How Information Systems Impact Organizations and Business Firms CHANGE is the only constant in the relationship between information systems and organizations. As technology evolves and changes, its introduction into organizations requires changes in the firm's infrastructure and the services it can provide to its employees, customers, and suppliers. Years ago information systems consisted of a huge mainframe computer with a few terminals connected to it. You had to schedule a specific time to use the computer if your company had one at all. All data were kept on one machine, and in some respects the data were available to whoever could access them. When personal computers were introduced in the early 1980s, it became the norm for most people to have individual computing islands on their desks. The computers weren't connected to each other and if you wanted to exchange data or information, you had to somehow get the data from your desk to the other person's desk. It wasn't easy. Now it seems we've come full circle in some ways: we've combined the storage and data processing on a central machine with personal computing available on desktops. The data are available to anyone who can use them or has authorized access through a network with links literally all over the world. The changes that have taken place in computing have affected the business environment in a big way. Over 40 percent of the equipment investment in the last decade has been on computing equipment. Organizations are finding more efficient ways to accomplish tasks via networking, either internal networks or by connecting to external networks. Technology has caused many changes in the way businesses connect to their customers and suppliers. We'll be examining many of these changes throughout this course. The text discusses two major types of theories about how information systems affect organizations: economic theories and behavioral theories. Economic Impacts
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