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Features and functions of information systems
Transcript of Features and functions of information systems
What is information?
Information is data that has been processed and put into context. It has relevance to its purpose and is timely to the time of it use. This can give an increased understanding and decrease any doubt.
Who uses information systems?
What is an information system?
Information systems are used by organisations to collect, store and process data which can then be used by other departments to gain information on certain things. Information systems are made up of 5 different features: Software, Hardware, People, Data and Telecommunications.
The data collected must be as accurate as possible and stored in a logical manner. The data will then be summarised to create information which will then be used by the different functional departments of the organisation like the purchasing department who will use information on stock levels and trends to determine what and how much of a product should be bought.
People have an involvement in the capturing and the use of information, by highlighting the value of the information that is being collected you can motivate those whose job it is to collect this information. Those who use the information will analyse it and use it to benefit factors like growth or the profit an organisation makes in a period of time.
Hardware used in information systems depends on the size of the organisation, if the organisation is small then all the management and storage of information will be done on one or two computers which are used by the management. If the organisation is larger then information will be stored and managed on a server which can be accessed by many different computers to be used or shared through the internet to others.
Telecommunications in an orgainsation is used as information may be sent to others over an internal intranet connection, to ensure that it is not intercepted by competitors, a firewall will be needed to ensure security within their network. In some cases a separate and dedicated network is used to ensure complete security.
The simplest software can be used to build standard information systems however most information systems will use specialised software that has all the common abilities of an information systems, these includes describing the database and its structure, the origin of the data, how it will be summarised and what queries may be needed. Cost is a factor as the cheaper build will not offer all of these functions in one computer, whilst the more expensive build will offer these features which can be accessed by many different users.
Information systems are made up of five different functions: input, storage, processing, output and feedback loop.
Input is done in two parts, the input of information that is stored, processed and then forms the basis of the output of the system, the user must also tell the system what kind of analysis they want from the system. This part is done by the IT department and is not available to users.
when data is stored it is stored at the highest detailed level possible, the IT department will make regular backups of the data, at least one copy of the backup should be stored separately in case of a disaster.
This step is where the data get turned into information, it could range from adding values to make a total for items sold by a supermarket in a certain period of time, to complex calculations done by a computer program that can adapt to missing information or select different criteria that maybe included or excluded.
Output can be displayed in either a graphical or textual format:
Graphical is often best for trying to understand trends from the information and is a better format to present information to the management. Textual is best for when information need to be analysed for specific details and to find exact values. They can both be used together, graphical can be used to focus on details and textual can be used to focus on smaller details.
Feedback loops are the results of the use of the outputted information. This can either be a direct effect or lead to something which will benefit the organisation in the future.
Closed and Open Systems
In a closed system, users may have some choice over what they can report on but are limited to predefined output formats. These consist of graphical formats and are aimed at managers.
Whilst a open system here is great flexibility on what can be reported on and the format it is presented in. Due to the flexibility of this system more training may be needed before systems can be used effectively. These systems are more aimed at analysts and use both graphical and textual formats.