The data Processing Cycle and processing methods
The data Processing Cycle and processing methods
All organisations and businesses no matter how big or small they are have to process data. Sales data, Wages, Invoices, and Purchasing are the four most common processing methods. They are two types of ways which data can be processed, Firstly is can be done by paper and pen this is called manually. This is not I good way to process data as it’s time consuming and errors can be made. Small corner shops can use this method as they don’t have to process much data. But it is not a good idea if big companies use this method as it would take too long and the chance of making mistakes increases. The second method is by using computers (electronically) most businesses use computers to process data. The main reasons for this is because computers are affordable for most businesses. And they can process data more efficiently and quickly. So computers have changed the way businesses operate as they are more reliable and they can process large amount of data within minutes.
The diagram below shows the data processing cycle. The processing cycle has 4 different stages in order they are Collection, Input, Processing and Meaningful output. It works like this, the data is collected after it’s collected it will be inputted, then it will get processed and finally the data is outputted it can be outputted as meaningful data.
The arrows with the dashes that goes from meaningful/output to collection can also be used again for the collections. This does not happen often but it is possible. If it did happen it works out something like this:
Collection Input Process Meaningful Output
Different stages of the cycle
The first stage is the collection here all the information/data is collected. It will collect information/data only that is needed for the input.
The second part of the cycle is the input part. Here information/data is stored and it is ready to be processed.
The third part of the cycle is processing here all the information/data that has been received from input will be processed and passed on to output.
The final stage is meaningful output, this means that the data that has been outputted can be used again as an input for another process or it can be used again for the same process.
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I have mentioned four different stages, but they are two more important stages that come after input these are sorting and validating data.
Sorting data is not necessary but it keeps the company more organised. For example in the payroll department the employee who as the lowest record number will be listed at the start of the database, and the employee with the highest employee number will be listed at the bottom of the database. This is useful because if the company decide to make any changes to the database the data will be in the same order, and this should cause no problems in future processing.
Validation of data
This process is very important because if a mistake has accoutred elsewhere. The validation stage will pick up on this and correct it. So the master database will be updated with the correct information. Let’s say an employee of the company has worked 700 hours in a week this would be a clear mistake. This has to be corrected as the worker will receive too much money. This could cause problems for the company. Because the company will lost working hours as the problem has to be solved. The hours that it has lost could have been used elsewhere more appropriately.
Example of data processing cycle
Background of the business
The organisation that I have chosen for this example is StayBrite Windows. The company was founded in 1974 and its Europe’s No.1 replacement window company. They also do conservatories, Doors and roofline products. The company has two large manufacturing facilities in Norwich, as well as branches around the UK.
I am going to use payroll as an example of a data processing cycle. StayBrite employ hundreds of employees. First step is collecting all the information about the employees for example how many hours they have worked, if they did any overtime etc. After the information has been collected it is then inputted and processed. The final stage is output the employees will receive a wage slip were the details will be given such as hours worked, pay per hour, pension etc.
The processing method that could be used here is batch processing. Why batch processing? Because the information does not have to be updated often. The company will give out contracts to their employees so the workers know what hours to work. The company has to update their system every time they employ a new worker but this is not done often.
Different processing methods
I am going to be analysing six different processing methods they are:
- On-line processing system
- Batch processing
- Distributed processing
- Centralised system
- Time-share processing
- Real-time process control
On-line processing system
On-line processing is very useful as it’s done immediately; it is under the control of the CPU and all peripherals that are being used are connected to the main computer. My first example of on-line processing is Thomas cook (books holiday flights, hotel rooms for customers). Because Thomas Cook as branches all over UK it is important that a booking is updated immediately. Let’s say there is only one flight and hotel room available in Barcelona. But there is a lady in Liverpool and London wanting to go on that holiday. So they go into a Thomas Cook branch wanting the Barcelona holiday. The lady in London finishes booking the holiday and the staff confirm the booking this is then automatically updates the main computer where all the staff can see that there is no more flights. Because the lady in Liverpool was looking at holiday brochures and decided to look for other holidays she missed out on the Barcelona deal. My second example is ATM machines when I person takes out money at a ATM machine it has to be updated immediately so the same person can not take out what they don’t have again. Also they can receive a statement with the latest information on it such as how much money they have left in their account.
Real-time process control
This means that the information is updated straight away (opposite of batch processing). Computers have to be fast and accurate to get the best results. When a user uses a ATM machine the input will be processed and updated quickly.
Information processing in real-time
This is also done quickly a good response time is between the entry of the transaction to processing of the data and the computers response. The delay can be between 1 second to 3 seconds this depends on how big the transaction and computer speed is. Any delay above 3 seconds would be unacceptable and the system would need to be updated. The other two information processing systems in real-time processing are Transaction and Retrieval processing.
Batch processing is a slow process, companies use this processing method because time does not matter as information can wait to be updated. They deal with large volumes of data the most popular ones are payroll details and stock issues. The advantage of this type of process is that lager volumes of data is processed at once this is known as hit rate. The main disadvantage is batch processing is time as many hours even days are taken between collecting and processing the data. So this is not a good process method is your company needs to update quickly.
How it works
It works like this, the data is inputted and then it gets sorted and validated. Then the data is checked for any errors if there is no errors the data is highlighted as valid batches and it is then processed. After it gets processed it is saved as a system file until it is outputted. But if there is any errors the data will be highlighted as invalid batches, after this it is sorted and the errors are sent back to input.
This type of processing method is very popular with large organisations as information can be shared. This type of method spreads the processing tasks of an company across many computer systems. The computers are connected and they share information via a data communication system. Every computer can process information individually. This type of processing method is popular with banks as they can set up a local area network in different braches after the network is in place it is then linked to one main computer where all the branches can access the information. This type of methods is expensive so it would not suite companies who have two or three branches as they can use main or email to send information this would be cheaper for them.
This kind of processing method uses one mainframe (computer), all the users that work for that organisation are connected to the mainframe. Most large organisations use this method. All the information is stored on the mainframe and the computers that the staff are using are connected to the mainframe. If a worker needs information to show their client they would use their PC to show this but the information will come from the mainframe. Because the reduction in hardware costs and it is increasing in computer power it has moved this towards distributed processing this is done through computer networks.
The main purpose of this type of processing is that it gives each user the same amount of time for their tasks. The CPU is very fast and performs the tasks quickly after it has performed its task it will divide it’s time to all users. An operating system has time-sharing software to do this. This type of processing is possible because the CPU is quicker that the peripheral devices. Another reason why this is possible is because the processing tasks consists more of input and output data so it leaves the CPU to do other tasks. This type of processing was mainly used in large organisations.
Choice of data handling methods
It is important to choose the correct data handling method. The management will have to look at every aspect, but their main reason for their chose will be the size of the organisation. If the company is small and it only employs a few workers then a computerised system will not be needed. That company will benefit by using manually methods such as pen and paper to record information. But if the company grows over the years then it will need a computerised system as it will save money in the long run. Because the staff are spending time going over the paper work . If they had a computer this could be done more quickly.
Larger organisations will need some kind of a computerised system as it would take to much time analysing stock, sales etc. By having a computer and appropriate software this could be done in minters. So the time that staff have saved can be used elsewhere.
Also other electrical methods would helpful for example in a larger organisation E- mail could be useful as it’s free and quick.
The table above shows two different applications one is Sales and the other one is Payroll. Both of my chosen organisations use these applications. The two organisations that I have chosen are StayBrite Windows and a Corner shop that is privately owned. The sales department at StayBrite Windows has to be online because if a customer wants to pay for a conservatoire the sales department have to check with the accounts department if there credit history is good enough for the sale to go ahead.
As for the corner shop most of the time it will deal with cash. So there is no need to be online.
The second application is payroll. Both of my companies use Batch processing for payroll. Because it is not necessary to update information straight away. The information of the worker/workers will be collected over a period of time.