Using Access Control can prevent these people and operational staff from being able to modify information that otherwise is not their place to edit. Some common implementations of Access Control could be limiting the information available to a customer about Transaction Processing Systems or Management Information Systems not allowing Managers access to manufacturer prices.

Access Control in Strategic, Tactical and Operational Management

In order to implement these features a common method of maintaining strict control is through a permissions model, where it is outlined to the computer what permissions a login has access to, such that they are able (like a file system) to edit, read or write a file or piece of information. Here are some common examples of Access Control;

  • A Supermarket Employee is not able to alter the price of products.
  • A Manager is not able to create new users for a MIS (Management Information System).
  • A DSS (Decision Support System) is not able to commit to a higher level of privilege without presenting documentation proving that that decision is possible, a good example of this could be a bank requiring an account number to confirm that the account is active before allowing the employee to make changes or a support agent requiring a pin from a customer before being allowed to view the customers details.

Strategic Operational and Tactical in Access Control

The three levels of control is a common (but not de-facto) model for systems management, however often these levels of tasks can become obscured by other factors. These tasks can often be divided up among IT departments in formal organisations, such as ‘Ops’ and ‘Licencing’. The use of Access Control can be used to coordinate effective ICT teamwork on large projects and in other departments, such as accounting.

Management in the Scale of Organisations

The IT of an organisation can also depend on the scale of its operations. Traditionally licences for software are based on the number of staff using the systems, even small organisations can have 50 (or more) staff members and still be classed as a small organisation. Generally, smaller organisations will have an informal structure and confined to a single site. Whereas Medium organisations may have a more formal procedure which adopts policies and organisational structure to ensure that systems are maintained and compliance is met where necessary. A large scale organisation may have IT as one of the core responsibilities of the organisation as it is likely that some locations may be off site or long distance where remote access is vital. They may also rely heavily on WANs and expanded LANs to ensure that their systems are accessible across the sites available.

Management Styles

Because large and medium size organisations need a leader or manager, they may adopt one of four management styles, the use of these management styles allows the business to maintain contact with its employees.

  • Autocratic, where a clear authority is established and decisions are only to be made by strategic or tactical individuals, operational staff may have relatively little power compared to the other management styles however, it may mean that staff may not feel demotivated if something goes wrong because they are not as involved in the organisation compared to the other leadership styles.
  • Democratic, is where management is taken by ‘vote’ of opinion and is useful when undertaking projects and allows people with specialisms such as networking and database design to cast their opinions and thoughts on a project.
  • Laissez-faire, is where management takes a smaller role and workers are expected to perform as they are needed and let their own ideas and creativity work to the task they are needed for, this should produce more individual work and is not always ideal for companies that do not require more than simple repetitive tasks.
  • Paternalistic, is where management will use a paternal view of management and only get involved when needed or when feedback is requested, this has the added advantage of giving the workers both freedom and encouragement, but when help is needed they aren’t far away. Additionally, this gives management the ability to delegate tasks and establish authority without appearing autocratic.

 

The management of an organisation can greatly depend on the scale and urgency of the work involved in managing IT. Organisations that also have to follow a lot of compliance, such as government offices must also maintain those constraints effectively.

Information Needs in Organisations

The Needs of An Organisation

Most organisations have similar information needs, such as retaining a stock quantity, a short description of the product etc. Therefore many organisations can utilise off the shelf systems, examples of these systems could include;

  • Supermarket Checkout Software,
  • Timekeeping and check in software for managing staff hours,
  • Task Management.
  • Communication Software.
A lot of businesses; for example in the telecommunications industry, will most likely use Asterisk for managing and delegating calls to staff around the organisation.
Similarly, any company that has a website will most likely have Apache or Nginx to host their website, these are very limited examples but should give you an example of the variety of software available to organisations.

Business efficiency Considerations

 

The reasons that companies use these particular systems may vary however, they are relatively low maintenance compared to systems that they would have to develop themselves. Additionally, the cost of these systems can be significantly less as some software can be rented or managed through Saas (Software as a service) systems.

 

The Variety of Systems Available

Organisations also have different informational needs from sector to sector, for example…
  • A Car Manufacturer’s part list.
  • A Bank’s Customer Database.
  • A Wholesalers Stock Quantity.

These businesses rely on completely different information about their systems. Their goals and objectives as businesses vary.

The Scale of Organisations

Additionally, because systems are so different… when a company undergoes a merger, it may be very disruptive to merge systems, especially ones that are updated very quickly, an example of this could be the askMID database, this system monitors the Insurance status of vehicles on the road in the UK, they claim to have over 10,000 edits an hour, therefore if they needed to merge their database, it would be important that the data was continually updated. It is also likely that the variety of the data available makes spotting mistakes harder to identify, so having a way of logging changes would be vital.

Business Pricing Strategys

When businesses want to compete with competitors, they may use one of numerous methods in order to encourage the sale of their products.

Psychological Pricing

Psychological Pricing involves selling products and services at prices that people wrongly assume they are cheaper than they are, an example would be selling a product for £1.99, the aim is that the potential customer would often round down, and assume that the price of the product was £1, rather the fact that it is much closer to £2.

  • Highly effective for large purchases, such as holidays, as the rounding amount is much larger.
  • A study by Marketing Bulletin showed that over 60% of prices in advertising materials ended in a 9.
  • A further study also concluded that a lot of customers base what price the product is worth on the left digit, so would assume a product is less than it actually is.
  • When a set of prices are listed, it is often displayed with the higest price first, this is because it sets the perceived value of the rest of the products, and lower priced products are therefore considered higher value.

Some customers may not fall for the pricing strategy and could result in lost revenue as the business could have charged for the full perceived amount, and the impact of physiological pricing other than sales data is hard to quantify (not that sales data isn’t a good metric, however because the theory is mostly psychological the business cannot reliability take estimates)

Penetration Pricing

Penetration Pricing involves selling a product for a low price at the start of its product life cycle, the aim of this is to improve sales as customers will take advantage of the low price, after the customers have repeat purchased and familiarised with the product and brand, the business will start to raise the price of the product, the aim of this being that the new customers will continue to buy the new high price product.

  • This allows a product to gain market share quickly.
  • This allows customers to become familiar with a product and brand.

Some Customers however may not be willing to pay the higher prices.

Price Wars

Some businesses will compete to get the lowest price, and thus engage in price wars, this is beneficial to the consumer as it means that they always get the lowest price however businesses find that they may overall loose revenue.

  • This means that the consumer will have a lower price to pay, however they may find that businesses may start to not stock products that are too competitive as they simply cannot compete.
  • Competition may become reduces which may be damaging in the long run.

Price Skimming

Price skimming involves setting a high price to maximise profits of a particular product, this is most common in technology markets where the demand for products can be extremely lucrative.

  • Price skimming only works on new product releases
  • Price skimming can work effectively where early adopters are excited to own the product.

Loss Leaders

A loss leader is someone who sells below the normal price point in order to bring in customers for another motive, such as them browsing other parts of the store or to drive out competition.

What actually is Marketing?

Marketing is Anticipating, and satisfying, customers wants and needs, efficiency and profitability, Marketing includes

  • Market Research
  • The Marketing Mix

What is the purpose of Marketing?

  • To make profit, essentially by improving sales
  • To remind the customer of your product through promotion
  • To see what the customer wants by offering their product
  • To link the product to the brand and create a brand association
  • To communicate and offer competition to other businesses (to compete)

There are two types of business orientations, Business to Business where businesses sell products to other businesses, such as tools, office equipment and building supplies. Business to Customer is more noticeable to individuals as it is more prominent and most common.

Marketing begins by setting a goal or objective that defines what the company wants to achieve, and when it hopes to reach these goals.

They then create a marketing strategy, to outline how they will bring in what they wanted to reach their objective.

the four ps of marketing product price place and promotion marketing mix

What defines a Market?

A market is anywhere that brings together buyers and sellers with a view of exchanging goods and services. The location can be physical, national global, physical or electronic.

A niche market is a small or select group of a larger market. Niche markets generally have a smaller cohort of customers interested in the product, however some businesses sell their products at a high price to compensate for lost sales.

Market size is the total volume or value of all sales of a particular group of products. Market growth is the percentage change in market size over a period of time. Market share is the percentage of the market achieved by one firm, or brand, or product.

Markets can be dynamic, which means they change quickly or stable, where any change is fairly small. Dynamic markets are becoming more and more common as technology advances to new greats, incorporating new techniques mean a business can become obsolete.

How Customers Associate Quality with a Brand

brand qualityWithin any business there are multiple factors that a customer can imprint on to recognise a brand and associate with quality. Businesses can use the customers intuition to their advantage, targeting on the key aspects of a quality product in order to maximise return. Here is a list of the common points a business can tailor in order to maximise their revenue;

 

trusty tea co allows product association quality brand reputation

  • Profitability, Businesses must decide how much profit each product or service should undertake, whether it be a large return or a small one. Customers may be willing to buy a product purely on its premium price point.
  • Customer Service, Businesses may wish to place the quality of their product on par with the quality of its customer service. Poor customer service could reflect badly on a quality product and vice versa.
  • Competitiveness, Businesses may wish to use pricing in order to undercut the cost of its competitors. Businesses may also want to take on new locations and footfall in order to maximise profitability.
  • Supply Chain, Business may cut costs and use cheaper suppliers, however unethical or environmental considerations could be overlooked and come back to haunt businesses later.
  • Reliability, A product that is unreliable or prone to failure may mean that customers look elsewhere for new products, defined obsolescence could damage the perceived quality of the product as well, If it were to fail after a certain time because of a weak part, customers may feel frustrated having to buy new ones.
  • Brand Image, For some customers a brand could be vital to what product they purchase, If a brand is damaged, it could affect the sales of businesses massively. Some businesses may also struggle to maintain a positive reputation if the business specialises in cheap services, such as transport or hotels and may not be too affected by bad publicity as the cheap price point means the demand for the product does not change (it is inelastic).
  • Quality Control could also mean that products are of a constant high quality and should in tern allow a business to work effectively on producing high quality products for the consumer, who will hopefully repeat purchase. Kaizen and Total Quality Management can allow a business to excel at creating a quality product that is lean and high quality as it forces the product to be a standard that the business expects and what the customer wants.
  • Brand Awareness, A customer who does not know a product exist may not buy it, additionally any customer who recognises a product may choose to buy it over a generic product because of it. Advertising and promotion can artificially create the connection between the customer and the brand of trust and safety in a product, that this is the product they should buy.

Capacity Utilisation

Capacity utilisation within a business can be easy or hard to calculate, for a printing shop, it is easy to calculate how many sheets they can produce per hour for example and in a metal fabricators, it is easy to calculate how many sheets of metal they can produce per hour, however for a company that has varied demand, it can be very hard to predict how much the business should utilise its capacity, a clearly noticeable example would be an understaffed restaurant, although they have staff working the shift, it is clear that they did not account for the demand that the customers require.

Capacity Utilisation = Actual level of output / Maximum possible output x 100

Productivity = Total output / Number of workers

Capacity utilisation should never be at 100%, as this could mean that if something were to fail, the business may not be able to fulfil the orders, Companies may choose to ask multiple ‘what if?’ questions that may indicate if the business may want to reconsider its utilisation levels.

  • What if the employment rate fell?
  • What if workers were too highly skilled?
  • What if forecasts are not conservative?
  • What if costs increased?
  • What if minimum wage increased further?

The Impact on EU Trade Imports and Exports vs Capacity Utilisation

For UK Businesses, there is a handy acronym when working with exchange rates, SPICED. ‘ strong pound imports cheap, exports dear ‘. This applies to any companies in the UK who may wish to export or import goods from elsewhere.

If the UK were to leave the EU, the cost of imports/exports could be greater/lesser depending on the trade deals we could secure with countries.

  • Specialised workers would find it harder to move freely into the UK.
  • Tariffs are not imposed in the EU, tariffs could cost businesses money, however it could be argued that they increase competition.
  • The Common Market could potentially be lost.
  • The work ethic of some foreign national employees could change.

These factors could all affect the overall capacity utilisation of UK companies.

 

Liquidity Ratios

There are different ratios that are used in business. A current ratio is a formula that shows the relationship between what the business has payable, and what they have as liquidity. It may be easier to think of current liability as current payables.

Formulas for Liquidity Ratios

The formula for the current ratio is

Current assets / current liabilities = current ratio

The current ratio shows if the company has enough potential cash to pay any debts that they owe. The current ratio is usually based off of a year and should be above or between 1-1.25, below this number would indicate that the business does not have enough cash to pay off its debts.

The acid test ratio is a stripped down version of the current ratio. It uses the most liquid assets. Why does it use the most liquid assets? The acid test ratio uses liquid assets, such as cash, receivables and short term investments, as they can be turned into cash instantly to pay off debts.

Cash + Short Term Investments + Receivables / Current liabilities

Working capital is the money used in a business for day-to-day processes, The formula is

Current assets - Current liabilies


Liquidity Ratios are another planning tool that a company can use to ensure that they are liquid, this is particularly useful for companies such as a bank, where their main asset is money, they can be sure to maintain a constant positive ratio. A company that deals with large amounts of stock, such as a supermarket or online shop, may be able to have a poor acid ratio as they have plenty of assets that are liquid, and can usually sell as soon as they need to.

liquidity ratios

The current and acid tests may be stored on a business balance sheet, which is a statement of the assets, liabilities and capital of a business at a particular point in time, It will detail the balance of income and expenditure over a given period and is sometimes presented in large business annual reports.

Understanding Different Business Types

There are many business types of organisation, these all have their advantages, so it is important to know which is better for which task, otherwise a company may find some aspects harder than they should be. The main business types are;

Business Types [icon name=icon-building]

  • A Sole Trader is a business owned by an individual, It can have many employees. Common sole traders could be corner shops or man-with-van businesses.
  • A Partnership is a business owned by two or more people (usually up to 20), the ownership of the business is split between them. A partnership may be a small manufacturing company or some large accountancy firms have larger quantities of partners.
  • A Franchise is a business that is owned by a franchisor, and the licensing to use the brand name is given to the franchisee to sell products under their name. Common examples would be fast food restaurants or garages.
  • A Private Limited Company (or ‘LTD’) is a company that offers shares, but does not sell them to the general public. Generally they will have either small amounts of capital, or very large amounts. The size of the business can vary, and can be a multinational company or a medium sized business.
  • A Public Limited Company (or ‘PLC’) is a company that sells it’s shares on the stock exchange, allowing members of the general public to invest capital into the business.
  • A Co-operative is a business set-up to serve the public, and may have ethical goals, over profits and sales. Some supermarkets work in this way.
  • A Social Enterprise is a business who’s money goes toward a social goal(s). Examples would be a company supporting people with an illness or disease.
  • There are also Lifestyle Businesses who’s owners work as part of their lifestyle. This can depend on the characteristics of the entrepreneur.

Most of these business types operate on two different types,

  • Limited Liability is when only the Business assets can be taken to recover debt. Limited Liability is where the owner is protected from any trouble the business suffers, and vice versa.
  • Unlimited Liability is when the business is not protected from such problems, and if the business were to get into financial trouble or insolvency, then the owners assets could be taken as a circumstance.

An LTD (Private Limited Company), must send a Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association. To receive a Certificate of Incorporation and Limited Liability. Becoming Incorporated means that the company and the owner are seen as two separate entities legally.

To be Unincorporated, would mean that the business and the owner are seen as one legal entity.

Limited Liability
AdvantagesDisadvantages
  • The owner is not responsible for the debts of the company.
  • The business is not effected by the owners problems.
  • Sole traders may find it easier to secure trade credit as it is checked against your credit rating.
  • The owner has to pay Corporation Tax.
  • It usually takes time to register.
  • There may be additional cost as the owner may have to hire an accountant.
  • The owner may face troubles moving profits or assets from the company to him.
  • It may be harder to secure good trade terms with suppliers as they may see the company as a potential liability.
  • This means your business type is Incorporated.

 

Characteristics of an Entrepreneur

An entrepreneur must have a certain set of skills in order to be successful and lead them to a more prosperous life.

Some positive characteristics can be just important as some negative ones, without them they may be unbalanced and blinded by the possibility of success.

Do what you enjoy

It’s fundamental that you are happy with what you do or a lack of motivation can be reflected over your work. Don’t accept jobs that are too demanding as they can lead to a lack of motivation.

Be motivated and enjoy what you do

Without motivation and drive you are bound to fail, without drive, you won’t get anywhere and could struggle financially because of a lower clientele reflected in your work

Be good at what you do

Take pride in your work and make the best of a bad job at the worst of times, keep motivated and anticipate failure. Failure to understand may lead to a possible loss of clientele and sales, not being able to provide for your clients is unprofessional.

Be charismatic

In order to win clients a leader must be able to negotiate, delegate and understand clients. Otherwise they may lose possible clients. Someone who is unable to woo clients may struggle and be left behind, leading to a loss of sales and a damaged reputation.

Be a leader

An entrepreneur must be able to delegate and lead a group to success as going alone could lead to failure. If an entrepreneur cannot lead their team, they may struggle to produce what is required.

Be a problem solver

An entrepreneur must be able to solve problems, anticipate issues and look out for possible obstacles, without the foresight required be an entrepreneur. Reluctance may be your downfall and lead to failure.