Static Information Sources
Static information sources show little or no change,once it has been created it is unlikely to change.
For example if a DVD is produced it cannot be changed again.
Businesses produce accounts each year to show their income, expenditure and profits. Once the accounts have been finalised they will be printed and put into the annual company report. They cannot be changed and thus are a static information source.
Advantages & disadvantages of static information sources
Can be used without access to the internet.
Usually checked for accuracy so often more reliable than dynamic sources
If held on a CD, the disk could be lost or damaged
Specialised information can be expensive to purchase
Dynamic information sources
Dynamic sources change continously for example BBC news changes continously.
People traveling by air can make use of dynamic information sources at airports. They can see a real-time list of all flights which are due to arrive and depart. Delays and cancellations are displayed as soon as information becomes available.
Advantages & disadvantages of dynamic information sources
Can be updated very quickly as changes happen
A large number of people can access the information at the same time
Changes can be made quickly and mistakes may go unnoticed
You may need certain hardware such as a computer to access the internet or a mobile phone to access information services.
Validation is the way of trying to reduce the number of errors in the data being entered into your system.
Verification can be used to help make sure data in your database contains few mistakes.
Cost of information
Original cost of hardware
The initial cost of computers, modems, networking cable, printers etc all need to be considered as part of the cost of producing information.
It is likely that this hardware will be in use over a long period of time and thus the more information which is produced, the more the cost can be offset.
Replacement of hardware
Hardware needs to be replaced over time as it wears out, becomes damaged or becomes obsolete. The costs of replacing the hardware need to be counted towards the cost of producing information.
Maintenance of hardware
Many organisations have a maintenance contract with an IT firm who will come on a regular basis to check and repair the equipment. Such contracts are relatively expensive but they do provide companies with peace of mind that something will get repaired quickly if it stops working.
Storage of information
Regular backups will need to be made of the data and information held on the system. The most common backup media is either a magnetic tape or DVD. Each time a new tape or DVD is used, there is a cost involved.
The more information which is stored, the larger the size of hard disk needed. Over time, a company might have to purchase a larger hard disk for storage purposes.
Initial purchase of software
At the most basic level, an operating system will be needed. This is often included in the purchase price of a new computer but a company will probably have to pay extra for an operating system which will be suitable for a network.
Utility software will be required, some of which will be supplied with the hardware system e.g. file management software, other utility software might need to be purchased separately by the company.
Applications software will be needed for many tasks involved in producing and using information. It is likely that word processing, database and spreadsheet software will be needed by most companies.
Some organisations might need to pay for bespoke software to enable them to process and store information in a suitable form for their needs.
New versions of software are released every few years which contain a larger range of features. Most companies will need to upgrade their software on a regular basis. This can be expensive.
When companies buy software what they are really buying is a licence to use it. Many licences have to be renewed annually, often at a large cost to the company.
If the company grows in size, they might need to upgrade their licences from a multi-user licence to a site licence which tends to be more expensive.
If problems are encountered whilst using software then the company might need to contact a technical support help line. These are often charged at premium telephone rates.
Most companies will need to print out information for use by members of staff.
The cost of paper, toners and cartridges are known as 'consumables' and all count towards the costs of producing information.
Man power- most expensive
Cost of labour
People are generally needed to collect data, input the data into the system, process the data and then output the resulting information.
Throughout this process, the company needs to pay their wages and thus manpower becomes part of the cost of producing information.
When new people are hired, a process is changed or software is upgraded then staff will require training.
Training is expensive in terms of:
paying for the trainer
paying wages for people being trained
paying the wages for someone to do the normal work for the person being trained
paying for the costs of the training venue
lost productivity whilst people are being trained
slower productivity whilst people 'learn on the job'