Global Challenges in Information Systems
Information systems are used to manage a company’s business processes, communication, customer relationships and data analytics. But, as businesses become more global and operate across multiple regions, the field of information systems is facing new challenges.
One major challenge is that many countries have limited bandwidth to transmit graphically rich, multimedia Web pages. This will make it difficult for employees to access the information they need.
Cultural differences can have a significant impact on how information systems are developed and deployed. Managers often find themselves struggling to develop a global information system that addresses the needs of all employees. This is especially true if the organization has multiple divisions located around the globe. Various cultural norms may also conflict with the goals of the information system. For example, many organizations struggle to implement groupware and enterprise resource planning systems that require collaboration between departments and offices. Cultural differences may be created by language barriers as well as cultural beliefs and values.
Research on culture sometimes focuses on large groups such as countries or regions, while other studies examine individual units such as organizations. This difference in granularity affects how researchers understand the phenomenon of culture and can impact the results of the study.
Some cultures have stringent laws that restrict the flow of information across borders. This can limit the effectiveness of an international information system, and it can even deprive an entire nation of access to certain information.
Language barriers are a common problem that affects people across the globe. They can cause miscommunication and impact personal and professional relationships. They can also hinder the effectiveness of work and the success of an organization. Luckily, there are ways to overcome language barriers. These include increasing language proficiency, introducing cultural context into learning, using simple words, and being open to making mistakes.
Language-related misunderstandings can result from different meanings and uses of words, symbols, images, gestures, languages, dialects, accents, technical terminology or jargon, and individual linguistic ability. They can also arise from physical impediments such as hearing loss or stuttering.
In healthcare, language barriers can lower patient satisfaction, increase cost and duration of treatment, and decrease quality. However, interpreter services can alleviate some of these problems by ensuring that medical professionals and patients communicate effectively. However, these services are expensive and time-consuming to implement. In addition, they can increase the risk of adverse events.
Technology barriers can include a variety of issues, including lack of access to hardware or software. For example, if a firm has an international information system that is unable to handle data transfer between global locations, it can lead to inefficiency and losses for the company.
Another common barrier is that a particular piece of software may not be compatible with the other global systems used by a firm. This can create a huge logistical headache for the company, as different departments will need to use their own systems and double document work.
Care managers experienced a range of strategies for dealing with technology-related barriers. For about half of the barrier occurrences, care managers reported using work-arounds. Future research should explore the roles that these work-arounds play in workload creation and management, and the benefits and problems (e.g., safety hazard) of such strategies. For the remaining barrier occurrences, care managers reported taking direct action to address their concerns.
Information systems can help firms coordinate their global operations, but doing so can be difficult. There are several factors that can hinder these efforts, including political risks and labor unrest. Additionally, not all countries have the technology infrastructure necessary for an international information system. For example, some countries have narrow bandwidth communication lines that are not ideal for the high-volume transmission of graphically and animation-rich Web sites.
Regulatory barriers can also be an issue. For instance, if a consumer communication technology has been designed for general data transmission purposes and is later used by a personal health device for command and control functionalities (C&C), this may trigger medical device regulation processes. This is because the mapping between device IDs and user IDs requires medical devices to communicate with each other, which could pose a safety risk. To avoid this, a more granular information system design is required.