Welcome to Information Systems for Business. In this book, you will be introduced to the concept of information systems, their use in business, and emerging trends. You will gain insights into how firms can use information systems to sustain their competitive advantages, how it helps connect people globally, and how you may use it for your personal and professional career development.
This book is written as an introductory text, meant for those with little or no experience with computers or information systems. While sometimes the descriptions can get a little bit technical, every effort has been made to convey the information essential to understanding a topic and not getting bogged down in detailed terminology.
The text is organized around thirteen chapters divided into three major parts, as follows:
Part 1: What Is an Information System?
- Chapter 1: What Is an Information System? – This chapter provides an overview of information systems and their components, including the history of how we got where we are today.
- Chapter 2: Hardware – We discuss hardware and how it works. We will look at different types of computing devices, computer parts, learn how they interact and the effect of the commoditization of these devices.
- Chapter 3: Software – Software and hardware cannot function without each other. Without software, hardware is useless. Without hardware, the software has no hardware to run on. This chapter discusses the types of software, their purpose, and how they support different hardware devices, individuals, groups, and organizations.
- Chapter 4: Data and Databases – This chapter explores how organizations use information systems to turn data into information and knowledge to be used for competitive advantage. We will discuss how different types of data are captured and managed, different types of databases, and how individuals and organizations use them.
- Chapter 5: Networking and Communication – Today’s computing and smart devices are expected to be always connected devices to support the way we learn, communicate, do business, work, and play, in any place, on any devices, and at any time. In this chapter, we review the history of networking, how the Internet works, and the use of multiple networks in organizations today.
- Chapter 6: Information Systems Security – We discuss the information security triad of confidentiality, integrity, and availability. We will review different types of threats and associated costs for individuals, organizations, and nations. We will discuss different security tools and technologies, how security operation centers can secure organizations’ resources and assets, and a primer on personal information security.
Part 2: Information Systems for Strategic Advantage
- Chapter 7: Leveraging Information Technology (IT) for Competitive Advantage – This chapter examines the impact that information systems have on organizations, how they can use IT to develop and sustain competitive advantages, and improve operational effectiveness in their value chain decision-making processes. We will discuss seminal works by Brynjolfsson, Carr, and Porter related to IT and competitive advantage.
- Chapter 8: Business Processes – Business processes are the essence of what a business does, and information systems play an important role in making them work. This chapter will discuss business process management, business process reengineering, and ERP systems.
- Chapter 9: The People in Information Systems – This chapter will provide an overview of the different types of people involved in information systems. This includes people(and machines) who create information systems, those who operate and administer information systems, those who manage or support information systems, those who use information systems, and IT's job outlook.
- Chapter 10: Information Systems Development – People build information systems for people’s use. This chapter will look at different methods to manage an information system's development process, with special attention to software development, review mobile application development, and discuss end-user computing. We will look at key trade-offs that organizations face in making critical decisions to “build vs. buy or subscribe,” the balancing act between scope, cost, and time while delivering a high-quality project and obtaining the buy-in from the users.
Part 3: Information Systems beyond the Organization
- Chapter 11: Globalization and the Digital Divide – The rapid rise of the Internet has made it easier than ever to do business worldwide. This chapter will look at the impact that the Internet is having on the globalization of business. Firms will need to manage challenges and leverage opportunities due to globalization and digitalization. It will discuss the digital divide concept, what steps have been taken to date to alleviate it, and what more needs to be done.
- Chapter 12: The Ethical and Legal Implications of Information Systems – The rapid changes in all the components of information systems in the past few decades have brought a broad array of new capabilities and powers to governments, organizations, and individuals alike. This chapter will discuss the effects that these new capabilities have had and the legal and regulatory changes that have been put in place in response, and what ethical issues organizations and IT communities need to consider in using or developing emerging solutions and services that regulations are not fully developed.
- Chapter 13: Future Trends in Information Systems – This final chapter will present an overview or advance of some new or recently introduced technologies. From wearable technology, virtual reality, Internet of Things, quantum computing to artificial intelligence, this chapter will provide a look forward to what the next few years will bring to potentially transform how we learn, communicate, do business, work, and play.
For the Student
Each chapter in this text begins with a list of the relevant learning objectives and ends with a chapter summary. Following the summary is a list of study questions that highlight key topics in the chapter and suggested exercises to apply what you learn from each chapter to the current environment. To get the best learning experience, you would be wise to begin by reading the learning objectives, the summary, the questions at the end of the chapter and reflect how your personal or professional growth can be enhanced.
For the Instructor
Learning objectives can be found at the beginning of each chapter. Of course, all chapters are recommended for use in an introductory information systems course. However, for courses on a shorter calendar or courses using additional textbooks, a review of the learning objectives will help determine which chapters can be omitted.
At the end of each chapter, there is a set of study questions and exercises. The study questions can be assigned to help focus students’ reading on the learning objectives. The exercises are meant to be a more in-depth, experiential way for students to learn chapter topics and reflect how what they have learned in each chapter can help them in their chosen interest or career. It is recommended that you review any exercise before assigning it, adding any detail needed (such as length, due date, extra resources, etc.) to complete the assignments.