Unit 30 Information Systems in Organisations

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To provide learners with an understanding of how organisations use information systems to help them manage their specific needs.

Unit abstract

Information is the most valuable resource that an organisation possesses. The effective gathering, protection, analysis, processing and dissemination of information is vital to the success of any organisation. As globalisation and the 24-hour economy develop and increase, organisations must ensure that their information systems are reliable, efficient and able to cope with rapid change. Organisations whose information systems previously dealt purely with data processing have now introduced those supporting strategic management and decision support. Managers at all levels need appropriate and timely information to plan successfully in the short, medium and long term, and that information can have many sources and destinations. As organisations diversify and decentralise, information also needs to be available to many non-managerial staff in a variety of locations. The logical conclusion is that an organisation is now completely dependent on the effectiveness of its information systems in order to survive and thrive in the 21st century business environment. Learners will begin this unit by analysing the information needs of an organisation at different levels and within different functional areas. It is important that computing professionals are able to understand how an organisation works and how it uses information, in order to be able to design, implement, maintain and manage systems to support its operation. On completion of this unit, learners will understand the importance of effective information systems to an organisation. They will be aware of the variety of options available for information processing and know that these will inevitably change over time. They will also use an information system to produce management information.

Learning outcomes

1 Understand information needs within different functional areas of organisations

  • Functional areas of an organisation: typical areas eg finance, accounts, human resources, stock control, sales, marketing, research and development, production, distribution, customer service, administration
  • Information needs: requirements analysis eg strategic, tactical, operational; data requirements eg inputs, outputs, processing activities; information distribution requirements eg location, department, individual

2 Be able to compare information systems

  • Information systems: types eg business information systems, decision support systems, management information systems, executive information systems, office information systems, transaction processing systems, expert systems, global information systems, data warehouse systems, enterprise systems, enterprise resource planning systems, integrated information systems
  • Information and data: definition of information and data, sources of information, information requirements and the needs for information at different levels within an organisation, storing information and its importance with regard to security, accuracy and relevance; outputs eg payroll, invoicing, ordering, bookings, stock control, personnel records, goods tracking, decision making, marketing, customer service

3 Be able to use information systems to produce management information

  • Management information: reports eg sales report, college enrolment statistics, marketing analysis (brick v click)
  • Gathering information: defining requirements; establishing sources of information; defining other factors to be considered eg constraints
  • Selecting information: analysis of eg validity, accuracy, currency, relevance; identifying alternatives



Avison D, Fitzgerald G – Information Systems Development: Methodologies, Techniques and Tools (McGraw Hill, 2006) ISBN-10: 0077114175
Benyon-Davies P – Business Information Systems (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) ISBN-10: 023020368X
Giarratano J, Riley G – Expert Systems: Principles and Programming (Course Technology, 2004) ISBN-10: 0534384471
Pijpers G – Information Overload: A System for Better Managing Every Day Data (Microsoft Executive Leadership Series) (Wiley, 2010) ISBN-10: 0470625740

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