Friday, January 6, 2012
Management Information System- Research Paper Draft: How Information Systems (IS) As Form Of Information Technology (IT) Transformed The Role Of Human Resource Department At Vanderheyden Hall:
i. cover page
iv. The role of IS for HR Department function within Vanderheyden Hall Inc; How IS has affected processes for HR Department functional perspective
v. The benefits of IS for the HR Department functional users (Vanderheyden Hall Inc. operational level); and Use of the data at all levels of Vanderheyden Hall Inc. (knowledge, management, strategic);
vi. What are the biggest impacts, both positive and negative, for the Vanderheyden Hall Inc. HR Department functional perspective? Conclusion
vii. IT/IS Infrastructure, Business Intelligence, Database and Information System Management
viii. Impact of the costs, budget cuts and the economy
ix. My recommendations
This research paper is focusing on, “How Information Systems as Form of Information Technology Transformed the Role Of Human Resources At Vanderheyden Hall Inc.”. HR is made up of individuals who are the workforce of the agency, and HR Department is the union between employees and the agency management. However, the HR department functions within Vanderheyden Hall Inc. is accountable for the overall responsibility for implementing strategies and policies relating to the management of all employees, the agency’s daily activities while transcribing and enforcing the agency’s policies that are rooted from the mission statement and vision of Vanderheyden Hall Inc. There, is where we find a massive involvement of the Information Technology (IT) Department that is solemnly accountable to monitor and put in place Information Systems (IS) that collects data, facilitates and makes HR Department jobs easy, effective and efficient. At Vanderheyden HR Department, collaborating with the IT Department has improved the success of using middle management. Vanderheyden Hall, as the Community and Human Services/Healthcare, Not-For-Profit agency, has been successful transforming itself into effective and efficient departments by using Information Systems (IS), which are well managed by its investment in the Information Technologies (IT) that are monitored by its IT Department working closely with the Human Resources Department insuring the desired out comes. However, like many other businesses in America, Vanderheyden is suffering the loss of man-to-man (face-to-face) contacts and its benefits that can also be beneficial and has proven so in the past. The critique is to balance and be professional.
Vanderheyden Hall Inc. is not-for-profit organization and OPWDD certified, located in Wynantskill, New York. Its specialties are in Community, Human Services and Health Care. It was established 1800 as the Benevolent Society of Troy to assist indigent women and children and in 1833 the Society opened the Troy Orphan Asylum, which became incorporated by the State of New York. Vanderheyden Hall Inc.’s Mission statement is “empowering youth, individuals and families to build brighter futures”; and its vision is “to continue the work of providing life-changing care to the youth, individuals and families we serve for another 178 years”. Vanderheyden Hall cares for children/individuals with special developmental, emotional, and behavioral needs. As a multi-service agency, Vanderheyden Hall provides a residential program, a day treatment program, crisis respite, clinical services, crisis intervention, respite services, and in-home parent assistance programs. (http://www.vanderheydenhall.org)
The Vanderheyden Hall campus is located on 78 acres of land off Rte. 355 in Wynantskill, NY with six residential cottages, a diagnostic facility and Vanderheyden Hall’s 7-12 grade regents’ accredited school. Furthermore, elsewhere in the region Vanderheyden Hall operates/owns seven group homes that house between eight and twelve individuals each. Separate apartments for supervised independent living and individual residential alternatives are located in Averill Park, Glens Falls, Schodack and Troy. Also, Vanderheyden Hall provides services to twenty one counties within eastern New York State Albany, Broome, Clinton, Cayuga, Columbia, Dutchess, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Herkimer, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Oneida, Onondaga, Orange, Oswego, Otsego, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Suffolk, Sullivan, Tioga, Washington, Westchester, Warren and Ulster counties. (http://www.vanderheydenhall.org)
I chose the role of IS/IT from Vanderheyden Hall Inc. because it is typical American Organization/Agency that lived long and survived many transformation since its establishment in the early 1800’s. Just recently, I spoke to couple of administrators and Human Resources personnel that I know from Vanderheyden Hall Inc., and they confessed that for the past decade IS/IT has dramatically transformed the way they operate and conduct daily business. Also, they added that because it is a Human Services and Healthcare not-for profit agency IS/IT transformation from Federal, State and Local Government laws and regulations has changed the culture of HR when come to sharing of individual information within and outside the agency. This is also due to the new healthcare bill that has HIPA regulations.
The role of IS for HR function within Vanderheyden Hall Inc; How IS has affected processes for HR functional perspective:
The role of IS for this function within Vanderheyden Hall Inc.’s Human Resources (HR) Department is very big because HR is made up of individuals who are the workforce of the agency. However, the HR department functions within Vanderheyden Hall Inc. is accountable to the overall responsibility for implementing strategies and policies relating to the management of all employees, the agency’s daily activities, and also to transcribe and enforce agency’s policies that are rooted from the mission statement and vision of Vanderheyden Hall Inc. By doing so, HR works as middle-man and very closely with IS/IT department, Management, and employees in general.
In the past ten years, Vanderheyden Hall has transformed itself following other businesses toward digitalization process and the central unit for this is IS/IT department. Vanderheyden Hall is using ADT technology as a way of collecting data about what employees worked there, when, and transfer from what unit at what time and to do what. The usage of paper trails have been depleted, as well as the use of manual time cards that employees use to fill when they come to work to transfer from group homes of their vicinity as a proof that they worked. This is done electronically, and IT departments observe massive daily data where by Human Resources Department clarify and if any questions unit/Group Home managers as immediate supervisors are to answer and report it to HR directly.
By using the internet, the IT department assists HR departments to use installed electronic equipment in each group homes, multiple located offices all over the Capital Region and to collect important data that fulfills the agency’s information systems requirements enough to run the agency and fulfill its obligations. This equipment includes, ADT punching/clock machine, agency’s cell phones, centralized pass words, and network connected fax/printer machines. Time Warner Cable Routers deliver the internet and password network computers that sustains the IT department networking services. Other formalities that are used include software that centralize all data, e-mailing system that delivers and collect important data that feeds information systems demands, and digitalized software’s for maximum efficiency and effectiveness of services to all as desired. Such massive investments from the use of the Information Technology Department, as a charge organ for such investments, is the role of the IS/IT in the businesses in almost all American businesses. Such investments have risen from 32 percent to 52 percent since 1980 to 2009. Data shows that most American businesses that have invested in IS/IT on such things like hardware, software and all other communication equipment has made many improvements. These innovations have led businesses to effectively and efficiently communicate, collect important data, conduct marketing, promote sell of goods/services, educate and enlighten community and store important data in the digital achieves. Also, IT departments in collaboration with the management/Administration and other departments, is responsible for the agency’s centralization of data management, establishment of data governance rules and procedure, standardizing data definitions, cleanse and reconcile data, design mater data file and implementing Purisma Data Hub. In this regard, Information Systems has continuously enhanced business challenges and business solutions. (Laudon, K. C. and J. P. Laudon Management information systems: managing the digital firm. Boston, Prentice Hall. Page 5 and 208)
Furthermore, that is where you will find that for an agency like Vanderheyden Hall Inc. , which have main campus’ and many offices located all over the Capital Region, the HR Department in collaboration with IT Department have successfully used middle management known as Group Home Managers. These systems have participated in assisting with monitoring, controlling and providing feedback for decision-making and administrative activities. This is a form of management Information Systems (IMS) that is used to monitor and control businesses and manage to predict future outcomes or wanted outcomes. (Laudon, K. C. and J. P. Laudon Management information systems: managing the digital firm. Boston, Prentice Hall. Page 47)
The benefits of IS for the HR functional users (Vanderheyden Hall Inc. operational level); and Use of the data at all levels of Vanderheyden Hall Inc. (knowledge, management, strategic):
The benefits of IS for the agency’s HR functional users is that it has made it very easy for the HR department to communicate and fulfill the mission, goals and vision of an organization. For example, the HR is recruiting new employees by effective, and fast processing of applications online. The decisions that are made upon the process use all the necessary scrutiny online, as well. They have to do background checks for different government agencies’, required clearances (such as NYS Office of Children and Family Services-OCFS and NYS Office of People with Developmental Disability-OPWDD background clearances) is done online. The monitoring of time cards is done online through ADT, Pay Role checks data and codes with banking are transmitted online, personnel services is done digitally by using internal and external e-mailing systems, all HR forms are online on the internet for employees to print, and in-service training is done online for employees to sign in the computers in their units.
Over all, IS has been beneficial to HR department and the agency by saving time tracking paper trails, money, by reducing man power that information technologies is doing now, and function effectively and efficiency by tracking, catching errors and implementing self check systems before they get far. This is done by applying of information systems that is using information technologies. For example, individuals at Vanderheyden Hall receive Social Security Income (SSI) and Food Stamps form their counties, managers are responsible to monitor HR departments by using IT departments. The IT department has put in place electronic ledgers that HR department looks and tracks spending on the daily basis. The implementation of the equipment substantiates and saves all forms of data services provided, such as, reporting an incident, application forms for all services, maintenance requests, computer trouble tickets, rave to employees/PR, any kind of request by employees or departments, disciplinary actions, etc. are done online.
The benefits of Vanderheyden Hall going digital, expands the use of IT use as an IS medium and its benefits have reminded men the blunt action of Domino’s investment in their own IS/IT known as Pulse. Domino’s success investing and using Pulse as their own IS/IT system gave them business edge, financial stability (saved a lot of money from depending other marketing and IT third parties that are expensive) made them efficient and effective. (Laudon, K. C. and J. P. Laudon Management information systems : managing the digital firm. Boston, Prentice Hall. Page 52)
What are the biggest impacts, both positive and negative, for the Vanderheyden Hall Inc. HR functional perspective?
The capital investment on IS/IT has affected processes for HR Department functional perspectives because it has limited them the ability to have that precious one on one and face to face engagement. We all know that HR Departments is personnel; old used term means that it is the human relations at the work place as an individual that makes up collective purposes, that is to produce goods or render services. Many employees at Vanderheyden feel alienated and that there are glass ceilings between the regular employees know as Union Direct Care Worker (DCW) and the management. The divided link between the HR department, and DCWs is that the HR department is so dependent on the IS/IT products and feedback that real human communications, impressions, motivations, knowledge, skills and abilities are deprived. For example, I spoke to about ten former DCWs and they indicated that the HR department’s personnel at the agency had very minimal contact with employees because of IS/IT easiness and successes on collecting data that makes their job done without contacting any DCWs physically; that made them unappreciated and undervalued, whereas the agency required them to go provide their emotional, physical, and moral support to people with development disabilities. This lack of communication led to the employee’s resignation because of the experience of feeling that they were robots when they communicated with agency’s management and Human Resources Department. Also, the employees were offered jobs somewhere else. The current employees also indicated some elements of the lack of communication, but they said they are working because they needed money and they are ready and willing to do whatever the agency is asking them to do, so as long as it is within the guidelines of the Union contract. On the other hand, I concluded that IS/IT is both beneficial and not beneficial to HR department because it made their job easier, and it met the demands by far; also electronic data can be misleading if the human contact is limited because human contact can’t be read by data gathering equipments. IS/IT at high level can remove and clear the doubts of employees’ bad feelings about HR department and or management at large if is well utilized and professionally shaped to so, this can be the reasons for dissatisfaction with this particular agency as well, and it may be that they are growing in the IT/IS application.
IS/IT portion of our Vanderheyden Hall Inc.’s strategic plan drives the mission and its director explores options and asks many questions to Directors, during weekly agency directors meetings, so that IT director can design what is needed. IT is responsible of the agency’s creation of the web-site and how to make portal decisions. IT as an infrastructure for Information System is done by using the agency’s mission, vision and values along with the information that is important to let the public know and able to create a mechanism of getting feedback. Examples of how IT transformed Vanderheyden include the processes related to the agency’s established online network for almost every important services request forms, individuals data, employee training and status, business office forms, maintenance requests, doctors’ appointments, schedules, recreational activities schedules, agency-wise activity schedule, ADT time cards, inter-office correspondence-email service and many more online services. Because of nature of the agency, confidentiality is very important, therefore, the IT department has created a long-in service to access the network and also login service to access individual emailing/GroupWise software; also the login service to access the computer has limitation on what kind of database one can access depending with the ranks, CEO, Administrators, Directors, Coordinators, Managers, Clinicians/Teachers/Social Workers, Direct Care Workers/Employees and volunteers. If there is an incident, employees fill out an incident report form (4 pages) online, then I approve it online and send copies to Community Services (CS) Director and another to the Quality Assurance Department; for maintenance requests, employees fill out a form online and send it directly to the maintenance department at campus; for training, I access agency’s training database and it tells me who is about to fall out of compliance and I assign such employee(s) immediately to the available training at the main campus; regarding time cards, I approve punches employees made during the pay period and send them to Pay-Roll/HR department, for schedules, I access the managers’ database folder online and update schedule weekly as needed all managers can see it; Daily Shift reports are all reportable to the government, as Shift Supervisor (3x a month) I finish my report by using online database templates, then a copy goes to CS and related government agencies if there is any reportable; and money management I have an online database ledger that I log on for all daily spending from the staffs’ office ledger and send it to business office/internal auditor. I believe that these are the results of Knowledge Management Systems that are systems within IT/IS that assists in the gathering of knowledge, and the use of such knowledge in the Enterprise Systems to integrate information/knowledge gathered for management to easily make decisions swiftly and timely. (Laudon, K. C. and J. P. Laudon Management information systems: managing the digital firm. Boston, Prentice Hall. Page 54 and 337)
As program manager, we participate in creating and implementing budgeting. When we create the budget that goes to Finance Committee, it gets combined with all other programs as the agency budget goes to the Board of Directors for final review. The IS approval is the critical factor that facilitates accurate accounting information and data. In this manner, IS tends to help the management and agency as a whole to accomplish required reporting to OPWDD, OMH, OCFC and OASAS for group homes and NYS Education Dept, and the counties that we serve for both school students at our school facility and OCFS group homes.
Impact of the costs, budget cuts and the economy:
The impact of the costs, budget cuts and the weak economy we are all experiencing have had a huge impact to the Vanderheyden Hall Inc. in all aspects and mostly, IS, as a whole. Just a few to mention, severe cuts, lay-offs, furlough to the members of management, and omission of some very important programs and benefits that affects both staffs and individuals. Because the agency fell short in its budgeting, they could not manage to expand its IS/IT to the level that it was projected and that has created some issues here and there. For example, our disaster recovery plan is badly impacted; a vivid example is last winter and Hurricane Irene of 2011. We were left with non working internet connections, fax machines and phones at the main campus. The main campuses are where we have main office buildings, 4 group homes and the schools, so places like these need access to contact emergency facilities at all times. Some group homes were left without power for more than 24 hours not because they did not have alternatives to receive power like generators, but because there were exhausted credit cards to fill-up gas, and maintenance teams could not respond quick enough to coordinate with the management on utilizing plan B emergency responses because main campus’ were completely cut off from communications for about a week. My own program last winter, had an emergency due to not having working heating-boiler pipes to the bursting of radiators in the living room, med-room and two bedrooms of my residents because they got frozen from the persistent cold weather of last winter. In response, I had to use space heaters for the remainder of the winter against codes and state regulations and toward group home licensing because the agency did not pay its bills to the heating repair company, and also, it did not have any other alternatives to have the problem of such magnitude that requires specialty to be fixed due to the constrained fiscal status of the agency. Such fiscal issues have hindered replacement of small IT devices that sustains competitive and effective IS.
For example, it took us longer than usual for our all in one heavy duty printer/fax/copier and scanner to be replaced, the staff computer to get connected to the network after wires burned out, and our personnel’s computer to receive internet after some construction renovation in their computer rooms. This required wires to be removed first and sometimes replacement of ink cartridge/toner in the printer/fax takes up to 5 days because if suppliers are not paid on time we don’t receive what we need. In result, we spend precious time going to the sister programs or main office to get such services and or sometimes it delays important data or information to reach the targeted office, place or person in time. The benefits of IS/IT were that if I could fax some important paperwork I scanned them and send them as an email, but if I needed to print something it took longer. However, some few forms were readily available online to fill out, but most were online and needed to be printed out and filled reports accordingly, and this created havoc. HR is the important unit that holds together the entire organization, as one, and they have done a tremendous job for this agency passing through these unprecedented financial hardship and unhappiness that has caused its staff from loss of benefits, stagnated or cut pay, furloughs and lay-offs.
My recommendation to Vanderheyden Hall Inc., as far as IS/IT is concerned, is to have a disaster-recovery plan in place that can sustain its services to consumers and families at all time including during any kind of disaster/natural disasters. I recommend three major areas for improvement telecommunication, data back up and minor important improvements in its intranet/IT network.
First, to assure telecommunication service is up running at all the time, I recommend Vanderheyden Hall Inc. to subscribe services from Sound-Telecom and or like business solutions corporations, to builds emergency response programs for its business. Sound Telecom is readily available in the Capital Region are, home to Vanderheyden Hall Inc. and its affiliates. Sound-Telecom is prepared to act upon and render its services in case of any disaster that can cause telecommunication cut-off. What makes Sound Telecom Disaster Response and Business Continuity-As-Usual services unique is its network that has developed layers of networks from the cloud telephony level all the way down to the front line agent who professionally answers clients’ calls in case of emergency. Its continuity response network has three layers the CLOUD- network that exists in the clouds, the CALL CENTER- Sound Telecom maintains significant in-house call center capacity that can accommodate small to medium-sized responses, and the CALL PROCESSIONG SYSTEM- its network capabilities for multi user call processing platform that can be customized to handle clients emergency response calls in a faultless fashion. (http://www.sound-tele.com/disaster-recovery-services-carbondale-co.aspx#ixzz1eV5tcE5O)
Second, is to assure its data and network has back-up other than its own. Subscription to company like Mozy-Pro Services can assure data-back safety, safer that self-backups because in case of disaster self backups can be destroyed and or down for operation for sometimes. Mozy-Pro provides the following services the highest security standards with military-grade encryption online backup for your Servers, PCs and Exchange environments. This is done by a simple online administration console that will automatically or programmed to schedule backups and all data is stored in the clouds and readily available to back up servers and computers at anytime as needed. This could be helpful because Vanderheyden Hall Inc. operates under HIPPA law that protects consumers’ rights and information. Mozy-Pro is trusted and used by many government agencies as well and its fees are reasonable. (http://mozy.com/pro/server/)
Third, I recommend Vanderheyden Hall Inc. to carry out some minor important improvements in its intranet/IT network. The most improvement that could make things a lot easier is to have a search-box in its intranet/network that way staff who are not computer savvy can be able to search whatever they are looking for from the intranet/network and access it without hustle of asking supervisors, management Business Office and HR (since all forms and services are readily available online). The search engine-box is an important tool for friendly use of networks for IS/IT purposes. Currently, someone has to know the exact-location of file, form, file and application in order to access it. It takes tremendous amount of time to train and keep up with any changes for people who are not computer savvy since Vanderheyden Hall Inc.’ staffing is much diversified.
Vanderheyden Hall been successful implementing Information Systems (IS) that has proven to be well managed by its investment in the Information Technologies (IT) that is monitored by IT Department working closely with Human Resources Department insuring the desired out comes. The use of electronics devices, software and equipments that has sustained the Information Systems made the job of both employees and management very easy. However, Vanderheyden Hall is suffering the lower employees’ psychological war of alienation. Like many other businesses in America, Vanderheyden is suffering the loss of man-to-man (face-to-face) contacts and its benefits that can also be beneficial and has proven so in the past. The critique is to balance and be professional because Vanderheyden Hall cannot use IS/IT as an E-business agency like eBay, Amazon, eTrading and so on. Vanderheyden is offering human contact, emotional, psychological and mental supports to the individuals with developmental disabilities, therefore it is imperative for the lower end employees to be physically contacted and to be valued or feel appreciated for their input. The challenge is for HR and IT departments to make this happen. The awkwardness of this is when HR department asking the lower end employees (DCWs) to render services to the individuals, that HR personnel cannot render to their lower end employees and that is human challenge that is attributed by the advancement of IS/IT successes and balance is imperative.
(Laudon, K. C. and J. P. Laudon Management information systems : managing the digital firm. Boston, Prentice Hall.--)
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