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Information Systems: An Introduction and Overview


Title: Information Systems: An Introduction and Overview or What s In A Name Author: David F. Ullman Last modified by: Davud F. Ullman Created Date – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Information Systems: An Introduction and Overview

Information Systems An Introduction and
What is an Information System?
  • Lets look at some different definitions and then
    explore the context of an IS in the
    organizational setting.
  • The contrasting definitions should provide a
    variety of different perspectives.

Historical Background
  • The Data Processing Industry grew rapidly in the
    1960s, however, the quantity of output, most
    often, far outstripped the quality of output.
  • Basic computing was often looked at as
    scientific vs. business contrasting
    applications built with FORTRAN and COBOL.
  • The growth of the 1960s and 1970s saw a shift
    from computer orientation, to information
  • The role of information resource manager in the
    organization offered an opportunity to migrate
    from the technocratic image of the past, and
    establish an image as a business manager, a
    general manager, an information manager. Today
    this is the role of the CIO - Chief Information

1979 John Diebold writes
  • Information, which in essence is the analysis
    and synthesis of data, will unquestionably be one
    of the most vital corporate resources in the
  • It will be structured into models for planning
    and decision-making.
  • It will be incorporated into measurements of
    performance and profitability.
  • It will be integrated into product design and
    marketing methods.
  • In other words, information will be recognized
    and treated as an asset.

1985 Davis and Olson
  • A management information system is
  • an integrated user-machine system
  • for providing information
  • to support the operations, management, analysis,
    and decision-making functions in an organization.
  • The system utilizes
  • computer hardware and software
  • manual procedures
  • models for analysis, planning, control, and
  • a database

  • An information system is a system which
    assembles, stores, processes, and delivers
    information relevant to an organization (or to
    society) in such a way that the information is
    accessible and useful to those who wish to use
    it, including managers, staff, clients, and
  • An information system is a human activity
    (social) system which may or may not involve the
    use of computer systems.
  • International Federation for Information
    Processing/British Computing Society 1885
    curriculum for information systems.

1989/99 McNurlin and Sprague
  • The mission for information systems in
    organizations is to improve the performance of
    people in organizations through the use of
    information technology.
  • The ultimate objective is performance improvement
    - a goal based on outcomes and results rather
    than a go-through-the-steps process goal.
  • The focus is the people who make up the
    organization. Improving organizational
    performance is by the people and groups that
    comprise the organization.
  • The resource for this improvement is information

1990 Turban
  • A management information system is a formal,
    computer-based (but need not be) system intended
    to retrieve, extract, and integrate data from
    various sources in order to provide timely
    information necessary for managerial
  • An MIS is a business information system designed
    to provide past, present, and future information
    appropriate for planning, organizing, and
    controlling the operations of the organization.

1992 Alter
  • An information system is a combination of
  • work practices
  • information
  • people, and
  • information technologies
  • organized to accomplish goals in an organization.

1992 Zwass
  • A Management Information System is an organized
    portfolio of formal systems for obtaining,
    processing, and delivering information in support
    of the business operations and management of an

1995 Laudon and Laudon
  • Information system - (definition) Interrelated
    components that collect, process, store, and
    disseminate information to support
    decision-making, control, analysis, and
    visualization in an organization.

1996 Turban, McLean, Wetherbe
  • An information systems is a collection of
    components that collects, processes, stores,
    analyzes, and disseminates information for a
    specific purpose.
  • The major components of a computer-based
    information system (CBIS) can include (1)
    hardware, (2) software, (3) a database (4) a
    network (5 )procedures, and (6) people.
  • The system operates in a social context, and the
    software usually includes application programs
    which perform specific tasks for users.

1996 Alter
  • An information system is a system that uses
    information technology to capture, transmit,
    store, retrieve, manipulate, or display
    information that is used in one or more business
  • A business process is a related group of steps or
    activities that use people, information, and
    other resources to create value for internal or
    external customers. Business Processes consist
    of steps related in time and place, have a
    beginning and end, and have inputs and outputs.

1997 Lucas
  • Information systems may be described by five of
    their key components
  • Decisions
  • transactions and processing
  • information and its flow
  • individuals or functions involved
  • communications and coordination

1998 Zwass
  • Information System - An organized set of
    components for collecting, transmitting, storing,
    and processing data in order to deliver
    information for action.

1999 Turban, McLean, Wetherbe
  • An information system is a physical process that
    supports an organizational system by providing
    information to achieve organizational goals.

1999 Alter
  • A work system is a system that produces products
    for internal and external customers through a
    business process performed by human participants
    with the help of information technology.
  • An information system is a particular type of
    work system that uses information technology to
    capture transmit store, retrieve, manipulate, or
    display information, thereby supporting one or
    more other work systems.

Information Systems Today
  • The early focus on IS was for the support of
    operations, management, analysis and
    decision-making in organizations.
  • A significant emphasis was on models of planning
    and control.
  • The late 1980s and early 1990s saw IS expand
    from the support not only of decision-making, but
    but for improved communication support as well.
    Social impacts began to be recognized.
  • The explosion of the Web has added the important
    characteristic of providing information access.
  • Today the emphasis in organizations is on the
    support of business processes.

  • In many older textbooks and contexts, the terms
    Management Information Systems (or MIS) and
    Information Systems (IS) are used
  • However, in more contemporary contexts,
    Management Information Systems are considered as
    a subset of the more general Information Systems.
    MIS are considered to be information systems
    which provides information specifically for
    managing an organization generally at a tactical
    or middle management level. The are sometimes
    called Management Reporting Systems as well.
    Information Systems are the more general category
    that support all levels of an organization and
    include a wide variety of applications (e.g.
    group decision support systems). We will
    generally follow this convention.

Types of Information Systems
  • Transaction Processing Systems (TPS).
  • Management Information Systems (MIS).
  • Decision Support Systems (DSS).
  • Expert Systems (ES).
  • Executive Information Systems (EIS).
  • Office Automation Systems (including document
    management systems).
  • GroupWare, Computer-Supported Cooperative Work
    (CSCW), and other communication systems.
  • and much more .

IS History with Other Disciplines
  • Managerial Accounting - looks at relevant costs
    and performance analysis for managerial control
    and decision making.
  • Operations Research - systematic approach to
    problem solving use of models.
  • Management and Organization Theory - behavioral
    theory individual and group decision making
    leadership organization design and development.
  • Computer Science - algorithms, computation,
    software, data structures
  • Cognitive Psychology - human-computer interaction

Information Systems vs. Computer Science
  • Computer Science has its concentration in the
    study of algorithms, computation, software, and
    data structures. Its roots are in mathematics
    and engineering. Programming is only one aspect
    of computer science.
  • Information Systems is an extension of management
    and organization theory that applies technical
    capabilities and solutions initially developed by
    computer science, to tasks in organizations. It
    involves the study of information its
    structure, representation,and utilization. It
    focuses on the information needs of organizations
    for a wide variety of business processes,
    management, decision-making, and planning

Information Technology
  • Information Technology (IT) sometimes refers to
    the technology component of an information
  • However, the concept is often used by many to
    describe the collection of all information
    systems in organization.

Putting Things in Context - I
  • Information Technology - the hardware, software,
    and networks that make Information Systems
  • Information System - a system that uses
    information technology to capture, transmit,
    store, retrieve, manipulate, and display
  • Business process - a related group of steps or
    activities that use people, information, and
    other resources, to create value for internal or
    external customers.

Putting Things in Context - II
  • Firm (or organization) - consists of a large
    number of interdependent business processes that
    work together to generate products of services in
    a business environment.
  • Business environment - includes the firm and
    everything else that affects its success, such as
    competitors, suppliers, customers, regulatory
    agencies, and demographic, social, and economic

(No Transcript)
Frameworks for Understanding IS
  • A framework is a brief set of ideas for
    organizing a thought process about a particular
    type of thing or situation. Any useful framework
    helps make sense of the worlds complexity by
    identifying topics that should be considered and
    showing how these topics are related.
  • We will consider two such frameworks
  • The Gorry Scott-Morton Framework for MIS
  • The Work-Centered Analysis (WCA) Framework by

The Gorry and Scott-Morton Framework for
Management Information SystemsNote This
framework was first discussed in 1971. The term
Management Information Systems refers to the
broad category we now refer to simply as
Information Systems.
The Gorry and Scott-Morton Framework for MIS
  • At the time, (1971), the framework provided a
    much needed perspective on the role of MIS in
  • It is more a framework on managerial activities
    and a way of looking at decisions in an
    organizations. The framework helps us understand
    the role of MIS in organizations.
  • Focuses on the nature and characteristics of
    managerial decisions made at different levels in
    an organization.
  • Also Focuses on the characteristics of
    information that pertains to the decisions made
    at these levels.

Structural Outline
  • Combines the works of Robert Anthony and Herbert
  • Robert Anthonys taxonomy for Managerial Activity
  • Herbert Simons Categorization of Decision Types
  • The works of Anthony and Simon are important
    foundations of Organizational Theory today.

Robert Anthonys Taxonomy for Managerial Activity
  • You can divide the entire management hierarchy
    along the following levels
  • Operations Control
  • Management Control
  • Strategic Planning

Anthonys ManagementHierarchy
Strategic Planning
Management Control
Operational Control
Organizational Members
Operational Control
  • concerned with carrying out the tasks necessary
    and that need to be performed
  • lower level of the organizational hierarchy
  • performed by supervisors of small work units
    concerned with planning and control of short-term
    (a week to six months) budgets and schedules.

Management Control/Tactical Management
  • concerned with the utilization and management of
    resources to achieve organizational objectives.
  • concerned with effective and efficient
  • Performed by middle managers (e.g. department
    heads, plant managers).
  • set out for one to three years.

Strategic Planning Level
  • focuses on decisions on the objectives for the
    organization as a whole and also on the way to
    achieving them
  • typically involves a small number of high level
  • Carried out by top organizational executives and
    organization boards responsible for setting and
    monitoring long-term directions for the
    organization three or more years into the future

Information Requirements
  • Gorry and Scott Morton were concerned with the
    information requirements at the these three
  • They noted that the requirements for information
    at these levels were very different.
  • The next slide shows these differing requirements

Information Requirements by Management Level
Simons Categorization
  • concerned with the manner in which humans solve
    problems in an organization
  • differentiated between programmed and
    nonprogrammed decisions

Simons Programmed Decisions
  • they are repetitive and routine
  • follow a preset definite procedure each time they
  • programmable is a better concept
  • Gorry and Scott Morton call it structured

Simons Nonprogrammed Decisions
  • they are novel, unstructured
  • no cut-and-dried method for handling the problem
  • calls for intelligent, adaptive, problem-oriented
  • nonprogrammable is a better concept
  • Gorry and Scott Morton call it unstructured

Structured vs. Unstructured
  • They are not bipolar concepts
  • decisions range in a continuum from structured to
    unstructured ..
  • In between you might have decisions called

Combined A Framework
  • Gorry and Scott Morton combined the two concepts
    of Simons Decision Making with Anthonys
    Decision Making Levels and provide the following
    Framework for Decision-Making
  • (See next slide)

A Framework for Decision Making
Framework Comments
  • The original framework has been augmented with
    the right-most column and bottom row showing some
    typical support systems available. These are
    meant be be illustrative and not inclusive.
  • The framework shows the need for information
    systems to support all cells.
  • The figure as well as the characteristics of
    systems shows that the information requirements
    vary considerably from among management levels in
    an organization.
  • The information requirements are also diverse.

Implications Total MIS is a myth
  • Gorry and Scott Morton showed that the prevalent
    concept (at that time, 1971) of a
    was a myth.
  • Since we can not have a single total MIS, we
    need the concept of what David and Olsen called a
    federation of integrated information systems.
  • Today technology provides appropriate tools which
    gives the appearance of information being totally
  • This is the basic reasoning for the separation of
    todays data warehouses from systems to support
    current operations.

Information Systems for Operational Control
  • Operational Control process of ensuring
    operational activities are carried out
    effectively and efficiently.
  • Processing support
  • Transaction processing
  • Report processing
  • Inquiry processing

Information Systems for Management Control
  • Management Control Information that is required
    by managers of departments, profit centers, etc.
    to measure performance, decide on control
    actions, formulate new decision rules to be
    applied by the operational personnel and allocate
  • Processing support
  • Planning and budget models to assist managers in
    finding problems and preparing plans and budgets.
  • Variance reporting programs Exception Reports
  • Problem analysis models
  • Decision models to analyze a problem situation
    and provide solutions
  • Inquiry models to assist in responding to queries.

Information Systems for Strategic Planning
  • Systems that are designed to help managers
    perform the strategic planning function
  • This function has the responsibility of
    developing strategies to achieve objectives and
  • Such systems might have to provide information
  • economic outlook
  • political environment
  • competitive environment
  • impact analysis of alternative strategies, etc.

A Short Sidebar.
  • Transaction Processing Systems
  • vs.
  • Management Information Systems
  • (or Management Reporting Systems)
  • presented now since this is an important
    distinction, so lets get it right early!

Transaction Processing Systems
  • A transaction is an elementary activity conducted
    during business operations (e.g. merchandise
  • Earliest Information Systems in organizations.
  • Support the monitoring, collection, storage,
    processing, and dissemination of the
    organizations basic business transactions.
  • Provides backbone for many other applications
    involving other support systems.
  • On-line systems called OLTP vs. batch
  • Routine, repetitive tasks.

Business Transactions in a Factory
  • Payroll employee time cards, employee pay and
    deductions, payroll checks.
  • Purchasing purchase orders, deliveries,
    payments (accounts payable)
  • Sales sales records, invoices and billing,
    accounts receivable, sales returns, shipping
  • Manufacturing production reports,
    quality-control reports
  • Finance and Accounting financial statements, tax
    records, expense accounts
  • Inventory management materials usage, inventory

Transaction Processing Systems - 3
  • In addition to processing the routine critical
    organizational activities, transaction processing
    systems also provide the source data for many
    other type of information systems used at the
    tactical and strategic levels in the
  • Recall that tactical and strategic levels use
    aggregated data, over multiple time periods. TPS
    are often the source of this information. TPS
    often populate data warehouses which provide
    on-line analytical processing (OLAP).

TPS Data Entry Screen
Management Information Systems
  • Systems that convert TPS data into information
    for monitoring performance and managing an
  • The MIS provides periodic information to
    functional (operational) and mid-level (tactical)
    managers on routine matters such as operational
    efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity.
  • Example An HRIS can provide the HR manager with
    percentages of people who are on vacation or call
    in sick. It can compare actual to forecasted
    values, or to an industry average.
  • MIS are used for planning, monitoring, and

Sample MIS Management Report
The Work Centered Analysis (WCA) Framework
The Work Centered Analysis (WCA) Framework
  • The Work-Centered Analysis (WCA) is a framework
    for thinking about business processes and the
    information systems that support them. It
    focuses on the work being done.
  • Work is the application of human and physical
    resources such as people, equipment, time,
    effort, and money to generate outputs used by
    internal or external customers.
  • It ideas from several prominent management
    theories including Total Quality Management,
    business process reengineering, and systems

Alters (1995) Definition of an Information System
  • An information system is a system that uses
    information technology to capture, transmit,
    store, retrieve, manipulate, or display
    information that is used in one or more business
  • A business process is a related group of steps or
    activities that use people, information, and
    other resources to create value for internal or
    external customers. Business Processes consist
    of steps related in time and place, have a
    beginning and end, and have inputs and outputs.

Examples of Information Systems Supporting
Business Processes
  • Bar-code scanners and computers identify items
    sold and calculate the bill (Performing customer
  • Airline reservation system keeps track of flights
    and accepts reservations for customers (making
    airline reservations).
  • System that identifies people by scanning and
    analyzing voice prints (preventing unauthorized
    access to restricted areas).
  • Word processing system for typing and revising
    book chapters (Writing a book).

Elements of the Work-Centered Analysis (WCA)
  • The internal or external customers of the
    business process
  • The products (or services) generated by the
    business process.
  • The steps in the business process.
  • The participants in the business process.
  • The information the business process uses or
  • The technology the business process uses.

The WCA Framework
The WCA Framework
  • The WCA framework implies that although people
    sometimes speak of computers as systems, the
    system business professionals should focus on is
    the system performing the work.
  • The system performing the work is much broader
    than the technology. It includes the business
    processes, the participants, any information
    used, and any technology used.
  • The links are two-way, implying that the elements
    should be in balance. Also, changes in one place
    may result in changes in other elements.