Critical Issues in Managing Information Systems in Organisations

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Instant Messaging Systems
Instant Messaging is a widely available communication medium and due to popularity and productivity increase its use has become popular in the workplace. Although this is a major benefit through increased collaborative working there are many issues and problems that have to be addressed in order to realise the ‘creative and positive effects'.

The use of Instant Messaging (IM) systems in the workplace has brought with it new legal and security issues that need to be considered. Industry analysts estimate that unauthorised IM use in the workplace is between 75% and 90%. This indicates that nearly everyone using IM in any given organisation is doing so without the manager's knowledge. This shows there are
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Introducing an IM system at British Airways will have a positive, creative effect, and its use should be encouraged. The first thing to do though is to carry out a survey of the employees about their IM use. The survey should be designed to answer the following questions:
§ Who is using an IM system at work?
§ What systems are employees using?
§ Where did employees get the software?
§ How often is IM being used?
§ Under what circumstances are employees using IM?
§ Who are they talking to?
§ What is the content of the conversations?
§ Are files being sent and received, if so what types of files?
The results of an employee survey like this will show the management how widespread the IM use currently is. The results will help to produce rules and policies for IM use, as well as aiding the development of training programs.

Security
IM's popularity has been aided by the fact that it is so accessible. The majority of workplace PC's now have Internet access. IM software can easily be found using Internet Explorer. The software is free, easy to install and easy to use. Allowing employees to use an IM system, and providing a system for them will eliminate the risks of employees searching the Internet and downloading software from potentially unsafe sources. Employees' computers could be configured so that downloading this type of
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