Information Processing and Technology

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Information systems perform a set of information processes requiring participants, data/ information and information technology. The processes are collecting, analysing, organising, processing, storing/ retrieving, transmitting/ receiving and displaying.

Information systems are created to provide access to information for an organisation or individual and have the following characteristics:

• ORGANISATION OF DATA INTO INFORMATION- Data must be organised before it can be analysed by the information system. This involves careful though or the resulting information will be meaningless. This may require sorting, summarising or classifying. Data is organised using structures such as data dictionaries.

• ANALYSIS OF INFORMATION TO GIVE KNOWLEDGE- Access to information and the resulting knowledge is the purpose of an information system. For people to gain knowledge the information must be analysed. Information systems provide a range of tools for analysis of data such as tables, queries and reports. People make decisions based on the information they receive from an information system.


• TRANSACTION PROCESSING SYSTEMS (TPSs)- collect, store, modify and retrieve the daily transactions of an organisation eg. a point-of-sale terminal. There are two types of transaction processing: -BATCH PROCCESSING collects the transaction data into a group and processes it later and is currently used where the data is in paper form such as cheques. This type has a time delay. -REAL-TIME PROCESSING works where each transaction is immediately processed providing instant confirmation but it does require access to an online database.

• DECISION SUPPORT SYSTEMS- assist people to make decisions by providing information, models and analysis tools. They can be used on a daily basis or when an organisation has to react to something unexpected or make changes. Expert systems are a type of DSS.

• EXPERT SYSTEMS- provide information and solve problems that would otherwise require a person experienced in that field (an expert). They are useful in diagnosing, monitoring, selecting, designing, predicting and training. An expert system asks users a set of questions and compares answers to a knowledge base, which is a set of general facts and if-then rules supplied by an expert. It must then reason to attain a solution. These are not always correct and the choice is up to the user.

• MANGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS (MISs)- provide information for the organisation’s mangers. An MIS presents basic facts about the performance of the organisation eg. a budget or report. The awareness of how performance is measured provides motivation for workers and helps make decisions. A special type is called the Executive Information System (EIS) which is designed for the information needs of senior mangers and provides strategic information.

• OFFICE AUTOMATION SYSTEMS- provide people with effective ways to complete administrative tasks in an organisation. They use software tools such as word processors, databases etc. and also use communication technology.

Information systems that use a database are called database information systems. Databases are accessed by a database management system (DBMS) which has no data in it but is a software package that allows the user to enter maintain and provide access to a database. The user can choose which data is required and how to display it in a meaningful way. The term database is often used instead of DBMS.


ORGANISING is the process of arranging, representing and formatting data and involves the concept of a database. DATABASE is an organised collection of data.

A database is simply a place to organise and store data so it may be...
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