is an information system that uses computer technology to perform some or all of its intended tasks. Such a system can include as little as a personal computer and software. Or it may include several thousand computers of various sizes with hundreds of printers, plotters, and other devices, as well as communication networks (wireline and wireless) and databases. In most cases an information system also includes people. The Basic
components of information system are listed below. Note that not every system includes all these components.
· Hardware is a set of devices such as processor, monitor, keyboard, and printer. Together, they accept data and information, process them, and display them.
· Software is a set of programs that instruct the hardware to process data.
· A database is a collection of related files, tables, relations, and so on, that stores data and the associations among them.
· A network is a connecting system that permits the sharing of resources by different computers. It can be wireless.
· Procedures are the set of instructions about how to combine the above components in order to process information and generate the desired output.
· People are those individuals who work with the system, interface with it, or use its output.
In addition, all information system have a purpose and a social context. A typical purpose is to provide a solution to a business problem. In the Siemens case, for example, the purpose of the system was to coordinate internal units, to collaborate with the many suppliers and customers, and to improve costs and customer service. The social context of the system consists of the values and beliefs that determine what is admissible and possible within the culture of the people and groups involved.
The difference between computers and information system.Computers provide effective and efficient ways of processing data, and they are a necessary part of an information system. An isIS requires an understanding of the business and its environment that is supported by the IS. For example, to build an IS that supports transactions executed on the New York Stock Exchange, it is necessary to understand the procedures related to buying and selling stocks, bonds, option, and so on, including irregular demands made on the system, as well as all related government regulation.
In learning about information system, it is therefore not sufficient just to learn about computers. Computers are only one part of a complex system that must be designed, operated, and maintained. A public transportation system in a city provides an analogy. Buses are a necessary ingredient of the system, but more is needed. Designing the bus routes, bus stops, different schedules, and so on requires considerable understanding of customer demand, traffic patterns, city regulations, safety requirements, safety requirements, and the like. Computers, like buses, are only one competent in a complex system.
What is information technology?
Earlier in the chapter we broadly defined information technology as the collection of computer system used by an organization. Information technology, in its narrow definition, refers to the technological side of an information system. In includes the hardware, software, databases, networks, and other electronic devices. It can be viewed as a subsystem of an information system. Sometimes, though, the term information technology is also used interchangeably with information system. In this book, we use the term IT in its broadest sense – to describe an organization’s collection of information system, their users, and the management that oversees them. The purpose ofthis book is to acquaint you with all aspects of information systems/ information technology.
Now that the basic terms have been defined? We present some examples of IS applications worldwide.
Millions of different information systems are in use throughout the world. The following examples ate intended to show the diversity of applications and the benefits provided. At the end of each example, we list the critical response activities supported by the system.
As the examples in this section show? Information systems are being used successfully in all functional areas of business. We provide here five examples, one for each of the major functional areas: accounting, production/ operations management, marketing, human resource management, and finance.
Beginning here, and continuing throughout the book, icons positioned in the margins will call out the functional areas to which our real-world examples apply. In addition we will point to IT applications in government and in other public services such as health care and education by using icons. Finally, you have already seen that other icons will identify global examples- IT used by non- U.S. – based companies or by any company with significant business outside the United States. For a key that identifies the icons, see the note on page 6 or in the preface.
Managing Accounting Information Across Asia. Le Saunda Holding Company (Hong Kong) manages 32 subsidiaries in four Asian countries, mostly in the manufacture, import, and sale of shoes. Managing the financing and cash flow is a complex process. All accounting information flows to head-quarters electronically. Also, sales data are electronically collected at point-of-sale (POS) terminals. The sales data, together with inventory data (which are updated automatically when a sale occurs), are transferred to headquarters. Other relevant data, such as advertising and sales promotions, merchants, and cash flow, are also transmitted electronically and collected in a centralized database for storage and processing.
To cope with the rapid growth of the company, a sophisticated accounting software package was installed. The result was radical improvements in accounting procedures. For example, it now takes less than 10 minutes, rather than a day, to produce an ad-hoc complex report. The company’s accountants can generate reports as they are needed, helping functional managers make quicker and better decisions. The system is also much more reliable, and internal and external auditing is easier. Headquarters knows what is going on almost as soon as it occurs. All these improvements have led to a substantial growth in revenue and profits for the firm.
Critical response activities supported: decision making, managing large amounts of information, improved quality, reduced cycle time, enhanced strategic competitiveness.
The Dallas Mavericks: Using IT for Successful Play and Business. Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association (NBA), expects the franchise to play well and also to perform as a business. He wants to fill every seat at every game and to maximize sales from concessions and souvenir sales.