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Organisations have many purposes ranging from making

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Organisationshave many purposes, ranging from making profi ts bycommercial activities to providing information to citizens about their electedrepresentatives and to enabling millions of commuters use the rail services inIndia. Tata Motors of India, for example, is a commercial organisation thatmakes cars, trucks, and other automobiles. The company employs 23,000people in various parts of the world. Although these employees would beengaged in various activities as part of their work, as a goal they worktowards building and selling automobiles. The Association for DemocraticReforms, based in New Delhi, is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) thatinforms citizens about candidates who are either contesting elections or havebeen elected from different constituencies of India. The goal of this smallorganisation is to inform citizens about the criminal, fi nancial, and educationalbackgrounds of candidates they are about to vote for. Their objective is tostrengthen democracy by informing citizens. The Indian Railways is agovernment organisation that manages the massive Indian railway systemconsisting of over 9000 trains that ferry 20 million passengers daily. Thepassengers may alight at any of 7000 railway stations and may traverse anydistance of over 64,000 km of railway routes. The Indian Railways also ferriesover 2 million tonnes of freight daily. This massive operation is managed by anumber of information systems (IS) that help the Indian Railways achieve itsgoals of servicing its commuters and commercial clients.Thefollowing sections discuss some essential features of modernorganisations.1.3.1 IT-Enabled organisationThe organisations discussed above are modern in the sense that they have builtinto their structure the elements of information technology (IT) that enableB1968Page No. 6
Management Information SystemUnit 1them to function in a manner appropriate to the demands of the environment.This is a fundamental difference between a modern organisation and its older,premodern incarnation. Tata Motors, for instance, upon its initiation in 1945would also have put in place built-in mechanisms to respond to itsenvironment and to function in a manner appropriate to that time. However,what distinguishes Tata Motors’ functioning then and now is the difference inthe current use of IT to shape its functioning and responsiveness.1.3.2 Networked organisationModern organisations function in a world ofdigital networksin addition to thephysical world that was the same for the old organisations. The organisationsare linked as nodes on the network where they receive and transmitinformation. Remaining on the network requiressensingandrespondingtothis fl ow of information. The digital network consists of the Internet andtelecommunication networks that rely on digits (ones and zeros) to carryinformation across large distances. Sensing the world means frequentmonitoring of the news and information that becomes available. Thisinformation is in the form of text, audio, or video. Organisations such as TataMotors have to constantly monitor their digital environment to learn about themarkets, their competition, their partners, and the business they operate in.

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