IT 2: Electric Boogaloo

For people inclined to extreme pessimism, a knee-jerk reaction to any phrase that reads “Does *blank* matter” is always a solid yet reserved “NO”. Going by the dictionary definition, something that matters is something that has importance or significance. In my first blog I enumerated the ways IT has affected my life, so there is no question that IT matters to me. To our nihilist friends, however, any meaning you give to words is empty because, for them, anything and everything lacks just that, meaning. In trying to understand this idea, I believe that it stems from a notion that we are all just insignificant clumped up particles of matter in a massive universe. That is, our existence will have left no observable or significant impact, relative to our situation in the universe. 

That said, the purpose of that introductory tangent was for me to establish the idea of the significance of IT for me as two-fold, in its application and what it results in, a notion that I developed during the course of the class from which this blog takes its own meaning. As a result of the discussions, quizzes and lab activities, I reached a new appreciation for IT and grasped what people have been saying for many years, that the journey is just as important as the destination. Through this class, I am brought to the conclusion that IT not only makes our lives and businesses easier, faster, more convenient, more inclusive, simpler, and many other positive adjectives. Being a relatively new science, it requires more study and careful scrutiny, thus requiring from its beneficiaries a certain commitment to growth, a level of active thinking, and a willingness to learn. I believe not only in the results that IT has improved through complete utilization, but also the quality of the processes and individuals it has enhanced through its set-up and application.

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In the context of my work, personal life and professional development, I believe the previous paragraph also answers this question.

In work, Information Technology has made it so I don’t have to go through what those before went through, the hours stuck in the office handwriting working papers, typing and retyping multiple copies of reports, and being kept in the dark concerning new and relevant work information because of mere distance and travel constraints.

In my personal life, Information Technology has made it easier to connect with distant relatives and loved ones, it has opened new avenues with which I could amuse myself or relieve stress, and it has allowed many people to share there ideas, complaints, happiness, and apprehensions to a people all over the world willing to listen.

In professional development, Information Technology has changed the game on how people grow and achieve personal professional goals. It has made available a wide array of knowledge for young members of the workforce to grow beyond their daily duties, it has made it easier for those who are discontent professionally change careers, and it has allowed more sharing of experiences and ideas so that growth comes easier and steadier for young professionals.

Does IT matter? Yes, it does.

Blog #10 – Does IT Really Matter? Write a synthesis of your learnings and realizations pertaining to the topics we have discussed and the laboratory activities you have undergone in our classroom. Does IT really matter in your work, more so in your personal life and professional development.
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Social Media

 

 

Blog #9 – How can social media be used to your advantage, like for personal development and professional growth? What are the problems created by social media? You may cite your personal experiences and observations as well as of other people being active social media users. Finally, give your personal commitment statements (at least 3 statements) on the responsible use of social media. (Make sure that you can live out these statements)

Software Piracy

As residents of a developing country, which constantly has to keep up with growing technological trends and demands, it is highly likely that we have derived benefits from pirated media and software. Ranging from office applications to music files, as long as it is in digital form, nothing is safe from software piracy in  countries similar to the Philippines. For a certainty, the prevalence of software piracy has been a hindrance to small and medium companies that sink their resources into developing new and cutting edge technology, only to see their work circulating the internet without getting anything in return. Having stated that, I believe that software piracy will go down as one of histories necessary evils. It is used as a way for businesses and governments of countries, that are years or even decades behind their global constituents, to stay competitive and ensure there survival and sustainability in a world that has been thrust into the future.

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In the issue of protection against piracy, like in the protection of physical property, their are many ways that a company can protect themselves and their investments. Companies like Microsoft have taken a solid stance on combating piracy, funneling resources into research and development projects in order to create sophisticated anti piracy measures. Another alternative, that sometimes doesn’t seem like one, is raising awareness about the problem. We sometimes forget that software as an integral part of organizational systems is a relatively young concept. So young, in fact, that there are still people oblivious to things like data privacy, digital licenses, and software piracy. Appealing to the goodness in people can still show results.

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Companies right now, rather than directly reducing or preventing software piracy, have developed ways to work around it, or even embraced it. The internet has become such a convenient way of exchanging information, that feedback and data on pirated software can be collected and analyzed, effectively serving as a channel for companies and pirates. Piracy then effectively becomes another avenue for service and profit for a company.

By far the most prevalent argument in defense of piracy I have come across while reading online articles on the topic is that it drives innovation. Some organizations have used this to develop their identity as pirate friendly, and at the same time laser focused on technological advancements. While I am of the opinion that software piracy is a necessary evil, and will go down in history as one of the many drivers of a technological revolution, I also concede that it is tantamount to theft of intellectual property. Theft of intellectual property, in this context, I believe to be one of the greatest threats in a technologically developing world.

Blog #8 – Is it reasonable to blame someone for pirating impractically expensive computer software? What approach can companies use, apart from punitive measures or government sanctions?

 

Knowledge Management

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines empowerment as “the granting of the power, right, or authority to perform various acts or duties”. In my view, the statement “knowledge is power but knowledge sharing is empowerment” translates to more than “sharing knowledge means sharing power”. In the mentioned definition, the second part runs full circle to the definition of knowledge as meaningful information. In this definition of empowerment, there is the mention of purpose. My simple appreciation of this is that there is a ripple effect when you share knowledge. More than the knowledge itself, the act of sharing it opens avenues to others that they never knew existed; and with it comes a slew of new rights and responsibilities, one of which is the duty to pass this knowledge on. Thus the act of sharing knowledge, effectively, is the creation of something from nothing.

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In my observations, not just from my own work but from the musings and complaints of my contemporaries as well, I learned that (1) knowledge gained through experience is a value driver for an individual from the perspective of his organization, and (2) that the lack of priority in sharing knowledge, especially tacit knowledge, is a common frustration.

Working for a government organization, there is no shortage of documented explicit knowledge about practices and procedures that should be adhered to in my workplace, but I have also gleaned enough to know that this is not the case for some government offices. Nonetheless, there is also a certain amount of leeway given to us, where members and team leaders are free to exercise the full extent of their audit judgement in developing practical and lasting procedures in the performance of their duties. Knowledge about such practices, developed overtime by those who have stayed long in the service, can be invaluable for new employees. In light of this, I am also aware that some of the flexibility granted to us is anchored in the ambiguity of some rules and regulations.

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In my opinion, Knowledge Management, and its effective application, can be a huge help in addressing the problems in the above paragraph. The issues of finding an effective way of sharing and preserving tacit knowledge, as well as the defining of the boundaries of what is tacit and what is explicit, can both be addressed with Knowledge Management.

Blog#7: Do you think your organization (or a selected organization) will benefit much from Knowledge Management? If yes, in what ways? If no, why? What do you think are the biggest barriers in implementing KM in your respective organizations? What are your views on the statement: “Knowledge is power but knowledge sharing is empowerment.”

Motivating Use of Business Intelligence

If an organization is on the right track, I believe that it goes without saying, members of that organization are driven and motivated. In such cases, the problem of integrating business intelligence tools potentially becomes trivial. The motivation to use business intelligence – and indeed, any new tools or information for organizaional development – should go hand in hand with the motivation to improve as an individual and a member of an organization. The question then becomes purely “How do you motivate your employees?”.

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The question of effectivity of rewards programs vis a vis punitive action in motivation, in my opinion, has always hinged on the belief of management in people – whether they ascribe to Theory X or Theory Y. It is also my belief that a consistent and informed application of both types of motivational tools are necessary.

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Neglect on the side of employees to provide information or outputs necessary for the use of business intelligence, when expressly required to do so, should result in punitive action, while attitudes and production that exceed these requirements for the benefit of the organization should be commended. In the same vein, consistency of effective utilization of BI tools should then also be met with the same rewards as would be consistency in the conduct of ones regular work.

 

Blog #6 – How can organizations encourage more effective use of business intelligence tools? Is a rewards program appropriate? Is a punitive program appropriate? How about pay raises based on job performance that would require employees make use of BI applications?

Online Shopping

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Continuing with the theme of technology being both boon and blessing, the following video summarizes my opinions and general sentiments regarding online shopping:

BLOG #5: Conveniences and Inconveniences of Online Shopping, and Products to buy and not to buy through the medium. MGT 286 Section 2 Second Trimester 2017-2018.

 

Wireless Network Technology for Work and Organizations

In most lines of work, and especially audit, wireless communication has arguably become a necessity. It is one of the ways in which the exponential evolution of information technology has pushed its way into the mainstream, dragging with it the other, mostly eager, rarely unwilling, aspects of modern human development. While it has mostly been a boon, the speed at which technology has developed has forced other disciplines to follow suit, forcing new ways of thinking and problem solving. This can leave us with the feeling that sometimes we are slow to adapt, not making full use of new technological advancements, and while you are mastering these, a new device, system or concept is in the works, ready to hit you square in the face.

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In my view, this has become especially true in the context of developing countries where the latest innovations take time to take root. In the face of this, the integration of wireless network technology into government institutions and work processes, of which I am part, can be bumpy and not without constraints. As I say this though, the internet is being used as a means of collaboration and sharing information, steadily working to reduce, or even erase, these limitations.

In audits, oftentimes the auditor is sent to the farthest reaches of the known world and back, to make sure companies are making proper use of inventory tags. Field audits can be a costly, time consuming, and tiring process, mostly because raw data taken in the field has to be converted into report-able, actionable and review-able information. This is also true for audits of government projects, where validation can take you hundreds of kilometers from the safety and familiarity of your computer screen, and you will need to split your time between travel and report preparation and review.

With the use of wireless network technology, audit work can be generally made easier. When conducting field audits, I have easier access to standards and other basis of audit findings, that will have otherwise required me to bring along a copy of said issuance, or have complete faith in my memorization skills. The impact is significant during the review process, where a significant portion of current IT advancements are being channeled. Wireless networks provide opportunities for real-time review of reports in the field, where you would otherwise be constrained to note taking. Auditors can prepare reports in the field and send them in for review. In my line of work, we apply this in the few places where we can open our laptops and find a decent internet connection, although this application does not lend itself to the side of safe practice when it comes to the use of wireless networks.

Security is something one should always be conscious of, especially in the age of technological advancement. When using wireless networks, public wi-fi is generally considered unsafe, and should seldom be used, if at all. This is especially true when exchanging sensitive information. Even when using personal data plans, precautions should be taken. You should make sure that no other devices are able to connect to your personal network, through the use of security codes. There are also software that can essentially take whatever you are sending through any network, and make it so that they are in a form that cannot be interpreted or used while being transferred from one network location to another.

In summary, the prudent and controlled use of wireless network technology has the potential to make work easier for organizations, especially my own.  Whether this potential can be fully realized contextually, things are heading in the right direction, but it remains to be seen.

BLOG #4 – “What are the opportunities brought about by wireless network technologies? How can your organization take advantage of these opportunities? Also, draft standards and guidelines to ensure safe usage of wireless networks.” – MANAGEMENT 286, SECTION 2, 2ND TRIMESTER, 2017-2018