Business technology has often changed names and roles. In the 1970s, business
technology was known as data processing (DP).
. Information is the processed and organized data that can be used for managerial
decision making.) DP was used to support an existing business; its primary purpose was
to improve the flow of financial information
In the 1980s, business technology became known as information systems (IS). These IS
moved out of the back room and into the centre of the business. Their role changed from
supporting the business to doing business
Businesses shifted to using new technology on new methods. Business technology then
became known as information technology (IT), and its role became to change business.
information technology (IT) Technology that helps companies change business by
allowing them to use new methods.
As IT breaks time and location barriers, it creates organizations and services that are
independent of location.
virtualization Accessibility through technology that allows business to be conducted
independent of location.
In the mid-1990s, we started to move away from information technology and toward
knowledge technology (KT). Knowledge is information charged with enough intelligence
to make it relevant and useful. KT adds a layer of intelligence to filter appropriate
information and deliver it when it is needed.
As KT became more sophisticated in the mid-2000s it became better known as business
intelligence systems (BI). BI refers to a variety of software applications that analyze an
organization's raw data and take useful insights from it. BI activities include data mining
(which we will discuss later in this appendix), online analytical process, querying, and
Today, information flows into and through an organization from many different
directions. The types of information that are available to businesses today include the
• Business Process Information. This includes all transaction data gathered at the
point of sale as well as information gained through operations such as enterprise
resource planning, supply chain management (these will be discussed in Chapter
10), and customer relationship management systems. It is estimated that the
amount of corporate data available doubles every six months. • Physical-World Observations. These observations result from the use of radio
frequency identification devices (RFID), miniature cameras, wireless access,
global positioning systems (GPS), and sensor technology that record where
people or items are located and what they are doing. Computer chips cost pennies
apiece and can be found in a wide range of products including credit cards, printer
ink cartridges, baseballs, tire valves, running shoes, and vacuum cleaners. For
example, Montreal's Metropolitan Transit Authority has installed RFID readers in
several terminal entrances and exits.11 As soon as a bus enters the terminal, a
large electronic display board is updated so that waiting passengers know their
bus is about to pull up; if a bus doesn't pass the entrance on time, the board
indicates that it is delayed.12
• Biological Data. Forms of identification include fingerprinting, which, while not
new, can now be taken and shared more easily. Biometric devices can scan
retinas, recognize faces and voices, and analyze DNA data. Although such
information is usually used for security purposes, it may be used to customize
products and services in the future.
• Public Data. This includes information in databases that are free and accessible.
This includes electronic traces that people leave when posting to the Internet,
sending e-mail, and using instant messaging. More and more, these public data
are stored, shared, or sold.
• Data that Indicate Personal Preferences or Intentions. Internet shoppers leave a
trail of information that can reveal personal likes and dislikes. You can imagine
how valuable this information is. The volume and complexity of all of this
information are staggering. While it appears in all forms and formats including
text, numbers, audio, and video, computing systems have been developed that can
search through the data and identify, categorize, and refine relevant opinions on
Today, business people are deluged with so much data that this information overload is
referred to as infoglut.
Obviously, not all of the information that ends up on your desk will be useful. The
usefulness of management information depends on four characteristics:
1. Quality. Quality means that the information is accurate and reliable. When the
clerk at a fast-food restaurant enters your order into the cash register, it may be
automatically fed to a computer, and the day's sales and profits c