All organisations share one common asset, regardless of the type of business. It doesn’t matter if they manufacture goods or provide services. It is a vital part of any business entity, whether a sole proprietor or a multinational corporation. That common asset is information.
Information is power and the more of it held the more powerful an organisation can become but information has a far lesser impact when presented as raw data. In order to maximise its value and a firms resources it must be collected, retrieved, processed, stored and distributed. In order to accomplish this an Information System must be designed, developed, administered and maintained. This is a computer system that provides management and other personnel within an organisation with up-to-date information regarding the organizations performance; for instance current sales and stock. These systems output information in a form that is useable at all levels of the organization: strategic, tactical, and operational. It combines business with computer science as the two harmonise to in order to complete the three major roles of an information system: Support business processes and operations; support business decision making; and support competitive advantage and decision making. (as shown in the diagram below)
An information system is a key part to any successful organisation. It needs to be communicated correctly to the analyst who designs it in order to be tailored to the end users needs. Unfortunately this in the past has been found difficult with over 50% of IS projects failing. This can be sometimes because the analysts try to create very elaborate systems that impress without fully understanding the organisation itself. Design is a very crucial phase in the development of a system and needs to be precise yet happen in a reasonable period of time. It can mean the difference between success and failure.
I will later discuss more about the components of an information system and have a more in depth look into its roles.