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The Use of Information Technology in an Organisation



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As the years go by, Information Technology has become a huge
part of every organization, and how they use it to retrieve, edit, share and
store large amounts of data every day. This means that they are regularly
finding out solutions on how they can enhance the way they store data and the
process they use to manipulate data.

The way they can increase their chances of being ahead of
competitors is by retrieving the correct information from the data, which they
gather; this is required continuously in order to be at an advantage to the
competitors. Alongside this, it relates to the necessity to improve and
maintain the accurate knowledge, so it allows them to be more precise when
interpreting information.


Data has multiple definitions; it all depends on what
context you are using it in. E.g. the way it is defined by Information Science
is that data is ‘unprocessed information’ and alternative areas leave data as a
depiction of unbiased facts. The way computer science describes data is by
using terminologies such as ‘packets of data’ and ‘data stream’ there are other
ways to describe data, which include having ‘raw data’ and ‘sources of data’

Data can be stored in databases, this allows you to do
multiple tasks such as store information also edit, obtain or recover the data
once it has been stored. ‘Data mining’ is also a valuable way to collect
information also alongside this, it can be used to extract data.  Hey,
J. (2004).

As organisations
revolve around collecting and using data, they will need to categorise the
types of data, which they retrieve. There are two sources of data, which have
separate factors towards and organisation, Internal and External Data.

Internal data are
sources such as the Manufacturing processes, products that they offer, the
logistics, which take, place, transaction databases, e.g. bank transactions,
energy provider’s consumption data, also the mobile communication, which occurs
within the organisation. One of the key sources of external data, which they
collect, is the customer’s information. This is necessary, as it is what the
organisations needs to know and understand in order for them to build and make
profit. Dam, N.van & Marcus, J., (2007)

 External data sources are information, which
is obtained from outside the organisation.  Examples of these are things such as
competitors which they may face against, the government, suppliers have a big
part of external data as well, and most recently, social media has become a lot
more beneficial for organisations to retrieve external data.

There are three
types of Data: Structured, Semi-structured and Unstructured data.

Structured Data:

Structured data is a
lot more organised than the other. It can be ordered and searched a lot easier,
depending on the criteria which it is searching. Before the data is obtained,
it is defined so it makes it a lot easier to organise. Whilst collecting the
data, organisations already know what it indicates, and the storage methods of
the data. Alongside this, structured data is a lot more cost effective, to
obtain, examine, and store. Examples of structured data are, dates, times,
names and currency.  (Kayas, 2017)

Unstructured Data

Unstructured data
isn’t suitable for any database which has been predefined. An example of this
is the human language. The data usually contains a lot of text, however there
are certain aspects of images, videos and numbers which are included in it.
Most of the current data is characterised by unstructured data, approximately
95 percent of all current data. Examples of unstructured data are things such
as audio files, photos, presentations, blogs, etc. (Kayas, 2017)


Semi-structured data
is structured data, which is not suitable to be processed in the formal
structure which data models are presented. It is in-between structured and
unstructured data. Examples of these are things such as videos and images
e-mails can feature content, which includes both unstructured and structured
data. (Kayas, 2017)


Information is data which has been defined and has a
connection which is comparative. Bellinger,
G., Castro, D. and Mills, A. (2004). It also contains data which has
been processed, this allows the information to be used for multiple purposes
such as answering questions which consist of the five following openers, Who,
What, When, Where and Why? Ackoff, R.

Information can be categorized into multiple sorts such as,
sensitive information, qualitative information, or quantitative information. Hey, J. (2004).


Knowledge is processed information, which has been
structured and later been enforced. It is different to both data and information
as it is mainly certain groups or an individual’s thoughts, which have been embedded
by the individual, and then moulded by their own viewpoints. Hey, J. (2004).

Knowledge is a key benefit towards an organisation. It
allows the organisation to share their skills and ideas, and interlink them
with each other to complete a task at hand, also it can allow them to find ways
in which they can improve the organisation. Another factor about knowledge is
that it’s intangible, which means that it isn’t a physical object. An example
of this is rights such as Copyright, Trademark, patents, etc. Although it isn’t
a physical object, it can still add value towards an organisation. (,

Knowledge comes in different vary from how to follow
procedures, to certain skillsets of an individual or group or even knowing, how
and why certain things have occurred. There are distinct types of knowledge;
the ones that I will discuss are Tacit and Explicit knowledge.

Tacit Knowledge

Tacit knowledge is “… being understood without being openly
expressed” (Random House Dictionary of the English Language, 1971)

Tacit knowledge is knowledge that can be programmed and does
not require much time and allows businesses to make decisions based on the
knowledge which they have collected, also it can impact the behaviour of
certain individuals or groups. (Liebowitz and Beckman, 1998) It is retrieved
mainly through past experiences, practices and altogether is a lot more
personal than explicit knowledge, in some cases, organisations value tacit
knowledge a lot more than explicit knowledge, mainly towards the knowledge
management sector.

Philosopher Polanyi (1967) has defined tacit knowledge as
knowing how to do a certain task without putting any thought towards it, e.g.
Body Language, over time; this is then understood and developed in multiple
ways through an individual’s experience of the action. The way this type of knowledge
is obtained is through communication between people also observing another
group or individual. (2017)

There are two types of tacit knowledge, technical and
cognitive. These consist of morals, assumptions, beliefs, etc. Technical tacit
knowledge is where individuals can build on a certain type of knowledge and
become skilful within that field. Cognitive tacit knowledge integrates the use
of people’s perceptions, which are embedded, that it becomes second nature to
them. (Sternberg, 1997)

Explicit Knowledge  

Explicit knowledge is information which can be retrieved a
lot simpler. It can be easily transferred, stored and is usually a lot more
methodical. An example of explicit knowledge is things such as methods on how
to do certain tasks, or manuals, it can be easily summarized, and easier to
share unlike tacit knowledge. The ways explicit knowledge can be documented is
by codes, formulas, words and numbers. (, 2017)

The way that explicit knowledge is stored is through
databases and is retrieved through information systems. Once explicit knowledge
is organised, it can be reprocessed to work with other tasks or it can assist
people with knowledge which may have value towards them. When sharing this
information, it could involve expenses which need to be covered, which can then
allow funds for information technology and provide support for it. ­ (Hansen et
al., 1999)


Asos is one of the world’s biggest online retailers for
clothing and accessories. Selling over 80,000 branded and own-branded clothing
online around world, and their main centres which are located in places such as
the UK, US, Europe and China. (About Us | ASOS, 2017)

The methods, which ASOS use to collect data, is buy using
real-time data strategies. The reason for this is because if the data is
regularly updated, and is relevant, this will allow them to make better
decisions on what drives the most sales, and how they can improve on their
sales. The software which uses real-time data will assist in making decisions
on what prices will work best, also what products do customers want.  However, as there is a large number of work,
which has to be done by the retailers on other multichannel projects, these
strategies have been delayed. (Thomson, 2017)

 Watts had stated “The
people who make all the difference to retailers’ bottom lines are buyers and
merchandisers.” So, the information collected Is used by these people. (Thomson,

There are two sets of information that is collected out the customers,
which are, ‘personally identifiable’ and ‘non-personally identifiable’

Personally identifiable is information, which is specific to
the customer, this can be things such as name, age address, and email.

Non- personally identifiable information is linked with a
customer, but it is anonymous, e.g. customer feedback, mobile number.

The in the way the collect information about the customers
is by setting privacy policies and cookies within the website, which allows
them to retain information about what customer’s preview, what they purchase,
what they save etc.

One of the biggest ways they collect information about
customers is with Social Media. It is a way, in which ASOS interacts with
customers, and there is the option to sign in to using your social
media pages, this allows them to obtain information from these accounts. (Privacy
& Cookies | ASOS, 2017)

The way ASOS can make improvements to their organisation,
and the way they collect and use the information they retrieve is by
discovering what customers are buying the most, and what they are buying the
least. If a product is not doing well e.g. t-shirts, then they can do a
promotional offer and advertise a discount code on t-shirts, which will
encourage customers to purchase the products. This method can also be
implemented on seasonal offers, e.g. at winter, they can release a discount
code for hoodies and coats. This is a great marketing technique, which can be
used by collecting information about customers. This method uses tacit
knowledge, as it allows ASOS to collect personal information about the customer
such as previous orders, also gender to recommend clothing products which are like
what they have previously purchased. 

ASOS features a loyalty scheme known as ‘ASOS A-LIST’ every
customer is enrolled to this automatically once they have placed an order.
After each order the customer makes, they receive points in which can be
collected and once they receive a certain number of points, they receive
rewards such as discount codes, also vouchers. By applying this loyalty scheme,
it allows ASOS to retrieve information on what customers are purchasing, and
then recommend the customers clothing products and accessories which are
related, so they are intrigued and would want to purchase them. (ASOS |
Designer Clothes | Women’s Clothing | Women’s Fashion. 2017)

Other features ASOS can implement is by discovering what
clothing and accessories are trending, also what people are purchasing. This
can be done with the use of social media, as this will allow them to view what
people want to purchase, also what clothing pieces are being bought the most in
general. They can use his information and release trending clothing and
accessories. The real-time data can be used for this as trending clothing
changes regularly.


In conclusion Data is what organisations revolve around. They
collect substantial amounts of data and then extract it to collect useful
information. The information then is organised, and processed and transformed
into knowledge, which can then later be used for certain tasks. The two key
types of knowledge which is used by organisations is tacit and explicit
knowledge. Tacit is knowledge which is a lot more personal, whereas explicit
knowledge is a lot more methodological. Organisations such as ASOS can use
tacit knowledge to find out things such as customers previous shopping
products, and recommend similar items, whereas explicit knowledge can be used
to see how well certain products are doing in sales, and release discounts on items,
which are low on sales.


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