Answer any FIVE questions. Marks allocated to each question are shown at the end of the question.


  • List five types of systems (5 marks)
  • Explain the following characteristics of a system:
  • Differentiation;
  • Equifinality;
  • Feedback;
  • Transformation;
  • Entropy; (5 marks)


State two features of classical theories of organizations.

  • State two features of the human relations theories of organizations.
  • State one feature of the contingency approach to organizations. (10 marks)

(Total: 20 marks)



  • Types of systems:
    • Physical vs. abstract systems
    • Complex vs. simple systems
    • Open vs. closed systems
    • Open loop vs. closed loop systems
    • Stable/static systems vs. dynamic systems
    • Adaptive systems vs. non-adaptive systems
    • Deterministic vs. probabilistic systems
    • Permanent vs. temporary systems


  • (i) Differentiation
  • Equifinality

This refers to the way open systems can achieve their objectives in a variety of ways using              varying inputs, processes and methods.

  • Feedback

This is a control mechanism in open systems. Feedback involves measuring the output of the system, comparing the output with a standard and using any difference to modify

subsequent input to ensure the output conforms to the required standard.

  • Transformation
  • Entropy

This refers to the tendency towards disorder (chaos) in a system. The more closed a system, the greater the entropy.


Features of the classical theories of organizations:

  • They emphasize on the structure of organizations, the management of structures and control of production methods.
  • They have a tendency of treating organizations as closed systems.


  • Features of human relational theories of organizations:
    • They focus more on the human element of the organization. They treat an organization as a social system, a system of cliques, grapevines, informal systems,

            rituals and a mixture of logical and non-logical behaviour.

  • They are based on a series of experiments by researcher Mayo at the Hawthorne Western electric in the 1920‘s.



Comprehensive Mock Examinations


  • They aim to foster system efficiency by addressing factors determining motivation of staff e.g. Maslow‘s hierarchy of needs, Frederick Herzberg‘s theory.


  • Features of the contingency approach to organizations:
    1. They treat an organization as a unique system resulting from an interaction of subsystems with the environment. The motto of the contingency theory is, ―it all depends‖.QUESTION TWODefine each of the following fact finding techniques and explain when it is likely used:
      (i.)  Observation; (4 marks)
      (ii.) Questionnaires; (4 marks)
      (iii.) Searching records; (4 marks)
      (iv.) Interviews; (4 marks)
      (v.) Statistical sampling; (4 marks)
      (Total: 20 marks)

QUESTION TWO   Observation  This method of fact-finding requires the analyst to participate in performing some activities carried out by the user. The analyst may choose to watch as the users performtheir activities and gather the facts intended. Guidelines when using observation include:

  • There should be permission from concerned authorities before this exercise.
  • Gathered facts should be recorded.
  • Those to be observed should be notified and the purpose of the exercise
  • The analyst should be objective and avoid personal opinion. He should have an open mind. o The analyst should record ordinary events.


Observation is best used in the following circumstances:

  • When the validity of facts gathered through other methods is questionable. oWhen the complexity of certain aspects of a system prevent a clear explanation by the respondents or user.
  • Used to confirm that the procedures specified in the manual are being followed.

pWhen one needs to obtain first hand and reliable information.


  •  Questionnaire

A questionnaire is a special document that allows the analyst to ask a number of standard questions set to a large number of people in order to gather information from them. Questionnaires are used when:


  • The system analyst is located at a considerably long distance from the respondent.
  • There are a large number of respondents such that interviewing them will be limited by time.
  • The questions to be asked are simple and straightforward and require direct answers.
  • Limited information is required from a large number of people. o It‘s used as a means to verify facts along other methods.


  • Searching records

This is a fact-finding technique that involves perusing through literature or documents to gain a better understanding about the existing system. Examples of documents that are perused include sales orders, job descriptions, existing systems documentation, management reports, procedure manuals, organization structure charts, trade journal, etc.


Searching is best used when:


  • The analyst needs to have a quick overview of the existing system. o The information required cannot be obtained through any other technique.


  • Statistical sampling

This refers to the systematic selection of representative elements of a population. The selected elements are examined closely and the results assumed to reveal useful information about the entire population.


Statistical sampling is used when the target population:

  • Is too large and it‘s impractical to examine every document or talking to

everyonein the organization to gather facts.

  • Contains homogenous elements (elements with similar characteristics).
  • Time is limited.



(a) Information is a vital resource and most organizations are investing heavily in its management. It is therefore critical to protect data and information from accidental or

deliberate unauthorized modification or destruction. The information system itself must be protected from unauthorized interference so that it continues to meet its objective of continuing to provide information to various users.


  • Make two recommendations on physical security measures your organization‘s      information system (2 marks)
  • Explain how ―Backup‖ and ―Uninterruptible Power Supply‖ are security

(2 marks)

  • Discuss two security features that most operating systems have. (2 marks)
  • Name two disasters that information systems should be guarded against. (2 marks)(v.) Why do you think an information security policy is necessary for your organization? (2 marks)


  1. b) Computer viruses pose a danger to the integrity of micro-computer systems. Fortunately a variety of anti-virus tools are available to detect, identify and remove viruses using a wide

range of techniques.


  • What is a computer virus? (2 marks)


  • Name two anti-virus tools. (2 marks)
  • Suggest two administrative measures that your organization should take to check the threats of computer viruses. (4 marks)
  • Name two environmental factors that should be controlled so that they do not affect the operation of the computer. (2 marks)

(Total: 20 marks)



  • a Recommendations on physical measures:


  • Use of receptionists and guards to control access to computer rooms.
  • Use of mechanical locks and keys to control access to computer rooms.
  • Use of electronic systems such as electronic door locks to control access.
  • Computer buildings should be designed unobtrusively as possible- notices which identify the function of the building should be avoided. Cameras could be used to detect break-ins into the organization.
  • Computer terminal locks could be used to prevent the organization‘s computers from being turned on or the keyboards from being used.
  • Alarms could be used to detect break-ins.
  • Report/documents distribution carts should be covered and locked and they should not be left unattended.

(ii) “Back up” refers to the process of maintaining a duplicate copy of the data of aninformation system at the same site or at a remote site as a contingency measure in case the original copy of the data is lost or destroyed.


―Back up‖ thus secures and information system‘s data from loss or destruction by providing an additional copy of the data.


“Uninterruptible Power Supply” (UPS)

This prevents the loss of unsaved data during power blackouts by providing an alternative supply of power. Users working on the computer can thus working on the computer ―uninterrupted‖.


UPSs secure an information system from data loss due to power failure. Before a power blackout, data that is being worked on is normally held in the primary memory (RAM). RAM is usually volatile meaning that the presence of data depends on the availability of power. UPSs restore supply of power immediately after a blackout has occurred thus ensuring that data held on RAM is not lost.


They also secure information system equipment from damage due to voltage surges.


  • Security features of most operating systems:


  • Logon-Ids And Passwords

This feature is provided by operating systems such as Windows 2000, Windows

XP, Linux and Unix. Such operating systems prompt the user to supply a logonId and password before he/she can be granted access to system resources.

  • Audit Trails


These enable attempts at unauthorized access to be logged.

  • Data Encryption

Most operating systems provide a facility for data encryption to protect data that      is stored on a computer or data in transit. With data encryption, the data is coded        using a key and it can only be decoded by a user possessing the decoding key.

  • File Access Permissions

Operating systems could restrict the operations performed on a file (e.g. read,  write,  modify)  or  the  type  of  users  who  can  access a  file  (e.g.  normal  user,

administrator  or  power  user)  based  on  preferences  supplied  by  the  systems              administrator.

  • FILE RECOVERY  UTILITIES  e.g.  Recycle  Bin  in  Windows  range  of   operating systems.

These enable accidentally deleted files to be recovered since all deleted files are directed to a temporary storage location before they are permanently removed from the system.


Disasters that an information system should be guarded against:

Utility outages e.g. power blackouts.

Equipment failure.

Viruses i.e. programmed threats.

Water, leaks, toxic spills.

Foreign intelligence.

Human error.

Disgruntled employees.

Dishonest employees.

Greedy employees who sell information for financial gain.

Outsider access- hackers, crackers, criminals, terrorists, consultants, exconsultants, ex-employees, competitors, government agencies, spies (industrial,

            military, etc), disgruntled customers

Acts of God/Natural disasters- earthquakes, floods, hurricanes.

Accidents, fires, explosions.


Importance of an information security (IS) policy to an organization:

To provide guidelines to organizational staff on information security procedures.

The presence of of an IS policy shows that the organization is committed to ensuring integrity of the information is handles. This thus enhances a company‘s corporate image.

An IS policy could be used as evidence to show that an organization did its best to provide information security in cases where law suits are filed against an

When followed, an IS policy could actually ensure that the IS is secure from most of the threats it faces.


  •  Computer This is a generic term applied to a variety of malicious computer programs. These malicious programs affect other computer programs and data in a computer system.

(ii) Antivirus tools:


o Norton anti-virus software; o Mc Afee; o AVG, etc.


  • Administrative measures that may be used to check the threats of computer viruses:
    • Update virus scanning definitions frequently; 2. Have vendors run demonstrations on their machines, not yours;




  • Shareware should not be used without first scanning the shareware for a virus;
  • Review of anti-virus policies and procedures at least once a year;
  • Field technicians should scan their disks on a test machine before they use any of

their disks on the system;

  • The network administrators should use workstation and server anti-virus software;


  • A virus eradication procedure should be prepared and a contact person identified;
  • Users should be educated about virus policies and procedures;
  • Commercial software should be scanned before it is installed to detect Trojan

horses (viruses or worms);

  • Systems should be built from original, clean master copies. Booting should be from original diskettes whose write protection has always been in place;
  • All diskettes with .EXE or .COM extensions should be write protected;
  • All servers should be equipped with an activated current release of the virus detection software.


  • Environmental factors that should be controlled so that they don‘t affect the operation of the computer:


  • Ventilation– it should be adequate to prevent hardware equipment from
  • Dust– should be minimized. Dust could damage a hard disk by resulting in a diskcrash if it‘s allowed to accumulate inside the computer system unit.
  • Moisture– should be minimized to avoid damage of equipment through shortcircuits.



Onyango Wholesalers Ltd. Provides a variety if goods to customers in Nairobi. The wholesale business is owned and managed by Mr. Danson Onyango. Mr. Onyango purchases goods on credit from his well established suppliers. He has a large box-file containing supplier details and another equally large one containing commodity details. The commodity file also indicates the levels of inventory held in the store.


When a customer makes his order, the sales office accesses the commodity file to check if there is sufficient stock of the required items. If there is sufficient stock, then the sales office prepares a delivery note which is forwarded to the accounts office where an invoice is prepared. The invoice and the delivery note accompany the goods from the store to the customer who prepares a payment cheque for Onyango Wholesalers Ltd.

A copy of the delivery note is filed in the commodity file which now shows that the stock has reduced by the amount delivered to the customer.


Sometimes the stock of the required item is not sufficient to service the customer order. In this case the supplier‘s file is accessed to select the supplier that Onyango Wholesalers Ltd.

Will order from. The sales office then produces purchase orders and dispatches them to the selected supplier. The supplier prepares his own invoice and delivery note which accompany the ordered goods to the stores of Onyango Wholesalers Ltd. Once received, the invoice is forwarded to the accounts office for payment to the supplier. The delivery note is used to update the commodity as well as the supplier details files.



  • In what ways can a business organization be considered as a system? Derive illustrations from Onyango Wholesalers.          (10 marks)
  • Draw a Data Flow Diagram (DFD) to show the data flow, processing, inputs, outputs,

sources and destinations at Onyango Wholesalers Ltd.                               (10 marks)

(Total: 20 marks)



  • A system is a set of interacting components that work together to accomplish specific goals. Systems may be identified from specific characteristics. The main systems characteristics include:


  • Purpose o Rationale o  Efficiency o  Effectiveness o  Inputs o  Outputs o  Transformation roles o  Feedback o  Throughput o  Boundary o  Environment
  • Interfaces


Therefore a business organization may be considered as a system because it exhibits the characteristics of a system. With reference to Onyango Wholesalers, these are:

  • Purpose

Onyango Wholesalers‘ purpose is to buy goods from suppliers and sell them in bulk to customers. This is facilitated through its sales office and accounts office.

  • Rationale

The justification for the existence of Onyango Wholesalers is the need to make              profit.

  • Input

Onyango Wholesalers has supplier delivery notes, supplier invoices and payments from customers as inputs.


Comprehensive Mock Examinations


  • Environment

Onyango Wholesalers exists in a business environment containing other business systems such as the suppliers and also individual entities such as customers. Nairobi

            is the business environment for Onyango Wholesalers.

  • Interfaces

Onyango Wholesalers has a meeting point with the suppliers system where inputs and outputs are shared. It also has a meeting point with the customers where inputs  and outputs are shared.

  • Transformation rules

Onyango Wholesalers has well defined rules that specify how the input is processed to produce output. For instance, a customer order is passed onto the sales office which verifies if there is sufficient stock before preparing a delivery note which is forwarded to the accounts office where an invoice is prepared which accompanies the goods from the store together with the delivery note to the customer who then

            prepares a cheque for Onyango Wholesalers Ltd.

  • Boundary

Onyango Wholesalers has a boundary that is its organizational boundary (geographical boundary).


  • Context level diagram:


Note: The notations used were borrowed from the Structured Systems Analysis and DesignMethodology (SSADM). These are:


Represents an external entity                               


(Process Name)



Represents a process                            


Shows flow of data                          


 M1  (Store name)   

 Represents a manual data store            




(Store name)


Represents a computerized data store  




Explain each of the following micro computer hardware/software devices:


  • Cache memory; (4 marks)
  • Coprocessor; (4 marks)
  • Device driver; (4 marks)
  • Disk caching; (4 marks)
  • Expansion card; (4 marks)

(Total: 20 marks)



  • Cache memory

This refers to a high-speed memory that a processor can access more quickly than RAM. Frequently used instructions are stored in cache since they can be retrieved more quickly improving the overall performance of the computer. Level 1 (L1) cache is located on the processor; Level 2 (L2) is located between the processor and RAM. Cache memory is very expensive and thus the size of this memory in the computer relative to the primary and secondary memory is very small.

  • Coprocessor

This refers to an additional processor that is used to perform specialized activities within the system. The coprocessor within a system is able to ensure that the coprocessor is more efficient in undertaking certain activities. An example of a coprocessor is a math coprocessor. The math coprocessor helps the main processor to perform mathematical


  • Device driver

This refers to a program that allows a specific device such as a modem, network adapter, or printer, to communicate with the operating system. Device drivers are specific to the make and model of the device. They are supplied in compact disks or diskettes together

with the devices they represent when the devices are sold to the customer. d) Disk caching

This refers to a technique that is used to improve the access time (time that is takes to access data) for a hard disk. Disk caching utilizes a disk cache which may be part of the hard disk or a specified portion of Random Access Memory (RAM). The disk cache holds data that has been recently read and, in some cases, adjacent areas that are likely to

be accessed next.

  •  Expansion board

This refers to an electronic circuit that enables a user to add to the features of a computer system. In order to add a feature to a computer system, the required electronic board is


plugged into the motherboard (main electronic circuit board in the computer system) by making use of expansion slots (sockets within the motherboard). Expansion boards may be used to increase computer memory and also, to improve the visual capability of a system, to add an audio capability to the system, to increase disk space of the system, etc.


Explain the following categories of systems in connection with management decision  making, clearly distinguishing between the categories:

  • Transaction processing systems; (3 marks)

TECHNOLOGY;                                                                                   (3 marks)

  • Decision Support Systems; (3 marks)
  • Executive Support Systems;(3 marks)



  • Identify and briefly explain the three fundamental components of an expert system.

Explain how an expert system may be used in a business application. (8 marks)

(Total: 20 marks)



 Transaction processing systems (TPSs)


These are computerized systems that perform and record daily routine transactions necessary to conduct the business. An example is a point of sale system. Transaction processing systems serve the operational level of an organization. The inputs to a TPS are transactions and events. The processing consists of listing, sorting, merging, and updating. The outputs are detailed reports, lists and summaries. TPSs specifically serve operational personnel and supervisors. They enable supervisors to make structured decisions by the reports they provide e.g. a decision to restock based on the stock levels report.



These are information systems at the management level of an organization that serve the functions of planning, controlling and decision making by providing routine summary and exception reports. The inputs to an MIS include summary transaction data, high volume data and simple models. The processing consists of routine reports, simple models and low-level analysis. The information outputs include summary and exception reports. MISs specifically server middle managers. They enable them to make structured


  • Decision Support System (DSSs)

These are information systems at the organization‘s management level that combine data and sophisticated analytical models or data analysis tools to support non-routine decision making. The information inputs to a DSS include low-volume data or massive databases optimized for data analysis, analytical models and data analysis tools. The processing consists of interactive simulations and analysis. The outputs consists of special reports, decision analyses and responses to queries. DSSs specifically serve professionals and staff managers. They enable them to make unstructured decisions e.g. business contract analysis, corporate planning and forecasting.


  • Executive Support Systems

These are information systems at the organization‘s strategic level designed to address unstructured decision making through advanced graphics and communication. ESSs have aggregate external and internal data ad information inputs. The processing is interactive and it‘s characterized by graphics and simulations. The information outputs of an ESS include projections and response to queries. ESSs specifically serve middle managers. They enable them to make unstructured decisions e.g. processing a loan


 Expert system This is a knowledge intensive program that captures the expertise of a human in limited domains of knowledge.


Components of an expert system:

These may be illustrated in the following diagram:






Knowledge                                                    Engineer



This is a database of knowledge extracted from experts, usually with the help of a  computer specialist, the knowledge engineer. It consists of:

Facts about a specific  domain Rules of thumb General database


This contains relevant common knowledge such as historical information, statistical data, coefficients, constants, etc


Inference engine


This is the software component of the expert system that evaluates and manipulates facts and rules in the knowledge base. It then makes associations and inferences resulting in a recommended action for a user.


Knowledge acquisition model


It‘s used by experts to enter facts and rules into the system. This usually happens with the assistance of the knowledge engineer.


Explanatory Interface (Part of the User Interface)

This shows the trail of reasoning used to reach a decision. It outlines facts used, the rules applied and the order of application.


People resources


They are classified into 2:

  • The development team consisting of experts and the knowledge engineer.
  • The users.


Uses of expert systems in business applications:

  • Medical underwriting systems for health insurance firms. These could be used to underwrite applicants for health insurance after assessing their eligibility and medical risks.
  • Loan underwriting systems

These could be used to make credit worthiness decisions on loan requests.

  • Investment banking systems

These could be used to ensure that financial advisers of such institutions respect their clients‘ preferences (e.g. which stocks or which sectors to exclude when making purchases). This is achieved through a rule-based system that maintains rules keeping a

particular stock item from entering a client‘s portfolio.

  • Insurance claim estimation systems

They attempt to produce an accurate estimation of insurance claims.              5. Customer service systems

They direct customer enquiries to a specific source of help without delay.



( a)  Explain the meaning of the term protocol in computer networks.

(b) Describe the use of the following devices in computer networks:

(i.)     Multiplexors;

(ii.)   Acoustic couplers;

(3 marks)
      (iii.) Line concentrators; (6 marks)
  • (i.) Explain how Integrated Systems Digital Network (ISDN) may be used in a business organization? (5 marks) (ii.) Describe the type of computer network you would recommend for a large, country wide, commercial bank, with heavy data processing

requirements at its four regional

centers.                                                                                                      (6 marks)

(Total: 20 marks)



  • Protocol

It refers to a set of communication rules for exchange of information. Protocols define speeds and modes for connecting one computer with another computer. An example of communication protocols is the Open System Interconnection (OSI) set of communication protocols which are used to identify functions provided by any network and to separate each network function into seven ‗layers‘ of communication roles.


  •  Multiplexors

These are communication devices that multiplex (combine) several signals for transmission over a single medium. A demultiplexor completes the process by separating multiplexed signals from a transmission line. Frequently, a multiplexor and demultiplexor are combined into a single device capable of processing both incoming and outgoing signals.


  • Acoustic coupler

This is a device used to connect a modem to a telephone line via an ordinary handset. The acoustic coupler converts electrical signals from the modem to sound via a loudspeaker, against which the mouthpiece of a telephone handset is placed. The earpiece is placed against a microphone which converts sound to electrical signals which return to the modem. The handset is inserted into a sound-proof box containing the loudspeaker and microphone to avoid interference from ambient noise. Acoustic couplers are rarely used today since most modems have a direct electrical connection to the telephone line.




  • Line concentrators

These are devices that combine data streams from many simultaneously active inputs into one shared channel in such a way that streams can be separated after transmission. The concentrator‘s output bandwidth must be at least as great as the total bandwidth of all simultaneously active inputs. A concentrator is one kind of multiplexing device.


  1. c) (i) How an ISDN may be used in a business organization: ISDN


This refers to a suite of internationally adopted standards for end-to-end digital communication over a public telephone network. ISDN specifically refers to protocols that are utilized in order to provide potential for universal digital network with a series of standard interphases that will facilitate the connection of a wide variety of telecommunications equipment to the network. ISDN has the objective of making the network digital so that a variety of communications can be undertaken within the same line. ISDN is capable of integrating a variety of services for voice, data, video, images, etc on the same communication line. Through ISDN therefore, it‘s possible to make use of one line for a variety of activities.


Business applications of ISDN include:

  • Videoconferencing

ISDN supports the real-time exchange of voice and video. This may be useful in  meetings where the participants are in different geographical areas.

  • Shared electronic chalkboards

Ideas and illustrations can be distributed in real-time to remote locations so that  people in other cities or other countries can participate in meetings.

  • Telecommuting

ISDN provides facilities for users to tap into central network resources from the  privacy of their own homes and do so with the functionality of a network node.

  • Transmission of large amounts of data

For example transmitting the contents of a newspaper from the editorial office to  the printers.

  • Computer-based training

ISDN supports the speedy broadcast of data from the node in the network where training is being carried out.


I would recommend a star network



In this network, there are a number of processing sites linked to a central unit, which may be a host computer or file server. The four regional sites would constitute the processing sites. It may be noted that each regional site may consist of a subnetwork of computers. In addition to facilitating communication, the function of the central unit would be to provide control over the network. It could for instance be used to administer security over the network since all the regional sites are linked to it. The central unit could also be used to provide shared data storage in the form of a shared database of records for all the regional sites. Data processing could thus be distributed over the regional sites with the central unit being invoked only during exchange of messages between regional sites or when reference is being made to data stored on the central unit. The star network could take the following configuration:


Regional site4subnetwork


Regional site1subnetwork


Regional site3 Regional site2










The fastest growing area of computing is end-user computing especially the area of end-user application development which is based on the fourth generation languages (4GLs).




(Describe five major features of a fourth generation language. (10 marks)

Discuss  the  advantages  to  an  organization  in  having  users  involved  in  developing  information systems applications. (10 marks)

(Total: 20 marks)




  • Major features of a 4GL:


  • Advantages accrued by an organization that lets users be involved in developing information systems applications:


  • Cost reductions


Organizations cut down on costs that would have arisen if they were to use experienced programmers to develop the applications.

  • Improved decision making


Managers are able to improve the quality of their decisions through timely information supplied by management reporting systems developing through end user computing.

  • Increased user motivation


Because management trusts end-users develop their own small systems, users feel  motivated to be innovative. Motivated users are capable of producing quality systems.

  • Acceptable systems

By letting users to develop their own systems, an organization is guaranteed that its systems will be acceptable to users since it‘s the users who understand their needs best.

  • Greater operational efficiency


Since end-user development is likely to lead to acceptable systems being produced, employees who use the systems they‘ve developed are likely to have a greater job

satisfaction from using the developed systems. Increased job satisfaction leads to              employee motivation which may lead to improved organizational efficiency.

  • No user resistanceAdoption of end-user developed systems does not face user resistance since users were involved with coming up with such systems.


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