2.1 Information System
2.1.1 History of Information Systems
The study of information systems, originated as a sub-discipline of computer science, in an attempt to understand and rationalize the management of technology within organizations. It has matured into a major field of management that is increasingly being emphasized as an important area of research in management studies, and is taught at all major universities and business schools in the world.
Information technology is a very important malleable resource available to executives. 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.
2.1.2 What Is an Information System?
An information system can be defined technically as a set of interrelated components that collect (or retrieve), process, store, and distribute information to support decision making and control in an organization. In addition to supporting decision making, coordination, and control, information systems may also help managers and workers analyze problems, visualize complex subjects, and create new products.
Information systems contain information about significant people, places, and things within the organization or in the environment surrounding it. By information we mean data that have been shaped into a form that is meaningful and useful to human beings. Data, in contrast, are streams of raw facts representing events occurring in organizations or the physical environment before they have been organized and arranged into a form that people can understand and use.
2.1.3 The Evolution of the Concept of Strategic Information Systems Since the 1950's, the concept of information systems has evolved from electronic accounting machines speeding paperwork and bureaucracy, to providing general information support in functional areas through the generation of routine performance reports in the 1960's (early Management Information Systems). In the 1970's and beginning of the 80's systems that provided customized information to improve decision making emerged (DSS and ESS). Since the mid-eighties, the role of information systems has taken a different turn. Computing power and networks have placed information systems at the heart of the business. The concept of Strategic Information Systems has gained acceptance, emphasizing the fact that information is a strategic resource. You must not confuse strategic information systems with strategic-level systems like ESS. Strategic information systems can be at any level. They are systems that fundamentally change the organization itself. So viewed from this perspective, each of the six types of systems, Transaction Processing Systems (TPS), Knowledge Work Systems (KWS), Office Automation Systems (OAS), Management Information Systems (MIS), Decision Support Systems (DSS), and Executive Support System (ESS) can potentially be regarded as strategic information systems if their impact transforms the goals, business processes, products and external relations of the company to produce competitive advantage. In fact strategic information systems can change the very nature of the business. In the next section we will see Applications of strategic information systems at the business level, firm level and industry level. 2.1.4 The Structure of Information System
The structure of an information system may be visualized as infrastructure plus applications. The applications have a conceptual structure based on the purpose or needs being met and the functions of the organizations that employ them. The three infrastructures that provide the general capabilities and capacity for information access and processing are technology, data and personnel. The infrastructures enable specific applications and...