Chapter 3: Managing Information Systems and Communication Technology
INFORMATION MANAGEMENT: AN OVERVIEW
Most businesses regard their info as a private resourcean asset that they plan,
develop and protect. Therefore, companies have information managers
responsible for the activities needed to generate analyze and disseminate information
that a company needs to make good decisions. Information management is an
internal operation that arranges the firms information resources to support business
performance and outcomes.
Data Versus Information
o Data: raw facts and figures
o Information: usefully interpreted data
o The challenges for businesses are to turn a flood of data into information
and to manage that information to their best advantage.
o One response to the challenge is the growth of the information
system (IS) an organized method of transforming data into
information that can be used for decision making.
o IS managers must first determine what information is needed, then
gather the data and apply the technology to convert data into
information. As well, they must control the flow of information so that it
goes only to those who need it.
o Supplied information varies according to factors such as functional area
in which people work and their management levels.
NEW BUSINESS TECHNOLOGIES IN THE INFORMATION AGE
The widening role of IS results from rapid developments in electronic technologies
that allow faster and broader flows of information and communications.
The Expanding Scope of Information Systems
1. At one time, IS applications were narrow in scope and technically
focussed processing payroll data, simulating new engineering designs,
compiling advertising expenditures.
2. However, now managers use IS systems not to solve technical problems
only, but to analyze management problems, especially for control
purpose. Today, IS are also crucial in planning.
Electronic Business and Communications Technologies
o Electronic Information Technologies (EIT)IS application based on
telecommunications technologies. They use network of appliance or
devices to communicate info by electronic means. They enhance the
performance and productivity of general business activities by
performing two functions: 1. Providing coordination and communication within the firm
2. Speeding up transactions with other firms
o Six of the most widely used innovations in todays digital business
1. The fax machine machine that can quickly transmit a copy of
documents or graphics over telephone lines.
2. Voice mail a computer-based system for receiving and
delivering incoming telephone calls.
3. An email system electronic transmission of letters, reports, and
other information between computers.
4. Electronic conferencing allows people to communicate
simultaneously from different locations via telephone, video, or
email group software.
5. Groupware system that allows two or more individuals to
communicate electronically between desktop PCS.
6. Info from outside a company can be linked to its electronic
network and the info can be made available at every workstation.
o Data Communications Networks global networks that permit users
to send electronic messages quickly and economically.
The Internet: a gigantic network of networks that serves millions
of computers, offers information on business, science and
government, and provides communication flows among more
than 170,000 separate networks around the world. It is the
largest public data communications network. It has gained
popularity because it is an efficient tool for information retrieval
and it is able to transmit info quickly and at a low cost. To
connect, users have to pay an ISP a commercial firm that
maintains a permanent connection to the internet and sells
temporary connection to subscribers a monthly fee.
The World Wide Web a system with universally accepted
standards for storing, retrieving, formatting and displaying info on
the internet. Read on...basic stuff.
Intranetsa companys private network that is accessible only
to employees via entry through electronic firewalls. Firewalls are
hardware and software security systems that ensure that internal
computer systems are not accessible to outsiders.
Extranetsa network that allows outsiders limited access to a
firms internal information system. The most common application
allows buyers to enter the sellers system to see which products
are available for sale and delivery.
New Options for Organizational Design: The Network Enterpriseo Learner Organizations: leading to companies with fewer employees and
simpler organizational structures. For example, you can dial into a 24-
hour info system and find out your current balance from a digital voice,
no longer requiring bank tellers. Widespread reduction in middle-
management positions and the shrinkage of layers in organizational
structure are possible because information networks now provide direct
communications between the top managers and lower level workers.
Electronic info is now replacing operating managers who formerly
communicated company policies, procedures, or work instructions to
lower level employees.
o More flexible Operations: allows businesses to offer customers greater
variety and faster delivery cycles. The principle is called mass-
customizationproducing large volumes of products or services, but
giving customers the choice of features and options they want. Flexible
production and fast delivery depend on an integrated network to
coordinate all the transactions, activities, and process flows necessary to
make quick adjustments in the production process. The ability to
organize and store massive volumes of information is crucial, as are the
electronic linkages among customers, manufacturers, material suppliers
o Increased Collaboration: is on the rise because networked systems