BSBCUE301 – Identify and Rectify Information System and Processing Errors Copy
Element 3: Identify and Rectify Information System and Processing Errors
Performance Criteria Element 3
3.1 Identify errors in information system, relevant to role
3.2 Analyse errors for their impact on information system and customers
3.3 Identify source of errors, where possible
3.4 Consult with stakeholders to identify actions to rectify errors
3.5 Arrange rectification and confirm that amendments are accurate
3.6 Inform customers of errors and take necessary action
3.7 Identify information system faults and notify relevant personnel according to policy
3.8 Recommend procedural change according to policy.
Identify and Rectify Information System and Processing Errors
Identify Errors in Information System, Relevant to Role
Information systems can store a large amount of information as well as performing a variety of other tasks and functions. Due to these factors, different types of information may need to be entered into particular areas of the information system. When information is input into the wrong field or the information system detects that something isn’t compliant with the system (for example, if a password is too long, or too short, etc.), the user will be alerted. Many different types of errors can occur, which will be explored below.
Errors in Information System
• Corrupt Data
Corrupt data are errors in computer data that can occur due to unintended changes that occur when information is stored, processed, or transmitted. The result of corrupt data in a system is that the files in which the error occurs becomes inaccessible. A user knows an error has occurred because an error message will appear on the screen.
Data corruption can occur as a result of:
○ Hardware or software malfunctions
○ Improper or sudden shutdowns of systems
○ Disconnecting devices before correctly ending their connection with the system (USB sticks)
○ Bad programming.
• Data in Incorrect Fields
This type of error is quite straightforward. As mentioned earlier, information systems are designed to store a large amount of and different types of information. This is why organisations use information systems. Due to the complexity of information that can be stored in these systems, particular parts of the systems are designed in a way that allow certain data types and particular data formats to be entered into specific data cells.
Common mistakes include inserting someone’s first name into the family name and vice-versa.
• Inaccurate Data
Inaccurate data can encompass many things. Common inaccurate pieces of data can result from spelling errors, selecting the wrong option from a drop down list such as selecting Single instead of Married for one’s marital status.
Another example: consider entering a date into a form in a billing system. As individuals we know that there are multiple ways of entering a date – by writing it out in full, by separating day, month, and year using forward slashes or with hyphens. On some forms, the preferred way of entering in a date may not be made clear. As a result, the user will enter the date information as they like. Once submitting the form, an error may appear, and on further inspection, the user may see that the error was as a result of the date being typed in using an incorrect format, thus the system does not recognise that piece of information as a date. The user then needs to re-enter the information according to the instructions that appear as a result of the error message.
The process that should be followed requires operators to check for:
- lost data (caused by accidental damage or carelessness by users)
- invalid data (such as an impossible telephone number)
- inconsistent data (eg one view screen reads Mrs Mary Jones, and another system reads Mr Mary Jones)
• Untimely Entry of Data
Some information systems are designed in a way that need certain types of information to be inputted before the next piece of information is entered. Where this is the case and the user forgets to or overlooks the need to first enter a particular type of information before proceeding to the next step, an error message pertaining to the need to fill in required data cells comes up.
In most cases, the information systems tend to highlight the areas which need attention when errors arise. They are usually highlighted in red and this makes it easier for the individual to identify the problem area. A simple instruction can also accompany the error message as to how to rectify the problem.
Analyse Errors for Their Impact on Information System and Customers
What impact do these various types of errors have on an information system and customers? In some instances, these errors are simple to rectify, provided the user has identified the error. For example, where inaccurate data has been entered, provided the system has clearly indicated the area where there is a case of inaccuracy, the user can fix the error.
However, consider a situation where an error comes up, but the individual does not take efforts to rectify the error and chooses to ignore it?
This can have a significant impact on the processes of the information system, the organisation, and the customer. Where pieces of separate information are needed to create a particular set of information and not all the information is available, it can impact on the overall result. Key pieces of information will be missing, which could lead to delays in the processing of the information because time will need to be taken to identify why there are missing pieces of information and what error needs to be attended to.
Errors that arise as a result of a data corruption can be quite serious especially where the data corruption is a result of bad programming, or hardware or software malfunctions. At times these problems are not easily fixed or can be quite costly to repair. This could mean a replacement information system will be needed. Where data corruption exists, there may be a chance that there will be a delay in processing the customer’s request or enquiry.
Identify Source of Errors, Where Possible
Sources of errors can be hard to identify to an untrained eye, especially when the error message is a complicated series of codes presented to the user. However, some data errors are quite simple errors which may not necessarily be as a result of the system itself, but rather due to human error. In terms of inaccurate data entry and entering data into incorrect fields, the source of these errors can be attributed to an individual who makes a mistake, like mistyping a word, for example, Blu instead of Blue. Further, where a user needs to select information from a drop down list of options, the incorrect option may be selected, unknown to the user because they may not go back and check the selection.
Other sources of errors can be due to how the form has been designed. Some forms are not designed well and cause confusion, and users become unsure what information to input. This can lead to them entering information they think should be entered, instead of what they were actually expected to enter. This could be as simple as the form using an unusual word, like referring to name as appellation.
Missing information may also be a source of errors, simply because a customer (or a data entry worker) did not enter certain pieces of information. This is why with online forms, there are fields which the organisations will denote as Required Fields, which means that the user needs to fill in those pieces of information before they can continue. This is information that an organisation requires to process said information.
The information system itself can be a source of errors too. The errors can be due to bad or incorrect coding. Coding and algorithms are some of the few elements that are required to connect various parts of software together, allowing processes to occur. When the codes are not accurate, it can affect how the system processes information. Websites can have errors too. These errors can be due to broken links, websites, or web pages not being used anymore, or again, coding problems.
Another source could be the program that is being used. It may be corrupt, making the information on that program inaccessible. See the section previously which discusses data corruption. There are a few sources listed there relating to causes of data corruption.
Major errors can lead to system down time. For example, in an organisation set up, the telephone systems are connected via a LAN system (as was explained earlier). In order for this system to work, it is run by a particular type of software. Like many pieces of software, they need to be updated regularly. These updates insert new features and functions. Where these updates are not carried out properly or steps are missed during the installation process, this can affect how well the system works. This is a problem that can be faced by an organisation when their telephone system gets a system update.
In summary, being able to identify error sources will depend on the nature of the error. It may be something simple, such as an inaccurate entry, which is easily fixed. However, when the source of the error is due to the hardware or software of the information system, a higher level of expertise is needed to rectify the problem.
Consult with Stakeholders to Identify Actions to Rectify Errors
There are several people who an employee can consult with in order to rectify errors. Reporting these errors to the appropriate people is important because the chances are that employees may not necessarily know how to fix any errors because they lack the expertise to do so. Stakeholders that can be approached include:
• Information technology department or help desk
• Marketing department
• Owners of database or system
• Team leader or manager
• Training department.
Arrange Rectification and Confirm that Amendments are Accurate
After approaching the right people to rectify the errors, the next step is to find out how to rectify the errors and ensure that these solutions are the needed solutions. The type of rectification that is chosen depends on the seriousness of the error. In the instance of data being typed in the incorrect fields, the solution to that error can be as simple as inserting the data into the correct data field.
However, in terms of a more complex error such as data corruption, solutions to such an error will vary. Perhaps a simple rebooting of the computer and re-opening the system in question may fix the problem. Where a serious problem exists, a data recovery organisation or specialist may need to be approached.
The issue of rectifying system errors is a sensitive matter and caution must be taken. As the information contained in information systems is of high importance, losing it forever can be quite concerning. For this reason, professional help should be sought especially when there is a high level of uncertainty attached to the situation.
Inform Customers of Errors and Take Necessary Action
Dealing with errors can be a time consuming process (depending on the complexity of the error and the experience level of the employee dealing with the errors). When an employee is interacting with a customer either over the telephone or face-to-face and a delay occurs due to an error, the customer must be informed. It is impolite to keep a customer waiting. It reflects badly on the company and the customer can become impatient and frustrated if they do not understand the reason for the delay.
Employees should take care to reassure the customer of the situation and that everything is being done to rectify the problem. Where a delay is getting longer, a different approach may need to be taken in terms of keeping the customer informed. Taking the customer’s contact numbers and the best time to contact them is a good approach. Once the error has been rectified and an employee’s supervisor is happy for a customer to be contacted, then contact can be made with the customer and the conversation can carry on from where it left off.
Identify Information System Faults and Notify Relevant Personnel According to Policy
As was highlighted previously, the task of fixing errors can be quite tricky. Due to the uncertainty linked to some errors, it then becomes important to notify the relevant personnel. This is necessary because those relevant personnel (see note on stakeholders previously) will have the expertise and the knowledge of how to rectify such problems.
When logging an information system fault, you should include the following Information:
details of the issue,
your name and ID,
what transaction you performed when the system issue occurred.
It is important that you include this information to assist the IT department/team to fix the problem as fast as possible, so that it doesn’t slow your productivity and reduces the length of downtime.
System faults should be reported to IT personnel who are available during standard operating hours to provide support to staff and ensure that system components operate correctly.
Core responsibilities of an IT department include:
- assist with troubleshooting
- logging trouble tickets (an event capturing and tracking system)
- system and network crashes
- rebooting systems and networks
- resetting passwords
If IT support is not available, an operator will be required to notify either the team leader or the next in charge manager on-site, to have the issue logged and rectified as soon as possible.
All organisations are governed by specific policies and procedures. Dealing with system errors will be no different. Part of the procedure of dealing with errors will include reporting any errors to relevant personnel. Lodging a report of any errors may be required so that the organisation can monitor errors that occur. Constant occurrence of errors can highlight an underlying problem in an information system. This can help IT experts diagnose the cause and the nature of the errors. From there, the experts can assemble and implement strategies which can reduce or stop these errors from occurring.
Recommend Procedural Change According to Policy
An organisation depends on procedures to allow for the smooth, daily running of the business. One way an organisation will know if the implemented procedures work is when they are used and they produce the desired results. Some procedures are used more regularly than others, some are used less frequently. In most organisations, the hope is that errors do not occur on a regular basis, and thus when they do occur, it could bring to light a few loop-holes in the procedural process of dealing with errors. On the other hand, the procedures that are in place could work smoothly and can give the required results.
Procedural changes do not necessarily have to be suggested by supervisors or by upper management. All employees are encouraged to take the initiative to make recommendations for any changes they can see as being advantageous to work flow. Of course, upper management needs to review and approve any recommendations before they are implemented. However, employees are encouraged to make recommendations because they are the ones who are interacting with the customers; they are the ones who are using the information systems on a daily basis, and they are the ones who need to follow the set procedures whilst doing their daily tasks.
Operators have the ability and insight to provide valuable feedback to their organisation. Most procedural changes within an organisation have been developed from a basic idea and have led to improvements in systems, products and services, business structures, marketing strategies and much more.
In a sales department, contact centre staff will record all the reasons as to why a customer has declined an offer. This data is then fed back to the marketing department to contribute towards improving products, price and services.
There is always room for improvement and organisations will generally appreciate any recommendations. So where an employee can make a recommendation in terms of changing policy with regard to handling or dealing with errors, there will be a procedure that they will need to follow in order for the procedural change to come to fruition. For example, an employee makes a written report to their supervisor highlighting what they see can be improved and how they recommend the improvement can be implemented. The supervisor, provided they can see the advantage in it, will then take the recommendation to higher levels of management and so on, until the recommendation is either accepted or rejected.
• Whilst information systems can store a lot of information and carry out a variety of tasks, they can still be affected by errors.
• The effect errors can have on an organisation and customer can vary, depending on how problematic the error.
• Approaching and informing the relevant personnel with regards to the error is very important.
• Making recommendations on how to deal with errors when they arise is an important aspect for business efficiency and business progress.