Business Information Systems

Second edition

by Paul Beynon-Davies

Case study 1 – George

Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m 20 years old and I’m studying for a BSc (Hons) in Business Information Technology at Kingston University.

Tell us a bit about your job
I have been working at Microsoft as an International Sales Analyst since last summer, for just over a year now. Microsoft is a global IT company, and as such its services range from computer software, which the majority of people know about and use at work and at home, to online advertising, of which not many people are aware but which is becoming an increasing focus for the company. I work in the Microsoft Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group, which is the part of the business which is responsible for that online advertising revenue.

Describe an average day at the office
In my position I deal with 23 markets across the world. With time zone difference ranging from Seattle to Tokyo, my morning usually starts with responding to several e-mail enquiries that came from sales managers and account executives overnight. After that, my responsibilities vary between days of the week and times of the year – preparing performance reports, setting sales targets for the next period, meeting with sales managers to discuss compensation and performance issues, working on ad-hoc projects and improving our internal processes.

Is there anything that surprised you about the world of work?
The lack of time to stand back and look at internal processes from a different perspective – to “sharpen the saw” rather than continuing cutting the trees with a blunt one. There are many things that can be reviewed and improved, but the more time you spend in your placement and the more immersed you get in work, the harder it becomes to bring that fresh approach that is expected from students.

How has your knowledge of information systems helped you in your job?
I have automated several internal processes, allowing better analysis of data and audit trail storage. Although my role is not technical, my technical knowledge helps to improve many things, making life easier for myself and my colleagues.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known as an information systems student?
Things don’t always go as they were planned!

What are the biggest challenges in your job?
Dealing with different markets, different cultures and different approaches to business. It is very difficult to standardize your approach; there are always exceptions to the rules and some markets are very particular in the way they do business.

What do you like best about your job?
The fact that I work with many people across the world in different roles and levels of seniority – it is a great opportunity to understand what you want to do in life. After all, for me, that’s what placement is all about.