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JOMO KENYATTA UNIVERSITY

OF
AGRICULTURE & TECHNOLOGY
SCHOOL OF OPEN, DISTANCE &
eLEARNING
IN COLLABORATION WITH
INSTITUTE OF COMPUTER SCIENCE AND
TECHNOLOGY
DEPARTMENT OF COMPUTING

ICS 3202: INFORMATION SYSTEMS

LAST REVISION ON November 4, 2013


GICHURU JOAN
(joangichuru@yahoo.com)
P.O. Box 62000, 00200
Nairobi, Kenya

ICS 3202: INFORMATION SYSTEMS


Course description
Introduction to information systems. Information Systems in an Organization. Input, processing and output devices. Systems and Applications software. Organizing
Data and Information. Ethical and Social issues. Types of Information Systems, Executive Support Systems (ESS), Decision Support Systems (DSS), Management Information Systems (MIS), Transaction Processing Systems (TPL), Learning Management Systems (LMS). System Views; user perspective, developer perspective.
Information Systems analysis and Design.
Prerequisite:
Course aims
To provide learners with the basic concept and principles of Information Systems.
Learning outcomes
Upon completion of this course you should be able to;
1. Identify and differentiate basic components of an Information System.
2. Understand how Information Systems fit into an organization.
3. Explain the range of system views.
Instruction methodology
Lectures.
Practicals.
Course Text Books
1. Information Systems Essentials. Stephen Hagg. McGraw Hill. 3rd Edition.
2009.
2. Information Systems: An introduction in organization. Beynon Davies. MacMillan. 2002.
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Course Journals
Whiteboard, Computers and Internet, Books and Journals.
Assessment information
The module will be assessed as follows;
40% Continuous Assessment Tests
60% Examination.

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Contents
1 Introduction To Information Systems
1.1 System Definition Rationale . . . . . .
1.2 System Components and Characteristics
1.2.1 Resources . . . . . . . . . . . .
1.2.2 Procedures . . . . . . . . . . .
1.2.3 Data/Information . . . . . . . .
1.2.4 Intermediate Data . . . . . . . .
1.2.5 Processes . . . . . . . . . . . .
1.2.6 Objective . . . . . . . . . . . .
1.2.7 Standards . . . . . . . . . . . .
1.2.8 Environment . . . . . . . . . .
1.2.9 Feed Back . . . . . . . . . . .
1.2.10 Boundaries and Interfaces . . .
1.3 Classifications of System . . . . . . . .
1.3.1 Physical or Abstract System . .
1.3.2 Open or Closed System . . . . .
1.3.3 Man made Information System .

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2 Information Systems In Organizations


2.1 Organization and Information Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.2 What is an Organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Why organizations are so much alike and why organizations are so different . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.2.1 Key System Applications in the Organization . . . . . . .
2.2.2 Different Kinds of Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Why Organizations Build Information Systems .


2.3 Information Systems in an Organisation . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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CONTENTS
2.3.1
2.3.2
2.3.3
2.3.4

CONTENTS
Types of Information Systems . .
Transaction Processing Systems .
Management Information Systems
Decision Support Systems . . . .

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3 Input, Processing And Output Components


3.1 What is a computer system? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2 General Overview of A Computer System . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.1 Computer Hardware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Input Hardware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.2 Processing Hardware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Central Processing Unit . . . . . . . . . .

Communication pathways buses . . . . . .


3.2.3 System Clock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Machine Cycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Factors affecting the processing speed are:


3.2.4 Storage Hardware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The primary memory . . . . . . . . . . .


3.2.5 Secondary Storage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.6 Magnetic disks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.7 Magnetic tapes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.8 Optical disks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.9 Flash memory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.10 Output Hardware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.11 Output Devices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.12 Ports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.13 Connectors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Special Purpose Ports . . . . . . . . . . .

Expansion Slots/Adapter Cards . . . . . .


3.2.14 Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Systems Software . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Operating systems software . . . . . . . .


3.2.15 Functions of an operating system . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.16 Systems Utilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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CONTENTS
3.2.17 Application Software . . . . . . . .

General purpose packages

Special purpose packages


3.2.18 Application software versions . . .

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4 Organising And Managing Data And Information Resources


4.1 Problems with traditional file environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.1.1 Database environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Three major types of database models . . . . . . .


4.2 Telecommunications and Networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2.1 Components and functions of a telecommunication system .
4.2.2 Communication Networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2.3 Ethics and Social Issues Read on Your Own . . . . . . . . .

Ethics in general . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2.4 Computer Ethics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2.5 Differences Between Ethics and Law . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The ten commandments of computer ethics . . . .


4.2.6 Guidelines on the e-mail and Internet usage . . . . . . . . .
4.2.7 The Differences Between Ethics And Law S. A . . . . . . .

Definition of Ethics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Definition of Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Why do we need ethics and law in computing? . .


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Respecting Ownership . . . . . . . . . .
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Respecting privacy and confidentiality .
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Respecting property . . . . . . . . . . .

Similarities between Ethics and Law . . . . . . .

Differences between ethics and laws . . . . . . . .


4.2.8 Intellectual Property Rights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Definition of Intellectual Property . . . . . . . . .

Intellectual Property Law . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Inventions Protected By Intellectual Property Laws


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Intellectual Property Protection . . . . . . . . . .

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5 Organizing Data and Information Resources

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CONTENTS
5.1

CONTENTS
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6 Ethics and Social Issues in Information Systems


6.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.1.1 A Model For Thinking About Ethical, Social, And Political
Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.2 Five Moral Dimensions of The Information Age . . . . . . . . . . .
6.3 Key Technology Trends That Raise Ethical Issues . . . . . . . . . .
6.4 Ethics In An Information Society . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.4.1 Features of Ethical Choice: (Responsibility, Accountability,
And Liability) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.4.2 Ethical Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.4.3 Ethical Principles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.4.4 Property Rights: Intellectual Property . . . . . . . . . . . .

Trade Secrets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Copyright . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Patents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Challenges to Intellectual Property Rights . . . . .


6.4.5 Quality Of Life: Equity, Access, And Boundaries . . . . . .

Balancing Power: Center Versus Periphery . . . .

Rapidity of Change: Reduced Response Time to


Competition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Maintaining Boundaries: Family, Work, and Leisure


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5.2

5.3
5.4

Learning Outcomes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.1.1 Traditional file processing systems . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Limitations of traditional file processing systems


The Database Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.2.1 Advantages of the database approach . . . . . . . . . . .
5.2.2 Disadvantages of the database approach . . . . . . . . . .
Database Models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Telecommunications and Networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.4.1 Components of a telecommunication system . . . . . . .

Functions of telecommunication system: . . . .

Communication Networks . . . . . . . . . . . .

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CONTENTS

CONTENTS

Dependence and Vulnerability . . . . . . . . . . . 66


Computer Crime and Abuse . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

7 System analysis and Design


7.1 Learning Outcomes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.2 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.3 Defining System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.4 System life cycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.4.1 Phases of system development life cycle

Preliminary System Study . .

Feasibility Study . . . . . . .

Detailed System Study . . . .

System Analysis . . . . . . .

System Design . . . . . . . .

Coding . . . . . . . . . . . .

Testing . . . . . . . . . . . .

Implementation . . . . . . .

Maintenance . . . . . . . . .

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8 Types of Information Systems


8.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.1.1 Office Information Systems . . . . . . . .
8.1.2 Transaction Processing Systems . . . . .
8.1.3 Management Information Systems . . . .
8.1.4 Decision Support Systems . . . . . . . .
8.1.5 Expert Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Integrated Information Systems


Solutions to Exercises . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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viii

ICS 3202: INFORMATION SYSTEMS

LESSON 1
Introduction To Information Systems
What is a System?
The term system originates from the Greek term systema, which means to place
together. Multiple business and engineering domains have definitions of a system.
This text defines a system as:
System An integrated set of interoperable elements, each with explicitly specified and bounded capabilities, working synergistically to perform value-added
processing to enable a User to satisfy mission-oriented operational needs in
a prescribed operating environment with a specified outcome and probability
of success.
1.1. System Definition Rationale
The definition above captures a number of key discussion points about systems.
By an integrated set, we mean that a system, by definition, is composed of
hierarchical levels of physical elements, entities, or components.
By interoperable elements, we mean that elements within the systems
structure must be compatible with each other in form, fit, and function,
By each element having explicitly specified and bounded capabilities, we
mean that every element should work to accomplish some higher level goal
or purposeful mission. System element contributions to the overall system
performance must be explicitly specified. This requires that operational and
functional performance capabilities for each system element be identified and
explicitly bounded to a level of specificity that allows the element to be analyzed, designed, developed, tested, verified, and validated either on a stand
alone basis or as part of the integrated system.
By working in synergistically, we mean that the purpose of integrating the
set of elements is to leverage the capabilities of individual element capabilities to accomplish a higher level capability that cannot be achieved as standalone elements.
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ICS 3202: INFORMATION SYSTEMS


By value added processing, we mean that factors such operational cost,
utility, suitability, availability, and efficiency demand that each system operation and task add value to its inputs availability, and produce outputs that
contribute to achievement of the overall system mission outcome and performance objectives.
By enable a user to predictably satisfy mission oriented operational needs,
we mean that every system has a purpose (i.e., a reason for existence) and a
value to the user(s). Its value may be a return on investment (ROI) relative to
satisfying operational needs or to satisfy system missions and objectives.
By in a prescribed operating environment, we mean that for economic,
outcome, and survival reasons, every system must have a prescribed that is,
bounded operating environment.
By with a specified outcome, we mean that system stakeholders (Users,
shareholders, owners, etc.) expect systems to produce results. The observed
behavior, products, byproducts, or services, for example, must be outcome
oriented, quantifiable, measurable, and verifiable.
By and probability of success, we mean that accomplishment of a specific
outcome involves a degree of uncertainty or risk. Thus, the degree of success
is determined by various performance factors such as reliability, dependability, availability, maintainability, sustainability, lethality, and survivability.
1.2. System Components and Characteristics
A big system may be seen as a set of interacting smaller systems known as subsystems or functional units each of which has its defined tasks. All these work in
coordination to achieve the overall objective of the system. System engineering requires development of a strong foundation in understanding how to characterize a
system, product, or service in terms of its attributes, properties, and performance.
As discussed above, a system is a set of components working together to achieve
some goal. The basic elements of the system may be listed as:
1. Resources
2. Procedures
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3. Data/Information
4. Intermediate Data
5. Processes
1.2.1. Resources
Every system requires certain resources for the system to exist. Resources can be
hardware, software or liveware. Hardware resources may include the computer, its
peripherals, stationery etc. Software resources would include the programs running
on these computers and the liveware would include the human beings required to
operate the system and make it functional.
Thus these resources make an important component of any system. For instance, a
Banking system cannot function without the required stationery like cheque books,
pass books etc. such systems also need computers to maintain their data and trained
staff to operate these computers and cater to the customer requirements.
1.2.2. Procedures
Every system functions under a set of rules that govern the system to accomplish the
defined goal of the system. This set of rules defines the procedures for the system to
Chapter 1 Introduction to Systems operate. For instance, the Banking systems have
their predefined rules for providing interest at different rates for different types of
accounts.
1.2.3. Data/Information
Every system has some predefined goal. For achieving the goal the system requires
certain inputs, which are converted into the required output. The main objective of
the System is to produce some useful output. Output is the outcome of processing.
Output can be of any nature e.g. goods, services or information.
However, the Output must conform to the customers expectations. Inputs are the
elements that enter the system and produce Output. Input can be of various kinds,
like material, information, etc.

ICS 3202: INFORMATION SYSTEMS


1.2.4. Intermediate Data
Various processes process systems Inputs. Before it is transformed into Output, it
goes through many intermediary transformations. Therefore, it is very important
to identify the Intermediate Data. For example, in a college when students register for a new semester, the initial form submitted by student goes through many
departments. Each department adds their validity checks on it.
Finally the form gets transformed and the student gets a slip that states whether the
student has been registered for the requested subjects or not. It helps in building
the System in a better way. Intermediate forms of data occur when there is a lot of
processing on the input data. So, intermediate data should be handled as carefully
as other data since the output depends upon it.
1.2.5. Processes
The systems have some processes that make use of the resources to achieve the set
goal under the defined procedures. These processes are the operational element of
the system.
For instance in a Banking system there are several processes that are carried out.
Consider for example the processing of a cheque as a process. A cheque passes
through several stages before it actually gets processed and converted. These are
some of the processes of the Banking system. All these components together make
a complete functional system.
Systems also exhibit certain features and characteristics, some of which are:
Objective
Standards
Environment
Feedback
Boundaries and interfaces
1.2.6. Objective
Every system has a predefined goal or objective towards which it works. A system
cannot exist without a defined objective. For example an organization would have
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ICS 3202: INFORMATION SYSTEMS


an objective of earning maximum possible revenues, for which each department
and each individual has to work in coordination.
1.2.7. Standards
It is the acceptable level of performance for any system. Systems should be designed to meet standards. Standards can be business specific or organization specific.
For example take a sorting problem. There are various sorting algorithms. But each
has its own complexity. So such algorithm should be used that gives most optimum
efficiency. So there should be a standard or rule to use a particular algorithm. It
should be seen whether that algorithm is implemented in the system.
1.2.8. Environment
Every system whether it is natural or man made co-exists with an environment. It
is very important for a system to adapt itself to its environment. Also, for a system
to exist it should change according to the changing environment.
1.2.9. Feed Back
Feedback is an important element of systems. The output of a system needs to be
observed and feedback from the output taken so as to improve the system and make
it achieve the laid standards. A system takes input. It then transforms it into output.
Also some feedback can come from customer (regarding quality) or it can be some
intermediate data (the output of one process and input for the other) that is required
to produce final output.
1.2.10. Boundaries and Interfaces
Every system has defined boundaries within which it operates. Beyond these limits
the system has to interact with the other systems. For instance, Personnel system
in an organization has its work domain with defined procedures. If the financial
details of an employee are required, the system has to interact with the Accounting
system to get the required details.
Interfaces are another important element through which the system interacts with
the outside world. System interacts with other systems through its interfaces. Users

ICS 3202: INFORMATION SYSTEMS


of the systems also interact with it through interfaces. Therefore, these should be
customized to the user needs. These should be as user friendly as possible.
1.3. Classifications of System
Classification of systems can be done in many ways.
1.3.1. Physical or Abstract System
Physical systems are tangible entities that we can feel and touch. These may be
static or dynamic in nature. For example, take a computer center. Desks and chairs
are the static parts, which assist in the working of the center. Static parts dont
change. The dynamic systems are constantly changing. Computer systems are
dynamic system. Programs, data, and applications can change according to the
users needs.
Abstract systems are conceptual. These are not physical entities. They may be
formulas, representation or model of a real system.
1.3.2. Open or Closed System
Systems interact with their environment to achieve their targets. Things that are not
part of the system are environmental elements for the system. Depending upon the
interaction with the environment, systems can be divided into two categories, open
and closed.
Open systems: Systems that interact with their environment. Practically most of the
systems are open systems. An open system has many interfaces with its environment. It can also adapt to changing environmental conditions. It can receive inputs
from, and delivers output to the outside of system. An information system is an
example of this category.
Closed systems:Systems that dont interact with their environment. Closed systems
exist in concept only.
1.3.3. Man made Information System
The main purpose of information systems is to manage data for a particular organization. Maintaining files, producing information and reports are few functions. An
information system produces customized information depending upon the needs of
the organization. These are usually formal, informal, and computer based.
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Formal Information Systems: It deals with the flow of information from top management to lower management. Information flows in the form of memos, instructions, etc. But feedback can be given from lower authorities to top management.
Informal Information systems: Informal systems are employee based. These are
made to solve the day to day work related problems. Computer-Based Information Systems: This class of systems depends on the use of computer for managing
business applications.

ICS 3202: INFORMATION SYSTEMS


Revision Questions
Example

. Describe shortly what is a system

Solution: An integrated set of interoperable elements, each with explicitly specified


and bounded capabilities, working synergistically to perform value-added processing to enable a User to satisfy mission-oriented operational needs in a prescribed
operating environment with a specified outcome and probability of success.

E XERCISE 1.

 Describe the basic elements of the system

ICS 3202: INFORMATION SYSTEMS

LESSON 2
Information Systems In Organizations
2.1. Organization and Information Systems
Information systems and organizations have a mutual influence on each other. Information systems must be aligned with the organization to provide information
needed by important groups within the organization. Meanwhile, organization must
be aware of and open itself to the influences of information systems in order to benefit from new technologies. The interaction between information technology and
organizations is very complex and is influenced by a great many mediating factors, including the organizations structure, standard operating procedures, politics,
culture, surrounding environment and management decisions.

2.2. What is an Organization


Organization is a stable, formal social structure that takes resources from the environment and processes them to produce outputs (technical definition). This technical definition focuses on three elements of an organization:
Capital and labor are primarily production factors provided by the environment.
The organization (the firm) transforms these inputs into products and services
in a production function.
The products and services are consumed by environments in return for supply
inputs.
2.2will shows the relation between these three elements. In the technical microeconomic definition of the organization, capitol and labor (the primary production
factor provided by the environment) are transformed by the firm through the production process into products and services (output to the environment). The products
and services are consumed by the environment, which supplies additional capital
and labor as inputs in the feedback loop.

ICS 3202: INFORMATION SYSTEMS

Figure 2.1: the two-way relationship between organization and information technology.

Figure 2.2: illustrates the two-way relationship between organization and information technology.

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Figure 2.3: the behavioral view of an organization that emphasizes group relationships, values and structures
An organization is more stable than an informal group in terms of longevity and
routine-ness. Organizations are formal legal entities, with internal rules and procedures, that must be abide by laws. Organizations are also social structure because
they are a collection of rights, privileges, obligations and responsibilities that are
delicately balanced over a period of time through conflict and conflict resolution
(behavioral definition).2.3below shows the behavioral view of an organization that
emphasizes group relationships, values and structures.

From the technical view of organization, it encourages organization to focus upon


the way inputs are combined into outputs when technology changes are introduced
into the company. The firm is seen as infinitely malleable, with capital and labor
substituting for each other quite easily. Meanwhile, from the behavioral view of
organization, it suggests that building new information systems or rebuilding old
ones involves much more than a technical rearrangement of machines or workers.
The technical and behavioral definitions of organizations are not contradictory but
they complement each other. The technical definition tells us how many thousands
of firms in competitive market combine capital, labor and information technology
whereas the behavioral models takes us inside the individual firm to see how that
technology affects the inner workings of the organization.

Why organizations are so much alike and why organizations are so different
According to Weber, all modern organizations (bureaucracies):
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Have a clear-cut division of labor and specialization;
Arrange specialists in a hierarchy of authority;
Limit authority and action by abstract rules or procedures (standard operating
procedures, or SOPS);
Create a system of impartial and universalistic decision making;
Are devoted to the principle of efficiency: maximizing output using limited
inputs.
Some supplements to Weber, identifies some additional features for organization as
following:
Have Standard Operating Procedures a set of precise rules, procedures and
practices developed by organization to cope with virtually all expected situations.
Have Organizational Politics.
Have Organizational Culture the set fundamental assumptions about what
products the organization produces, how and where it should produce them
and for whom they should be produced.
Although all organizations do have common characteristics, no two organizations
are identical. The differences of organizations are like:
Structures.
Goals.
Constituencies.
Leadership styles.
Tasks
Surrounding environments.
Power.
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Function.
Technology
Business processes.
Levels
2.2.1. Key System Applications in the Organization
Due to different interests, specialties and levels in an organization, there are different kinds of systems. No single system can provide all the information an organization needs. Organization and information systems can be divided into strategic,
management, knowledge and operational level. All the above mentioned levels of
an organization can be further divided into five functional areas: sales and marketing, manufacturing, accounting, finance and human resources. 2.4 below shows the
one way to depict the kinds of systems found in an organization.

2.2.2. Different Kinds of Systems


Strategic level systems help senior manager with long term planning. The principle
concern at this level is matching changes in the external environment with existing
organizational capabilities. It supports the long range planning activities of senior
management. It also helps the senior management to tackle and address strategic
issues both in the firm and in the external environment.
Management level systems help middle managers monitor and control. It typically
provides periodic reports rather than instant information on operations. It supports
the monitoring, controlling, decision making and administrative activities of middle
managers. Some of the management level systems support non-routine decision
making where they tend to focus on less structured decisions for which information
requirements are not always clear.
Knowledge level systems help knowledge and data workers design product, distribute information and cope with paperwork. The main purpose is to help integrate
new knowledge into the business and to help the organization control the flow of
paperwork. Knowledge level systems, especially in the form of workstations and
office systems are the fastest-growing applications in business today.
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Figure 2.4: kinds of systems found in an organization.

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Operational level systems help operational manager keep track of the firms day
to day activities. The principle purpose is of operational level system is to answer
routine questions and to track the flow of transactions through the organization.

Why Organizations Build Information Systems


Some of the general benefits why organizations adopt information systems are as
follow:
More efficient.
Save money
Reduce work force.
Become vitally important simply to stay in business.
A source of competitive advantage.
More innovative than others.
Satisfy the ambitious of various groups within an organization.
Figure below shows the system development process that includes many considerations other than economic. The model divides the explanation for why organization
adopts systems into two groups:
External environment factors (constraints and opportunities) that influence
the adoption and design of information systems. Examples of external constraints would be the rising costs of labor or other resources, the competitive
actions of other organizations and changes in government regulations. Examples of external opportunities include new technologies, new sources of
capital, the demise of a competitors or a new government program.
Institutional factors are factors internal to the organization that influence the
adoption and design of information systems. They may include values, norms
and vital interests that govern matters of strategic importance to the organization.

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2.3. Information Systems in an Organisation


Information system deals with data of the organizations. The purposes of Information system are to process input, maintain data, produce reports, handle queries,
handle on line transactions, generate reports, and other output. These maintain huge
databases, handle hundreds of queries etc. The transformation of data into information is primary function of information system.
These types of systems depend upon computers for performing their objectives. A
computer based business system involves six interdependent elements. These are
hardware (machines), software, people (programmers, managers or users), procedures, data, and information (processed data). All six elements interact to convert
data into information. System analysis relies heavily upon computers to solve problems. For these types of systems, analyst should have a sound understanding of
computer technologies.
Transaction processing system, management information system and decision support system, and examine how computers assist in maintaining Information systems.
2.3.1. Types of Information Systems
Information systems differ in their business needs. Also depending upon different
levels in organization information systems differ. Three major information systems
are
1. Transaction processing systems

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2. Management information systems
3. Decision support systems
The information needs are different at different organizational levels. Accordingly
the information can be categorized as: strategic information, managerial information and operational information. Strategic information is the information needed
by top most management for decision making. For example the trends in revenues
earned by the organization are required by the top management for setting the policies of the organization. This information is not required by the lower levels in the
organization. The information systems that provide these kinds of information are
known as Decision Support Systems.
The second category of information required by the middle management is known
as managerial information. The information required at this level is used for making
short term decisions and plans for the organization. Information like sales analysis for the past quarter or yearly production details etc. fall under this category.
Management information system (MIS) caters to such information needs of the organization. Due to its capabilities to fulfill the managerial information needs of
the organization, Management Information Systems have become a necessity for
all big organizations. And due to its vastness, most of the big organizations have
separate MIS departments to look into the related issues and proper functioning of
the system.
The third category of information is relating to the daily or short term information
needs of the organization such as attendance records of the employees. This kind
of information is required at the operational level for carrying out the day-to-day
operational activities. Due to its capabilities to provide information for processing transaction of the organization, the information system is known as Transaction
Processing System or Data Processing System. Some examples of information provided by such systems areprocessing of orders, posting of entries in bank, evaluating overdue purchaser orders etc.
2.3.2. Transaction Processing Systems
TPS processes business transaction of the organization. Transaction can be any
activity of the organization. Transactions differ from organization to organization.
For example, take a railway reservation system. Booking, canceling, etc are all
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transactions. Any query made to it is a transaction. However, there are some
transactions, which are common to almost all organizations. Like employee new
employee, maintaining their leave status, maintaining employees accounts, etc.
This provides high speed and accurate processing of record keeping of basic operational processes. These include calculation, storage and retrieval.
Transaction processing systems provide speed and accuracy, and can be programmed
to follow routines functions of the organization.
2.3.3. Management Information Systems
These systems assist lower management in problem solving and making decisions.
They use the results of transaction processing and some other information also. It
is a set of information processing functions. It should handle queries as quickly as
they arrive. An important element of MIS is database.
A database is a non-redundant collection of interrelated data items that can be processed through application programs and available to many users.
2.3.4. Decision Support Systems
These systems assist higher management to make long term decisions. These type
of systems handle unstructured or semi structured decisions. A decision is considered unstructured if there are no clear procedures for making the decision and if not
all the factors to be considered in the decision can be readily identified in advance.
These are not of recurring nature. Some recur infrequently or occur only once. A
decision support system must very flexible. The user should be able to produce
customized reports by giving particular data and format specific to particular situations.

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Revision Questions
Example

. What is an Organization

Solution: is a stable, formal social structure that takes resources from the environment and processes them to produce outputs (technical definition).

E XERCISE 2.

 Describe the three major information systems are

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LESSON 3
Input, Processing And Output Components
3.1. What is a computer system?
Regardless of size, age, function or capability, all computers have the same basic
components and operate according to the same basic principles. A computer must
handle four basic operations: accept data, store data and instructions, process data
and lastly output data. In recent years, almost every computer has also been expected to support data communications. Computers conduct these operations with
the same basic equipment.
3.2. General Overview of A Computer System
Basically, a Computer system is a combination of five elements:
The hardware i.e. the CPU4. , memory, and the input/output devices
The software i.e. the operating system and the application programs
Data / information
Procedures
The users i.e. people, machines or other computers.
When one computer system is set up to communicate with another computer system, connectivity becomes a sixth element.
The purpose of a computer system is to convert data into information.
Data is raw, unevaluated facts and figures, concepts or instructions.
Information is the product of data processing the facts are processed into a form
that will be of value to the receiver of the processed material.
The information processing cycle involves:
Data input phase (data is captured and converted into a form that can be processed by a computer),
The processing phase, where all the number and character manipulation activities are done that are necessary to convert the data into an appropriate form
of information.
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The output phase is the result of data processing.
The storage phase is where the information is backed up for future use.
3.2.1. Computer Hardware
The term hardware refers to the physical components of the computer that can be
seen or touched. Includes screen, keyboard, mouse, motherboard, CPU chip etc.
Computer hardware can be divided into four categories:
Input hardware
Processing hardware
Storage hardware
Output hardware

Input Hardware
The purpose of the input hardware is to collect data and convert it into a form
suitable for computer processing. Input devices include:
The keyboard: is the most common input device used to issue instructions to the
computer. Is a sophisticated electromechanical component designed to create special standardized electronic codes when a key is pressed. The codes are transmitted
along a cable to the computer system unit, where the incoming code is analyzed
and converted into the appropriate computer usable form.
The mouse: used for graphical user interface operating environment. It has two or
three buttons that are used to issue the commands and a rolling ball that is used to
direct the pointer.
Terminals : used for inputting to and retrieving data from a remotely located main
system. Are used mainly by those who do their work on minicomputers, mainframe
or supercomputers.
Scanners: enable users to convert (digitize) a hard copy picture or a photograph
into a Computer usable graphics file that can be understood by desktop publishing
software or graphics software.
Light pens: are like the usual pens and is connected to the Computer by a cable.
They use photoelectric (light sensitive) cell to signal screen position to the com-

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puter. The pen is pressed to the video display screen at the desired location used for
writing on the screen.
Touch screen: are screens that are pulse sensitive and therefore touching the appropriate command button on the screen causes the command to be executed.
Bar code reader: computerized wholesale or retails such as in supermarkets use
the point of sale terminal to receive data and to produce receipts. The sales ledger
is automatically updated and stock level automatically checked.
Optical mark readers: the OMR device has a high intensity light inside that is
directed in form of a beam at the sheets of paper being fed through it (e.g. in the
marking of multiple choice exams). The beam scans the marked forms and detects
the number and location of the pencil marks, and the data converted into electrical
signals for the computer.
Magnetic ink character recognition devices: mainly used in banking industry for
cheque processing. At the bottom of a cheque are a row of various data characters
(numbers), which represent the bank where the account is held, the account number,
and the cheque amount.
Credit cards: have a piece of magnetic tune fixed on it. This is read when a card
is slotted into the slot and the details of the account are put into the Computer.
Smart cards: have a computer chip that provides processing power and an electronic memory that does not lose its data when the power is turned off. To use it,
the card holder inserts the card into a special card reading point of sale terminal and
then enters a password on the keyboard. Records are updated every time the card is
used.
voice input devices: convert spoken words into computer usable code by comparing the electrical patterns produced in the speakers voice with a set of pre-recorded
patterns. If a matching pattern is found, the computer accepts this pattern as a part
of its standard volcaburary.
3.2.2. Processing Hardware

Central Processing Unit


The CPU is sometimes called the brains of the entire computer system and controls the entire system by monitoring and delegating tasks.
Its configuration determines whether a computer is fast or slow in relation to other
computers. It is responsible for directing most of the computer system activities
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based on the instructions provided.
The CPU has two main parts:
Control unit
Arithmetic and logic unit (ALU)
The control unit is nerve center of the Computer. Among other things, its configuration determines whether a computer is fast or slow in relation to other computers.Its a maze of complex electronic circuitry, and is responsible for directing and
coordinating most of the computer system activities. It controls the movement of
electronic signals, including the signals between main memory and the input/output
devices, and the signals between main memory and the ALU.
The Arithmetic and logic unit (ALU) performs all the arithmetic (e.g. add, subtract, multiply, divide) and logical (comparison) functions (e.g. testing whether two
data items match using less than, greater than, or equal to.
Many complex calculations/decisions can be handled by dividing them up into
many smaller sized calculations/decisions. These smaller segments may then be
solved individually
A register is a special temporary storage location within the CPU. Registers very
quickly accept, store and transfer data and instructions that are being used immediately. To process an instruction, the control unit of the CPU retrieves it from main
memory and places it into a register.

Communication pathways buses


The parts of the CPU are usually connected by an electronic component referred to
as a bus, which acts as an electronic highway between them.
A data bus carries data to be processed while an address bus carries the location
where the data is to be located during processing. A third type of bus is the control
bus. The control bus carries the signals between the processor and other devices.
E.g. the current reading/writing status of the CPU can be obtained from a line on
the control bus.
The width/size of these buses are given in bits (The basic unit of memory in a
computer is called a bit). The larger the width the more data can be transferred
at a time (in the case of the data bus). Larger address buses allow larger areas of

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memory to be accessed. Inside the computer data and address buses are constantly
working together.
3.2.3. System Clock
The processor relies heavily on a special quartz crystal circuit called the system
clock to control all the timing/synchronization issues in the computer. The electronic circuits in the computer require pulses at regular intervals which are provided
by this clock circuitry.
Modern computers can execute more than one instruction during each tick of the
system clock. The pace of the system clock is called the clock speed and is measured in the number of ticks (pulses) per second.
When we say a computer has a clock speed of 2GHz (Giga Hertz) we mean that
there are two billion ticks of the clock in one second. The clock speed represents
an upper limit on the number of instructions that can be executed on the computer
in a second.
Given two otherwise equal processors, the one with the higher clock speed will
execute more instructions in a second than the other. Hence clock speed is a raw
measure of system performance.
Observe that this system clock is distinct to and different from the real time clock.
The real time clock handles the date & time information on the computer. The real
time clock resides in a special circuit called CMOS. In the event that the user wants
to change the date/time on a PC the real time clock is updated.

Machine Cycle
For every instruction a processor repeats four basic operation. These four operations
constitute the machine cycle.
1. Fetching This is the process of obtaining a program instruction or a piece
of data from memory
2. Decoding This is the process of translating an instruction into electronic
signals that can be executed by the computer
3. Executing This is the process of carrying out commands
4. Storing This is the writing of results back to primary memory
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Factors affecting the processing speed are:


Register size indicates the amount of data that can be processed at a given time.
The more the registers and the larger they are, the more the processing power.
Memory : the more the RAM the faster the processing power of the computer as it
can hold bigger, more powerful programs and enables access to bigger data files.
Addressing scheme determines the amount of RAM that can be controlled by the
CPU at any given time. The more the addressing capability, the more the RAM the
computer can control.
Clock speed : determines the speed of the operations in the machine cycle.
Data bus capacity: size of the bus determines the amount of data that can travel
along the bus at any one time, thus affecting the systems performance.
Instruction set how a microprocessor chip is designed affects how fast it can process. The more powerful the instruction set, the fewer instructions and processing
cycles it takes to perform certain tasks.
3.2.4. Storage Hardware

The primary memory


This Memory Unit provides rapid access storage capability to the computer. This
unit temporarily retains data/information while it is going from one area of the
computer to the other. Primary memory, although very fast, is expensive and limited
in size. The computer memory is further subdivided into:
Random Access Memory (RAM) (READ/WRITE MEMORY)
RAM can be both read, to retrieve information, or written into, to store information.
The term random access means that the contents of RAM can be read at any point
in the RAM and at any time and this also applies to writing in the RAM.
RAM acts as a buffer between the CPU and the rest of the computer system components holds data, information and instructions and allows access to any of its contents in formats that fit the user. The contents of RAM are volatile are not permanent
and are usually lost when the power goes off, or when the computer is switched off.
Since RAM is not permanent, it calls for backup storage or the secondary storage.

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Read only memory (ROM)
This is a non-volatile memory (i.e. its contents cannot be lost when the power is
switched off). Instructions to perform operations such as getting the computer running properly after you turn it on, checking the hardware components to see that
they have been connected properly are stored permanently on Read Only Memory (ROM) chips. ROM chips, also called firmware extend the instruction set of
the computer by storing special purpose subroutine called microprograms. They
contain instructions that tell the CPU what to do first when the computer is turned
on, and also contain instructions that help the CPU transfer information from the
keyboard to the screen and printer.
NB
The computer can act directly only on data or instructions which are in main memory. Before any records can be processed, they must first be moved from the disk
into main memory
3.2.5. Secondary Storage
The secondary storage unit provides long term storage E.g. days, weeks, month or
years.
Data in secondary storage remains there until overwritten with new data or deleted,
and is accessed when needed. It is much slower than primary memory (perhaps
10,000 times slower) but also much cheaper and usually much more abundant.
Secondary storages are categorised into three groups:
Magnetic disks
Magnetic tapes
Optical disks
3.2.6. Magnetic disks
These are flat rotating circular plates coated with magnetic materials. They are usually divided into tracks and sectors with an intersection of track and sector forming
an allocation unit. Data is recorded on and read from a disk using read/write heads
attached to an access arm. The disk rotates and the heads can move in or out over
the surface to read or write data on the various tracks. The track number indicates
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where to position the read/write head, and the sector number indicates where to
activate the read/write head as the disk spins.

The rigid magnetic disks are referred to as hard disks and the flexible magnetic
disks are referred to as floppy disks or diskettes. Typically, the hard disk consists
of one or more platters (disks), arranged one on top of the other. The read/write
head floats between the surface of the platters, and never touch the surfaces of the
disks. Any contamination such as a dust particle can cause a head crash/disk crash,
which destroys some or all of the data on the disk. The hard disks are the largest
backup storage device, and are usually fixed inside the system unit. Floppy disks
are smaller in capacity and size as compared to hard disks.
3.2.7. Magnetic tapes
These are similar in principle to the tapes used domestically for audio and video
recording. The tape consists of a strip of plastic, coated with metal oxide on one
side. The width of the tape is divided into rows called tracks, and the length divided
into vertical columns called frames. Each recording position on the track can be
magnetized (representing a 1), or not magnetized (representing a 0). Each frame
contains 9 bits (for a 9 track tape) and is used to represent one character.

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The data recorded in a tape cannot be practically altered, and data can only be
accessed sequentially. Data can be written onto or read from a magnetic tape using
a tape drive. Magnetic tapes are not prominent in the current computers.
3.2.8. Optical disks
They use a high power laser beam to pack information densely on a removable disk,
thus can store a lot more data. They look similar to the compact disks (CDs) used in
home audio systems. They include the usual audio CDs and other special software
CDs which contains the computer programs.
The media on which data is stored is much less susceptible to deterioration or contamination than magnetic recording media, because nothing touches the optical
disks surface except for a beam of light. They are also less susceptible to head
crashes because the optical head is suspended farther from the surface of the disk.
They are easily loaded and removed without risk of damaging either the optical disk
or drive.
They have much higher recording densities than conventional magnetic disks. Because lasers can be focussed with such precision, the tracks recorded on an optical
disk are much closer together than those of a magnetic disk, and the amount of
space required torecord an optical bit is much less than that required to record a
magnetic bit.
However, the primary disadvantage of optical storage is in the time taken to retrieve
the data are slow.

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3.2.9. Flash memory
Is a relatively new type of storage device. They are small, light weight, fast memory
circuitry that can take the place of hard disk drives. They are available to store 16
MB, 32MB, 64MB, 128 MB, 256 MB, 512 MB, and 1GB.
3.2.10. Output Hardware
Output can be either in hard copy or soft copy form.
Hard copy refers to information that has been recorded on a tangible medium, while
softcopy refers to output displayed on the computer screen.
Hard copy outputs tends to have greater value over time, whereas softcopy output
is best for displaying information that must be immediately accessible.
3.2.11. Output Devices
These are hardware components of the computer that are used in displaying the
information. They include:
Monitors shows information on the screen when you type / outputs information
Printers used to produce permanent records on paper/hard copy
Plotters is a specialized output device designed to produce high quality graphics especially in the areas of drafting and design in a variety of colors.
Audio response units (ARU) converts data that is output by the computer into
sound. The sound can be spoken language, musical notes or simply beeps.
When used to produce speech, the ARU is called a speech synthesizer.
Fax machines etc
3.2.12. Ports
A port is a point at which an external device (peripheral) attaches to the computer
system. Ports allow data to be sent/retrieved from the external device. Normally
some type of cable will connect the external device to the computer through the
port.
Modern computers carry many types of ports For example, mouse , keyboard ,
serial, game, parallel (printer), microphone, telephone, network etc.
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3.2.13. Connectors
A connector joins a port to its peripheral via a cable. The port & connector make
a pair. The connector normally plugs into the port. Peripherals are normally sold
with their cables having the respective connectors at the end. In the event that the
connector does not match the port (e.g. both port and connector are two females
slots) an intermediate connector may have to be used.
The most common type of ports are -:
Serial port 1bit is transmitted at a time; COM port is a type of serial port
Parallel port Allows multiple bits (E.g. 8 or 16) bits to be transmitted simultaneously. Printers normally connected to this type of port.
USB port (Universal Serial Bus) port allows up to 127 different peripherals to be
connected to the computer; either by chaining devices together or by use of a hub.

Special Purpose Ports


MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) allows musical instruments (e.g. electronic keyboards, synthesizers etc) to be attached to the computer
SCSI (pronounced skuzzy) special high speed parallel port; used to handle printers
and disk drives.

Expansion Slots/Adapter Cards


Expansion Slot This is a socket on the motherboard (central circuit board).
Adapter Card This is a circuit board which plugged into the expansion slot. Adapter
Cards enhance particular capabilities. For example, a sound card enhances the ability of the computer to generate sounds; the video card allows enhanced graphics
and video capability; a network card allows a PC to become part of a computer
network.
Adapter cards can also support additional peripherals such as printer, scanner or
disk drives.
3.2.14. Software
Computer productivity is determined by programs which are step by step instructions telling the computer how to process data. The software is the information that
the computer uses to get the job done/These are a suite of programs that perform a
particular function.eg. word processing.

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Software can be: Commercial software: comes prepackaged and is available from
software stores and through the Internet.
Shareware: is software developed by individuals and small companies and is disabled in some way and has a notice attached to explain the legal requirements for
using the product.
Open source software: is created by generous programmers and released into the
public domain for public use. The company or individual that develops the software
retains ownership of the program but the software can be used freely. There is
usually a copyright notice that must remain with the software product.
There are two major divisions of software:
Systems software
Applications software

Systems Software
These are programs with associated documentation that control the way the computer operates or provide facilities that extend the general capabilities of the system.
System software tells the computer how to interpret data and instructions, how to
run peripheral equipments like printers and disk drives, and how to use the hardware
in general. It also allows you, the user, to interact with the computer.
As you boot the computer, the system software is stored in the computers memory,
which instructs the computer to load, store, and execute an application.
System software includes operating systems, language translators (such as compilers and interpreters), and utility programs.

Operating systems software


An operating system (OS) is a set of programs, which coordinate the activities of
a computer. It is responsible for setting guidelines under which common computer
tasks are carried out, and acts as an interface between the computer user and the
computer hardware.
A platform on which application software can run usually consists of hardware and
operating system as shown below.

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3.2.15. Functions of an operating system


The primary function of an OS is to allocate resources of the computer system such
as the processor, primary and secondary memory, and the input and output devices,
and files
Memory management the OS must keep track of what parts of memory are in use
and by whom and what parts are free. The memory control program writes parts
of an application program being run as well as parts of the operating system that
are not needed for the moment onto a secondary storage device. When a program
is required in the main memory, it is read in and something else is kicked out onto
secondary storage to make room.
Also, during information storage, it is the responsibility of this program to determine whether the space within the storage media is enough to accommodate the
incoming information or not. If the space is not enough, then it warns the user,
reducing the possibilities of data loss
Processor management: several users or applications can access a multiuser or
multi-tasking computer system simultaneously. The CPU can only execute one
program at a time, and therefore, access to the CPU must be carefully controlled
and monitored. The OS determines job priorities, and sets limits to how long a
program should be ran.
Input/output device management: programs will request the use of I/O devices
during the course of their execution, and in a multi-user system, conflicts are bound
to arise. The O/S will control allocation of I/O devices and attempt to resolve any
conflicts, which may arise. It will also monitor the state of each I/O device and
signal any faults detected.
File management: the operating system keeps track of the information, its location,
use, status etc. These collective facilities are called the file system. A file system
is concerned with logical organization of the information of the information and
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provides a means of sorting retrieving and sharing the files.
Examples of operating systems are MSDOS, Windows Operating systems, Unix
3.2.16. Systems Utilities
Utilities are helper programs, which are often included with Operating Systems.
The utilities allow common chores to be performed by the user. Consider the following utility programs:
File Manager This utility allows files to be copied from one storage area to
another, new disks to be prepared for use, files to be sorted, deleted, renamed
etc.
Disk Scanner There are times when one of the data storage disks malfunction.
This utility is used to detect (and correct if possible) problems relating to the
physical disks E.g. a scratch on the surface of a floppy. At other times logical
errors may have occurred E.g. file corruption.
Image Viewer Allows users to display the contents of graphics files. Other
programs on a system may allow the same thing.
Backup Utility Allows copies to be made of selected files or whole disk if
necessary. Backup is essential in case the original files become damaged or
are accidentally erased or overwritten.
Uninstaller This program removes a previously installed program from the
system. Typically when a program is installed several files are copied to the
system into different locations and configuration changes are made. Uninstallers seamlessly reverse the installation process, eliminating the headache
of finding and manually deleting unwanted files.
Other Utilities include screen savers, diagnostic utilities, disk defragmentation tools, file compression tools etc.
3.2.17. Application Software
These are programs designed to do a specific job. They include can be divided into
two:

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General purpose packages


Are a suite of programs with the associated documentation, used for a particular
type of computational problem or a variety of similar problems Examples are:
Word processing packages (e.g. ms word, WordPerfect)
Electronic spreadsheets (e.g. ms excel, Lotus 1-2-3) store numeric data
that can be used in calculations. The primary advantage of a computerized
spreadsheet is its ability to redo the calculations should the data it stores be
changed. Calculations can be made automatically as formulas have been set
in the spreadsheet.
Database management systems (e.g. ms access, dBase III plus, FoxPro e.t.c).
Allows users to store and manipulate large quantities of data using the computer. E.g. a database can sort names, addresses, grades and activities for
all students in a department. It would be possible to add or delete data and
produce printed reports using the database.
Desktop publishing enable users to combine text and graphic material in the
same document and then manipulate them into a pleasing layout e.g. PageMaker, Ventura publisher
Statistical packages used to calculate totals, mean, mode, median, standard
deviation and organizing data in different ways for easy access and readability. E.g. Min-tab, SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences)
Advantages of general-purpose packages:
Relatively low price since they are sold in large numbers T
ried and tested the user gets a well-tried and tested program, which he/she is
able to use with confidence.
New versions new improved versions of a successful package are brought out
from time to time, thus customers are assured that their software follows what
the market is offering currently.
They are usually provided with extensive documentation to help the user.

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Portability packages may be portable from one type of a computer to another.
They are easy to use and suitable for people with little computer knowledge.
Limitations:
The purchaser does not have direct control over the package the same way as
would be if the software were purchased in-house.
Compatibility with existing software it is unlikely that general-purpose packages will be compatible with existing special purpose software. If interfacing
is required, it is usually necessary for further special purpose software to be
commissioned.
It is quite easy to forget the commands to use the packages, especially if not
used frequently.

Special purpose packages


Are programs with associated documentation, designed to carry out particular tasks
/ meet specific needs of an organisation e.g. controlling a companys stock of goods
3.2.18. Application software versions
Many software developers sell the different versions of the same software application. Each version is usually designated by a different number generally the higher
the number, the more current the version and the more features included with the
package. In some cases, different versions are written to be used with particular
microcomputer systems such as IBM compatibles. If you buy a software package,
make sure you have the version that goes with your microcomputer.

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Revision Questions
E XERCISE 3.
Example

 State the elements of a Computer system

. State the four categories of a Computer hardware

Solution:
Input hardware
Processing hardware
Storage hardware
Output hardware

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LESSON 4
Organising And Managing Data And Information Resources
4.1. Problems with traditional file environment
Traditional file environment (flat file organization/data file organization) is a way of
collecting and maintaining data in an organization that leads to each functional area
or division creating and maintaining its own data files and programs. Traditional
file environment will results the following problems:
Data redundancy and confusion.
Program-data independence.
Lack of flexibility.
Poor security.
Lack of data sharing and availability.
The above mentioned problems can be solved by using a database.
4.1.1. Database environment
Database is a collection of data organized to service many application at the same
time by storing and managing data so that they appear to be in one location.
A database management system (DBMS) is special software to create and maintain a database and enable individual business applications to extract the data they
need without having to create separate files or data definitions in their computer
programs. A DBMS has three components:
A data definition language.
A data manipulation language.
A data dictionary.

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Three major types of database models


The earliest DBMS were hierarchical which organizes data in a treelike structure.
A record is subdivided into segments that are connected to each other in one-tomany parent-child relationship. The most common hierarchical DBMS is IBMs
IMS (Information Management System). The network data model is a variation
of the hierarchical data model. This model is useful for depicting many-to-many
relationships. Relational data model is a type of logical database model that treats
data if they were stored in two-dimensional tables. It can relate data stored in one
table to data in another as long as the two tables share a common data element.
Object relational data model is a model used mostly for Internet databases. The
following table shows the comparison of database alternatives.

4.2. Telecommunications and Networks


4.2.1. Components and functions of a telecommunication system
A telecommunication is a collection of compatible hardware and software arranged
to communicate information from one location to another. The following are essential components of telecommunication systems:
Computers to process information.
Terminals or any input/output devices that send or receive data.
Communication channels, the links by which data or voice are transmitted
between sending and receiving devices in a network. Communication chan38

ICS 3202: INFORMATION SYSTEMS


nels use various communication media, such as telephone lines, fiber-optics
cables, coaxial cables and wireless transmission.
Communication processors, such as modems, multiplexers, controllers and
front-end processors, which provide support functions for data transmission
and reception.
Communication software, which controls input and output activities and manages other functions of the communication network.
Functions of telecommunication system:
Establishes the interface between the sender and the receiver.
Routes messages along the most efficient paths.
Performs elementary processing of the information to ensure that the right
message gets to the right receiver.
Performs editorial tasks on the data.
Converts messages from one speed into the speed of a communications line
or from one format to another format.
Controls the flow of information.
4.2.2. Communication Networks
Networks can be classified by their shape (topology) or by their geographic scope
and type of services provided. Networks classified by their topology:
Star network is a network in which all computers and other devices are connected to a central host computer. All communications between networks
devices must pass through the host computer.
Bus network is a topology that links a number of computers
Ring network is a network in which all computers are linked by a closed loop
in a manner that passes data in one direction from one computer to another.
Networks classified by their geographic scope:

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Private branch exchanges (PBX) is a central switching system that handles a
firms voice and digital communication.
Local area networks (LAN) is a telecommunication network that requires its
own dedicated channels and that encompasses a limited distance, usually one
building or several buildings in close proximity.
Wide area networks (WAN) is a network that spans a large geographical distance. May consist of a variety of cables, satellite and microwave technology.
Value-added network (VAN) is a private, multi-path, data-only, third-party
managed network that is used by multiple organizations on a subscription
basis.
4.2.3. Ethics and Social Issues Read on Your Own

Ethics in general
1. We often see pirated CDs, software and VCD being sold at the night market.
Buying pirated software is an example of unethical activity in computer ethic.
2. A guideline is needed to stop the current technology products from being exploited, for example by replicating originals CDs and selling them as pirated
software. This unethical behavior can be controlled by the code of conducts.
3. Computer ethics is a system of moral standards or values used as a guideline
for computer users.
4.2.4. Computer Ethics
Ethics in general, is amoral philosophy where a person makes specific moral choice
and sticks to it.
In computing, ethics are the moral guidelines to referred to when using the computer
and computer networks.
Computer ethics is a system of moral standards or values used as computer guidelines for computer users.

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4.2.5. Differences Between Ethics and Law

The ten commandments of computer ethics


1. The United States Institute of Computer Ethics has come out with the Ten
Commandments of Computer Ethics.
2. These principles consider the effective code of conducts for the proper use of
information technology.
3. The ten commandments of computer ethics
(a) You shall not use a computer to harm other people.Y
(b) ou shall not interfere with other peoples computer work.
(c) You shall not snoop around in other peoples computer files.
(d) You shall not use a computer to steal.
(e) You shall not use a computer to bear false witness.
(f) You shall not copy or use proprietary software for which you have not
paid.
(g) You shall not use other peoples computer resources without authorization or proper compensation.
(h) You shall not appropriate other peoples intellectual output.
(i) You shall think about the social consequences of the program you are
writing or the system you are designing.
(j) You shall always use a computer in ways that ensure consideration and
respect for your fellow humans
4.2.6. Guidelines on the e-mail and Internet usage
1. The ICT policy has provided guidelines on the e-mail and Internet usage as
reference to the staff.
2. This guidance covers the usage of e-mail account, mailbox maintenance, and
e- Mail preparation and delivery, mailing list and the Internet.
3. Some guidelines from the ICT policy:
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(a) Use only individual e-mail address to forward individual opinion.
(b) Keep the identity name and password a secret to avoid the misuse of
your e-mail without your knowledge.
(c) E-mail must be active to promptly reply the necessary actions needed
for any matters.
(d) Ensure the total mail kept in the box is within the computer storage
capacity.
(e) Scan files regularly to avoid the transmission of virus from one computer to another.
(f) Do not send e-mails that contain classified information which can be
used to tarnish other people or country.
(g) Choose a suitable time to search Internet to save access time and cost.
(h) Beware of prohibited sites which could affect ones moral, organization
or nation.
(i) Print only relevant documents that you think can be used in future to
save cost.
4.2.7. The Differences Between Ethics And Law S. A

Definition of Ethics
1. In general, ethics is a moral philosophy where a person makes a specific moral
choice and sticks to it
2. On the other hand, ethics in computing means moral guidelines to refer to
when using the computer and computer networks. This includes the Internet.

Definition of Law
1. Law is a legal system comprising of rules and principles that govern the affairs of a community and controlled by a political authority.
2. Law differs from one country to another. In the era of technology, computer
law is needed to clarify goods or actions that fall under the computer law.
Computer law refers to all areas in law that requires an understanding of
computer technology such as hardware, software and Internet.
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Why do we need ethics and law in computing?


Respecting Ownership We must respect ownership by not stealing other
peoples work either by duplicating or distributing it. Duplicating and distributing
copies of audio tapes, video tapes and computer programs without permission and
authorization from the individual or company that created the program are immoral
and illegal.

Respecting privacy and confidentiality We should respect other peoples privacy and confidentiality by refraining ourselves from reading their mails or
files without their permission. If we do so, it is considered as violating an individuals right to privacy and confidentiality.

Respecting property Property here means ownership. Since an individual


data and information are considered as property, therefore, an act of tampering and
changing electronic information is considered as vandalism and disrespect for other
peoples property.

Similarities between Ethics and Law


Both ethics and law are complimentary to each other and are made a. to guide user
from misusing computers b. to create a healthy computer society, so that computers
are used to contribute to a better life. c to prevent any crime.

Differences between ethics and laws

4.2.8. Intellectual Property Rights


It is important to have your creation patented to protect your rights. Reproducing
other peoples inventions without their permission or piracy is illegal. We must
respect the rights of others.

Definition of Intellectual Property


1. Intellectual Property (IP) refers to works created by inventors, authors and
artists. Those works are unique and have value in the market value.

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2. In our daily lives, we are surrounded by things that are protected by IP. Your
school bags, your shoes and even your socks are protected by Intellectual
Property Rights. Nike, Bata or Adidas, for example, are all protected by a
group of legal rights.

Intellectual Property Law


1. Intellectual property and intellectual property right can be protected under the
Intellectual Property Law.
2. Intellectual Property Laws cover ideas, inventions, literary creations, unique
names, business models, industrial processes, computer program codes and
more.

Inventions Protected By Intellectual Property Laws


1. As businesses continue to expand globally, business owners must realize the
importance of getting professional advice on how to establish and safeguard
their intellectual property rights.
2. This includes Trademarks, Service marks, Trade/Company names, Domain
names, Geographical indications, Copyrights, Patents.
3. Example of creation that are covered under the Intellectual Property Law
include architectural, audio visual, sound recording, Literary, musical and
sculptural.

Intellectual Property Protection


There are four types of Intellectual Property Protection. They are:
1. Patents for invention Utility, design or plant patents that protect inventions
and improvements to the existing inventions. It is a grant of a property right to
the inventor. For example; Centrino is a processor which introduces efficient
power management. The design of the processor is patented by Intel.
2. Trademarks for brand identity Words, names, symbols, devices and images
that represent products, goods or services Trademarks for brands, identity
of goods and services allowed the distinction to be made between different
traders. For example: Intel and AMD.
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3. Designs for product appearance The features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colors, shape, texture or material of the product itself or its ornaments.
The design for product appearance covered the whole or a part of a product
resulting from the feature such as the lines, contours, colors, shape, texture
or material. For example: Apple IMAC.
4. Copyright for material Literary and artistic material, music, films, sound
recordings and broadcast, including software and multimedia. Copyrights
protect the expression of idea in literary, artistic and musical works. For example, you can copyright the web content you have just designed.

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LESSON 5
Organizing Data and Information Resources
5.1. Learning Outcomes
By the end of this lesson, the learner should be able to:
1. Understand the traditional way of organizing data.
2. Explain the value added by databases in organizing data and information
3. Identify the basic components and functions of telecommunication systems
5.1.1. Traditional file processing systems
Before databases came to be computer file processing systems were used to store,
manipulate and retrieve large files of data. As business applications grew and became more complex, these file systems experienced several limitations and were
thus gradually replaced by databases.

Limitations of traditional file processing systems


Program-data dependence File descriptions are stored within each application
program that accesses a given file and as a result, any change to a file structure
requires changes to the file descriptions for all programs that access the file. It
is often difficult to locate all programs affected by such changes and errors are
introduced even when making the changes.
Data duplication Since applications are often developed independently in file
processing systems, unplanned duplicate data files often results. This duplication
results in loss of data integrity, demand for additional storage space and requires
more effort to keep all files updated.
Limited data sharing With the file processing approach, each application has its
own private files and users have little opportunity to share data outside their own
application

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Lengthy development times There is little opportunity to leverage previous development efforts as each application requires that the developer starts from scratch
the design of new file formats and descriptions.
Excessive program maintenance All the above limitations combine to create
a heavy program maintenance load in organizations that rely on file processing
systems.
5.2. The Database Approach
To overcome the limitations of file processing systems and support complex business applications adequately, the database approach was adapted. This approach
emphasizes on the integration and sharing of data throughout the organization.
5.2.1. Advantages of the database approach
Program data independence Databases allow for separation of data descriptions
from the application programs that use the data. This allows data to change and
evolve without changing the associated application programs.
Minimal data redundancy Databases are designed to integrate separate data files
into a single logical structure such that each primary fact is recorded in only one
place in the database.
Improved data consistency Eliminating data redundancy reduces opportunities
for consistency. It also simplifies updating of data and saves on wasted memory
space.
Improved data sharing A database is usually designed as corporate resource
whereby authorized users have permission to use the database jointly by use of
views.
Increased productivity and application development Databases greatly reduce
the cost and time for developing new applications. If a database has already been designed and implemented, the programmer can focus on specific functions required
for the new application. DBMS also provide several high level tools such as forms
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and report generators that automate some of the activities of database design and
implementation.
Enforcement of standards It is possible to have the administration of databases
from a single point authority which carries out the establishment and enforcement
of data standards. These standards may include naming conventions, data quality
standards and uniform procedures for accessing, updating and protecting data.
Reduced program maintenance In contrast to file processing systems, data are
more independent of application programs that use them in databases. Hence either
of them can be changed without necessitating change in the other and program
maintenance is significantly reduced in database environments.
5.2.2. Disadvantages of the database approach
Need for skilled personnel Skilled persons are required to design, implement
database as well as database administration. There is also need to constantly train
the personnel due to changes in technology advancement
High installation and management cost The initial cost of a multi- user database
management system (DBMS) is high and may further require upgrades to the existing hardware and training of staff. Many organizations run on legacy systems
which are based on file processing systems or old database technology. The cost of
converting such systems to modern DBMS may also be prohibitive.
Need for explicit back-up and recovery Comprehensive procedures need to be
developed to provide backup copies of data and restore a database when damaged
or loss occurs.
Organizational conflict Shared databases require consensus on data definitions
and ownership as well as responsibilities for accurate data maintenance. Lack of
consensus often leads to organizational conflict.
A Database is an organized collection of logically related data. For example, a
teacher may maintain a small database of his/ her students marks. A database can

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be of any size and complexity. Data consists of facts, text, graphics, image, sound
and video segments that have meaning in the users environment.
A database management system (DBMS) is special software that is used to create,
maintain and provide controlled access to a user database. It enables individual
business applications to extract the data they need without having to create separate
files or data definitions in their computer programs. A DBMS has three components
namely:
A data definition language.
A data manipulation language.
A data dictionary.
5.3. Database Models

The earliest DBMS were the hierarchical model which organizes data in a treelike
structure. A record is subdivided into segments that are connected to each other
in one-to-many parent-child relationship. The most common hierarchical DBMS
is IBMs IMS (Information Management System). The network data model is a
variation of the hierarchical data model. This model is useful for depicting manyto-many relationships. Relational data model is a type of logical database model
that treats data if they were stored in two-dimensional tables. It can relate data
stored in one table to data in another as long as the two tables share a common
data element. Object relational data model is a model used mostly for Internet
databases. It can handle both structured and unstructured data.
The table below shows a comparison of the database models
Database model Processing efficiency
Flexibility
End-user friendliness Programming comp
Hierarchical

High

Low

Low

High

Network

Medium-high

Low-medium

Low-moderate

High

Relational

Lower but improving

High

High

Low

Object relational

High

High

High

High

5.4. Telecommunications and Networks


Remark 1. This section is a very general and brief mention on telecommunications
and networks. Concepts and more details on the same will be covered in ICS 3205
- Networks and Distributed systems
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A telecommunication is a collection of compatible hardware and software arranged
to communicate information from one location to another.
5.4.1. Components of a telecommunication system
The following are essential components of telecommunication systems:
Computers to process information.
Terminals or any input/output devices that send or receive data.
Communication channels, the links by which data or voice are transmitted
between sending and receiving devices in a network. Communication channels use various communication media, such as telephone lines, fiber-optics
cables, coaxial cables and wireless transmission.
Communication processors, such as modems, multiplexers, controllers and
front-end processors, which provide support functions for data transmission
and reception.
Communication software, which controls input and output activities and manages other functions of the communication network.

Functions of telecommunication system:


Establish an interface between the sender and the receiver.
Route messages along the most efficient paths.
Perform elementary processing of the information to ensure that the right
message gets to the right receiver.
Perform editorial tasks on the data.
Convert messages from one speed into the speed of a communications line or
from one format to another format.
Control the flow of information.

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Communication Networks
Networks can be classified by their shape (topology) or by their geographic scope
and type of services provided.
Networks as classified by their topology:
Star network is a network in which all computers and other devices are connected to a central host computer. All communications between networks
devices must pass through the host computer.
Bus network is a topology that links a number of computers by a single
circuit with all messages broadcast to the entire network.
Ring network is a network in which all computers are linked by a closed loop
in a manner that passes data in one direction from one computer to another.
Networks as classified by their geographic scope:
Private branch exchanges (PBX) is a central switching system that handles a
firms voice and digital communication.
Local area networks (LAN) is a telecommunication network that requires its
own dedicated channels and that encompasses a limited distance, usually one
building or several buildings in close proximity.
Wide area networks (WAN) is a network that spans a large geographical distance. May consist of a variety of cables, satellite and microwave technology.
Value-added network (VAN) is a private, multi-path, data-only, third-party
managed network that is used by multiple organizations on a subscription
basis.

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E XERCISE 4.
Example

 Differentiate between structured data and unstructured data?

. List two examples for each case?


5.  What is a legacy system?

E XERCISE

Further Reading
Modern database management 5th Edition by Fred Mcfadden, Jeffrey A. Hoffer, Mary B. Presoft
Fundamentals of database systems 3rd edition by Elmasri Navathe
Any relevant material on Networking Essentials or Introduction to Networking

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LESSON 6
Ethics and Social Issues in Information Systems
Learning outcomes:
At the end of this lesson, you should be able to answer the following questions
1. What ethical, social, and political issues are raised by information systems?
2. What specific principles for conduct can be used to guide ethical decisions?
3. Why do contemporary information systems technology and the Internet pose
challenges to the protection of individual privacy and intellectual property?
4. How have information systems affected everyday life?

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6.1. Introduction
Ethics refers to the principles of right and wrong that individuals, acting as free
moral agents, use to make choices to guide their behaviors.
Information systems raise new ethical questions for both individuals and societies
because they create opportunities for intense social change, and thus threaten existing distributions of power, money, rights, and obligations. Like other technologies,
such as steam engines, electricity, the telephone, and the radio, information technology can be used to achieve social progress, but it can also be used to commit crimes
and threaten cherished social values. The development of information technology
will produce benefits for many and costs for others.
Ethical issues in information systems have been given new urgency by the rise of
the Internet and electronic commerce. Internet and digital firm technologies make
it easier than ever to assemble, integrate, and distribute information, unleashing
new concerns about the appropriate use of customer information, the protection of
personal privacy, and the protection of intellectual property.
Other pressing ethical issues raised by information systems include establishing
accountability for the consequences of information systems, setting standards to
safeguard system quality that protects the safety of the individual and society, and
preserving values and institutions considered essential to the quality of life in an
information society. When using information systems, it is essential to ask, What
is the ethical and socially responsible course of action?
6.1.1. A Model For Thinking About Ethical, Social, And Political Issues
Ethical, social, and political issues are closely linked. The ethical dilemma you
may face as a manager of information systems typically is reflected in social and
political debate. One way to think about these relationships is given in the figure
below. Imagine society as a more or less calm pond, a delicate ecosystem in partial
equilibrium with individuals and with social and political institutions. Individuals
know how to act in this pond because social institutions (family, education, organizations) have developed well-honed rules of behavior, and these are supported by
laws developed in the political sector that prescribe behavior and promise sanctions
for violations. Now toss a rock into the center of the pond. What happens? Ripples,
of course.

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Imagine instead that the disturbing force is a powerful shock of new information
technology and systems hitting a society more or less at rest. Suddenly, individual actors are confronted with new situations often not covered by the old rules.
Social institutions cannot respond overnight to these ripples it may take years to
develop etiquette, expectations, social responsibility, politically correct attitudes, or
approved rules. Political institutions also require time before developing new laws
and often require the demonstration of real harm before they act. In the meantime,
you may have to act. You may be forced to act in a legal gray area.
We can use this model to illustrate the dynamics that connect ethical, social, and
political issues. This model is also useful for identifying the main moral dimensions
of the information society, which cut across various levels of action individual,
social, and political.
6.2. Five Moral Dimensions of The Information Age
The major ethical, social, and political issues raised by information systems include
the following moral dimensions:
Information rights and obligations. What information rights do individuals
and organizations possess with respect to themselves? What can they protect? What obligations do individuals and organizations have concerning this
information?
Property rights and obligations. How will traditional intellectual property
rights be protected in a digital society in which tracing and accounting for
ownership are difficult and ignoring such property rights is so easy?
Accountability and control. Who can and will be held accountable and liable for the harm done to individual and collective information and property
rights?
System quality. What standards of data and system quality should we demand
to protect individual rights and the safety of society?

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Quality of life. What values should be preserved in an information- and
knowledge based society? Which institutions should we protect from violation? Which cultural values and practices are supported by the new information technology?
6.3. Key Technology Trends That Raise Ethical Issues
Ethical issues long preceded information technology. Nevertheless, information
technology has heightened ethical concerns, taxed existing social arrangements,
and made some laws obsolete or severely crippled. There are four key technological
trends responsible for these ethical stresses.
The doubling of computing power every 18 months has made it possible for most
organizations to use information systems for their core production processes. As
a result, our dependence on systems and our vulnerability to system errors and
poor data quality have increased. Social rules and laws have not yet adjusted to
this dependence. Standards for ensuring the accuracy and reliability of information
systems are not universally accepted or enforced.
Advances in data storage techniques and rapidly declining storage costs have
been responsible for the multiplying databases on individuals employees, customers,
and potential customers maintained by private and public organizations. These advances in data storage have made the routine violation of individual privacy both
cheap and effective. Massive data storage systems are inexpensive enough for regional and even local retailing firms to use in identifying customers.
Advances in data analysis techniques for large pools of data are another technological trend that heightens ethical concerns because companies and government
agencies are able to find out highly detailed personal information about individuals.
With contemporary data management tools, companies can assemble and combine
the myriad pieces of information about you stored on computers much more easily
than in the past.
Finally, advances in networking, including the Internet, promise to greatly reduce
the costs of moving and accessing large quantities of data and open the possibility
of mining large pools of data remotely using small desktop machines, permitting an
invasion of privacy on a scale and with a precision heretofore unimaginable.

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6.4. Ethics In An Information Society
Ethics is a concern of humans who have freedom of choice. Ethics is about individual choice: When faced with alternative courses of action, what is the correct moral
choice? What are the main features of ethical choice?
6.4.1. Features of Ethical Choice: (Responsibility, Accountability, And Liability)
Ethical choices are decisions made by individuals who are responsible for the consequences of their actions.
Responsibility is a key element of ethical action. Responsibility means that you
accept the potential costs, duties, and obligations for the decisions you make.
Accountability is a feature of systems and social institutions: It means that mechanisms are in place to determine who took responsible action, who is responsible.
Systems and institutions in which it is impossible to find out who took what action
are inherently incapable of ethical analysis or ethical action. Liability extends the
concept of responsibility further to the area of laws.
Liability is a feature of political systems in which a body of laws is in place that
permits individuals to recover the damages done to them by other actors, systems,
or organizations.
Due process is a related feature of law-governed societies and is a process in which
laws are known and understood and there is an ability to appeal to higher authorities
to ensure that the laws are applied correctly.
These basic concepts form the underpinning of an ethical analysis of information
systems and those who manage them. First, information technologies are filtered
through social institutions, organizations, and individuals. Systems do not have
impacts by themselves. Whatever information system impacts exist are products
of institutional, organizational, and individual actions and behaviors. Second, responsibility for the consequences of technology falls clearly on the institutions,
organizations, and individual managers who choose to use the technology. Using
information technology in a socially responsible manner means that you can and
will be held accountable for the consequences of your actions.
Third, in an ethical, political society, individuals and others can recover damages
done to them through a set of laws characterized by due process.

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6.4.2. Ethical Analysis
When confronted with a situation that seems to present ethical issues, how should
you analyze it? The following five-step process should help.
1. Identify and describe clearly the facts. Find out who did what to whom, and
where, when, and how. In many instances, you will be surprised at the errors
in the initially reported facts, and often you will find that simply getting the
facts straight helps define the solution. It also helps to get the opposing parties
involved in an ethical dilemma to agree on the facts.
2. Define the conflict or dilemma and identify the higher-order values involved.
Ethical, social, and political issues always reference higher values. The parties to a dispute all claim to be pursuing higher values (e.g., freedom, privacy,
protection of property, and the free enterprise system). Typically, an ethical
issue involves a dilemma: two diametrically opposed courses of action that
support worthwhile values.
3. Identify the stakeholders. Every ethical, social, and political issue has stakeholders: players in the game who have an interest in the outcome, who have
invested in the situation, and usually who have vocal opinions. Find out the
identity of these groups and what they want. This will be useful later when
designing a solution.
4. Identify the options that you can reasonably take. You may find that none of
the options satisfy all the interests involved, but that some options do a better
job than others. Sometimes arriving at a good or ethical solution may not
always be a balancing of consequences to stakeholders
5. Identify the potential consequences of your options. Some options may be
ethically correct but disastrous from other points of view. Other options may
work in one instance but not in other similar instances. Always ask yourself,
What if I choose this option consistently over time?
6.4.3. Ethical Principles
Once your analysis is complete, what ethical principles or rules should you use to
make a decision? What higher-order values should inform your judgment? Although you are the only one who can decide which among many ethical principles
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you will follow, and how you will prioritize them, it is helpful to consider some
ethical principles with deep roots in many cultures that have survived throughout
recorded history.
1. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (the Golden Rule).
Putting yourself into the place of others, and thinking of yourself as the object
of the decision, can help you think about fairness in decision making.
2. If an action is not right for everyone to take, it is not right for anyone (Immanuel Kants Categorical Imperative). Ask yourself, If everyone did this,
could the organization, or society, survive?
3. If an action cannot be taken repeatedly, it is not right to take at all (Descartes
rule of change). This is the slippery-slope rule: An action may bring about
a small change now that is acceptable, but if it is repeated, it would bring
unacceptable changes in the long run. In the vernacular, it might be stated as
once started down a slippery path, you may not be able to stop.
4. Take the action that achieves the higher or greater value (Utilitarian Principle). This rule assumes you can prioritize values in a rank order and understand the consequences of various courses of action.
5. Take the action that produces the least harm or the least potential cost (Risk
Aversion Principle). Some actions have extremely high failure costs of very
low probability (e.g., building a nuclear generating facility in an urban area)
or extremely high failure costs of moderate probability (speeding and automobile accidents). Avoid these high-failure-cost actions, paying greater
attention to high-failure-cost potential of moderate to high probability.
6. Assume that virtually all tangible and intangible objects are owned by someone else unless there is a specific declaration otherwise. (This is the ethical
no free lunch rule.) If something someone else has created is useful to you,
it has value, and you should assume the creator wants compensation for this
work.
Although these ethical rules cannot be guides to action, actions that do not easily
pass these rules deserve some very close attention and a great deal of caution. The
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appearance of unethical behavior may do as much harm to you and your company
as actual unethical behavior.
6.4.4. Property Rights: Intellectual Property
Contemporary information systems have severely challenged existing laws and social practices that protect private intellectual property. Intellectual property is considered to be intangible property created by individuals or corporations. Information technology has made it difficult to protect intellectual property because computerized information can be so easily copied or distributed on networks. Intellectual property is subject to a variety of protections under three different legal
traditions: trade secrets, copyright, and patent law.

Trade Secrets
Any intellectual work product a formula, device, pattern, or compilation of data
used for a business purpose can be classified as a trade secret, provided it is not
based on information in the public domain. Protections for trade secrets vary from
state to state. In general, trade secret laws grant a monopoly on the ideas behind
a work product, but it can be a very tenuous monopoly. Software that contains
novel or unique elements, procedures, or compilations can be included as a trade
secret. Trade secret law protects the actual ideas in a work product, not only their
manifestation. To make this claim, the creator or owner must take care to bind
employees and customers with nondisclosure agreements and to prevent the secret
from falling into the public domain. The limitation of trade secret protection is
that, although virtually all software programs of any complexity contain unique
elements of some sort, it is difficult to prevent the ideas in the work from falling
into the public domain when the software is widely distributed.

Copyright
Copyright is a statutory grant that protects creators of intellectual property from
having their work copied by others for any purpose during the life of the author plus
an additional 70 years after the authors death. For corporate-owned works, copyright protection lasts for 95 years after their initial creation. Congress has extended
copyright protection to books, periodicals, lectures, dramas, musical compositions,
maps, drawings, artwork of any kind, and motion pictures. The intent behind copyright laws has been to encourage creativity and authorship by ensuring that creative
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people receive the financial and other benefits of their work. Most industrial nations
have their own copyright laws, and there are several international conventions and
bilateral agreements through which nations coordinate and enforce their laws.

Patents
A patent grants the owner an exclusive monopoly on the ideas behind an invention
for 20 years. The congressional intent behind patent law was to ensure that inventors
of new machines, devices, or methods receive the full financial and other rewards
of their labor and yet make widespread use of the invention possible by providing
detailed diagrams for those wishing to use the idea under license from the patents
owner.
The strength of patent protection is that it grants a monopoly on the underlying
concepts and ideas of software. The difficulty is passing stringent criteria of no obviousness (e.g., the work must reflect some special understanding and contribution),
originality, and novelty, as well as years of waiting to receive protection.

Challenges to Intellectual Property Rights


Contemporary information technologies, especially software, pose severe challenges
to existing intellectual property regimes and, therefore, create significant ethical,
social, and political issues.
Digital media differ from books, periodicals, and other media in terms of ease of
replication; ease of transmission; ease of alteration; difficulty in classifying a software work as a program, book, or even music; compactness making theft easy; and
difficulties in establishing uniqueness.
The proliferation of electronic networks, including the Internet, has made it even
more difficult to protect intellectual property. Before widespread use of networks,
copies of software, books, magazine articles, or films had to be stored on physical media, such as paper, computer disks, or videotape, creating some hurdles to
distribution. Using networks, information can be more widely reproduced and distributed.
The Internet was designed to transmit information freely around the world, including copyrighted information. With the World Wide Web in particular, you can easily copy and distribute virtually anything to thousands and even millions of people
around the world, even if they are using different types of computer systems. Information can be illicitly copied from one place and distributed through other systems
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and networks even though these parties do not willingly participate in the infringement.
Individuals have been illegally copying and distributing digitized MP3 music files
on the Internet for a number of years. Illegal file sharing became so widespread
that it threatened the viability of the music recording industry. . As more and more
homes adopt high-speed Internet access, illegal file sharing of videos will pose similar threats to the motion picture industry. Mechanisms are being developed to sell
and distribute books, articles, and other intellectual property legally on the Internet, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 is providing some
copyright protection. The DMCA implemented a World Intellectual Property Organization Treaty that makes it illegal to circumvent technology- based protections of
copyrighted materials. Internet service providers (ISPs) are required to take down
sites of copyright infringers that they are hosting once they are notified of the problem.
Microsoft and other major software and information content firms are represented
by the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA), which lobbies for
new laws and enforcement of existing laws to protect intellectual property around
the world. The SIIA runs an antipiracy hotline for individuals to report piracy activities, offers educational programs to help organizations combat software piracy,
and has published guidelines for employee use of software.
6.4.5. Quality Of Life: Equity, Access, And Boundaries
The negative social costs of introducing information technologies and systems are
beginning to mount along with the power of the technology. Many of these negative social consequences are not violations of individual rights or property crimes.
Nevertheless, these negative consequences can be extremely harmful to individuals,
societies, and political institutions.
Computers and information technologies potentially can destroy valuable elements
of our culture and society even while they bring us benefits. If there is a balance
of good and bad consequences of using information systems, who do we hold responsible for the bad consequences? Next, we briefly examine some of the negative social consequences of systems, considering individual, social, and political
responses.

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Balancing Power: Center Versus Periphery


An early fear of the computer age was that huge, centralized mainframe computers
would centralize power at corporate headquarters and in the nations capital, resulting in a Big Brother society, as was suggested in George Orwells novel 1984.
The shift toward highly decentralized computing, coupled with an ideology of empowerment of thousands of workers, and the decentralization of decision making
to lower organizational levels, have reduced the fears of power centralization in institutions. Yet much of the empowerment described in popular business magazines
is trivial. Lower-level employees may be empowered to make minor decisions, but
the key policy decisions may be as centralized as in the past.

Rapidity of Change: Reduced Response Time to Competition


Information systems have helped to create much more efficient national and international markets. The now-more-efficient global marketplace has reduced the
normal social buffers that permitted businesses many years to adjust to competition. Time-based competition has an ugly side: The business you work for may not
have enough time to respond to global competitors and may be wiped out in a year,
along with your job. We stand the risk of developing a just-in-time society with
just-in-time jobs and just-in-time workplaces, families, and vacations.

Maintaining Boundaries: Family, Work, and Leisure


Parts of this book were produced on trains and planes, as well as on vacations and
during what otherwise might have been family time. The danger to ubiquitous
computing, telecommuting, nomad computing, and the do anything anywhere
computing environment is that it is actually coming true. The traditional boundaries
that separate work from family and just plain leisure have been weakened.
Although authors have traditionally worked just about anywhere (typewriters have
been portable for nearly a century), the advent of information systems, coupled with
the growth of knowledge-work occupations, means that more and more people will
are working when traditionally they would have been playing or communicating
with family and friends. The work umbrella now extends far beyond the eight-hour
day.
Even leisure time spent on the computer threatens these close social relationships.
Extensive Internet use, even for entertainment or recreational purposes, takes people

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away from their family and friends. Among middle school and teenage children,
it can lead to harmful anti-social behavior. . Family and friends historically have
provided powerful support mechanisms for individuals, and they act as balance
points in a society by preserving private life, providing a place for people to collect
their thoughts, allowing people to think in ways contrary to their employer, and
dream.

Dependence and Vulnerability


Today, our businesses, governments, schools, and private associations, such as
churches, are incredibly dependent on information systems and are, therefore, highly
vulnerable if these systems fail. With systems now as ubiquitous as the telephone
system, it is startling to remember that there are no regulatory or standard-setting
forces in place that are similar to telephone, electrical, radio, television, or other
public utility technologies. The absence of standards and the criticality of some
system applications will probably call forth demands for national standards and
perhaps regulatory oversight.

Computer Crime and Abuse


New technologies, including computers, create new opportunities for committing
crime by creating new valuable items to steal, new ways to steal them, and new
ways to harm others.
Computer crime is the commission of illegal acts through the use of a computer or
against a computer system. Computers or computer systems can be the object of the
crime (destroying a companys computer center or a companys computer files), as
well as the instrument of a crime (stealing computer lists by illegally gaining access
to a computer system using a home computer). Simply accessing a computer system
without authorization or with intent to do harm, even by accident, is now a federal
crime.
Computer abuse is the commission of acts involving a computer that may not be
illegal but that are considered unethical. The popularity of the Internet and e-mail
has turned one form of computer abuse spamming into a serious problem for both
individuals and businesses. Spam is junk e-mail sent by an organization or individual to a mass audience of Internet users who have expressed no interest in the
product or service being marketed. Spammers tend to market pornography, fraudulent deals and services, outright scams, and other products not widely approved in
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most civilized societies. Some countries have passed laws to outlaw spamming or
to restrict its use.

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Revision Questions

E XERCISE 6.
Describe a scenario within the application of IS and ICTs that
would result in an ethical dilemma

Example . Describe the application of the following in solving the dilemma described above
a) Ethical analysis process
b) Ethical principles

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LESSON 7
System analysis and Design
7.1. Learning Outcomes
After going through this lesson, you should be able to
1. Define a system
2. Explain the different phases of system development life cycle
3. Enumerate the components of system analysis
4. Explain the components of system designing
7.2. Introduction
Systems are created to solve problems. One can think of the systems approach as
an organized way of dealing with a problem. In this dynamic world, the subject
System Analysis and Design (SAD), mainly deals with the software development
activities.
7.3. Defining System
A collection of components that work together to realize some objectives forms a
system. Basically there are three major components in every system, namely input,
processing and output.
In a system the different components are connected with each other and they are
interdependent. For example, human body represents a complete natural system.
We are also bound by many national systems such as political system, economic
system, educational system and so forth. The objective of the system demands
that some output is produced as a result of processing the suitable inputs. A welldesigned system also includes an additional element referred to as control that
provides a feedback to achieve desired objectives of the system.

Figure 7.1: Basic System Components


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7.4. System life cycle
System life cycle is an organizational process of developing and maintaining systems. It helps in establishing a system project plan, because it gives overall list
of processes and sub-processes required for developing a system. System development life cycle means combination of various activities. In other words we can say
that various activities put together are referred as system development life cycle.
In the System Analysis and Design terminology, the system development life cycle
also means software development life cycle.
Following are the different phases of system development life cycle:
1. Preliminary study
2. Feasibility study
3. Detailed system study
4. System analysis
5. System design
6. Coding
7. Testing
8. Implementation
9. Maintenance
7.4.1. Phases of system development life cycle
Let us now describe the different phases and related activities of system development life cycle.

Preliminary System Study


Preliminary system study is the first stage of system development life cycle. This is
a brief investigation of the system under consideration and gives a clear picture of
what actually the physical system is? In practice, the initial system study involves
the preparation of a System Proposal which lists the Problem Definition, Objectives of the Study, Terms of reference for Study, Constraints, Expected benefits of
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the new system, etc. in the light of the user requirements. The system proposal is
prepared by the System Analyst (who studies the system) and places it before the
user management. The management may accept the proposal and the cycle proceeds to the next stage. The management may also reject the proposal or request
some modifications in the proposal. In summary, we would say that system study
phase passes through the following steps:
1. problem identification and project initiation
2. background analysis
3. inference or findings (system proposal)

Feasibility Study
In case the system proposal is acceptable to the management, the next phase is to
examine the feasibility of the system. The feasibility study is basically the test of
the proposed system in the light of its workability, meeting users requirements,
effective use of resources and of course, the cost effectiveness. These are categorized as technical, operational, economic and schedule feasibility. The main goal
of feasibility study is not to solve the problem but to achieve the scope. In the process of feasibility study, the cost and benefits are estimated with greater accuracy
to find the Return on Investment (ROI). This also defines the resources needed to
complete the detailed investigation. The result is a feasibility report submitted to
the management. This may be accepted or accepted with modifications or rejected.
The system cycle proceeds only if the management accepts it.

Detailed System Study


The detailed investigation of the system is carried out in accordance with the objectives of the proposed system. This involves detailed study of various operations
performed by a system and their relationships within and outside the system. During this process, data are collected on the available files, decision points and transactions handled by the present system. Interviews, on-site observation and questionnaire are the tools used for detailed system study. Using the following steps it
becomes easy to draw the exact boundary of the new system under consideration:
1. Keeping in view the problems and new requirements

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2. Workout the pros and cons including new areas of the system
All the data and the findings must be documented in the form of detailed data flow
diagrams (DFDs), data dictionary, logical data structures and miniature specification. The main points to be discussed in this stage are:
1. Specification of what the new system is to accomplish based on the user requirements.
2. Functional hierarchy showing the functions to be performed by the new system and their relationship with each other.
3. Functional network, which are similar to function hierarchy but they highlight
the functions which are common to more than one procedure.
4. List of attributes of the entities these are the data items which need to be
held about each entity (record).

System Analysis
Systems analysis is a process of collecting factual data, understand the processes
involved, identifying problems and recommending feasible suggestions for improving the system functioning. This involves studying the business processes, gathering operational data, understand the information flow, finding out bottlenecks and
evolving solutions for overcoming the weaknesses of the system so as to achieve the
organizational goals. System Analysis also includes subdividing of complex process involving the entire system, identification of data store and manual processes.
The major objectives of systems analysis are to find answers for each business process: What is being done, How is it being done, Who is doing it, When is he doing
it, Why is it being done and How can it be improved? It is more of a thinking process and involves the creative skills of the System Analyst. It attempts to give birth
to a new efficient system that satisfies the current needs of the user and has scope
for future growth within the organizational constraints. The result of this process is
a logical system design. Systems analysis is an iterative process that continues until
a preferred and acceptable solution emerges.

System Design
Based on the user requirements and the detailed analysis of the existing system, the
new system must be designed. This is the phase of system designing. It is the most
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crucial phase in the developments of a system. The logical system design arrived at
as a result of systems analysis is converted into physical system design. Normally,
the design proceeds in two stages:
Preliminary or General Design
Structured or Detailed Design
Preliminary or General Design: In the preliminary or general design, the features
of the new system are specified. The costs of implementing these features and the
benefits to be derived are estimated. If the project is still considered to be feasible,
we move to the detailed design stage.
Structured or Detailed Design:
In the detailed design stage, computer oriented work begins in earnest. At this stage,
the design of the system becomes more structured. Structure design is a blue print
of a computer system solution to a given problem having the same components
and inter-relationships among the same components as the original problem. Input,
output, databases, forms, codification schemes and processing specifications are
drawn up in detail. In the design stage, the programming language and the hardware
and software platform in which the new system will run are also decided. There are
several tools and techniques used for describing the system design of the system.
These tools and techniques are:
1. Flowchart
2. Data flow diagram (DFD)
3. Data dictionary
4. Structured English
5. Decision table
6. Decision tree
Each of the above tools for designing will be discussed in detailed in later units The
system design involves:
1. Defining precisely the required system output
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2. Determining the data requirement for producing the output
3. Determining the medium and format of files and databases
4. Devising processing methods and use of software to produce output
5. Determine the methods of data capture and data input
6. Designing Input forms
7. Designing Codification Schemes
8. Detailed manual procedures
9. Documenting the Design

Coding
The system design needs to be implemented to make it a workable system. This demands the coding of design into computer understandable language, i.e., programming language. This is also called the programming phase in which the programmer
converts the program specifications into computer instructions, which we refer to
as programs. It is an important stage where the defined procedures are transformed
into control specifications by the help of a computer language. The programs coordinate the data movements and control the entire process in a system. It is generally
felt that the programs must be modular in nature. This helps in fast development,
maintenance and future changes, if required.

Testing
Before actually implementing the new system into operation, a test run of the system is done for removing the bugs, if any. It is an important phase of a successful
system. After codifying the whole programs of the system, a test plan should be
developed and run on a given set of test data. The output of the test run should
match the expected results. Sometimes, system testing is considered a part of implementation process. Using the test data following test run are carried out:
1. Program test
2. System test

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Program test:
When the programs have been coded, compiled and brought to working conditions,
they must be individually tested with the prepared test data. Any undesirable happening must be noted and debugged (error corrections)
System Test:
After carrying out the program test for each of the programs of the system and errors
removed, then system test is done. At this stage the test is done on actual data. The
complete system is executed on the actual data. At each stage of the execution, the
results or output of the system is analyzed. During the result analysis, it may be
found that the outputs are not matching the expected output of the system. In such
case, the errors in the particular programs are identified and are fixed and further
tested for the expected output. When it is ensured that the system is running errorfree, the users are called with their own actual data so that the system could be
shown running as per their requirements.

Implementation
After having the user acceptance of the new system developed, the implementation
phase begins. Implementation is the stage of a project during which theory is turned
into practice. The major steps involved in this phase are:
1. Acquisition and Installation of Hardware and Software
2. Conversion
3. User Training
4. Documentation
The hardware and the relevant software required for running the system must be
made fully operational before implementation. The conversion is also one of the
most critical and expensive activities in the system development life cycle. The
data from the old system needs to be converted to operate in the new format of the
new system. The database needs to be setup with security and recovery procedures
fully defined. During this phase, all the programs of the system are loaded onto the
users computer. After loading the system, training of the user starts. Main topics
of such type of training are:
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1. How to execute the package
2. How to enter the data
3. How to process the data (processing details)
4. How to take out the reports
After the users are trained about the computerized system, working has to shift
from manual to computerized working. The process is called Changeover. The
following strategies are followed for changeover of the system.
1. Direct Changeover: This is the complete replacement of the old system by
the new system. It is a risky approach and requires comprehensive system
testing and training.
2. Parallel run: In parallel run both the systems, i.e., computerized and manual,
are executed simultaneously for certain defined period. The same data is
processed by both the systems. This strategy is less risky but more expensive
because of the following:
(a) Manual results can be compared with the results of the computerized
system.
(b) The operational work is doubled.
(c) Failure of the computerized system at the early stage does not affect the
working of the organization, because the manual system continues to
work, as it used to do.
3. Pilot run: In this type of run, the new system is run with the data from
one or more of the previous periods for the whole or part of the system. The
results are compared with the old system results. It is less expensive and risky
than parallel run approach. This strategy builds the confidence and the errors
are traced easily without affecting the operations. The documentation of the
system is also one of the most important activities in the system development
life cycle. This ensures the continuity of the system. There are generally two
types of documentation prepared for any system. These are:
(a) User or Operator Documentation
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(b) System Documentation
The user documentation is a complete description of the system from the users point
of view detailing how to use or operate the system. It also includes the major error
messages likely to be encountered by the users. The system documentation contains
the details of system design, programs, their coding, system flow, data dictionary,
process description, etc. This helps to understand the system and permit changes to
be made in the existing system to satisfy new user needs.

Maintenance
Maintenance is necessary to eliminate errors in the system during its working life
and to tune the system to any variations in its working environments. It has been
seen that there are always some errors found in the systems that must be noted and
corrected. It also means the review of the system from time to time. The review of
the system is done for:
1. knowing the full capabilities of the system
2. knowing the required changes or the additional requirements
3. Studying the performance.
If a major change to a system is needed, a new project may have to be set up to
carry out the change. The new project will then proceed through all the above life
cycle phases.

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Revision Questions

E XERCISE 7.
Write True or False for the following statements.
A collection of components that work together to realize some objectives forms a
system.
System life cycle is not an organizational process of developing and maintaining a
system.
In the system analysis and design terminology the system development life cycle
means software development life cycle.
Coding is not a step in system development life cycle.
System analysis and system design are the same phase of system development life
cycle.

Example . Fill in the blanks.


(a) System study is the _____________ stage of system development life cycle. (b)
Analysis involves a ____________ study of the current system.
(c) All procedures requirements must be analyzed and documented in the form of
data flow diagrams, data dictionary, ___________ and miniature specifications.
(d) _____________ is a blue print of a computer system.
(e) In ___________ run the new system installed in parts.
(f) In parallel run computerized and ____________ systems are executed in parallel.
Solution:
(a) first (b) detailed (c) logical data structure (d) structure design (e) pilot (f) manual


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LESSON 8
Types of Information Systems
Learning Outcomes
After going through this lesson, you should be able to
1. Identify the various types of information systems
2. Explain the roles of the various information systems
3. Match an information system with its corresponding management level

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8.1. Introduction
An information system is a collection of hardware, software, data, people and procedures that are designed to generate information that supports the day-to-day, short
range, and long range activities of users in an organization. Information systems
generally are classified into five categories: office information systems, transaction
processing systems, management information systems, decision support systems,
and expert systems. The following sections present each of these information systems.
8.1.1. Office Information Systems
An office information system, or OIS (pronounced oh-eye-ess), is an information
system that uses hardware, software and networks to enhance work flow and facilitate communications among employees. Win an office information system, also
described as office automation; employees perform tasks electronically using computers and other electronic devices, instead of manually. With an office information
system, for example, a registration department might post the class schedule on the
Internet and e-mail students when the schedule is updated. In a manual system, the
registration department would photocopy the schedule and mail it to each students
house.
An office information system supports a range of business office activities such as
creating and distributing graphics and/or documents, sending messages, scheduling,
and accounting. All levels of users from executive management to nonmanagement
employees utilize and benefit from the features of an OIS.
The software an office information system uses to support these activities include
word processing, spreadsheets, databases, presentation graphics, e-mail, Web browsers,
Web page authoring, personal information management, and groupware. Office information systems use communications technology such as voice mail, facsimile
(fax), videoconferencing, and electronic data interchange (EDI) for the electronic
exchange of text, graphics, audio, and video. An office information system also uses
a variety of hardware, including computers equipped with modems, video cameras,
speakers, and microphones; scanners; and fax machines.

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8.1.2. Transaction Processing Systems
A transaction processing system (TPS) is an information system that captures and
processes data generated during an organizations day-to-day transactions. A transaction is a business activity such as a deposit, payment, order or reservation.
Clerical staff typically perform the activities associated with transaction processing,
which include the following:
1. Recording a business activity such as a students registration, a customers
order, an employees timecard or a clients payment.
2. Confirming an action or triggering a response, such as printing a students
schedule, sending a thank-you note to a customer, generating an employees
paycheck or issuing a receipt to a client.
3. Maintaining data, which involves adding new data, changing existing data, or
removing unwanted data.
Transaction processing systems were among the first computerized systems developed to process business data a function originally called data processing. Usually,
the TPS computerized an existing manual system to allow for faster processing,
reduced clerical costs and improved customer service.
The first transaction processing systems usually used batch processing. With batch
processing, transaction data is collected over a period of time and all transactions
are processed later, as a group. As computers became more powerful, system developers built online transaction processing systems. With online transaction processing (OLTP) the computer processes transactions as they are entered. When
you register for classes, your school probably uses OLTP. The registration administrative assistant enters your desired schedule and the computer immediately prints
your statement of classes. The invoices, however, often are printed using batch
processing, meaning all student invoices are printed and mailed at a later date.
Today, most transaction processing systems use online transaction processing. Some
routine processing tasks such as calculating paychecks or printing invoices, however, are performed more effectively on a batch basis. For these activities, many
organizations still use batch processing techniques.

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8.1.3. Management Information Systems
While computers were ideal for routine transaction processing, managers soon realized that the computers capability of performing rapid calculations and data
comparisons could produce meaningful information for management. Management information systems thus evolved out of transaction processing systems. A
management information system, or MIS (pronounced em-eye-ess), is an information system that generates accurate, timely and organized information so managers
and other users can make decisions, solve problems, supervise activities, and track
progress. Because it generates reports on a regular basis, a management information
system sometimes is called a management reporting system (MRS).
Management information systems often are integrated with transaction processing
systems. To process a sales order, for example, the transaction processing system
records the sale, updates the customers account balance, and makes a deduction
from inventory. Using this information, the related management information system
can produce reports that recap daily sales activities; list customers with past due
account balances; graph slow or fast selling products; and highlight inventory items
that need reordering. A management information system focuses on generating
information that management and other users need to perform their jobs.
An MIS generates three basic types of information: detailed, summary and exception. Detailed information typically confirms transaction processing activities. A
Detailed Order Report is an example of a detail report. Summary information consolidates data into a format that an individual can review quickly and easily. To
help synopsize information, a summary report typically contains totals, tables, or
graphs. An Inventory Summary Report is an example of a summary report.
Exception information filters data to report information that is outside of a normal
condition. These conditions, called the exception criteria, define the range of what
is considered normal activity or status. An example of an exception report is an
Inventory Exception Report is an Inventory Exception Report that notifies the purchasing department of items it needs to reorder. Exception reports help managers
save time because they do not have to search through a detailed report for exceptions. Instead, an exception report brings exceptions to the managers attention in
an easily identifiable form. Exception reports thus help them focus on situations
that require immediate decisions or actions.

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8.1.4. Decision Support Systems
Transaction processing and management information systems provide information
on a regular basis. Frequently, however, users need information not provided in
these reports to help them make decisions. A sales manager, for example, might
need to determine how high to set yearly sales quotas based on increased sales
and lowered product costs. Decision support systems help provide information to
support such decisions.
A decision support system (DSS) is an information system designed to help users
reach a decision when a decision-making situation arises. A variety of DSSs exist
to help with a range of decisions.
A decision support system uses data from internal and/or external sources.
Internal sources of data might include sales, manufacturing, inventory, or financial
data from an organizations database. Data from external sources could include
interest rates, population trends, and costs of new housing construction or raw material pricing. Users of a DSS, often managers, can manipulate the data used in the
DSS to help with decisions.
Some decision support systems include query language, statistical analysis capabilities, spreadsheets, and graphics that help you extract data and evaluate the results.
Some decision support systems also include capabilities that allow you to create a
model of the factors affecting a decision. A simple model for determining the best
product price, for example, would include factors for the expected sales volume at
each price level. With the model, you can ask what if questions by changing one
or more of the factors and viewing the projected results. Many people use application software packages to perform DSS functions. Using spreadsheet software, for
example, you can complete simple modeling tasks or what if scenarios.
A special type of DSS, called an executive information system (EIS), is designed to
support the information needs of executive management. Information in an EIS is
presented in charts and tables that show trends, ratios, and other managerial statistics. Because executives usually focus on strategic issues, EISs rely on external
data sources such as the Dow Jones News/Retrieval service or the Internet. These
external data sources can provide current information on interest rates, commodity
prices, and other leading economic indicators.
To store all the necessary decision making data, DSSs or EISs often use extremely
large databases, called data warehouses. A data warehouse stores and manages the
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data required to analyze historical and current business circumstances.
8.1.5. Expert Systems
An expert system is an information system that captures and stores the knowledge of
human experts and then imitates human reasoning and decision-making processes
for those who have less expertise. Expert systems are composed of two main components: a knowledge base and inference rules. A knowledge base is the combined
subject knowledge and experiences of the human experts. The inference rules are a
set of logical judgments applied to the knowledge base each time a user describes a
situation to the expert system.
Although expert systems can help decision making at any level in an organization,
nonmanagement employees are the primary users who utilize them to help with
job-related decisions. Expert systems also successfully have resolved such diverse
problems as diagnosing illnesses, searching for oil and making soup.
Expert systems are one part of an exciting branch of computer science called artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence (AI) is the application of human intelligence
to computers. AI technology can sense your actions and, based on logical assumptions and prior experience, will take the appropriate action to complete the task. AI
has a variety of capabilities, including speech recognition, logical reasoning, and
creative responses.
Experts predict that AI eventually will be incorporated into most computer systems and many individual software applications. Many word processing programs
already include speech recognition.

Integrated Information Systems


With todays sophisticated hardware, software and communications technologies,
it often is difficult to classify a system as belonging uniquely to one of the five information system types discussed. Much of todays application software supports
transaction processing and generates management information. Other applications
provide transaction processing, management information, and decision support. Although expert systems still operate primarily as separate systems, organizations increasingly are consolidating their information needs into a single, integrated information system.

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Revision Questions

Example . How does an executive information system differ from a Management


information system
Solution: for revision

E XERCISE 8.
Transaction Processing systems are a major source of information
to all other types of information systems. Justify

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Solutions to Exercises
Exercise 1.
Resources
Procedures
Data/Information
Intermediate Data
Processes

Exercise 1

Exercise 2.
Transaction processing systems
Management information systems
Decision support systems

Exercise 2

Exercise 3.
The hardware i.e. the CPU4. , memory, and the input/output devices
The software i.e. the operating system and the application programs
Data / information
Procedures
The users i.e. people, machines or other computers.

Exercise 3

Exercise 7.
(a) True
(b) False
(c) True
(d) False
(e) False

Exercise 7

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