Integrated Information Systems

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1. Introduction

Africa University is a private university supported by the United Methodist Church. This institution enrolls students from all over Africa and abroad. It was officially opened in March 1992 as the first private and international university in Zimbabwe to agriculture students who were in the faculty of Agriculture and natural resources. This university offers a wide range of Degree and Masters Programs including Management and Administration, Agriculture, Education, Health Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences.

This institution has a total of 404 registered computers in the database including old ones plus new ones in stock. Most of these machines have the latest software technology installed on them. They also have servers that are in perfect working order: the domain controller, secondary domain (mail server), Accounts server, Antivirus server, Results server, Database server, Software test server, Print server, Moodle server, Intranet server and the Library server.

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. Very few studies have been done to investigate the impact of an integrated Information System (IIS) on the administrative efficiency of an institution like Africa University. Given a backdrop of a number of administration problems students face, an assessment of the current disintegrated Information System (DIS) in use at AU is sought through the opinions of students who use the IS as well as the ICT staff who are involved in the implementation of the Information Systems.

A comparison between the assessment results and the expectations of both the students and the administrator, as a test for efficiency before conclusions can be drawn on whether integrating the IS would improve the systems’ efficiency, is done

1.1 Background of the Study

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. Specifically computer-based information systems are complementary networks of hardware/software that people and organizations use to collect, filter and process, create and distribute data (computing). In general, information systems are focused upon processing information within organizations, especially within business enterprises, and sharing the benefits with modern society.

The combination of traditional business concerns and Internet technologies is impacting all industries and is the latest phase in the ongoing evolution of business. The need for information support is visible at all levels in a university for example: students’ office and students at application and registration level, university management at a tactical and strategic level. The goal is to automate daily simple processes and tasks and to enable strategic decisions to be made by the management (Mederly 97).

Universities are amphibians that conduct pedagogic and educational activities on one hand and research and project activities on the other. This then makes an IIS supporting all possible activities in the university of utmost importance (EUNIS 99). Thus AU being a progressive institution has also embraced the changes in IT and has to an extent managed to set up a number of computer based information systems.

1.1.1 Students Management Information Systems
AU started off using the traditional Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel from 1992 to 1999 for its student records. It switched from Excel and Word to a Microsoft Access database from 2000 to 2006. From 2006 the students’ records were done using Microsoft SQL Server database. And these records are at the core of the Registry Department.

1.1.2 Accounting Information System (AIS)
AU is currently utilizing Pastel Evolution as its AIS. The core functions and modules...
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