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Engineering LibreTexts

1.1.5: Section 1 Summary

  • Page ID
    57045
  • Summary

    In this section, you have been introduced to the concept of information systems. We have reviewed several definitions, with a focus on the components of information systems: technology, people, data, and process. We have reviewed how the business use of information systems has evolved over the years, from the use of large mainframe computers for number crunching, through the introduction of the PC and networks, all the way to the era of mobile computing. During each of these phases, new innovations in software and technology allowed businesses to integrate technology more deeply.

    As a Project Manager or System Analyst, you will have to have a great understanding of current technology trends and newer resources that will allow the organization you work for, or if you become a business owner, and stand a chance in the competitive world we live in. There are many resources freely available on the Internet and many resources that are available for purchase for you to understand how Information Technology has advanced and what skills you will need to have an understanding of.

    Do not think that just because you already have experience building your own computer server, or have created some advanced software programs for your lab environments, you will succeed in a business environment. Businesses deal with many moving parts that require strong will and careful planning, As long as you are an individual who is open towards learning and is willing to take on the challenges that come with being a Project Manager or Systems Analyst, you will succeed.

    Study Questions

    1. What are the four components that make up an information system?
    2. What are three examples of information system hardware?
    3. What is application software?
    4. What roles do people play in information systems?
    5. What is the definition of a process?
    6. In what year were restrictions on commercial use of the Internet first lifted? When were eBay and Amazon founded?
    7. What does it mean to say we are in a “post-PC world”?
    8. What is Carr’s main argument about information technology?

    Exercises

    1. Suppose that you had to explain to a member of your family or one of your closest friends the concept of an information system. How would you define it? Write a one-paragraph description in your own words that you feel would best describe an information system to your friends or family.
    2. Of the five primary components of an information system (hardware, software, data, people, process), which do you think is the most important to the success of a business organization? Write a one-paragraph answer to this question that includes an example from your personal experience to support your answer.
    3. We all interact with various information systems every day: at the grocery store, at work, at school, even in our cars (at least some of us). Make a list of the different information systems you interact with every day. See if you can identify the technologies, people, and processes involved in making these systems work.
    4. Do you agree that we are in a post-PC stage in the evolution of information systems? Some people argue that we will always need the personal computer, but that it will not be the primary device used for manipulating information. Others think that a whole new era of mobile and biological computing is coming. Do some original research and make your prediction about what business computing will look like in the next generation.
    5. The Walmart case study introduced you to how that company used information systems to become the world’s leading retailer. Walmart has continued to innovate and is still looked to as a leader in the use of technology. Do some original research and write a one-page report detailing a new technology that Walmart has recently implemented or is pioneering.

    1. Wikipedia entry on "Information Systems," as displayed on August 19, 2012. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. San Francisco: Wikimedia Foundation. http://en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Informa...s_(discipline).
    2. Excerpted from Information Systems Today - Managing in the Digital World, fourth edition. Prentice-Hall, 2010.
    3. Excerpted from Management Information Systems, twelfth edition, Prentice-Hall, 2012.
    4. CERN's "The Birth of the Web." http://public.web.cern.ch/public/en/about/web-en.html
    5. Walmart 2012 Annual Report.