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Information Technology Project Assignment

Task 1:

- Choosing a real firm / organization for the project.
- Provide a general description about the Management information Systems used in the organization.

Solution:

Introduction

Technology has become an essential component for businesses to scale and survive in the global market. Large scale organizations that have been spending excessively towards the traditional technological infrastructure now get an opportunity to transition to advanced technologies. With tons of information dealt by an organization on a daily basis, it is obvious that networks of software and hardware are involved in better collection and dissemination of data. Information system is mandatory for usage and on the other hand, a secured database is equally important to store the data based on categories.

The purpose of this paper is to take a real-time organization and assess the management information system and existing IT infrastructure. During this analysis, components like security, network connectivity and accessibility are all assessed and the network is evaluated at the end in terms of reliability and validity.

Background of the organization
The chosen organization for this paper is KFC. Having started in the year 1930, the brand grew to over 190 franchisees and about 400 franchise units just in Canada and US in the year 1960. 40 years later, the brand has entered several countries and operates over a lakh of franchisees around the world. The mission of KFC, as a food and supply outlet, is to offer quality food in a clean atmosphere and encourage a friendly service by fulfilling the needs of the customers.

The organization structure of KFC is well structured and is the same in all the franchises throughout the world. Area manager heads the restaurants in a specific area and takes the responsibility to train employees and support in terms of operations. On the other hand, every restaurant has a general manager and assistant manager who are responsible to create the desired work environment and handle all operations right from customer service to training and development to health and safety of the employees. Trainee manager also works with these managers to ensure the company policies are followed. The staffs in each facility are split into different teams like customer service, food preparation and service.

All the employees coordinate with each other under a single technology which is the management information system.

Management information system (MIS)
The term ‘management information system' refers to the integration of systems with objectives of an organization. According to KFC, MIS is mandatory for a number of operations like inventory management, accounting, production levels and HR policies.

The first information system is office information system that is meant to enhance the overall workflow and enable better employee communication. Transaction processing system is used to process data associated with daily transactions. Decision support system is directly linked to MIS to take emergency business decisions and solve problems. For any information system, there are input, process and output as the steps.

In the input area, the customers receive information about menus available and offers. The next segment is process where customers place order, employees process the order by preparing and serving, inventory system is updated meanwhile, financial reporting system is now updated with expenses and income towards one order and eventually, feedback is collected from the customers when they walk out of the outlet(Roy, 2018). The output here is the dish is served and customer enjoys the desired experience.

KFC undoubtedly has the best MIS in the market to connect external environment with the internal transactions and stay ahead of the competition despite the large number of outlets. It does not only stand as a medium to accept input and initiate output but this also improves the productivity of operating personnel as they become aware of procedures and convey the desired messages to the customers. The risk management system comes into the scene whenever a risk or a problem is reported in this MIS.

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Task 2:
- Describe the IT Infrastructure of the organization including the hardware, software, operating systems in the organization.

IT infrastructure

The information technology infrastructure used by KFC is enhanced every day. At the operational level, it makes use of a restaurant based ordering system and the intranet service is connected to other restaurants in the same locality so that it is easier process order and chefs can send information whenever the stock is less. Further, the internal linking between the stakeholders can foster better communication. Subsequently, there is also an enterprise resource planning (ERP) in place that connects suppliers, customers, finance team and human resources under one roof.

ERP system used by KFC is meant to plan products along with cost estimates, manage inventory, promote the brand and campaigns and assess manufacturing costs. In fact, it is this ERP system that has been helping the brand to connect with customers and employees using the same interface. Franchise manager uses this system to track the workflow and progress of employees (Roy, 2018). Before the implementation of this system, KFC had the burden of tracking data from multiple sources and updating their financial reports and business processes. However, this system is now used to forecast the business sales, manage expenses, procure materials and also manage the workforce of the firm.

In addition to ERP system, KFC has an internal telecommunication facility where all the outlets are connected using ADSL technology in the same VPN. The existing information system of the firm is linked to supply chain management (SCM) system that addresses the procurement and usage ratio of the raw materials procured from different vendors. All these systems are linked together and the customer gains access only to the point of sale (POS) system where the goods are purchased and received at the restaurant location or home. Further, this PoS takes responsibility to manage inventory, track all the customer orders and link different payment modes.

The best part about KFC is its advanced technological infrastructure that stands ahead of its competitors and offers numerous benefits to its internal and external stakeholders. Further, all of them are integrated so that the data flow happens seamlessly and every user does not have to take additional efforts to fetch data. This eventually eliminates operational and financial errors.

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Task 3:
- Discuss how the Database models effected the business processes and the impact of using the different database models on the business.

Database model and impact on business
There are a number of databases used by KFC. It maintains a data warehouse that stores data from multiple sources. Customer database, supplier database and employee database are three major database systems used by the firm to manage operations and leverage the available data to enrich productivity levels. Due to the massive advantages provided by technologies, KFC has also switched to Big Data that will enable the firm to deploy a data driven culture and utilize smart data to solve all the existing business challenges.

The advantage of using Big data in all its operations has enabled the firm to take better business decisions and offer personalized support to the users. There are also many advantages of using efficient database management systems.

- Better workflow management
With the integrated data, it is possible to track operations and performance of the employees remotely and pay attention to problem areas.
- Better operational intelligence
Having a system that is used by millions of people every day also demands for better operational intelligence. With the present database system, it has become easier to predict the operations in the subsequent period and focus on rooms for improvement.
- Efficient risk management
Good database system can protect data as well as keep it compliant without having to invest additional efforts. Risks are inevitable but a proper database system can create a clean legal status and also focus on the needs of the stakeholders. In other words, risks come with contingencies and resources remain prepared for risks when the database system is efficient and can predict events in prior.
- Centralize operations
KFC has multiple business environments. When a region master franchisee takes an initiative to launch a campaign, it becomes difficult for the others to track and implement when the operations are not centralized. The implemented system focuses on cutting down the processing time by improving business operations and letting the environment cloud-based with utmost flexibility.

All these advantages contribute to the success of KFC throughout the world.

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Summarize the security techniques used to secure the database and the network in the organization.

Networking technology
If we look at the networking technology of KFC, it is clear that the firm has deployed WAN (wide area network) as this remains robust and connects with the organization's goals. The network infrastructure is again an added advantage to this firm as it supports operations and maximizes the financial performance. All the branches of KFC are now equipped with Wi-Fi facility and this facility has actually attracted more number of customers and improved brand visibility on a global level (Scott, 2013).

Employees are connected through the intranet and customers are connected through the extranet. One of the primary goals of KFC is to have an efficient network infrastructure that can remain robust and improve the usability of point of sales terminal. Supporting this point, the present point of sales terminal is extremely capable to validate transactions irrespective of the modes and platforms. This is one way by which the investment towards networking infrastructure is justified.

The main server is located at the primary location/ headquarters and the sub nodes are issued to the head office of each location (Watson, 2016). For instance, all the outlets in California will be networked to the local head office and one click of information sends it to all the users. This centralized sub server ensures speed and reliability and is secured with firewalls so that the security is not compromised. This network infrastructure is termed intelligent because it helps in taking quality business decisions and predicts real time operational performance.

Like its competitors namely McDonald's, the network infrastructure is easy to manage and is advanced to carry out the daily operations.

Security techniques for database and network

The technological department of KFC gives top priority to security of information. As there are several data sources and millions of users using the network on a daily basis, information security is extremely important to the brand. While the infrastructure already has firewalls and is equipped with privacy algorithms that can protect information from unauthorized use, there are also cybersecurity policies upgraded regularly.

Here are some of the major techniques deployed by the firm (Hu and Xie, 2013).
- Usage of multifactor identification when user logs into the system
- Regular training to employees on secured access
- Daily backup of data
- Safe password practices for all the stakeholders of KFC
- Documentation of cybersecurity policies and frequent assessment on the effectiveness of the policies
- Biometric to manage the employee presence
- Conformance assessment of the data and policies in association with the local security standards
- Cryptographic algorithms to secure data and maximize confidentiality of information
- Asset management

Further, the information security department performs risk assessment on a regular basis to understand possible sources of unauthorized data access and develops contingency plans to reduce vulnerabilities and avoid impacts of accidents. KFC uses Oracle for its databases and the security architecture is as follows:

Security Architecture.png

It is evident that there are different categories of users and data from the database are displayed based on the user type and controls originally permitted and set by the database administrator. Passwords and data storage procedures are two other aspects of database security that are of top priority when it comes to policy development. Passwords have already been discussed in the previous section. Data storage happens in the form of containers in Oracle server and each activity is audited before the user gains access to more data associated with the organization.

For all the online transactions, KFC has secured socket layer (SSL) that will protect information and mask or prevent access of data from unauthorized sources. On the other hand, antivirus software is used to protect database and the information system from loss of availability, secrecy, integrity and frauds (Watson, 2016). Database backup and recovery is one of the strengths of technological infrastructure maintained by KFC. Being a global food supply chain, KFC is responsible to implement advanced security algorithms and remain updated about the vulnerability regularly.

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Conclusion

Management information system is extremely important for an organization that deals with tons of data and allows users to access them from multiple platforms. In addition to offering cross platform support, KFC also stays updated in its technological infrastructure. As the mission of the firm is to ensure quality by all means, it strives hard to invest on updated technologies that can improve credibility and availability of the system for all types of users.

In this paper, we have already seen the strengths of IT infrastructure of KFC. The management of network and database has permitted the users to place orders and engage in operations without suspicion. However, a report issued by McGoogan (2016) has informed that the infrastructure is weak and has leaked data of its loyal customers. This implies the poorly managed system and demands the security experts to be aware of phishing and other security attacks carried out by unauthorized users like hackers. With frequent upgrade of policies and development of system with new features, there is no doubt that KFC can continue to top the global fast food industry for the years to come. The development and sustainability will have to happen at a rapid pace in accordance with the expansion rate.

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