Saturday, 12 March 2011

Information systems

Information Systems (IS) is an academic/professional discipline bridging the business field and the well-defined computer science field that is evolving toward a new scientific area of study.[4][5][6][7] An information systems discipline therefore is supported by the theoretical foundations of information and computations such that learned scholars have unique opportunities to explore the academics of various business models as well as related algorithmic processes within a computer science discipline.[8][9][10] Typically, information systems or the more common legacy information systems include people, procedures, data, software, and hardware (by degree) that are used to gather and analyze digital information.[11][12] Specifically computer-based information systems are complementary networks of hardware/software that people and organizations use to collect, filter, process, create, & distribute data (computing).[13] Computer Information System(s) (CIS) is often a track within the computer science field studying computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, their software & hardware designs, their applications, and their impact on society.[14][15][16] Overall, an IS discipline emphasizes functionality over design.[17]

As illustrated by the Venn Diagram on the right, the history of information systems coincides with the history of computer science that began long before the modern discipline of computer science emerged in the twentieth century.[18] Regarding the circulation of information and ideas, numerous legacy information systems still exist today that are continuously updated to promote ethnographic approaches, to ensure data integrity, and to improve the social effectiveness & efficiency of the whole process.[19] In general, information systems are focused upon processing information within organizations, especially within business enterprises, and sharing the benefits with modern society


Silver et al. (1995) provided two views on (IS) and IS-centered view that includes software, hardware, data, people, and procedures. A second managerial view includes people, business processes and Information Systems.

There are various types of information systems, for example: transaction processing systems, office systems, decision support systems, knowledge management systems, database management systems, and office information systems. Critical to most information systems are information technologies, which are typically designed to enable humans to perform tasks for which the human brain is not well suited, such as: handling large amounts of information, performing complex calculations, and controlling many simultaneous processes.

Information technologies are a very important and malleable resource available to executives.[21] Many companies have created a position of Chief Information Officer (CIO) that sits on the executive board with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Technical Officer (CTO).The CTO may also serve as CIO, and vice versa. The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), who focuses on information security management.


Silver et al.[22] defined Information Systems as follows:

    Information systems are implemented within an organization for the purpose of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of that organization. Capabilities of the information system and characteristics of the organization, its work systems, its people, and its development and implementation methodologies together determine the extent to which that purpose is achieved

The Discipline of Information Systems

Several IS scholars have debated the nature and foundations of Information Systems which has its roots in other reference disciplines such as Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Management Science, Cybernetics, and others

The Impact on Economic Models

    * Microeconomic theory model
    * Transaction Cost theory
    * Agency Theory

Differentiating IS from Related Disciplines

Similar to computer science, other disciplines can be seen as both related disciplines and foundation disciplines of IS. But, while there may be considerable overlap of the disciplines at the boundaries, the disciplines are still differentiated by the focus, purpose and orientation of their activities.[27]

In a broad scope, the term Information Systems (IS) is a scientific field of study that addresses the range of strategic, managerial and operational activities involved in the gathering, processing, storing, distributing and use of information, and its associated technologies, in society and organizations.[28] The term information systems is also used to describe an organizational function that applies IS knowledge in industry, government agencies and not-for-profit organizations.[29] Information Systems often refers to the interaction between algorithmic processes and technology. This interaction can occur within or across organizational boundaries. An information system is not only the technology an organization uses, but also the way in which the organizations interact with the technology and the way in which the technology works with the organization’s business processes. Information systems are distinct from information technology (IT) in that an information system has an information technology component that interacts with the processes components.

Types of information systems

The 'classic' view of Information systems found in the textbooks[30] of the 1980s was of a pyramid of systems that reflected the hierarchy of the organization, usually Transaction processing systems at the bottom of the pyramid, followed by Management information systems, Decision support systems and ending with Executive information systems at the top. Although the pyramid model remains useful, since it was first formulated a number of new technologies have been developed and new categories of information systems have emerged, some of which no longer fit easily into the original pyramid model.

Some examples of such systems are:

    * Data warehouses
    * Enterprise resource planning
    * Enterprise systems
    * Expert systems
    * Geographic information system
    * Global information system
    * Office Automation