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 Role of the Business Professional

In relation to an Information System, the business professional may assume one or more of three roles: designer, user, and evaluator.

As a designer of an IS, the business professional brings a knowledge of business, information systems techniques, and systems development methods. In designing the IS, the business professional might answer such questions as:

  • What will be recorded (i.e., what is a recordable business event)?
  • How will the event be recorded (i.e., what data stores will be used)?
  • When will the event be recorded (i.e., before or after occurrence)?
  • What controls will be necessary to provide valid, accurate, and complete records; to protect assets; and to ensure that the IS can be audited?
  • What reports will be produced, and when will they be produced?
  • How much detail will the reports include?

The business professional is also a user of the IS to perform functions. The business professional's effectiveness depends on how well she knows the IS and the technology used to implement it. For instance, to analyze financial information, a financial analyst must know what data are stored in the IS, how to access those data, what analysis tools exist and how to use them, and how to present the information using available report-writing facilities.

As a user, the business professional may also be called on to participate in the IS design process. In fact, an Information System user should insist on being involved to make sure that a new system contains required features. To be effective in the design process, the user must know how systems are developed, the techniques used to develop a system, and the technology that will be used in a new system.

Review Question

What three roles can a business professional fill in relation to the IS? Describe them.

As business process owners, business professionals are evaluators of the IS. They may stipulate the system's controls, assess the system's efficiency and effectiveness, and participate in the system design process. To be effective, the evaluator must possess knowledge of systems development techniques, of controls, of the technology used in the Information Systems, and of the design and operation of the IS.