- Most users interact with their computer systems through a command-driven interface or graphical interface. As a person in charge of Information Technology (IT), your boss is
proposing that you move away from the command driven interface you are currently
using, to a new platform which is object-based and has appealing interface as well as being more user friendly.
What advise might you offer your boss regarding this proposal (8 marks)
- A software engineer requires a range of software utilities. Explain the usefulness of
any three such utilities. (6 marks)
- Name six areas covered under post-audit activity.(6 marks)
(Total: 20 marks)
I would advise my boss that we adopt a new platform. Reasons:
- The new platform would be user-friendlier due to the appealing interface and graphical objects (menus, text boxes, buttons) involved.
- Most software today is available for the graphical interface e.g. most word processors, browsers, spreadsheets, and database management systems in the market today are for the
graphical interface. Hence, the organization will have greater vendor independence.
- Since the graphical interface is user-friendlier, it will result in lesser training costs because the system users can more or less learn basic system functions on their own.
- The graphical user interface could improve operational efficiency. Since the GUI is easier to use as compared to the command driven interface, staff can perform their tasks such as word processing, database management, and spreadsheet editing and formatting with greater speed.
I would advise my boss against adopting a new platform.
- A GUI requires a lot of system resources e.g. disk space, processor speed, powerful display This would imply additional costs in moving to the graphical interface.
- Software required for the graphical interface would be more expensive than software required for the command-driven interface because of the convenience provided by the graphical interface.
Software utilities/ service programs.
These are system programs that provide a useful service to the user of the computer by providing facilities for common tasks of a routine nature. Common types of utility programs are sort utilities, editors, file copying, dumping, file maintenance and tracing and debugging utilities.
Usefulness of utilities to a software engineer;
- The software engineer could use a sort utility to sort transaction files into the sequence of a master file before carrying out updating. 2. Editors could be used to create and edit programs.
- File-copying utilities could be used in back-up programs to copy files from hard disk to magnetic tape.
- Tracing utilities could be used to dump (copy contents of main storage onto an output device) details of internal storage (e.g. the value of a variable) after obeying specified
instructions so that the cycle of operations can be traced and errors located.
- Debugging utilities could be used to assist the software engineer locate and eliminate errors from a program.
- c) Areas covered under a post-audit activity:
- Comparison of the actual system performance against the performance objectives. This involves assessment of system running costs, benefits, etc as they compare with planned
- The staffing needs and whether they are more or less than anticipated.
- Any delays in the processing and effects of such delays.
- Effectiveness of the inbuilt security procedures in the system.
5.The error rates for input data. 6. The output i.e. whether it is correct, timely and distributed correctly to the relevant users.
- Many products now have a bar code attached to them. When a transaction takes place.
the bar code is scanned and information is recorded. However, this method is not suitable for all data collection, for example the bar code method is unsuitable for automated examination entry.
Briefly describe the key features of a product, event or transaction that make it suitable for bar coding. (5 marks)
- The ordinary password scheme for access control is theoretically a strong security In practice, it can be extremely vulnerable. Explain the steps that may
be taken by the systems administrator to ensure security of password based access control mechanism. (6 marks)
- List any five activities which are performed during systems delivery process. (5 marks)
- Explain the meaning of the following terms:
- (2 marks)
- Cyber-cafe. (2 marks)
(Total: 20 marks)
ANSWERS TO QUESTION TWO
- Bar codes: This refers to alternating lines and spaces that are printed on an item. The alternating lines and spaces represent data in binary.
- The product must be packaged so as to provide a place to stick the bar code.
- Size- the product must be large enough to stick the sticker.
- Durability- bar codes are suitable for long lasting products and not for perishables like vegetables.
- Steps that may be taken to ensure security of a password system:
- Passwords should be changed regularly so that users who have already obtained a password illegally can be denied continued access to system resources. The network operating system
could be configured by the systems administrator to implement this policy.
- The system should be configured by the systems administrator to reject previous passwords that were changed. This measure would deny access to users who had illegally obtained a
- Logon Ids not used after a number of days should be deactivated to prevent possible misuse.
- The system should automatically disconnect a logon session if no activity has occurred for a period of time (e.g. one hour). This reduces the risk of misuse of an active logon session left un-attended because the user went to lunch, left home, went to a meeting or otherwise forgot
to logoff. This policy is referred to as ‗time out‘.
- Password databases on servers or workstations should be encrypted using one-way encryption. This mode of encryption makes the passwords irreversibly scrambled thus
preventing intruders from decoding them.
- Duress passwords.
These are passwords which are issued to staff so that in the event they are kidnapped and forced to reveal a password to grant access to the system an alarm is raised to indicate to the
organization‘s security section that entry is being made under duress.
- System generated passwords
Here, the system has a routine, which generates passwords and notifies users of each new word through a secure mailing system. If a password has been changed, the system may be programmed to accept a use of the old password but to notify security, who can then monitor entry and, if on the premises, apprehend the offender.
Activities performed during systems delivery:
- Preparation of a production environment and the transfer of programs and procedures of the new information system into that environment.
- Finalization of documentation for use in training and everyday operation.
- Training of end users.
- File setup and conversion of manual files.
- System changeover.
This refers to the process of transferring applications from large computers to smaller ones e.g. from a mainframe environment to a client/server network with many personal computers. Client/server computing refers to a model for computing that splits processing between ―clients‖ and ―servers‖ on a network, assigning functions to the
machine most able to perform the function.
- Cyber-caféThis refers to a facility which enables an individual to access services related to computing and communication such as browsing the internet, printing, word-processing, photocopying, CD writing and faxing at a cost.
You are a consultant specializing in systems development brought in by an organization to advise on systems development plan. If prototyping approach and Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) tools were adopted to complete the new system, how would it affect your development plan? (4 marks)
- A certain programmer once said that “once we write the program and get it to work,
our job is done”.
Comment on this statement giving four reasons that consistently support or disapprove this statement ( 6 marks)
- Examine any four weaknesses of a conventional file approach which database systems are meant to address. (4 marks)
- What is multiprogramming as applied to a computer system? (3 marks)
Explain two major advantages of multiprogramming. (3 marks)
(Total: 20 marks)
ANSWERS TO QUESTION THREE
- a) Prototyping
This refers to the process of building an experimental system quickly and inexpensively for demonstration and evaluation so that users can better determine information requirements. This approach makes use of a prototype, which is a working version of an information system or part of the system meant to be only a preliminary model. Once operational, the prototype will be further refined until it conforms precisely to user‘s requirements. Once the design has been finalize, the prototype can be converted to a polished production system.
These tools provide automated graphics facilities for producing charts and diagrams, screen and report generators, data dictionaries, extensive reporting facilities, analysis and checking tools, code generators and documentation generators.
Effects of the prototyping approach and CASE tools on the development plan:
- Reduction in systems development time since CASE tools automate all the majoraspects of systems development and prototyping speeds up requirements analysis.
- Reduction in labour costs
Since CASE tools automate major aspects of systems development, some manual roles will be eliminated meaning that the labour costs due to the development team will be reduced. Prototyping also reduces development costs because it reduces the risk of producing a system, which will be rejected by users due to lack of conformity to requirements
- The adoption of prototyping and CASE tools would also imply that the systems development would require more resources (Software). CASE software would be required to automate development and thus enable prototyping. This has an effect on the development budget as the new requirement would have to be reflected.
- I disapprove the statement. Once the program is written and commissioned, the real work begins in the form of system maintenance. Studies show that 50-70% of the total development effort by programmers is spent on systems maintenance.
- Programmers still need to adapt the developed system to a changing information technology environment so as to ensure that the system is compatible with current
systems (Adaptive maintenance).
- Programmers need to correct errors found in the developed system. This task could be very involving if many errors are discovered in the system‘s programs (Corrective maintenance).
- Programmers will still need to modify programs to make them more efficient, more reliable, or more maintainable (Perfective maintenance).
- Programmers still need to carry out regular checks on programs to identify areas that need attention so as to reduce future maintenance (Preventive maintenance).
It can also be argued that once the program is written and it works, then the job of the programmers is done.
- Another team of programmers contracted specifically for the purpose of maintenance could carry out maintenance. Hence, the programmers who developed the system do not
need to participate after systems commissioning.
- A properly coded and tested system usually doesn‘t need a lot of maintenance.
- After systems delivery, it‘s up to the end user to identify and report errors encountered with the system. This could be the cumbersome part of maintenance. Enforcing the changes to the system is rather easy for an experienced systems programmer if the
programs were developed according to standards.
- A program that works does not need a lot of maintenance. It may only need perfective or adaptive maintenance which is relatively easier to perform as opposed to corrective maintenance which is cumbersome.
- Weaknesses of a conventional file approach:
- Data redundancy and confusion
Data redundancy is the presence of duplicate data in multiple data files. Data redundancy occurs when different divisions, functional areas and groups in an organization independently collect the same piece of information. Data redundancy results in high data storage costs.
- Program-data dependence
This refers to the tight relationship between data stored in files and the specific programs required to update and maintain those files. Every computer program has to describe the location and nature of data with which it works. In a conventional file environment, any
change in data requires a change in all programs that access the data.
- Lack of flexibility
A conventional file system can deliver routine scheduled reports after extensive programming efforts, but it cannot deliver adhoc reports or respond to unanticipated information requirements in a timely fashion. The information required by adhoc
requests is somewhere in the system but too expensive to retrieve.
- Poor security
Because there is little control or management of data, access to and dissemination of information may be out of control. Management may have no way of knowing who is
accessing or even making changes to the organization‘s data.
- Lack of data sharing and availability
The lack of control over access to data in the conventional file environment does not make it easy for people to obtain information. Because pieces of information in different files and different parts of the organization cannot be related to one another, it‘s virtually impossible for information to be shared or accessed in a timely manner.
This refers to a method of executing two or more programs concurrently using the same computer. The CPU executes only one program but can service the input/output needs of others at the same time. Two or more programs are active at the same time, but they do not use the same computer resources simultaneously. With multiprogramming, a group of programs takes turns at using the processor.
A multiprogramming environment:
Program 1 Program 2 Program 3 Unused memory
Advantages of multiprogramming:
- It allows the user to run several programs concurrently e.g. A user may run a spreadsheet, while running a browser while also running a media player program.
- It allows for efficient usage of computer memory (RAM). Since many programs may be held in memory at the same time.
- It allows for efficient usage of the processor by ensuring that the processor is not idle at any given time e.g. when a program is performing input/output activity (requesting data from a storage device or sending data to a storage device) another program is allotted the processor thus ensuring that the processor is not idle while there are other programs awaiting execution.QUESTION FOUR
- Although computer systems should be designed to ensure accurate data processing, an auditor is likely to make use of one or more computer-based techniques in order to
check that accuracy. Describe any three techniques available to the auditor and the
situations where each might be used (9marks)
- Why are tools such as data flow diagrams (DFD), entity relationship diagrams (ERD) and flowcharts particularly suited for documenting design options of an information system
compared to narrative texts’? (6 marks)
- List five questions which need to be addressed when evaluating the strategic value of
Information Technology. (5 marks)
(Total: 20 marks)
ANWERS TO QUESTION FOUR
- Computer-based techniques that may be used to check computer accuracy:
- Use of generalized audit packages
These are programs written by auditors/specialists, which can be used, on different types of systems. Given that they are general programs, they can therefore be applied in different organizations. This means that these programs can be tailored by defining the format of the files and by specifying the parameters of the output data that is required. Generalized audit packages can be used in computational checks, in detection of instances of violation of system rules, in completeness checks, and in the selection of items for audit testing i.e. helps in sampling and in formatting of data files.
- Use of specifically written packagesThese are specific software that are written so that they can interrogate or be used in a given organization. Specific written packages can be used to perform computational checks, to detect violation of system rules, to detect unreasonable data items, to check completeness of data, to select items for audit testing and to format data files.
- Use of test packs/data
Test data is normally used by the auditor for computer processing to test for the operations of the business procedures. Test data will involve some data for which the auditor knows the expected output. This data will be processed through the system and the auditor will check whether the output is the same as expected i.e. the test data is normally confined to compliance testing and therefore it may be less variable (in terms of functionality) than audit programs.
- Ease of understanding
DFDs, ERDs and flowcharts are graphical tools, which are easier to read through and understand as compared to blocks of narrative texts. This is because
they employ the use of text and diagrams which the mind can easily comprehend.
- Easier to identify and correct errors
Since the tools are graphical, errors can be quickly spotted and corrected as compared to narrative texts which force one to read sentence by sentence in order to decipher the meaning and thus identify errors.
- Ability to summarize the whole system in a small space
Context level DFDs (The highest level of a DFD) summarize a whole system in a very small space. It‘s also possible to produce a compact (one page) system flowchart summarizing the basic system functions and processes. ERDs can also be constructed to fit a page for summary purposes.
Diagrams reduce the ambiguity that could feature in narrative texts due to ambiguous sentences and paragraphs since they reduce the amount of text involved in describing a system
- Presence of standards, which assure quality of designs
DFDs, ERDs and flowcharts have well-defined diagramming conventions. Adherence to these standards ensures uniformity of system designs, which thus aids compatibility, and understandability of system designs.
- Strategic –Concerned with goals, operations, products, services or environmental relationships of organizations, which help an organization, gain a competitive advantage.
Questions that need to be addressed:
- Can the information technology (IT) be used to create new products and services?
- Can the IT enhance relationships with suppliers?
- Can the IT enhance relationships with consumers?
- Can the IT lower operational costs?
- Can the IT enable the organization to tap into new markets?
- Can the IT enable the organization to forge an alliance with another organization so as to compete more favourably?
- QUESTION FIVE You have been appointed to be in charge of an information systems development project. As a project leader, explain how you would ensure that the project succeeds. (8 marks)
- Giving reasons, identify four situations where communication over wireless medium for instance radio and mobile phones may be preferable to guided communication (over cable). (8 marks)
- Select two facilities usually found in fourth generation languages (4GLs) and explain
their application in developing a prototype. (4 marks)
(Total: 20 marks)
- Means that I would use to ensure project success:
- Ensure effective communication of issues regarding systems development to staff involved via regular meetings.
- Get adequate management support in the form of funding and goodwill.
- Proper goal definition in the project specification to ensure that the goals of the project are clearly understood by all staff involved in its development.
- Delegation of duties and responsibilities. The delegation of duties should be based on the skills and abilities of each team member.
- Flexibility in planning so as to accommodate changes in future e.g. changes in technology, legislation, etc
- Elimination of bureaucratic procedures e.g. bureaucratic communication procedures, which enhance the risk of delays in development.
Standardized project development so as to guarantee a quality end product
- Proper scheduling and estimation of time needed for the project. Scheduling and estimation of time should make a provision for some delays at each stage so as to come
up with a realistic and implementable schedule.
- Constant evaluation to ensure that the project development is according to plans.
- Situations whereby wireless communication is favourable over guided communication:
- When there are geographical barriers to be encountered e.g. mountains, rivers, and oceans. Geographical barriers hinder cable installation but they do not affect wireless communication. Hence wireless communication is suitable for sites where such barriers are to be found.
- Area of coverage is large g. global coverage. Wireless communication would besuitable because there are no cabling costs involved as compared to the high cabling
costs that would be incurred with the guided communication.
- When the sender and receiver are mobileg. in mobile telephony. Wireless communication would be suitable because it can accommodate the movements of sender and receiver since there is no guided link to tie down the sender and receiver to a specific location.
- When the risk of sabotage must be reduced. Wireless communication is less susceptible to sabotage because of the absence of a cable link between two communicating nodes.
- Broadcast communication g. Television broadcasts. Using wireless communicationwould reduce cabling costs.
- Fast deployment is required g. news reporting, seminars etc. In such an instanceinstalling a wireless communication network would be faster than installing a guided communication network.
- Where cabling may not be run g. listed buildings
- Fourth generation language: A programming language that can be employed directly by end users or less skilled programmers to develop computer applications more rapidly than programming languages.
This refers to a preliminary working version of an information system for documentation and evaluation purposes.
Facilities of 4GLs:
- Query languages e.g. SQL
They could be used in retrieving data stored in databases or files in a prototype application.
- Report generators e.g. RPG III
They extract data from files or databases to create customized reports in a wide range of formats not routinely produced by an information system. Report generators could be used to implement the reporting facility of a prototype.
- Graphics languages e.g. SAS Graph, Systar
They retrieve data from files or databases and display them in a graphic format. Some graphics software can perform arithmetic or logic operations on data as well. Graphics languages could thus be used to implement prototypes, which prevent graphing features.
- Application generators e.g. FOCUS, PowerBuilderThey contain pre-programmed modules that can generate entire applications including websites greatly speeding development. A user can specify what needs to be done, and the application generator will create the appropriate program code for input, validation, update, processing and reporting.
- Very high programming language languages e.g. APL, Nomad2
They generate program code with fewer instructions than conventional languages such as COBOL or FORTRAN. They are designed primarily as productivity tools for professional programmers who may need to code a prototype in a short period of time.
- Discuss any four types of feasibility assessment that you need to perform to enable you recommend the undertaking of– a given project. (4 marks)
- Discuss how virtual memory concept is implemented indicating its key objective.
- Do you consider it justifiable to argue that computers actually result in job losses’?
Support your answer with well articulated facts. (10 marks)
(Total: 20 marks)
ANSWERS TO QUESTION SIX
- Types of feasibility assessments that need to be performed:
This deals with equipment and software e.g. determination of whether the new system can be developed using the current facilities of the company. Technical feasibility evaluates the hardware required for the new system, the software required for the new system, whether the current facilities are adequate or inadequate for the new system after implementation, the current technology and how it‘s applicable to the new system, etc
Social feasibility/ Operational feasibility
This mainly deals with the effect of the system on the current society within the company. It focuses on:
- The reaction of individuals both inside and outside of the company as a result of the new system. o The effect of the system on the existing organizational structure.
- The effect of the system on the current working practices and management levels i.e.
whether there would be any change required and if so, the cost of the change socially.
- Redundancy or retrenchment, implication to the company as a result of the new system. o Implication of the system on existing staff programmes. Legal feasibility
This deals with the legal implications of the new system e.g. If it requires that the computer should be insured or whether the stored data should be registered with the government before use. Generally, any legal aspects associated with the new system should be assessed, and adequate measures taken to protect the interest of the user company.
This is aimed at determining whether or not to continue with the project, depending on whether the project is economically viable. The systems benefits and estimated implementation cost should be determined before any further resources can be spent on the project. A cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is carried out to determine whether the new system is economically viable.
- Virtual memory/storage
This refers to the computer arrangement whereby the computer divides programs into fixed or variable length portions, storing only a small portion of the program in primary memory (RAM) at one time. Only a few statements of a program actually execute at any given moment.
Virtual storage thus permits a very large number of programs to reside in primary memory because only a tiny portion of each program is actually located there thus resulting in efficient RAM usage. All other program pages are stored on a peripheral disk unit until they are ready for execution.
Virtual memory implementation:
Primary memory Secondary storage (disk)
Program ALines 1,2,3 Program A Program B
Program B Program C Program CLines 52 – 80
I agree with the statement that computers have resulted in job losses. The automation of many business tasks has meant that few personnel are required to perform the tasks. Many organizations have taken advantage of automation to downsize their labour forces. Specific industries in which downsizing has occurred include:
- Banking industry
Adoption of ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) has resulted in many over-the-counter transactions being redirected to the ATMs. This has resulted in the downsizing of bank clerks.
- Supermarket industry
The adoption of point of sale systems has improved the efficiency of sales processing. This has resulted in fewer counters hence, fewer sales clerks.
Computer programs have automated many accounting functions e.g maintenance of ledger accounts, preparation of financial statements, etc thus improving their efficiency which
means that fewer accountants are now required.
- Manufacturing industry
Process control systems have eliminated the need for a human being to monitor and control industrial processes e.g. maintaining a constant temperature during distillation of
spirits, manufacture of rubber, etc
- Music industryThe mp3 revolution has drove out music retailers out of the industry. Nowadays, mp3 versions of hit songs and albums are available freely over the Internet. This has resulted in a decrease in the number of original CDs sold by CD and tape vendors which results in joblosses in the music retailing industry to cope with the decreased business. Or:
I disagree with the statement that computers result in overall job losses. Despite the fact that computers have resulted in initial job losses, they have created many jobs to offset the initial losses. These jobs are concerned with systems support, systems development and management of information technology. The jobs/ roles include:
Past Paper Questions and Answers
- Network administration
This comprises of system administration (providing user support) and maintenance of computer networks.
- Systems analysis
This consists in examining a business area to identify areas that need computerization, designing an information system to meet user requirements and implementing the information system to solve business problems. Systems analysis carried out by the systems analyst.
This involves translating program design into program code in a high-level language.
- Database administration
This involves managing an organization‘s database.
- Systems support
This involves providing technical support to ordinary computer users.
- Information technology management
It involves overseeing the running of the information technology department. The information technology manager also works with other senior organization managers to
formulate policies that will help the organization attain a strategic advantage.
- Data entry
This consists in entering data to the information system through a computer.
It could also be argued that cost savings by firms that have adopted the use of information technology have been rerouted to other investments/ branches opened thus providing an opportunity for creation of other non-IT related jobs e.g. management, public relations, accounting, etc
- Give one reason to support the importance of controlling data inputs and discuss any
four methods that you may use to control data inputs. (6 marks)
- User training and support is fundamental to the success of an information systems Produce a briefing document that discusses the usefulness of training.
Examine the contribution of information systems in decision-making or problem solving process. (4 marks)
What is the link between database technology and client/server computer systems?
(Total: 20 marks)
ANSWERS TO QUESTION SEVEN QUESTION SEVEN
- Reasons for controlling data inputs:
- To check and ensure the accuracy of the data inputs. o To check and ensure the completeness of data which has been input.
- To ensure that the output information is free from error thus enabling it to be used to
generate desired results.
Methods that may be used to control data inputs:
- Control totals
These are totals established beforehand for input and processing transactions. These totals can range from a simple document count to totals for quantity fields such as total sales amount (for a batch of transactions). Computer programs count the totals from
transactions input or processed.
- Edit checks
These are programmed routines that can be performed to edit input data for errors before they are processed. Transactions that do not meet edit criteria will be rejected. For example, data might be checked to make sure they were in the right format (a 9-digit social security number should not contain alphabetic characters). Edit checks may include
sequence checks, limit checks, range checks, etc
- Computer matching
This matches input data with information held on master or suspense files, with unmatched items noted for investigation. For example, a matching program might match
employee time cards with a payroll master file and report missing or duplicate time cards
- Check digit
A numeric value that has been calculated mathematically is added to data to ensure that the original data have not been altered or an incorrect value submitted. This control is effective in detecting transposition and transcription errors. For example, a check digit is
added to an account number so that it can be checked for accuracy when it‘s used. Other methods:
- Reasonableness check.
- Completeness check.
- The briefing document could be an internal memo, a notice or a formal report to management.
Usefulness of training:
- Training results in minimal time wastages in business operations, as staff are aware of how to perform the operations.
- Training reduces the risk of damage to hardware and software resources by staff due to
- Training ensures efficient use of systems since users are aware of all system functions.
- During the process of training, areas for maintenance in the current system could be identified by identifying data processing errors and system inefficiencies. d) Database technology
This utilizes a database, which is a collection of data organized to serve many applications at the same time by storing and managing data so that they appear to be one location.
Client/Server computer system
This refers to a system that splits processing between ―clients‖ (i.e. the user point-ofentry for the required function and is normally a desktop computer, workstation computer or laptop computer) and ―servers‖ (i.e. a terminal which provides the clients with services e.g. a mainframe or adesktop computer) on a network, assigning functions to the machine most able to perform the function.
Client/server computer systems facilitate database technology by enabling large databases to be stored on servers and to be shared to clients over the network such that the data appears to be in one location while it‘s actually distributed on several servers.
c) Information systems could be used to perform decision making or to supply the decision maker with adequate information to make a sound decision. Transaction processing systems, could be used to aid structured decisions e.g. a point of sale system could generate an exception report when stock levels are low thus alarming the stores manager to reorder stock. Decision support systems could be used to perform semi-structured decisions e.g. fraud detection or unstructured decisions e.g. corporate planning and forecasting while Executive information systems could be used to unstructured decision making e.g. processing an insurance claim.
– The electronic business (e-business) field is growing and changing rapidly resulting in the need to address certain infrastructural issues to support it.
Suggest the possible contribution of the following systems in e-business applications:
- Smart Cards. (2 marks)
- Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) systems (2 marks)
- World Wide Web (WWW). (4 marks)
- Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs). (2 marks)
- Suggest possible uses for an expert system within the Customer Database Department.
- Object Oriented Programming (OOP) concept is becoming the most common terminology in programming environment.
Discuss the advantages for a company moving towards an object oriented programming approach (4 marks)
(Total: 20 marks)
ANSWERS TO QUESTION EIGHTQUESTION EIGHT a)
This refers to the process of buying and services electronically involving transactions using the Internet, networks and other digital technologies. Electronic business also encompasses activities supporting those market transactions such as advertising, marketing, customer support, delivery and payment.
- Smart cards
These are credit-card-sized cards that store digital information that can be used for electronic payments in place of cash. Contact smart cards need a special card reading device to facilitate a transaction. Internet users must attach a smart card reader to use the card. To pay for a web purchase, the user swipes the card through the card reader.
Smart cards facilitate the quick and convenient transfer of funds to online and offline merchants.
- Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) systems
Electronic data interchange is the direct computer-to-computer exchange between two organizations of standard business transaction documents.
Electronic data interchange facilitates the quick exchange of business documents such as purchase orders, payments, shipping notices, price updates and invoices.
- World Wide Web (WWW)
It‘s a system with universally accepted standards for storing, retrieving, formatting, and displaying information in a networked environment.
The web facilitates multimedia (text, graphics and sound) hence it‘s an effective advertising resource.
The web also bridges the gap between sellers and buyers since it makes it easy to link resources that are half-a-world apart. The linking is through hyperlinks that enable web pages stored on the same or different machines to be linked. On-line customers thus access an e-commerce website that is hosted on a distant server at the click of a button.
The World Wide Web also facilitates secure transactions through various web protocols aimed at guaranteeing security of information being transmitted over the Internet.
- Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)
An ATM is a specialized data input device that is used for transaction processing mainly in the banking industry.
ATMs in addition to facilitating ordinary business transactions (e.g. withdrawing money, requesting for statements, getting mini-statements, getting account balances, etc) also enable customers of a bank to pay their utilities e.g. electricity bills, phone bills, water bills, etc
- Possible uses of an expert system within a customer database department:
- Producing a list of customers who are eligible/ can be granted credit transactions. This is after evaluation of past credit history and the financial capability of each customer.
- Deciding whether a debt can be considered as a bad debt. The expert system could assess the duration, the amount and the credit/ payment history of a customer to determine whether a debt should be classified as a bad debt. This information is useful for
accountants as they draw up the relevant accounts.
- Marking customers as deceased after a reasonable period of time e.g. A customer who registered with an organization while 35 years old could be considered deceased after 80
years. This enables a realistic count of the organization‘s current customers. c) Object-oriented programming:
An approach to software development that combines data and procedures into a single object. The object combines data and program code. Instead of passing data to procedures, programs send a
message for an object to perform a procedure that is already embedded in it. The same message may be sent to different objects, but each will implement that message differently.
Advantages for a company moving towards an object oriented programming approach:
- Reduced time in developing software. OOP enables program code to be reused in related applications thus eliminating the need to code.
- Reduced software development costs due to reduction in development time.
- Improved programmer productivity. The reusability feature of OOP enables programmers to borrow code from reusable software libraries thus saving them time that would have been spent coding. The programmers could thus be freed to more complex
problem solving tasks that require creativity.
- Most organizational software today is being developed using the objectoriented approach. By migrating to this approach, an organization ensures compatibility of developed systems with currently existing ones.
- QUESTION FIVE You have been appointed to be in charge of an information systems development project. As a project leader, explain how you would ensure that the project succeeds. (8 marks)