Saturday, 7 January 2012

Telecommuting - Information systems and Technology


Telecommuting - Information systems and Technology


Information Systems and certain equipment is needed for a telecommuter to conduct LIW and to communicate with the organisation and the clients, “Teleworking has been made possible by recent advances in both information and communication technologies allowing users to have access to information from outside a traditional office environment” (Tsiligirides, 1993: 242). The fact is, that competitive advantage, when using Location independent work , can be achieved only if information systems and technology are supporting it.
Laptop – A laptop is essential, and provides more mobility than a stationary computer. It allows an employee to process information, communicate with organisation, clients and suppliers, compare the prices and support many other activities. Performance of the laptop does not need to be state-of-art, as usually the newest laptops with high performance indicators cost a considerable amount of money comparing with regular performance laptops. However, laptops need to be powerful enough to work smoothly with certain software and applications that a telecommuter needs.
Information security facilities -  Telecommuters deal with a considerable amount of information, thus CD/DVD writing device, external hard drive or organisations FTP should be used for backing up information. At the same time data access, integrity and security needs to be maintained, therefore security measures such as passwords, biometric devices, antivirus software, firewall or even data encryption for these purposes may be used.  It is easy to restrict control of applications, software or internet use on site, however to restrict usage of a telecommuter's computer is much harder. To minimise the risk of viruses or confidential data theft it is recommended to use a work laptop just for LIW purposes.
Communication facilities - Location independent workers need to communicate with the organisation, suppliers, customers and colleagues. For a communication network, connectivity and certain types of equipment are necessary. This includes phone, fax, modem, fast internet access. Fast broadband with a wireless router is a good solution, however to increase mobility, a mobile USB dongle could be used to provide fast mobile broadband.
Information systems – The same IT platform needs to be used in organisation and LIW computer in order to ensure that all systems used are compatible with each other. A telecommuter work requires access to certain information which they would be able to access while being on site. Thus, connectivity to the organisations intranet network would be necessary as well as certain software and information systems necessary for the job. Unfortunately, sometimes Information Systems may be a obstacle for LIW implementation as they might be unsuitable for LIW. “Modern Integrated Logistics systems used in manufacturing would be quite unsuitable for remote working” (Nickson & Siddons, 2004: 22).
Groupware - “Groupware assists teams of people to work together because it provides key group functions; ‘three Cs’ of communication, collaboration and coordination” (Chaffey & Wood, 2005: 69). Groupware applications could include e-mail, messaging, and video conferencing. In fact, messaging, emails and video conferencing which use Voice Over IP technology would be necessary for a remote worker to maintain a high level of communication, collaboration and coordination with the organisation, colleagues and suppliers.


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