Friday, December 23, 2011

Information system

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Information Systems


An information system, by its name, is a system whose aim is to collect, store and maintain data generated by the system in order to process it into accurate and timely information according to the needs of the system users.


A cross-section of a typical information system reveals that it consists of People (60%), Equipment (10%) and Procedures (0%). They can be Manual, Computerised, or a combination of both.


Manual Info Systems consist of filing cabinets, index cards, ledger books, tables of values, plus accessories such as pens, papers, calculators etc. They tend to be the simplest to set up and use, but have many limitations. These include - storing data more than once (which can lead to errors), being slow to find things, only simple searches can be made, data can be lost or mis-placed, mistakes can be made during the human processing of data.


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Computerised Info Systems usually consists of a database, sometimes a spreadsheet. A File Management System (eg Works) manages one set of data (called a file) at a time. A Relational DataBase Management System (DBMS) such as Access can handle multiple tables (sets) of linked data.


Both types of systems have people who are System Users - employees of a firm who use (or run part of) the information system as part of their daily work - an example being bank tellers; and Clients - people for whom the system was devised - for instance, bank account holders.


Information Systems


An information system, by its name, is a system whose aim is to collect, store and maintain data generated by the system in order to process it into accurate and timely information according to the needs of the system users.


A cross-section of a typical information system reveals that it consists of People (60%), Equipment (10%) and Procedures (0%). They can be Manual, Computerised, or a combination of both.


Manual Info Systems consist of filing cabinets, index cards, ledger books, tables of values, plus accessories such as pens, papers, calculators etc. They tend to be the simplest to set up and use, but have many limitations. These include - storing data more than once (which can lead to errors), being slow to find things, only simple searches can be made, data can be lost or mis-placed, mistakes can be made during the human processing of data.


Computerised Info Systems usually consists of a database, sometimes a spreadsheet. A File Management System (eg Works) manages one set of data (called a file) at a time. A Relational DataBase Management System (DBMS) such as Access can handle multiple tables (sets) of linked data.


Both types of systems have people who are System Users - employees of a firm who use (or run part of) the information system as part of their daily work - an example being bank tellers; and Clients - people for whom the system was devised - for instance, bank account holders.


Classifying Organizations by System Type


Most companies can be described using the classification scheme in Table 1.. For example, a janitorial company that cleans offices after business hours most likely represents a simple, stable system because there is a constant and fairly steady need for its services. A successful computer manufacturing company, however, is typically complex and dynamic because it operates in a changing environment. If a company is nonadaptive, it may not survive very long. Many of the early computer companies, including Osborne Computer, which manufactured one of the first portable computers, and VisiCorp, which developed the first spreadsheet program, did not change rapidly enough with the changing market for computers and software. As a result, these companies did not survive. On the other hand, IBM was able to reinvent itself from a manufacturer of large, mainframe computers to a manufacturer of all classes of computers and a software and services provider.


System Performance and Standards


System performance can be measured in various ways. Efficiency is a measure of what is produced divided by what is consumed. It can range from 0 to 100 percent. For example, the efficiency of a motor is the energy produced (in terms of work done) divided by the energy consumed (in terms of electricity or fuel). Some motors have an efficiency of 50 percent or less because of the energy lost to friction and heat generation.


Efficiency is a relative term used to compare systems. For example, a gasoline engine is more efficient than a steam engine because, for the equivalent amount of energy input (gas or coal), the gasoline engine produces more energy output. The energy efficiency ratio (energy input divided by energy output) is high for gasoline engines when compared with that of steam engines.


Effectiveness is a measure of the extent to which a system achieves its goals. It can be computed by dividing the goals actually achieved by the total of the stated goals. For example, a company may have a goal to reduce damaged parts by 100 units. A new control system may be installed to help achieve this goal. Actual reduction in damaged parts, however, is only 85 units. The effectiveness of the control system is 85 percent (85 / 100 = 85%). Effectiveness, like efficiency, is a relative term used to compare systems.


Efficiency and effectiveness are performance objectives set for an overall system. Meeting these objectives may involve trade-offs in terms of cost, control, and complexity.


Evaluating system performance also calls for the use of performance standards. A system performance standard is a specific objective of the system. For example, a system performance standard for a particular marketing campaign might be to have each sales representative sell $100,000 of a certain type of product each year (Figure 1.5a). A system performance standard for a certain manufacturing process might be to have no more than 1 percent defective parts (Figure 1.5b). Once standards are established, system performance is measured and compared with the standard. Variances from the standard are determinants of system performance. Achieving system performance standards may also require trade-offs in terms of cost, control, an


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