Introduction

Welcome to Information Systems for Business and Beyond. In this book, you will be introduced to the concept of information systems, their use in business, and the larger impact they are having on our world.

Audience

This book is written as an introductory text, meant for those with little or no experience with computers or information systems. While sometimes the descriptions can get a little bit technical, every effort has been made to convey the information essential to understanding a topic while not getting bogged down in detailed terminology or esoteric discussions.

Chapter Outline

The text is organized around thirteen chapters divided into three major parts, as follows:

  • Part 1: What Is an Information System?
    • Chapter 1: What Is an Information System? – This chapter provides an overview of information systems, including the history of how we got where we are today.
    • Chapter 2: Hardware – We discuss information systems hardware and how it works. You will look at different computer parts and learn how they interact.
    • Chapter 3: Software – Without software, hardware is useless. In this chapter, we discuss software and the role it plays in an organization.
    • Chapter 4: Data and Databases – This chapter explores how organizations use information systems to turn data into information that can then be used for competitive advantage. Special attention is paid to the role of databases.
    • Chapter 5: Networking and Communication – Today’s computers are expected to also be communication devices. In this chapter we review the history of networking, how the Internet works, and the use of networks in organizations today.
    • Chapter 6: Information Systems Security – We discuss the information security triad of confidentiality, integrity, and availability. We will review different security technologies, and the chapter concludes with a primer on personal information security.
  • Part 2: Information Systems for Strategic Advantage
    • Chapter 7: Does IT Matter? – This chapter examines the impact that information systems have on an organization. Can IT give a company a competitive advantage? We will discuss seminal works by Brynjolfsson, Carr, and Porter as they relate to IT and competitive advantage.
    • Chapter 8: Business Processes – Business processes are the essence of what a business does, and information systems play an important role in making them work. This chapter will discuss business process management, business process reengineering, and ERP systems. 
    • Chapter 9: The People in Information Systems – This chapter will provide an overview of the different types of people involved in information systems. This includes people who create information systems, those who operate and administer information systems, those who manage information systems, and those who use information systems.
    • Chapter 10: Information Systems Development – How are information systems created? This chapter will review the concept of programming, look at different methods of software development, review website and mobile application development, discuss end-user computing, and look at the “build vs. buy” decision that many companies face.
  • Part 3: Information Systems beyond the Organization
    • Chapter 11: Globalization and the Digital Divide – The rapid rise of the Internet has made it easier than ever to do business worldwide. This chapter will look at the impact that the Internet is having on the globalization of business and the issues that firms must face because of it. It will also cover the concept of the digital divide and some of the steps being taken to alleviate it.
    • Chapter 12: The Ethical and Legal Implications of Information Systems – The rapid changes in information and communication technology in the past few decades have brought a broad array of new capabilities and powers to governments, organizations, and individuals alike. This chapter will discuss the effects that these new capabilities have had and the legal and regulatory changes that have been put in place in response.
    • Chapter 13: Future Trends in Information Systems – This final chapter will present an overview of some of the new technologies that are on the horizon. From wearable technology to 3-D printing, this chapter will provide a look forward to what the next few years will bring.

For the Student

Each chapter in this text begins with a list of the relevant learning objectives and ends with a chapter summary. Following the summary is a list of study questions that highlight key topics in the chapter. In order to get the best learning experience, you would be wise to begin by reading both the learning objectives and the summary and then reviewing the questions at the end of the chapter.

For the Instructor

Learning objectives can be found at the beginning of each chapter. Of course, all chapters are recommended for use in an introductory information systems course. However, for courses on a shorter calendar or courses using additional textbooks, a review of the learning objectives will help determine which chapters can be omitted.

At the end of each chapter, there is a set of study questions and exercises (except for chapter 1, which only offers study questions). The study questions can be assigned to help focus students’ reading on the learning objectives. The exercises are meant to be a more in-depth, experiential way for students to learn chapter topics. It is recommended that you review any exercise before assigning it, adding any detail needed (such as length, due date) to complete the assignment.