An information system can simply be defined as a system of two or more components in an organization that work together to support the undertaking of the organization’s activities. Such activities may include operations and decision making. The two most critical components in an information system are the information technology and the people tasked with making use of such information technology. Businesses have readily embraced information systems due to the numerous benefits that accrue from embracing such technology. Arguably, information systems are greatly transforming businesses. One of the most profound ways in which information systems are transforming business is the increased efficiency in businesses that adopt an information system as compared to those which do not. It must be remembered that among the most crucial aspects for any successful businesses is timely information. This is what information systems provides businesses with; timely and accurate information which gives the businesses a competitive edge.
Information systems have also transformed businesses in terms of the structures that the business adopts. Businesses which adopt an information system usually shed off layers of the business structure rendered redundant by the information system. Such layers usually comprise of personnel who process information which then makes its way up to the senior management. With an information system, the need for such personnel is greatly reduced as the processing and transfer of information is automated. Information systems are also transforming businesses by enabling them to greatly lower their operating costs as well as in reducing any wastage or losses. This in turn leads to greater profit margins for the businesses which they would not have realized had they hot adopted the information system.
While information systems literacy and computer literacy may appear to refer to the same thing, there is a clear distinction between the two. A system involves several components and this provides the first distinction between the two in that for computer literacy, the focus is on one item; a computer. Consequently information systems literacy refers to the knowledge and technical know-how as well as familiarity with the various components of the information system. Such components include the peripherals, hardware and software components of the information system. On the other hand, computer literacy simply refers to the ability to use a computer and to understand the basic workings of a computer so as to facilitate its use.
Information systems have at least three dimensions in any organizational set up. These are the organizational information system, the technological information system and the management information system. The organizational dimension focuses on the areas of the organization that will be affected by the information system as well the necessary changes that the organization may have to make in light of the information system. The organizational dimension also entails the adoption of the ideal organizational structure that will ensure optimum use of the information system. The technological dimension of an information system focuses on the technical details of the system. This may include the necessary equipment to set up the system, the requisite software for the system as well maintenance and upgrade or upgradability of the system. The management dimension addresses how the information system will provide the necessary information that organizations require so as to be in a position to manage them in the best possible way. All these three dimensions are intertwined and must be examined holistically by an organization seeking to adopt an information system.
Oz, E. (2008). Management Information Systems (6 ed.). Connecticut: Cengage Learning.
Stahl, B. C. (2008). Information Systems: Critical Perspectives (Vol. I of Routledge Studies in Organization and Systems). London: Routledge.