Chapter One Overview of Information Systems

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1.1 Introduction
When Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th president of the United States, saw a demonstration of the telephone in the late 1800s, he reportedly commented that while it was a wonderful invention, businessmen would never use it. Hayes believed that people had to meet face to face to conduct substantive business affairs, and he was not alone in that assessment. Few of Hayes's contemporaries could foresee the profound changes that would be ushered in by the telephone and other technologies of the day, including steam engines, production machinery; transportation technologies such as railroads and automobiles, and communication technologies such as the telegraph and telephone.  As we are in the 21st century, we are once again experiencing an intense period of technology-enabled innovation, creativity, and excitement that has been spurred by the information and telecommunications technologies and associated changes in our life, work and society. We are now in the information/knowledge age -- a time when information and knowledge are power. Leading industrial countries are transforming from industrial-based economies to information/knowledge-based economy. Information is everywhere. Information and knowledge have become critical, strategic assets for most organizations. We live in an "information society," where power and wealth increasingly depend on information and knowledge as central assets. It is a new world of doing business. Business and other organizations all over the world are focusing on information and knowledge as their key strategic resources. All firms today, large and small, local and global, use information systems to achieve important business objectives, such as operational efficiency, customer and supplier intimacy, better decision making, and new products and services. A continuing stream of information technology innovations from the Internet to wireless networks to digital phone is continuing to transform the business world. These innovations are enabling entrepreneurs and innovative traditional firms to create new products and service, develop new business models, and transform the day-to-day conduct of business. In the process, some old businesses, even industries, are being destroyed while new businesses are springing up. In 2005, journalist Thomas Friedman wrote an influential book declaring the world was ‘flat’ by which he meant that the Internet and global communications had greatly reduced the economic and cultural advantages of developed countries. U.S. and European countries were in a fight for their economic lives, competing for jobs, markets, resources, and even ideas with highly educated, motivated populations in low-wage areas in the less developed world. The globalization trend of the world economy greatly enhances the value of information systems to the organizations. In today's global business environment, information technology is creating new opportunities for organizational coordination and innovation. Organizations require powerful information and communication systems to manage business on an international scale. Manufacturers are using information systems to order supplies and distribute goods faster than ever before; financial institutions are employing them to transfer billions of dollars around the world electronically; investors are using them to make multimillion-dollar decisions. This globalization presents you and your business with both challenges and opportunities. The challenge for you as a business student is to develop high-level skills through education and on-the-job experience that cannot be outsourced. Information systems will continue to change our business, society and lives. Information system and technologies will also play large roles in your career. Along with the changes in business come changes in job and careers. No matter whether you are a finance, accounting, management, marketing, operations management, or information systems major, how you work,...
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