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Commerce - Appendix C Notes.doc

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Rita Cossa

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 reporting.7 Today, information flows into and through an organization from many different directions. The types of information that are available to businesses today include the following:10 • 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 any topic.13 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
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