Introduction to Competitive Advantage in Information Systems

As you read, think about how using, protecting, and managing information and data could support an organization's competitive advantage. Conversely, failure to protect data, particularly personal information, could reduce or destroy any competitive advantage within a business. How does understanding customer information and data support current operations? How might it impact future operations?

Data, Information, and Knowledge


  1. Define the following terms: table, record, field. Provide another name for each term along with your definition.
  2. Answer the following questions using the course registration database system, diagramed above:
    1. Imagine you also want to keep track of student majors. How would you do this? Would you modify an existing table? Would you add new tables? Why or why not?
    2. Why do you suppose the system needs a "Course Title" table?
    3. This database is simplified for our brief introduction. What additional data would you need to keep track of if this were a real course registration system? What changes would you make in the database above to account for these needs?
  3. Research to find additional examples of organizations that made bad decisions based on bad data. Report your examples to your class. What was the end result of the examples you're citing (e.g., loss, damage, or other outcome)? What could managers have done to prevent problems in the cases that you cited? What role did technology play in the examples that you cite? What role did people or procedural issues play?
  4. Why is an understanding of database terms and technologies important, even for nontechnical managers and staff? Consider factors associated with both system use and system development. What other skills, beyond technology, may be important when engaged in data-driven decision making?