File Organization Techniques

The basic technology of the data organization is based on a hierarchy. Data must be approached on an organized basis, if it is to be useful, in data processing, the hierarchy of data is described below:-

  1. A character is any simple number, alphabet or special symbol.
  2. A data record consists of a group of related data fields(e. g. Employee’s sequential record, customer record, etc.)
  3. A data field is an area that can hold one organization more characters that, together represents a specific data element(e. g. The name field, the quantity filed)
  4. A data file is a compilation of related data records maintained in some prearranged order.
  5. A database usually consists of several related organization integrated data files.

A file consists of a number of records. Each record is made up of a number of fields and each field consists of a number of characters. In order to produce useful information by means of computerized data processing, it is very necessary to organize data in systematic way. Methods of organizing data are referred to as data structures. The most important structure is a vertical hierarchy of data consisting of files, records, data items(or fields) and characters with characters encoded in terms of bits. It will be seen that at the top of the hierarchy is a file. When all records of the same record content are gathered as a single collection of information, the collection is referred to as file(or data set). The records in a file, in turn, are groupings of related data items or fields and then specific data values.… Read the rest

Introduction to File Organization

As in our daily life, huge amount of data has to be collected and processed, so it is very difficult to handle it. But this can be handled fast and easily by using files. Files are the mega byte data structure used in information processing. Actually, a file itself is a bunch of bytes stored on some storage devices like magnetic disk, magnetic drum and magnetic tape etc. A file is a collection of records. Each record is made up of fields. The various fields consists of groups of characters, say the decimal digits 0 through 9 and alphabet A through Z. Group of fields are combined to form a logical record. This logical record contains all the data of interest about some entity.

Different application requires a variety of record types and file structure; one basic distinction is between fixed and variable length records. A fixed length record has all the field sizes and a number of fields fixed or known in advance whereas in the variable length record type the number of fields is not specified in advance. The variable length record makes programming and file design a complex one. The only way out be to break this variable-length record in to several fixed length records and identify them as a header and trailer records(which may be a variable). The file as input and output medium has the following advantages from different point of view:-

1. Files are used to save time for data entry and reduce its processing time also.… Read the rest

Management Information System Growth Stages

It is pertinent to realize the importance of growth of MIS in stages in order to encounter increasing complexity of business processes and changing scenario of management. MIS development evolves from EDP systems. The EDP systems have rudimentary technology to handle clerical and supervisory operations in an organisation. This is initiation stage. The advantages of computerization are gradually realized by most of the people in an organisation. This realization leads to proliferation of computer, networking technologies and computer based system applications within an organisation. This is contagious stage. Next stage is typified by planning and control. As demand for computerization increases, a need is realized for cost-benefit analysis. This is imperative to plan for future MIS in a cost effective manner.

Next stage of MIS development is integration of subsystems. This comes with realization of interdependence of inflow of data from various sources for valid information. Management plans to leverage existing subsystems to a unified system. Objective of a unified system is to obliterate data redundancy and facilitate communication of information amongst various departments. After creation of an integrated system, management focuses its attention to database administration. Here impetus is on regulating data for company wide communication. This stage is also referred to as architecture stage. Next to data administration stage an organisation reaches a stage of MIS maturity. This is the state when MIS department is geared up to plan future MIS needs for the organisation. MIS department future development plans emanate for feedback of the users of existing MIS.… Read the rest

Cost Accounting Information System

Cost Accounting Information System (CAIS) is an accounting information system which determines the costs of products manufactured or services provided and record these costs in the accounting records. It is the key to management’s assessment of the company’s efforts to achieve profit. Since it is so important, the CAIS must be carefully designed and properly maintained.

Functions of Cost Accounting Information System (CAIS)

Generally the purposes or functions of cost accounting information system fall into four categories. These include providing information for:

  1. External financial statements,
  2. Planning and controlling activities or processes,
  3. Short term strategic decisions and
  4. Long term strategic decisions.

These four functions relate to different audiences, emphasize different types of information, require different reporting intervals and involve different types of decisions.

Cost Accounting Information System (CAIS) Technology
  • Input: The input devices commonly associated with CAIS include: standard personal computers or workstations running applications; scanning devices for standardized data entry; electronic communication devices for electronic data interchange (EDI) and e-commerce. In addition, many financial systems come “Web-enabled” to allow devices to connect to the World Wide Web.
  • Process: Basic processing is achieved through computer systems ranging from individual personal computers to large-scale enterprise servers. However, conceptually, the underlying processing model is still the “double-entry” accounting system initially introduced in the fifteenth century.
  • Output: Output devices used include computer displays, impact and non-impact printers, and electronic communication devices for EDI and e-commerce. The output content may encompass almost any type of financial reports from budgets and tax reports to multinational financial statements.
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Conversion/Installation Modes of Information Systems

Conversion is the process of changing from the old system to the new one. It must be properly planned and executed. Four methods are common in use. They are: parallel systems, direct conversion, pilot system and systems phase-in. Each method should be considered in the light of the opportunities that it offers and problems that it may create.

However, it may be possible that sometimes, we may be forced to apply one method over others, even though other methods may be more beneficial. In general, systems conversion should be accomplished in shortest possible time. Long conversion periods create problems for all persons involved including both analysts and users.

Parallel Systems

The most secure method of converting from an old to new system is to run both systems in parallel. Under this approach, users continue to operate the old system in the usual manner but they also start using the new system. This method is the safest one because it ensures that in case of any problems in using the new system, the organisation can still fall back to the old system without loss of time and money.

The disadvantages of the parallel systems approach are:

  • It doubles operating costs.
  • The new system may not get fair trial.

Direct Conversion

This method converts from the old to the new system abruptly, sometimes over a weekend ( even overnight. The old system is used until a planned conversion day, when it is replaced by the new system. There are no parallel activities. The organisation relies fully on the new system.… Read the rest

Cost-Benefit Analysis in Information Systems Development

Since cost plays quite an important role in deciding the new system, it must be identified and estimated properly. Costs vary by type and consist of various distinct elements. Benefits are also of different type and can be grouped on the basis of advantages they provide to the management. The benefits of a project include four types:

  • Cost-savings benefits
  • Cost-avoidance benefits
  • Improved-service-level benefits
  • Improved-information benefits

Cost-savings benefits lead to reduction in administrative and operational costs. A reduction in the size of the clerical staff used in the support of an administrative activity is an example of a cost-saving benefit.

Cost-avoidance benefits are those, which eliminate future administrating and operational costs. No need to hire additional staff in future to handle an administrative activity is an example of a cost-avoidance benefit.

Improved-service-level benefits are those where the performance of a system is improved by a new computer-based method.

Improved-information-benefit is where computer based methods lead to better information for decision-making. For example, a system that reports the most-improved fifty customers as measured by an increase in sales is an improved-information. This information makes it easier to provide better service to major customers.

Categories of Costs and Benefits

The costs associated with the system are expenses, outlays or losses arising from development and using a system. But the benefits are the advantages received from installing and using this system.

1. Tangible or Intangible Costs and Benefits

Tangibility refers to the ease with which costs or benefits can be measure. An outlay of cash for any specific item or activity is referred to as a tangible cost.… Read the rest