ICT is used in all businesses nowadays with more and more new and improved types of ICT be introduced all the time. ICT is a benefit to a business as they will not have to do everything manually. ICT has revolutionised businesses abilities to store, retrieve and send data to any user. The communication network in a business is concerned with the movement of data between one part of an organisation and another. ICT is used in all parts of the workforce within Sainsbury’s with the most recognisable being that off the EPOS or checkouts.
All functions of the business will have different types of ICT being used in different ways. ICT has improved the workplace greatly as now everything can be done automatically for example when a product is scanned at the EPOS this information is sent from the checkout to a computer in the main office telling the computer that one of these products has been sold. This will speed up the process of ordering goods greatly. Throughout this assignment I shall be discussing different types of ICT throughout the business and how it affects the business. Internal Methods of Communication Using ICT
Internal communication is communication that takes place within the business. Before continuing with internal methods of communication I shall give a brief description of the two forms of internal computer networks in organisations that are at the heart of modern technology. One of them is called Peer to Peer and the other Client/Server Networks. Peer to Peer This is where the networks are designed to serve the employees with similar status in an organisation. You can find these in organisations where there is a considerable blurring of the hierarchy and in which there is a teamwork approach to work.
Each workstation in this network can use the resources o any other workstation. Peer to Peer networks are very easy to use and set up as an expensive central server is not required. However the Peer to Peer network is difficult to administrate if there are too many people networked together and the system could slow down if the same facility is being used at the same time. Client/Server These networks involve the use one more powerful computer which is responsible for printing, maintenance of files and other peripherals connected to the network.
The less powerful computers connected to the server are called ‘clients’. Large organisations mostly prefer to use the client/server system because each of the computers can access all the facilities without losing any of its processing power. The drawback of this system is that clients depend on the server and therefore the server needs to be administered properly so these problems do not arise. Within the organisation there are many different types of internal methods of communication which require the use of ICT. Below I am going to name them and write about how they work and what they do.
Before I name different types of internal communication methods using ICT I shall give a brief definition of the types of communication that are found within Sainsbury’s. Downward and Upward are other types of communication found within the business. Downward communication is that where information is sent from the higher to the lower layers of the organisational chart whereas Upward communication is a system which allows workers to communicate effectively with their superiors without having to go through all the levels of communication.
The final types of communication that shall be mentioned throughout this assignment are them of Open and Restricted communication. Restricted communication is usually confidential. Some information is passed only to a selected number of people. Sometimes this type of communication is used for reasons of efficiency. Open information on the other hand is information placed on the public domain to which everyone has access. Formal communication is channels recognised and approved by employers and employee representatives.
An example of formal communication would be Sainsbury’s personnel department giving notice to an employee about redundancy. Informal communication is the opposite of this. This is where communication is unofficial and outside formal channels. This then could lead to communication through the ‘grapevine’ which is described as rumours and general gossip in the workplace. It can be inaccurate, and may distort the real situation. Internal Email System – This is known as the new form of writing letters. Email is done using the Intranet within the organisation.
People within the business can send email via email addresses especially made for the organisation. Sainsbury’s do not have this facility within their stores. This type of internal communication would be an informal method of communication as it is not going through established channels within the organisation. This method of communication is not an upward or downward method of communication as an internal email can be sent to anyone any the business. This method of communication would also be classed as a restricted method of communication as each user of the system would have their own password to keep all emails confidential.
In Store Notice boards – Notice boards are one of the most popular and well known methods of communication within the workplace. These are usually situated where only employees of the workplace can see hem such as outside the locker rooms or in the canteen. You may be thinking how a notice board is an internal method of communication using ICT. Not all information showed on the notice board is ICT based but some things may be word processed or graphs may be shown which have been created on the computer. These are methods of communication using ICT.
Sainsbury’s use this method to display all important information to other colleagues within the store. For example in my appendix you will see graphs that have been drawn from the ‘mystery shopper’ programme last month. This was done using ICT and shows all employees how well the business done. Another example of how ICT is used on notice boards is that they create in store job vacancies using desk top publishing or a word processor to let employees know of all the job opportunities available for them. These are just two examples of many. This type of communicated information could be either formal or informal.
The information given on these notice boards would be more formal than informal. Within Sainsbury’s this is a method of downward communication as information given on notice boards is usually that from higher management information employees of different information. This would also be an open method of communication as everyone in the workplace has access to the notice boards. Intranet – The Intranet is also known as a company wide network which is operated in same way as the Internet but is a method of facilitating internal communication making use of ICT.
This makes it possible to share information such as databases, employee schedules and stock files around the business. Through use of an Intranet, internal communications tools would be available such as: * Internal Email. * Notice Boards. * Forums for research, information sharing and general discussion. The use of such a system should improve efficiency by ensuring information is as current as possible and available immediately. Sainsbury’s have their own intranet site so as information can be passed to employees, suppliers and employers.
This type of internal communication would be considered to be considered to be a downward method of communication as people such as the chief executive, Justin King, would post must of the information up on this site. This also could be informal or informal communication as it is information to show to the workforce of Sainsbury’s. An example of it being an informal method of communication could be information stating they are launching a new product onto the market which may not be true. This would also be an open forma of communication as it is letting the whole workforce of Sainsbury’s to view this site.
Internal Phone Systems – This is another method of internal communication within the business using ICT. Sainsbury’s have two types of an internal phone system. One is normal phones connected to the phone lines which can make internal calls and also outside calls and the other type are ‘mobile’ phones which are carried but al the managers within Sainsbury’s. These phones are also connected to an outside line also. Using the phones connected to the phones lines; people within the organisation of Sainsbury’s can call those managers with the mobile phone.
All these phones have different numbers. This type of communication could also be used to communicate informal or formal communication as it is word of mouth contact. There is no upward or downward communication methods used here. Anyone within the workplace can use the internal phone system at any time to get in contact with any member of staff. Internal phone system would be restricted information as it is a discussion between two people on the phone. This would be a great way to communicate private information as nobody else can receive it.
EPOS – Electronic point of sale may seem strange as a form internal communication within the business but within Sainsbury’s it is a method they always use. When signing on to your checkout you must enter your user name and your password. When this has been done then sometimes a message or messages appear on the screen of your till such as “Have you any holiday to be taken to date? ” Or “Bakery items are not scanning properly! ” I think this is a very smart way of communicating with employees. All this is done in the main office of the store using the main server computer which generated this information to any EPOS screen in the store.
This would be classed as a formal method of communication. Downward communication is taking place here as the information being received is coming from higher levels of management. No information can be sent through the till back to the main server. This type of communication would be restricted as it is only possible to view this information by signing on to your till with a unique user name and password. Tannoy – This is probably the most well known method of communication within Sainsbury’s workplace. A tannoy system is set at the customer service desk.
This is where any colleague can make announcements through a microphone so as the whole workforce and customers can hear. This is controlled by holding a button in while you speak through the microphone. Both colleague and customer announcements are made through this machine. Formal communication would be used through this method as information is truthful about a product etc. This method of communication would not be classed as either upward or downward communication as anyone within the workplace can use this method. This would be classified as open communication as all employees throughout the store can hear this information.