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1.1: Introduction

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    In the course of a given day, think of activities that you do to entertain yourself, deliver a work product, purchase something, or interact with your family, friends, or co-workers. How many times do you snap a picture, post a text, or email your friends? Can you even remember the number of times you used a search engine in a day? Consider what you are using to do these activities. Most likely, many, if not all, of these activities involve using technologies such as a smartphone, a laptop, a website, or an app. These activities are also enabled by Wi-Fi networks that surround us everywhere, be it on the school’s campus, workplace, the airport, or even cars. You are already a user of one or more information systems, using one or more electronic devices, different software, or apps, and connect globally through different networks. Welcome to the world of information systems!

    Information systems affect our personal, career, society, and the global economy by evolving to change businesses and the way we live. To prepare yourself to participate in developing or using information, building a business, or advancing your career, you must be familiar with an information system's fundamental concepts.

    Defining Information Systems

    Students from diverse disciplines, including business, are often required to take a course to learn about information systems. Let’s start with the term Information System (IS). What comes to your mind? Computers? Devices? Apps? Here are a few definitions from a few sources:

    • Information Systems is an academic study of systems with a specific reference to information and the complementary networks of hardware and software that people and organizations use to collect, filter, process, create and also distribute data .” (Wikipedia Information Systems, 2020)
    • “Information systems are combinations of hardware, software, and telecommunications networks that people build and use to collect, create, and distribute useful data, typically in organizational settings.” (Valacich et al., 2010)
    • “Information systems are interrelated components working together to collect, process, store, and disseminate information to support decision making, coordination, control, analysis, and visualization in an organization.” (Laudon et al., 2012)

    They sound similar, yet there is something different in each as well. In fact, these authors define the terms from these perspectives:

    • What are the components that make up an information system? How do they work together?
    • What is the role of IS in providing value to businesses and to individuals in solving their needs?

    Let’s examine each perspective.


    Information Systems. (2017, June 05). Retrieved July 28, 2020, from

    Laudon, K.C. and Laudon, J. P. (2012). Management Information Systems, twelfth edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

    Valacich, J. and Schneider, C. (2010). Information Systems Today – Managing in the Digital World, fourth edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

    1.1: Introduction is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Ly-Huong T. Pham, Tejal Desai-Naik, Laurie Hammond, & Wael Abdeljabbar.