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The purpose of this project is explore how information systems helps organisations to make decisions at different levels to achieve

set objectives and strategic advantages over competitors .The team carried out research and debate on various companies, and agreed to focus on British Airways. Through literature we found out, that BA is amongst the busiest premium international airlines worldwide, BA operates mainly from Heathrow, London city and Gatwick airports and flies over 35million people to more than 300 cities and freights an average of 700,000 tonnes of cargo each year (ref). BAs air cargo business, in conjunction with its scheduled passenger services operate under the licence governed by the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (UKCAA). Since its establishment, BA has progressed over the past decades and is still striving to dominate the air transport business worldwide. BA meets its targets by making decisions, which are categorised into three levels:Stakeholders &Board of Directors make most of its decisions in an unstructured manner, from information gathered internally and externally. The objectives set at the strategic level of BA, are implemented, and evaluated on short-term basis by the management team, who critically analyse information and make tactical decisions Operational levels of decision-making are short termed, day-to-day control of activities, tasks and resources. Goals are predefined and highly structured to achieve set objectives.
The above diagram shows levels of decision-

British Airways strategic goal is to become the worlds leading global airline, to achieve this, the management sets objectives, which are accomplished through rigorous decision-making, planning, controlling and the use/support of information systems, to show its presence in key global cities, improve employee relationship; to deliver outstanding customer services, invest on training and development, performance, opportunities, excellence and partnership.

British Airways uses the following information tools at its strategic level.

Executive Support System (ESS)

Executive Support System (ESS) supports management in BA to make long term unstructured decisions and addresses strategic issues. Executives use this information tool, as it provides relevant data about British Airways internal and external environment which enables BA to match its organisational capability to changes, and opportunities, occurring in its external environment

ESS Workstation Graphics Communications Local processing Menus

ESS Workstati on

Internal data
TPS/MIS data Financial data Modelling Analysis

External data
Virgin Atlantic Easy jet Stock market Gallup poll

ESS Workstati on

MM Menus Local processing Graphics Communicat

Menus Local processing Graphics Communicat

The above diagram explain how ESS is used at the strategic

ESS uses internal reports such as sales, billing, staffing, and accounts to produce summarised reports internally.

ESS filters, compresses, and tracks critical data internally and externally, this emphasises the reduction of time and effort required to obtain information useful to BA management.

The tactical decision makers in BA use the following information tools. Management Information System (MIS) Decision Support System (DSS)

MIS serves the monitoring, controlling, feedback, decision-making, and administrative activities of middle managers. Typically, they provide routine summary and exception reports generated with data and information from TPS e.g. sales management and inventory control, as the diagram below illustrates

Marketing management information systems

British Airways Common Database Financial management information systems

The above diagram explains how BA

TTPS

T P S

MIS provide managers with reports and, in some cases, on-line access to the organisations current performance and historical records Typically, these systems focus entirely on internal events, providing the information for short-term planning and decision-making.

Decision Support System (DSS)

The tactical level of decision making of British Airways also uses Decision Support System, as MIS, these serve the needs of the management level of the organisation DSS focuses on helping managers make decisions that are semistructured, unique, or rapidly changing, and not easily specified in advance It uses internal information from MIS and systems used in the operational level of decision-making as well as external sources such as current stock prices and product prices of competitors.

DSS provide semi structured and unstructured decisions; it does not only focus on a particular level of management decision, as it integrates by partially overlaying between the three levels of decision making

The next level of decision-making in British Airways is the Operational decision, which uses an information system tool knows as: Transaction Processing Systems (TPS) Process control system

TPS are basic business computerised system that supports the managers at the operational level by tracking and maintaining elementary activities and transactions of BA, such as sales, receipt, cash, and online transactions, reservation system, employee record and flight timetables and business exchanges. Process control system are used to monitor, manage, regulate and control BAs business processes

All levels of decision-making in BA have to keep up to date with the everchanging technological world; they have in place what is described as

Knowledge Level System.

The purpose of these systems is to help BA to discover, organise, and integrate new and existing knowledge in to the business, and to help control the flow of paperwork.

These systems are especially in the form of collaboration tools, workstations, and office systems, are the fastest growing applications in business today, for example, designing a promotional display for BA products.

According to Stair and Reynolds (2010) Information System is a set of interrelated elements or components that collect (input), manipulates (process), store and disseminate (output) data and information, and provide a corrective reaction (feedback mechanism) to meet an objective. This feedback mechanism is the components that help organisations like British Airways to monitor and evaluate feedback, to make sure the system is achieving the set objectives; else, the control function will make adjustments to the system input and processing components to produce proper output. This process has helped BA in increasing profit and improving customer services. .

Feedback

Input

Process ing

Output

Diagram showing the components of an information

Managers in British Airways need the support of information systems to facilitate: Decision Making Planning Control Decision making always involves a choice between alternatives. It is the role of the operational team to provide the relevant information so that managers can make informed decisions. Planning involves establishing objectives for the British Airways, these objectives might be to maximise profits, maximise shareholders value, minimise costs, maximise revenue. Planning also involves developing strategies to achieve the established objectives. To achieve a specific objective, control is necessary to monitor and evaluate the actual results of plans and compare outputs to targets

Managers in British Airways use information systems to support their business processes and business operations and decision makers in BA, make better decisions and gain competitive advantage with the support of MIS, DSS and TPS. Information systems helps BA managers to gain strategic advantage over competitors, this requires innovative use of information technology such ESS and MIS.

Identify goals, objectives or problems. Search for alternative courses of action

PLANNING

Collect and analyse relevant data about each alternative Select course of action after verifying that the expected outcome is in line with the overall goals or objectives.

Implement plan.

Obtain data about actual results.

CONTROL

Compare actual results with plans, targets and objectives.

Respond to divergences from plans by taking corrective action necessary to bring actual results in line with expectations.

Management Information Systems (MIS) are an organised collection of people, procedures, software, databases, and technological devices that focuses on operational efficiency, to provide routine information to managers and decision makers. BA uses support from MIS to realize maximum benefit from investment in personnel, equipment, finance, marketing, and other business processes linked through a common database.

Management Information system is an important management tool that supports human decision making by generating statistical reports and data, in its role of analysing the external environment. British Airways highlights the position of its industry, in particular, looking at its competitors and accessing British Airways capabilities to meet current and future challenges.

Management Information Systems plays a vital role by helping strategic decision makers in British Airways to have a better understanding of their business activities and other strategic areas by providing feedback based on reports gathered internally thorough Decision support system and Transaction process system. It records and processes BA's transactions via batch-time and real-time processing and summarises reports using DSS for decision makers. The role of Management information system is a vital to the operations of ebusiness and e-commerce sections of British Airways organisation. This allows people to buy e-ticket, book online, conduct online check-in, choosing seat online, receive online receipt etc.

MIS enables the tactical and operational decision makers to plan and allocate resources effectively to meet set objectives. Another vital role of MIS is to monitor and control day-to-day operations, and resolve business problems using feedback mechanism.

Information Systems are indispensable to the business, industry, academia and any organization to meet the future challenges