Introduction to Information Systems

The "Harry Potter" example that leads off this reading provides an excellent example of pre-planning, organized business processes, and the need for flexibility in information systems. Each Potter volume increased the pre-orders exponentially, and Amazon used its prior experiences to create policies and practices designed to improve customer experience. As you will see, business processes are a blueprint for success, supported by technology, information systems, and a range of other required services.

The Textbook's Three Themes

Components of the Study of Information Systems

Figure 1.1 (page 7) depicts the elements central to our study of Information Systems (IS). Many may be familiar, and some have been introduced earlier in this chapter.

[Insert Figure 1.1]

Hardware and Software The ability to plan and manage business operations depends partly on knowledge of the hardware and software available. For instance, is production manageable without knowledge of robotics? It goes without saying that technological developments have a profound effect on information systems; enterprise systems, e-business, databases, and business intelligence systems are but a few examples. Hardware and software technology provides the foundation on which IS and business operations rest.

Databases Important to a complete understanding of IS are databases, both internal and external to the company; the quantity and type of data available in these databases; and methods of retrieving those data. To perform analysis or to prepare information for management decision making, a business professional must be able to access and use data from internal and external databases. Chapter 3 explores the design and use of an organization's own databases.

Reporting To design reports generated by an information system, the business professional must know what outputs are required or desirable. A user might prepare a report on an occasional basis using powerful report-generating tools or a database query language. Scheduled reports appear periodically as part of normal IS function. Government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service and the Securities and Exchange Commission require some reports. Other reports, such as sales analysis, are useful internally.