Module 1: MIS and you
This lecture is an introduction to the field of
management information systems.
First, we discuss the reasons information
technology (IT) plays a prominent role in
transforming business. Then, we define
information systems (IS) as a wider concept
encompassing IT. Finally, we describe the
main characteristics of information.
2. Information technology
Information technology (IT) is any technology
that helps people and organizations to
process, record, transmit and make sense of
information. Computers, mobile phones and
mp3 players are all information technology
Business documents, financial numbers,
images of products, or even recorded
business conversations are all information
i.e. data that has meaning. Information is
pervasive in business. Therefore, information
technology is highly relevant to and very
useful in business.
However, the interest in IT in business circles
is high not just because IT is useful. In the
current period in the history of human
civilization, the capabilities of information
technology are growing very fast.
This is often
expressed as the so-
called “Moor’s law”,
which, stated in non-technical terms, asserts
that IT capabilities almost double every two
years. This growth dynamic is literally
in fact, in real explosions energy
is released according to a similar law. The
growth is so fast, that from the point of view
of a business person in 1980, IT capabilities
available in 1960 were so miniscule, that they
almost did not exist, while IT capabilities
available in the first decade of this millennium
are so enormous, that they are beyond all
“reasonable” predictions. Similarly, you may
find out that IT capabilities in ten or twenty
years from now are beyond what you
reasonably expect at present.
Because of the explosive growth of IT
capabilities, information technology often
becomes the so-
technology” in business. New information
technologies offer new ways of doing business
thus disrupting the existing business models.
Even if you are not interested in information
technology and would rather stick to the old
ways of doing business, you will not be able to
ignore it for long. Your competitors will
eventually take advantage of the new
capabilities, and you will have to change to
stay in business.
A solid understanding of the business roles of
IT is essential for your success.
The growth of IT capabilities can be described
in terms of the so-called price/performance
the ability of technology to deliver
performance for its price. The table in the
slide lists the price/performance ratio for