BUS206 Study Guide

Unit 1: Introduction to Management Information Systems

1a. Define what an information system is by identifying its major components

1. You cannot escape technology information systems in today's world of business. In Unit 1 you learned the fundamentals of business information systems. Information systems include a combination of hardware, software, databases, networking, and security.

  • List three definitions of information systems.
  • Define the five components of an information system.

If these tasks did not come easily for you, consider re-reading the sections labeled "Defining Information Systems" and "The Components of Information Systems" in What Is an Information System?.


2. Understanding how hardware and software play a role in management information systems is essential. Every component in an information system is important; however, hardware, software, and data provide the technical backbone of these systems.

  • What type of components make up the hardware of an information system?
  • What are the two main categories of software and how do they interact with each other?
  • Describe the type of information categorized as data.


3. Network communication is sometimes considered the fourth piece of technology in an information system. Without communication, the other three components are useless pieces in an information system.

  • One role of information systems is to turn data into usable information.
  • Explain how people and processes fit into an information management system.

Read "The Role of Information Systems" and "Networking Communication: A Fourth Technology Piece" from What is an Information System? to prepare for the final exam.


1b. Describe the basic history of information systems

Information systems play a vital role in today's organizations. The components of an information system collect, organize, and distribute data across an entire organization. In the mainframe era of the 1960s, computers were owned by large businesses, universities, and governments to perform calculations. Early computers were used to calculate data that a mainframe served to dozens of users.

During the PC revolution of the 1970s, the first microcomputer, the Altair 8800, was released. Entrepreneurs jumped at making personal computers, which were first thought of as a hobby. In the 1980s, more businesses began to see a practical use for computers and networking. The World Wide Web and e-commerce shed new light on how businesses could operate and serve customers in a new non-traditional sense of business.

  • List some of the main functions computers performed for organizations in the 1960s.
  • What functionality did the PC revolution of the 1970s bring to mainstream businesses?
  • How did the client-server architecture change the way organizations did business in the 1980s?
  • How did e-commerce change the way organizations do business?

What is an Information System? gives a great overview of the history of information systems. You may choose to re-read sections on "The Mainframe Era", "The PC Revolution", "Client-Server", "The World Wide Web and E-Commerce", "Web 2.0", and/or "The Post-PC World", depending on the concepts for which you feel you have a stronger or weaker grasp.


1c. Describe what innovation is and how technology contributes to it

Businesses have been able to develop innovative processes and procedures through advances in information technology. These innovations have sparked new ideas in globalization and e-commerce.

  • What current technology trends do you think will continue to grow and inspire businesses in the future?
  • What successes and failures have businesses seen during the growth of technology?

For a deeper look at how technology has changed every aspect of business, watch Turning Technology into Business Transformation Re-visit Exercise: Walmart Case Study to understand how the world's leading retailer became successful through the use of technology.


Unit 1 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you answer some of the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful in completing the final exam for the course.

  • Client-Server
  • Communication
  • Data
  • Databases
  • Ecommerce
  • Hardware
  • Information Systems
  • Innovation
  • Mainframe
  • People
  • Process
  • Software