Chapter 01 - Foundations of Information Systems in Business


Foundations of Information Systems in Business

Chapter 1: Foundations of Information Systems in Business presents an overview of the five basic areas of information systems knowledge needed by business professionals, including the conceptual system components and major types of information systems. In addition, trends in information systems and an overview of the managerial challenges associated with information systems are presented.

After reading and studying this chapter, you should be able to: 1. Understand the concept of a system and how it relates to information systems.

2. Explain why knowledge of information systems is important for business professionals, and identify five areas of information systems knowledge that they need. 3. Give examples to illustrate how the business applications of information systems can support a firm’s business processes, managerial decision making, and strategies for competitive advantage. 4. Provide examples of several major types of information systems from your experiences with business organizations in the real world. 5. Identify several challenges that a business manager might face in managing the successful and ethical development and use of information technology in a business. 6. Provide examples of the components of real world information systems. Illustrate that in an information system, people use hardware, software, data, and networks as resources to perform input, processing, output, storage, and control activities that transform data resources into information products. 7. Demonstrate familiarity with the myriad of career opportunities in information systems.


Chapter 01 - Foundations of Information Systems in Business

• IS Framework for Business Professionals. The IS knowledge that a business manager or professional needs to know is illustrated in Figure 1.2 and covered in this chapter and text. This knowledge includes (1) foundation concepts: fundamental behavioral, technical, business, and managerial concepts like system components and functions, or competitive strategies; (2) information technologies: concepts, developments, or management issues regarding hardware, software, data management, networks, and other technologies; (3) business applications: major uses of IT for business processes, operations, decision making, and strategic/ competitive advantage; (4) development processes: how end users and IS specialists develop and implement business/IT solutions to problems and opportunities arising in business; and (5) management challenges: how to manage the IS function and IT resources effectively and ethically to achieve top performance and business value in support of the business strategies of the enterprise. • Business Roles of Information Systems. Information systems perform three vital roles in business firms. Business applications of IS support an organization’s business processes and operations, business decision making, and strategic competitive advantage. Major application categories of information systems include operations support systems, such as transaction processing systems, process control systems, and enterprise collaboration systems; and management support systems, such as management information systems, decision support systems, and executive information systems. Other major categories are expert systems, knowledge management systems, strategic information systems, and functional business systems. However, in the real world, most application categories are combined into cross-functional information systems that provide information and support for decision making and also performing operational information processing activities. Refer to Figures 1.7 , 1.9 , and 1.11 for summaries of the major application categories of information systems. • System Concepts. A system is a group of interrelated components, with a clearly defined boundary, working toward the attainment of a common goal by accepting inputs and producing outputs in an organized transformation process. Feedback is data about the performance of a system. Control is the component that monitors and evaluates feedback and makes any necessary adjustments to the input and processing components to ensure that proper output is produced. • Information System Model. An information system uses the resources of people, hardware, software, data, and networks to perform input, processing, output, storage, and control activities that convert data resources into information products. Data are first collected and converted to a form that is suitable for processing (input). Then the data are manipulated and converted into information (processing), stored for future use (storage), or communicated to their ultimate user (output) according to correct processing procedures (control). • IS Resources and Products. Hardware resources include machines and media used in information processing. Software resources include computerized instructions (programs) and instructions for people (procedures). People resources include information systems specialists and users. Data resources include alphanumeric, text, image, video, audio, and other forms of data. Network resources include communications media and network support. Information products produced by an information system can take a variety of forms, including paper reports, visual displays, multimedia documents, e-messages, graphics images, and audio responses.


and customer service. Enterprise Collaboration Systems (13): The use of groupware tools and the Internet. and delivery and payment of products. and other networks. E-business applications (12): Businesses today are using the Internet.Chapter 01 . extranets. research and development. and other business stakeholders. This includes both input and processing activities. places. customers. marketing and servicing. and resource sharing among teams and workgroups. and events. and inter-organizational extranets to support business activities with suppliers. and collaboration within a company and with its customers. 1-3 . but also the unstructured information found in e-mail or other collaborative systems. sorting. between an inter-networked enterprise and its prospects. and secured as such. 10. Data (34): Facts or observations about physical phenomena or business transactions. extranets. collaboration. 9.Foundations of Information Systems in Business KEY TERMS AND CONCEPTS 1. 7. finance. More specifically. suppliers. intranets. suppliers. and video. and information over the Internet. 4. services. coordination. maintained. 2. things. E-commerce (12): The buying and selling. E-business (12): The use of Internet technologies to support business processes. Data Resources (33): Data is now thought of as a valuable raw material that should be used. Data resources include not only structured information typically found in databases. 5. manufacturing. and other computer networks to support and enhance communication. Using a systematic development process increases the likelihood of a successful project. corporate intranets. intranets. data are objective measurements of the attributes (characteristics) of entities. and summarizing. and other business partners. Developing successful information system solutions (18): Business professionals are responsible for proposing new or improved systems to support their business activities as well as managing their development. marketing. electronic commerce. Processing includes calculating. comparing. sales. audio. Computer-Based Information System (8): An information system that uses computer hardware and software to perform its information processing activities. 3. such as people. Control (29): The systems component that evaluates feedback to determine whether the system is moving toward the achievement of its goal and then makes any necessary adjustments to the input and processing components of the system to ensure that proper output is produced. These systems allow the creation of "virtual" teams of people who may work together without ever meeting in person. classifying. 6. accounting. partners. Data or Information Processing (35): The act of converting data into information. customers. 8.

This may take the form of messages. Intranet (12): Internet-like networks and websites developed for use within an organization. sound. Processing (35): Data transformation including calculating.Foundations of Information Systems in Business 11. b. Media (33): Hardware designed to hold data such as paper forms. 15. b. Information (34): Data that have been converted into a meaningful and useful context for specific end users.Chapter 01 . tape. processing. Information System Model (31): The conceptual view of an information system. software. 1-4 . printers. Feedback (29): Data or information concerning an information system's performance. d. classifying. This includes not only machines. and paper. but storage media such as disks. magnetic strips. Input ( 35): Data entry. output. output. Information products include messages. 16. Extranet (12): A network that links selected resources of a company with its customers. magnetic disks. and memory "sticks". processing. forms. monitors. and graphic images. Information System (4): The arrangement of all the components and resources necessary to deliver information and functions to the organization. Consist of all input. and storage activities as well as actions performed in response to this information. reports. images. Information system activities (35): All information systems (manual or automated) share the same characteristics. and storage devices including computers. a. 18. 17. Storage (36): The retention of information such that it can be later retrieved. 12. Information products (35): The degree to which information is packaged into an easy to use form. storage. Output (35): Information made available to end uses. suppliers. forms. magnetic tape. a. processing. reports. output. and video. 14. c. e. comparing. 13. and tabulating. networking. optical disks. and control activities that transform data resources into information products. and pointing devices. Machines (32). Control (36): Control includes feedback regarding input. These resources include hardware. keyboards. sorting. and other business partners using internet technologies. Hardware Resources (32): All physical devices and materials used in information processing. a. and people to perform input.

1-5 . routers. Support of strategies for competitive advantage (8): Information systems can make available new types of products and services through which an organization might gain a competitive advantage. b. Broadly. IS specialists (32): Are people who develop and operate information systems. Programs (33): A set of instructions that cause a computer to perform a particular task. and payroll processing.Chapter 01 . This includes not only software but the human procedures associated with managing information systems as well. software. b. End users (32): Are people who use an information system or the output it produces. or they may directly support business operations. transmitters. 25. System (26): A system is a group of interrelated components working together toward a common goal by accepting inputs and producing outputs in an organized transformation process. While these types of decisions require human creativity. Roles of IS in Business (8): Information systems perform three vital roles in any type of organization. Software Resources (33): Software resources comprise all sets of information processing instructions. 24. Knowledge Workers (32): People whose primary work activities include creating. Procedures (33) Set of instructions used by people to complete a task. a. Management information systems (15): These systems provide information to managers and business professionals. using. this resource includes IS specialists and end users. switches. Support of business decision making (8): Systems can support less structured business activities such as deciding which product lines to add or discontinue. inventory ordering. a. information systems can support managers in this process by providing them with useful information on demand. and other network infrastructure.Foundations of Information Systems in Business 19. and distributing information. 21. These tasks may include managing the operational components of the information system. 20. a. Network resources (34) Network resources include communications media. c. 23. b. People Resources (32): People are an essential component of an information system. 22. Support of business processes and operations (8): Examples of supported business processes include activities such as sales transactions.

message boards. Enterprise collaboration systems (14): Enterprise collaborative systems facilitate team or workgroup communications and productivity. and heating and cooling systems. wikis. d. marketing. These include e-mail. b. a. A TPS processes routine business transactions such as sales or purchases. 1-6 . Transaction processing systems (14): Transaction processing systems (or TPS) are a type of operations support system. and videoconferencing. Operations support systems (13): These systems help enable the day to day operations of an organization. e. Process control systems (14): These systems monitor and control physical processes such as production lines. They include office automation systems. sales. digital whiteboards. These types of systems include executive information systems. g. f.Foundations of Information Systems in Business 26. decision support systems. Functional business systems (15): Systems that focus on basic business functions such as accounting. instant messaging. transaction processing systems. Cross-functional information systems (15) Information systems that cross the boundaries of functional business areas and management levels in order to support business processes throughout the organization. finance. Types of Information Systems (13): Information systems are classified in order to spotlight the major roles each plays in the operations and management of a business. c.Chapter 01 . Management support systems (14): Information systems that provide information and support for effective decision making by managers. and human resource management. and management information systems. package routing. and process control systems.

22 16a 16b 16c 16d 16e 26 26c 26b 26a 18 11 7 26d 5 6 14a 21 22a 4 26f 20 26e 26g Key Term People resources Input Processing Output Storage Control Types of information systems Operations support systems Management support systems Cross-functional informational systems Intranet Extranet E-business Functional business systems Data resources Developing successful information system solutions Information products Network resources IS specialists Data or information processing Process control systems Management information systems Transaction processing systems Enterprise collaborative systems 1-7 . 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 A. 19 23 23a 23b 23c 15 1 22b 8 9 10 25 12 2 3 14 16 17 13 13a 13b 24 24a 24b Key Term Knowledge workers Roles of IS in business Support of business processes and operations Support of business decision making Support of strategies for competitive advantage Information system Computer-based information system End users E-business applications Electronic commerce Enterprise collaboration systems System Feedback Control Data Information Information system activities Information system model Hardware resources Machines Media Software resources Programs Procedures Q.Foundations of Information Systems in Business ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUIZ Q.Chapter 01 . 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 A.

How does the use of the Internet. then competitors need only copy these successful implementations. Organizations use internet technologies to connect with both customers and suppliers. the airlines industry relies heavily on online ticket booking. most technology innovations provide only a temporary edge over competitors. In eCourier's case. brand image. These technologies allow customers to generate and track their own orders as well as manager their accounts. Information technology can also facilitate the reengineering of entire business processes. the boost to an organization's image may be longer lasting. employees can compose and send e-mails electronically. or provide advanced technical support. How can information technology support a company’s business processes and decision making and give it a competitive advantage? Give examples to illustrate your answer. the patent runs out after 17 years. CTO and cofounder of eCourier. intranets. They also enable significant supply chain automation 3. Intranets: organizations often use internet technologies to facilitate operations within the organization. proprietary technology. Instead of writing memos or letters. For example. Such systems might include product support knowledge bases. and access to the organisation's benefits system. help manage projects. Many businesses also conduct retail operations online. Extranet: organizations may use these same internet technologies to connect with their business partners to facilitate supply chain management. and Bryan Cave in the chapter. 1-8 . Cablecom. Jay Bregman. competitors need only make the capital investment in offthe-shelf technology in order catch up. notes that the company hopes their innovative use of technology will become a differentiator in their competitive market. Competitive advantage: product innovations or cost savings program can provide a product or price advantage over competitors that lasts until competitors catch up. Support: Information technology can automate manual process such as document transmission. training systems. and it took competitors decades to catch up. Xerox brand photocopiers benefited from the first three. and high switching costs can all work to make imitations less successful. Opportunities range from giving away basic product information to automatically updating or patching retail software. Often. and extranets by companies today support their business processes and activities? Internet: organization can connect directly with the general public. 2. If the advantage comes from how a technology is used.Chapter 01 . Even in the unusual case of patented technologies. Though the advantage may be fleeting. competitors have the opportunity to learn from hard won efforts and improve on them to their advantage. Imitation limitations: economies of scale. More generally.Foundations of Information Systems in Business ANSWERS TO DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. manage accounts. Refer to the Real Word Case on eCourier. but it also provides them with a valuable information about passengers which they can repackage for sale to business partners in the form of "frequent flier" programs. to what extent do specific technologies help companies gain an edge over their competitors? How easy or difficult would it be to imitate such advantages? Advantage: at best. Not only does this facilitate filling seats. eCourier should now focus on increasing switching costs by webenabling their account management system.

Other ideas may include such things as a shortage of skilled employees. managers must make good use of information resources placed at their disposal. Why do big companies still fail in their use of information technology? What should they be doing differently? Top Five Reasons for Success User involvement Executive management support Clear statement of requirements Proper planning Realistic expectations Top Five Reasons for Failure Lack of user input Incomplete requirements and specifications Changing requirements and specifications Lack of executive support Technological incompetence Certainly the reasons listed in the table above could explain some of the major causes of why companies fail in their use of information technology. calendar.Foundations of Information Systems in Business 4. This would include using data and analysis tools in order to make more informed business decisions. managers should ensure they receive the appropriate training for these various applications. and to what extent is it about changing the underlying ways that companies do business? Innovations: • iPad • iPhone • Droid • Solid State Drives (SSD) • G4 networks • IEEE 802. These managers would increasingly find themselves "out of the loop". There are two sides to this answer. In the case of e-mail. High quality decisions based upon the information these systems provide would demonstrate that these assets are not being wasted. To what extent is innovation about the technology itself. other users would notice a manager's lack of participation. Responsible use: Managers should demonstrate that they are using their information systems as intended. Second. scheduling. Irresponsible uses: • accessing and/or selling data for personal gain • failing to protect data from loss or theft • violating privacy laws or abusing community privacy expectations 6. managers should incorporate these tools into their daily habits. Refer to the Real World Case on the New York Times and Boston Scientific in the chapter. 5. To demonstrate appropriate use of other information systems. we must insure that we always consider the ethical responsibilities of the use of information. How can a manager demonstrate that he or she is a responsible end user of information systems? Give several examples. Student's answers may vary depending on how they interpret this question. and think about any technology-enabled innovations that you have read about or come across recently. Inappropriate use: As a manager or other end user of information. However. and a rapidly changing business regulatory environment. and collaborative systems. the major expense involved in managing and developing systems. managers must not use their information systems irresponsibly. First.0 • Geographically targeted mobile marketing 1-9 .11n • HTML 5.Chapter 01 . Instead. They would find it difficult to communicate or schedule meetings with non-participating managers. it is important to note that the field of technology is changing at such a rapid pace that many large and successful companies are having difficulty keeping up with it.

and even free web space. real world problems exist. 1-10 . In what major ways have information systems in business changed during the last 40 years? What is one major change you think will happen in the next 10 years? Refer to Figure 1. manufacturers promote solutions in search of a problem. Why are there so many conceptual classifications of information systems? Why are they typically integrated in the information systems found in the real world? Conceptual classifications of information systems are designed to emphasize the many different roles of information systems. flexibility. these roles are not always clearly divided. This can be done from various points of view. the military developed GPS to solve one set of problems. security. Employees quickly become comfortable with their work. Developing large systems has been often likened to "hitting a moving target. • 8. As a result. People with Internet access now get many services free: e-mail." Projects that take a year or more to implement may well satisfy last year's needs. and in any case. 9. At least initially. Instead. and free. In practice. Ever increasing customer expectations.Chapter 01 . software. and with this sort of promotion. consumers and business consultants are free to find their own ways to apply available solutions. but marketers now use this technology to provide location-specific advertising to mobile consumers. easy to acquire. Napster set the expectation that music should be easy to find. they may make poor decisions that have far-reaching effects.4 to help you answer. Managers must overcome resistance to change within their own organization. instant messaging. FedEx set the expectation that a customer will know what day a package will arrive. information. Rather than guiding a bomb to a target. Thus it makes sense to integrate various roles into one information system. In short. • • Lack of familiarity with information systems development methodologies.Foundations of Information Systems in Business Motivation: Manufacturers appear to be uncertain about the extent to which an innovative product may change the underlying ways organizations operate. For example. they tend focus on the technical bits: speed. 7. battery life. news. or the business functions they support. GPS technology helps guides people looking for a lunch discount to a store with surplus capacity. and so on. scheduling. and they find changing processes stressful. What are some of the toughest management challenges in developing IT solutions to solve business problems and meet new business opportunities? Challenges: • Increased competitive pressures resulting from a rapidly changing business environment. calendaring. entertainment. Managers need to foster a work environment where employees see change as a routine part of their job. information produced by one business activity may serve as input data to another activity. Wikipedia set the expectation that users can add to or correct information in articles themselves. Of course. All these experiences play into users' expectations. such as the level of management that the information systems serve. but may do little to address current challenges. they hold back "suggested use" for fear they might accidentally limit their customer's perceptions.

• Biometric computing • Monitoring and control systems embedded into the human body (for example. GPS. Here's another way of looking at this – if I take my car in to a garage for repairs. Compare this with buying a new car. audio. visit some showrooms. they must participate in product research. For a car buyer to be satisfied with their purchase. networks into entirely new products and services. and test drive a few models. Failure: Failure is never an orphan. Failure can come from many sources. a server upgrade involves only IT people. insulin injectors. IT people aren't as likely to understand the intricacies of various office operations and rely almost entirely on feedback from the organization's managers. Managers • do not fully understand their own business processes • overestimate the quality of legacy data • overestimate employee's willingness to change • accept vendor's time & cost estimates without sufficient skepticism • fail to appreciate the risks associated with customization • disrupt regular business with too many changes at once Technology: • oversold • implemented by inexperienced technologists 1-11 . Any resulting failure will almost always trace back to IT. or business projects with a significant IT component? Who should be responsible for ensuring their success? Explain. ID chips) 10.Foundations of Information Systems in Business History: • Tabulation (pre 1950s) • Data processing (1950s-1960s) • Management reporting (1960s-1970s) • Decision support (1970s-1980s) • Strategic end user support (1980s-1990s) • Enterprise and global internetworking (1990s-2000s) • eBusiness (2000s-2010s) • Social networking (2010s-current) Future: • User authentication • Virtual machines • Cloud computing • Solid state drives • Overhaul of computing legislation • Integration of video. Business Projects In general. images. (the work below has some application to the answer: re-work) IT Projects A few projects might be considered solely IT projects. Such projects require their participation to succeed.Chapter 01 . is it my fault if the mechanic reassembles the transmission incorrectly? My involvement is limited only to ensuring labor hours and work time do not significantly exceed estimates. It is not sufficient for a new car buyer to establish color and price requirements. Refer to the real world example about responsibility and accountability for project failures in the chapter. IT departments undertake work at the behest of business managers. For example. Are these IT projects. For example.

Feedback A library's feedback systems include circulation. microfiche. they do not have the all around expertise necessary to manage a project entirely on their own. file drawers for microfiche. librarians use this information to help the library run more effectively and efficiently. a) Input A library's inputs consist of the items it receives for its collection. the project's sponsor must have the authority to provide the required resources and be held accountable for a project's final outcome.Chapter 01 . or damaged items from the collection. class registrations systems. IT managers can only facilitate projects. Look up the definitions for each term listed below and briefly explain a library's equivalents. maps. and even hand-written notes. and loss statistics. hard drives for databases. photocopies. facilitating inter-library loans. This exercise makes an excellent in-class discussion topic where students can expand each other's ideas. As a result. d) Storage A library's storage systems include shelves for books.Foundations of Information Systems in Business Responsibility At best. c) Output A library's outputs consist of any information that leaves the library. This exercise takes a familiar system and breaks it down into an information system's components. stacks for periodicals. and racks for CD's and DVD's. and develop strategies to reduce loss. duplicate. In most cases. Understanding the Information System A library makes an excellent information systems model. periodicals. e) f) Control A library's control systems include periodic inventories. IT managers and even CIO's rarely have this level of authority. This may take the form of item loans. In short. and security cameras. and repairing damaged items. DVDs. Additional processes include adding new items into the collection. and many others. It serves as a very large information storage facility with text. plan staffing levels. ANSWERS TO ANALYSIS EXERCISES 1. CDs. it's important for IT managers to establish roles and responsibilities across the entire project and ensure each team member satisfactorily completes their tasks in a timely manner. and voting systems. Ultimately. purging dated. b) Processing A library's main processes revolve around checking out and checking in items from its collection. These items may consist of books. anti-theft devices. The project manager should also set checkpoints to assess progress and communicate with key stakeholders. 1-12 . Consider substituting any common information system in place of a library. patronage. photocopying or reproducing materials. audio. Inputs also consist of creating and maintaining patron's accounts. sending overdue notices. Librarians use this information to help identify popular items. Students will more easily grasp advanced concepts once they learn to think in terms of the basic information systems structures. assisting patron's accounts. and video data archives. Alternative examples might include video rental stores.

online (sometimes replicated) Alternatively.19. grade book Desktop computer. assignment submission. rosters.19. Use Figure 1. Sample answer: "Professor" Element People Software Hardware Network Data Control Input Processing Output Storage Example Students.Foundations of Information Systems in Business 2. committee members.Chapter 01 . meeting request Grade tabulation. Examples might include: • Sales representative • Human resources manager • Accountant • Project manager • Store manager • Financial analyst • Programmer 3. Fill in your diagram with the information about people. consider assigning one or more specific job titles. Skydive Chicago: Efficiency and Feedback a) How can this information system benefit the skydiving student? Benefits: • Faster learning – students see what they are doing right and wrong • Improved safety – fewer mistakes results in greater safety • "Free" video souvenir – students can make and keep copies of their videos b) How can this information system benefit Skydive Chicago? Benefits: • Marketing – student videos make great promotional tools • Safety – students learn faster and make fewer mistakes • Reduced labor – instructors don't have to spend as much time with students • Instructor feedback – instructors can see the results of their training efforts 1-13 . peers Blackboard. various servers LAN. message Local. personal calendar. Provide a realworld example of each element in Figure 1. and other resources from this exercise. You may need to interview someone familiar with this position to find the information you require. assignments. messages Systems administrators Grade entry. administration. hardware. Select a job title for a career you would like to pursue as a summer intern or new graduate. e-mail. Career Research on the Web Select a job title for a career you would like to pursue as a summer intern or new graduate. meeting minutes. message routing. WebCT. software. file serving Report card. Wi-Fi Grades.

VHS tape VCR and camera cables Video Video of jump View.Chapter 01 . Detail Student / jumpmaster Record. training room library access Are Textbooks History? Many students are familiar with both Google and Wikipedia." Compare Wikipedia's article to the information provided within this textbook. play. copy video Copy to student. Diagram Element People resources Software resources Hardware resources Network resources Data resources Input Process Output Storage Control 4. This exercise will help bring the remaining students up to speed and enable thoughtful classroom discussion. and so on. It will also increase student's exposure to this chapter's vocabulary. and use the search box to look up "End-user. Wikipedia's advantages: • Free • Detailed • Easy to print and use the search box to look up "Knowledge worker. Links to related terms at the bottom of the article made exploring the topic in further detail simple. VCR. dictionary definitions. information from this exercise. a) Go to http://www. Video camera. b) Go to a MySpace page. information about end-user licensing agreements. Google returns Wikipedia links." Were any of Google's first five search results useful with respect to this course? At the time of this writing. etc. software. not heavy to carry Textbook's advantages: • Fact checked by professionals • Concise • Contains up to date real-world examples and illustrations • Includes useful case studies and exercises • Available off-line and without batteries 1-14 . and copy video. Fill in your diagram with people. Note: seven years ago the results were generally useless with respect to this course. the information system model).Foundations of Information Systems in Business c) Draw the information systems model (Figure 1. Which source did you find easiest to use? What advantages did Wikipedia provide? What advantages did this textbook provide? Ease of use: The article was neatly laid out and easy to navigate. copy to library VHS tape video library Management policy.

Use a file server if available or even e-mail the file to yourself. Make a habit of frequently backing up work. Wikipedia. The storage media might become lost or damaged. vetted for accuracy. Enable each application's auto-save feature. This exercise stimulates thinking and may result in improved practices. 3 a. "My computer crashed" is not a valid excuse for failing to turn in work. or other calamity. but the information is concise. It contained hyperlinks to online sources and internal links to related articles. Laptop computers have this capability built in. Consider asking students if they have ever "lost" important work. 2 a. so it was useful in that way. Work areas may be destroyed or rendered inaccessible by fire. Other links included intranet building resources. 1) Failing to frequently save work in progress 2) Failing to make a backup-copy 3) Storing original and backup copies in the same location a) How might this mistake result in data loss? b) What procedures could you follow to minimize this risk? Answers: 1 a. For example use a key-ring thumb drive to store backups and keep the key ring apart from the computer containing the original copy. The user might forget to save his or her work before exiting the application. and links to subject-matter journals.Chapter 01 . It's simpler to type in a one word query than to navigate to Wikipedia and repeat the query. flood. Always start new edits using a copy of the original file instead of directly onto the original file. The user may accidentally overwrite or delete their work file. Textbook: The textbook contains the term in its index along with numerous page references spread across many chapters. Stories of lost files abound. Use backup scheduling software included with most operating systems to automate daily backups. Power might go out. 2 b. Ask them to elaborate on the circumstances. 1 b. When using a desktop machine. 3 b. Make a habit of frequently saving work. Backpacks and briefcases may become lost or stolen. intranet evaluations. Make a habit of storing backups separately. It also supports a "no excuses" policy toward future class work. Use a storage device on a computer network in combination with removable media.Foundations of Information Systems in Business c) Did Google. E-mailing will place a copy of your work on your e-mail server until you retrieve it. Wikipedia: Wikipedia's article addressed the subject in detail. install an uninterrupted power supply that provides at least five minutes worth of power in the event of a power outage. Students should get into good data management practices early and maintain them throughout their careers. The book is far more cumbersome to use. and available offline. 1-15 . Learn the "shortcut" keystrokes that cause an application to save your work. or this textbook provide the most useful information about "Intranets"? Why? Google: Google provided Wikipedia's link first. Careers in IS Note: the answers to these questions require a fair amount of commons sense. This exercise may make an excellent in-class discussion topic.

equal opportunity compliance. retrain. eCourier: uses GPS enabled hand-held devices. Students might also suggest using the tools described in the Bryan Cave section to estimate project costs given the work currently in the "pipeline". In addition to those noted in the case.Foundations of Information Systems in Business ANSWERS TO REAL WORLD CASES RWC 1: eCourier. For example. the use of BI technology to improve the availability. Cablecom. managers may wish to review. client interaction. Cablecom developed a prediction model to better identify those customers at risk of switching to other company in the near future. and customer data analysis to increase efficiency. and inexpensive labor. Once identified. and nurses at various levels provide the majority of the labor. and processes. Examples include: • • • • consulting firms engineering firms architecture firms software development companies Student's examples might include scheduling an optimal mix of personnel to provide the appropriate level of supervision. These technologies enable fact based decision making. This would enable firms to reject work which might disrupt the current work schedule or make more appropriate bids on more suitable projects. 1-16 . and staffing optimization. Cablecom could make the appropriate adjustments and thereby reduce the number of complaints. or terminate employees responsible for that route. Cablecom: uses custom data mining tools and surveys to improve customer service and retention. How do information technologies contribute to the business success of the companies depicted in the case? Provide an example from each company explaining how the technology implemented led to improved performance. access. and improve customer service. Would you consider letting some customers leave anyway? Why? In addition to identifying at-risk customers. 2. and presentation of existing information allowed them to provide tailored and innovative services to their customers.Chapter 01 . Bryan Cave: uses analysis tools to evaluate their fees. 3. expertise. what other actions could be taken if that information were available? Give some examples of these. Emergency room staffing would make an excellent example where the chief resident supervises all services while residents. these tools might also help identify problem products. personnel. and how? Develop two different possibilities. enable scalability. What other professions could benefit from a similar use of these technologies. Students should consider other hourly billing based professional services industries. if customers on a particular service route are more prone to complain. online booking. and Bryan Cave Case Study Questions 1. interns. services. These tools enable flexible fee structures. In the case of law firm Bryan Cave discussed above.

Students should search on "Business Intelligence Software" and "business intelligence case studies". On the other hand. managers must be careful not to shift blame onto customers when the fault really lies elsewhere. 2. The charge-back system helps IT to quantitatively justify its existence to the organization. As stated in the case. the New York Times chose to deploy their innovation support group as a shared service across business units. hardware. Why do some companies in a given industry. What do you think this means? What are the advantages of choosing this approach? Are there any disadvantages? Shared service A shared service means that it's a resource available to all the organization's business units. adopt and deploy innovative technologies while others in the same line of business do not? Break into small groups with your classmates to discuss what characteristics of companies could influence their decision to innovate with the use of information technologies. What differences can you find with those reviewed in the case? Prepare a report to summarize your findings and highlight new and innovative uses of these technologies. Characteristics: • Technical resources • Human resources • Capital resources • Risk tolerance • Reward structures • Organizational culture • Litigation risk • Competitive threats • Customer demands RWC 2: The New York Times and Boston Scientific Case Study Questions 1. like eCourier above. Typically. and policy standards across an organization • Easier to share best practices across an organization Disadvantages • Creates an extra layer of management between IT and end-users which may result in some loss of responsiveness or accountability to individual business units • Reduced flexibility 1-17 . but they also sap the energy of valuable employees. These customers serve not only as a material financial drain. This means they generate internal charges (bills) for their work. process.Foundations of Information Systems in Business BI systems identify chronic complainers. Advantages • Pooled expertise • Shared overhead costs • Easier to enforce software. but it also delays identifying and correcting the true problem. Use the Internet to research the latest offerings in business intelligence technologies and their uses by companies. technology. an organization could benefit from identifying these trouble customers and let them go. So yes. Real World Activities 1. shared services operate as a "profit center". Doing so not only alienates valuable customers.Chapter 01 .

demographic profiles. Its managers also had to learn the new technology and incorporate it into their daily processes. Importance Since a project will fail without both cultural and technology changes. How would Netflix use this information to improve their business? Could other companies also take advantage of these data? How? Provide some examples. Current state Traditional newspapers have expanded to the Internet. Technology Boston Scientific accomplished its objective by implementing an automated workflow application to help them manage information access. Possible business improvements Netflix could use this data to identify affinities between movies and ensure that its regional distribution centers are appropriately stocked to meet anticipated demand. among others. How did the use of technology allow the company to achieve both objectives at the same time? What kind of cultural changes were required for this to be possible? Are these more important than the technology-related issues? Develop a few examples to justify your answer. Real World Activities 1. USA Today.arcamax. The Wall Street Journal. Others. how are the New York Times and other leading newspapers coping with these challenges? What do you think the industry will look like 5 or 10 years from now? Go online to research these issues and prepare a report to share your findings. Enabling workers to participate in quality improvement initiatives by providing them with production data and analysis tools would run counter to this culture. employ a subscription model for their online services. Postal codes would give marketers the ability to tie Netflix' data in with data from other marketing systems to help create more useful regional. rely on revenue generated through online advertising. Boston Scientific faced the challenge of balancing openness and sharing with security and the need for restricting access to 1-18 . managers would resist sharing information or simply deny their employees access to the system. 1 http://www. and The Economist.Foundations of Information Systems in Business 2. Sample examples Some cultures operate under a strict social hierarchy. The video rental map developed by the New York Times and Netflix graphically displays movie popularity across neighborhoods from major US cities. like The New York Times. neither one is more important. Unless the implementation team manages to overcome this cultural barrier. External use Netflix might consider selling its data to consumer trend-tracking organizations. The newspaper industry has been facing serious challenges to its viability ever since the Internet made news available online. Netflix need not divulge individual customer data but instead group movie rental data by postal code. Note 1: does the current generation even read traditional newspapers? 1 Note 2: early science fiction writers anticipated newspaper facsimiles printing out in each subscriber's home. though not by date or political inclination. 3. News aggregators such as do a good job organizing news stories by subject and region. In addition to those initiatives described in the 01 . Cultural changes Boston Scientific's managers had to eliminate their "information silo" mentality and perceive the value in sharing their information in a controlled and accountable fashion.

However. It will also accept user input regarding an article's quality. and others. After hours. Examples: • Expanded market . Break into small groups with your classmates to share your findings and discuss any trends or patterns you see in current uses of technology in this regard. For example. The software will also likely consider the user's physical location and connection device when making story recommendations. the news stories would focus on leisure activities. iOS. regional.Duckett tracks production workflows and more accurately calculate costs. Examples abound within this text and online. news providers would run the risk that users would switch to another service. select colors.workflow information helps identify useful process changes and provides feedback to help Duckett evaluate the results. • Business process reengineering . that advertising revenue will increase. and holidays. don't show me…). RWC 3: Sew What? Inc. Just click here… 2.Foundations of Information Systems in Business Search terms "future of newspapers" Future Users will be able to indicate their current "state" or "mode" or "status" and receive news appropriate for the moment. if commercials become too intrusive." • Cost accounting . This product is a relatively new and direct challenge to Windows CE. and GPS directions only to those places within his or her vicinity that match his or her dining preferences.the website helps her educate her customers about curtain design. How do information technologies contribute to the business success of Sew What? Inc. The software will base its decision on explicit instructions (show me…. • Customer education . During working hours. • Customer service . One example worth following closely is Google's Android operating system and its application in smart phones and other devices. weekends. national. It's distinctly possible that services providers will have so much information about a user – including real-time physical location and purchasing desires. and learn about her product's "care and feeding. Go online and search the Internet for other examples of companies using technology to help them innovate and develop new products or services. how much would a local restaurant pay to reach a user located a block away who has expressed interest in finding a nice place to eat within the next hour? The user gets a list. Some newspapers may experiment with a "commercial free" version for a fee. Newspapers will not charge for these features – they'll provide them simply increase readerships.the website allows customers to more easily match materials. For example.Duckett was able to grow her business from local to international clients using her website. 1-19 . reservations. the "newspaper" software would present top local. This will further "instruct" the software as well as provide the newspaper with real-time feedback. and international headlines before work. the user might see only new stories in various industry or technical journals. past browsing habits. The software will adapt over time and adjust to changing preferences.Chapter 01 . perhaps a discount offer.: The Role of Information Technology in Small Business Success Case Study Questions 1. and the browsing habits of various affinity groups related to the individual and their current "state".? Give several examples from the case regarding the business value of information technology that demonstrate this conclusion. Unix.

Organizations don't want information systems. the real prize is profitability.Foundations of Information Systems in Business 2. Marketplace: Sew What? operates in a highly competitive market.. Competitors include: • ShowBiz Enterprises. Small businesses have been slower to integrate information technology into their operations than larger companies. If customers prefer a one-stop solution for their staging needs. If you were a management consultant to Sew What? Inc.ledstarcloth. what would you advise Megan Duckett to do at this point to be even more successful in her business? What role would information technology play in your proposals? Provide several specific recommendations. By keeping a customer database with vehicle maintenance schedules. While it's great to get a pat on the back now and then. Reasons: • Most small companies are focused on their survival and don't have time to plan for the long term. identifying several possible IT solutions and their business benefits that could help small businesses be more successful. and its competitors at the present time. the mechanic can contact customers and schedule them for routine service during anticipated slack times. Break into small groups with your classmates to discuss the reasons for this state of affairs. For 4 http://www. they are expensive and distracting. • Many information technology solutions require considerable startup costs. Her reputation may lead to continued growth and/or expansion into new areas. In general. How could the use of information technology help a small business you know be more successful? Provide several examples to support your answer. then they would not consider Sew What? as a potential vendor. Lastly. and long payback periods. Profitability turns into big annual bonuses and pats on the back from people she cares about the most. Inc. Answers should focus primarily on those goals and how the proposed system will help.Chapter 01 . What conclusions can you draw from your research about Sew What?'s prospects for the future? Report your findings and recommendations for Sew What?'s continued business success to the class. 2 • Rose Brand3 • Universal Stars Incorporated4 • Gerriets International 5 Findings: Sew What?'s competitors offer a spectrum of products far broader than just curtains.rosebrand. steep learning curves. Therefore. • Smaller companies have proportionally smaller IT budgets. 2 3 http://www. Real World Activities 1. The article provides no information about Duckett's current challenges. However. Duckett should not get too carried away with industry http://www. She will not want to find herself limited by her own information Search the Internet to help you evaluate the business performance of Sew What? 5 http://www. her employees. Duckett should consider expanding her company's product line. 2. though recommendations should focus on 1-20 . organizations usually need information systems in order to accomplish specific goals. 3. a car mechanic would want to ensure he or she meets her quota of billable hours. Duckett should give scalability and flexibility significant consideration when making future IT decisions.

Yet such a system may become part of JetBlue's application portfolio due to its utility. he might have opted to restore the system from backups created at a point in time immediately prior to the failure. Risks: The risks to this ad-hoc. What is the positive side of this high degree of interconnection. Other vendors charge per user and feature rather than tiered fees. With hindsight. 3) Run the system via a mirror site. In the end.Foundations of Information Systems in Business Solutions: • ASP application suites reduce start-up costs because the software is leased rather than purchased. may not be well designed. JetBlue retains the nimbleness to respond quickly to unforeseen events whether they involve a system failure or simply a new competitive provides an automated upgrade path. we now know that the decision made by Eric Raffin of the VA not to fail over to the Denver site was the correct one. These people would require less training when the business get around to implementing new technology. and disaster recovery. and how does this benefit patients? Provide examples from the case to justify your answer. 1-21 . Benefits: By designing its systems with flexibility in mind. it involved failing to follow established backup procedures. However. • Small businesses should ensure they hire people who are IT literate. For example. Eric Brinker of JetBlue noted that the database developed during the crisis had not been needed before because the company had never experienced a meltdown. JetBlue didn't know where many of its employees were and therefore had significant difficulty finding them and organizing a recovery. In the case at hand. A hastily developed system. 2) Since he didn't know the failure was hardware induced. JetBlue may be stuck maintaining a poorly designed (inefficient) system. This assumes paper records are accessible. These indirectly benefit the patient by enabling increased system reliability. Alternatives: 1) Continue operations using a paper based approach. 3. • Ensure IT purchases are scalable. 2. Salesforce. RWC 4: JetBlue and the Veterans Administration Case Study Questions 1. This could result in loss of business and longer-term damage to its reputation. A small. Indirect patient benefits: The organization benefitted from the consolidation security. though useful at the moment. and the best of them may even be able to take a leadership role in training other users and in helping acquire appropriate systems. what other alternatives could he have considered? Develop at least two of them. infrastructure administration and maintenance.Chapter 01 . This would require creating a phone system to manually look up and communicate records on demand as well as require an extensive post-recovery data entry effort. as-needed planning approach include not being able to function during the middle of a crisis. doctors could still access critical patient information. For example. but it would do nothing to correct a hardware induced failure. Further data corruption could be reduced by using the mirror site in read-only mode until the problem had been fixed. JetBlue was able to quickly design a new database to meet their newest need. This would remove any software or data bug from the system. What are the risks and benefits associated with this approach to IT planning? Provide some examples of each. undocumented change resulted in the collapse of the VA system. and they were able to incorporate this database into their ongoing operations once it proved useful. In this way. With the information he had at the time. largely because of the high interrelationship between its applications. This would solve most hardware induced problems.

com makes an excellent resource for this assignment.Foundations of Information Systems in Business Direct patient benefits: the interrelationships between systems provide doctors.html http://www. CIO.modernhealthcare. from 2007 through 2008. did the two organizations face? What changes. external review. and created a passenger's bill of rights. 6 7 pharmacists. 7 JetBlue's stock remained highly correlated with AMR's. and congressional hearings. Real World Activities 1.Chapter 01 . Southwest Airlines and United financial and otherwise. Fallout included an internal review. a temporary hold on additional migrations. promised to do better6. and other medical professionals with faster access to a complete patient view.dll/article?AID=/20071001/FREE/310010001/0/FRONTPAGE 1-22 . Search the Internet for examples of problems that companies have had with their IT 9 http://www. enhancement to documentation technologies. the parent company for JetBlue's main IT service provider. Go online and search for reports on the aftermath of these two incidents.html 8 http://www. both with independent IT operations. significantly outperformed JetBlue during this same period. 9 2. increased safety (better order-checking). What consequences. Veteran's Administration: A ComputerWorld article8 appears to be the source for this case and provides additional details.mpl/business/steffy/4568445. The system's failure provided the reorganization's critics with ample fodder.blogspot. JetBlue: JetBlue apologized to its customers. were implemented as a result of these problems? Prepare a report and present your findings to the class. and better care (event reminders). if any. The failure highlights the difficulty associated with reorganizing infrastructure from decentralized to centralized management. Break into small groups with your classmates to discuss your findings and what solutions you can propose to help organizations avoid the problems you discovered.

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