Title : Feasibility of Information Systems (Lakshan)
Author: Lakshan Bandara
Article Code: 81
Keywords: Feasibility, Information Systems, Information Technology, Applications
We are living in the information age.
We invested a tremendous amount of money to build Information Technology infrastructure, similar to developed countries.
For example: Fiber Optics Networks.
Almost all young people have bought Personal computers or Laptops. How many people have smart-phones? They do cost a fortune (lot of money).
My question is, what return do we make out of the said IT investments? Do they contribute to have a positive impact on our economy?
As far as I know, the main usage of high speed broadband internet is to watch YouTube and download movies.
Two of major Telecom projects to use Fiber Optics are PEO TV for entertainment and Smart-Home IOT (Internet Of Things) systems to switch on/off lights using mobile phone.
They are not productive to our economy.
We need to design economy focused (good) applications to make use of Information Technology (IT).
These applications are more than just software.
They are Information Systems (IS) consisting of trained people, manual processes and hardware-software systems.
For example: this ePolitics Forum.
The cost for Information Systems (IS) are less expensive than the Information Technology (IT) used as infrastructure.
The return on investment for technology must be gained through it's applications.
We must admit that Sri Lanka has been a developing country for ages, because of poor hanky-panky design and implementation of it's systems. Invitation for corruption. That's disaster.
I propose to implement information systems at national level (from top to bottom), if we intend to move forward with time.
Our country can develop based on good systems that last longer, compared to good temporary leaders in office.
It would be obvious to reject my proposal with negative justifications.
1. People are starving in Sri Lanka. This proposal is too much for us.
If system change can bring solutions to the current problems in a cost-effective way, people will not starve.
2. Poor people in rural areas cannot have access to technology.
Implement mobile satellite networks and internet support centres.
Full implementation can be in stage-wise.
There are practical barriers in any project. But, that's not a good reason to take our foot back. We must be creative to invent solutions.
3. Older people are slow to learn technology. They can be isolated.
This situation is true for bank teller machine usage. Older people have difficulties in using them. But, we do have teller machines, don't we?
One size does not fit for all.
On one hand, we can design special training programs for slow learners. On the other hand, young people can assist our senior generation in their transactions.
The main objective of this new system is to make a positive impact on our economy. Therefore, our main focus is on the young generation's contributions, because they are more productive.
4. We are a developing country. We cannot do everything the rich countries do.
Developed countries maintain their richness, because they brain-hunt people who can think different. They are the intelligent source to redesign their systems in an effective and efficient manner.
We Sri Lankans have high literacy. We are intelligent. Our long history says so. That's what matters to change our future.
My proposal is not that expensive, compared to our current careless wastages.
If we want better effects in our future, then we must change the cause, which is badly designed and malfunctioning current systems.
Information systems enable us to work from home. The Corona virus era has threatened social gatherings and forced us to work from home. We introduced online education for some extent. Let's make this pandemic a disguised blessing and improvise the online strategies for our benefit. That's how we can get back on our feet with flying colours.
To make judgment of the Feasibility of Information Systems, let's compare the pros & cons...
1. Work from home reduces time waste at transportation. Time is money.
2. Reduces office clothing and cosmetic costs.
3. Reduce vehicle purchase costs, spare-part costs and oil fuel costs for transportation. We can save a lot of money from such imports.
4. Cost savings from renting an office space at Colombo city.
5. Saving on office administration can be invested at workers, by giving them free internet access and interest free loans to buy computers.
Every worker can maintain a simple home office with dedication.
It's a win-win.
6. Reduce environmental pollution and productive time wastage caused by vehicle traffic.
7. Improve worker health, because they have time and access to good food, clean water, toilet facility and exercise at home.
8. Workers can do online shopping and get home delivery.
9. Take care of children, adults, do washing and cooking is easy when at home. Good living conditions for the whole family.
10. Flexible work hours is more productive than 8am to 5pm office hours.
People can work day and night while taking breaks as they wish.
It's a good approach to do business with rest of the world having different working hours (day times).
11. Processes in applications will be more methodical and inter-connected.
For example: current agriculture and consumer trades are a mess.
12. Can forecast and make correct decisions using stored data and with the support of computer algorithms.
13. Cost savings when using online virtual conference rooms at office level as well as at national level.
For example: Online parliament, where ministers can use webcams from home office for conferencing.
We need to design a local software for audio and video conferencing, with considerations to Sri Lankan interests and security.
Also, physical meeting rooms can be hired for special meetings.
14. Information Systems has the advantages in bi-directional communication.
For example: IntellectForum.com ePolitics system.
15. Sharing economy motivates wealth building as well as community sharing. We can achieve the utopia concept of prosperity.
16. Higher education for all. We can maximize the usage of available resources. Also, Sri Lanka can be the global education hub.
17. Information systems enable us to focus on priority. 20% work have 80% effect. It's a cost saver and will directly impact on our economy.
1. Electronic Systems can fail.
Need backup and recovery procedures. Also, if main systems fail, we need simple manual systems with smooth transitions.
2. Security Attacks to steal our secretes and damage our system.
Need online security and social security measures.
For example, banks function with online transactions, irrespective of security attacks.
We must be aware of our risk factors to minimize damage.
Also, we need to update our legal system to handle electronic crime.
3. People can be lazy to work from home. It effects productivity.
Do people work in full capacity at offices? I doubt it. How about gossip chatting and useless internal politics? It directly effects our economy.
When people get a work schedule and online performance evaluation that effects their salary, they will pay attention to their work. It's an administration challenge.
4. Lack of people commitment can fail the systems. Efforts will be wasted.
When you see the benefits of the well-designed new systems, you get motivated. Therefore, people commitment is a part of the system design.
As you can see, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
Be wise and brave to make the right decision.
Then, maintain courage to live the decision you made.
Hope it makes sense.