Information systems
Information Systems (IS) is an academic/professional
A professional is a person who is paid to undertake a specialised set of tasks and to complete them for a fee. The traditional professions were doctors, lawyers, clergymen, and commissioned military officers. Today, the term is applied to estate agents, surveyors , environmental scientists,...

 discipline bridging the business
A business is an organization engaged in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers. Businesses are predominant in capitalist economies, where most of them are privately owned and administered to earn profit to increase the wealth of their owners. Businesses may also be not-for-profit...

 field and the well-defined computer science
Computer science
Computer science or computing science is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their implementation and application in computer systems...

 field that is evolving toward a new scientific area of study. An information systems discipline therefore is supported by the theoretical foundations of information
Information in its most restricted technical sense is a message or collection of messages that consists of an ordered sequence of symbols, or it is the meaning that can be interpreted from such a message or collection of messages. Information can be recorded or transmitted. It can be recorded as...

 and computations such that learned scholars have unique opportunities to explore the academics of various business models as well as related algorithmic processes within a computer science discipline. Typically, information systems or the more common legacy information systems include people, procedures, data
The term data refers to qualitative or quantitative attributes of a variable or set of variables. Data are typically the results of measurements and can be the basis of graphs, images, or observations of a set of variables. Data are often viewed as the lowest level of abstraction from which...

, software, and hardware (by degree) that are used to gather and analyze digital
A digital system is a data technology that uses discrete values. By contrast, non-digital systems use a continuous range of values to represent information...

 information. Specifically computer
A computer is a programmable machine designed to sequentially and automatically carry out a sequence of arithmetic or logical operations. The particular sequence of operations can be changed readily, allowing the computer to solve more than one kind of problem...

-based information systems are complementary networks of hardware/software that people and organizations use to collect, filter, process, create, & distribute data (computing)
Data (computing)
In computer science, data is information in a form suitable for use with a computer. Data is often distinguished from programs. A program is a sequence of instructions that detail a task for the computer to perform...

. Computer Information System(s) (CIS) is often a track within the computer science field studying computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, their software & hardware designs, their applications, and their impact on society. Overall, an IS discipline emphasizes functionality over design.

As illustrated by the Venn Diagram
Venn diagram
Venn diagrams or set diagrams are diagrams that show all possible logical relations between a finite collection of sets . Venn diagrams were conceived around 1880 by John Venn...

 on the right, the history of information systems coincides with the history of computer science
History of computer science
The history of computer science began long before the modern discipline of computer science that emerged in the twentieth century, and hinted at in the centuries prior...

 that began long before the modern discipline of computer science emerged in the twentieth century. Regarding the circulation of information and ideas, numerous legacy information systems still exist today that are continuously updated to promote ethnographic approaches, to ensure data integrity
Data integrity
Data Integrity in its broadest meaning refers to the trustworthiness of system resources over their entire life cycle. In more analytic terms, it is "the representational faithfulness of information to the true state of the object that the information represents, where representational faithfulness...

, and to improve the social effectiveness & efficiency of the whole process. In general, information systems are focused upon processing information within organizations, especially within business enterprises, and sharing the benefits with modern society.


Silver et al. (1995) provided two views on (IS) and IS-centered view that includes software, hardware, data, people, and procedures. A second managerial view includes people, business processes and Information Systems.

There are various types of information systems, for example: transaction processing systems, office systems, decision support systems, knowledge management systems, database management systems, and office information systems. Critical to most information systems are information technologies, which are typically designed to enable humans to perform tasks for which the human brain is not well suited, such as: handling large amounts of information, performing complex calculations, and controlling many simultaneous processes.

Information technologies are a very important and malleable resource available to executives. Many companies have created a position of Chief Information Officer
Chief information officer
Chief information officer , or information technology director, is a job title commonly given to the most senior executive in an enterprise responsible for the information technology and computer systems that support enterprise goals...

 (CIO) that sits on the executive board with the Chief Executive Officer
Chief executive officer
A chief executive officer , managing director , Executive Director for non-profit organizations, or chief executive is the highest-ranking corporate officer or administrator in charge of total management of an organization...

 (CEO), Chief Financial Officer
Chief financial officer
The chief financial officer or Chief financial and operating officer is a corporate officer primarily responsible for managing the financial risks of the corporation. This officer is also responsible for financial planning and record-keeping, as well as financial reporting to higher management...

 (CFO), Chief Operating Officer
Chief operating officer
A Chief Operating Officer or Director of Operations can be one of the highest-ranking executives in an organization and comprises part of the "C-Suite"...

 (COO) and Chief Technical Officer
Chief technical officer
A chief technology officer is an executive-level position in a company or other entity whose occupant is focused on scientific and technological issues within an organization....

 (CTO).The CTO may also serve as CIO, and vice versa. The Chief Information Security Officer
Chief information security officer
A chief information security officer is the senior-level executive within an organization responsible for establishing and maintaining the enterprise vision, strategy and program to ensure information assets are adequately protected...

 (CISO) focuses on information security management.


Silver et al. defined Information Systems as follows:

Information systems are implemented within an organization for the purpose of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of that organization. Capabilities of the information system and characteristics of the organization, its work systems, its people, and its development and implementation methodologies together determine the extent to which that purpose is achieved.

The Discipline of Information Systems

Several IS scholars have debated the nature and foundations of Information Systems which has its roots in other reference disciplines such as Computer Science
Computer science
Computer science or computing science is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their implementation and application in computer systems...

, Engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

, Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

, Management Science, Cybernetics
Cybernetics is the interdisciplinary study of the structure of regulatory systems. Cybernetics is closely related to information theory, control theory and systems theory, at least in its first-order form...

, and others.

The Impact on Economic Models

  • Microeconomic theory model
  • Transaction cost
    Transaction cost
    In economics and related disciplines, a transaction cost is a cost incurred in making an economic exchange . For example, most people, when buying or selling a stock, must pay a commission to their broker; that commission is a transaction cost of doing the stock deal...

  • Agency Theory

Differentiating IS from Related Disciplines

Similar to computer science, other disciplines can be seen as both related disciplines and foundation disciplines of IS. The domain of study of IS involves the study of theories and practices related to the social and technological phenomena, which determine the development, use and effects of information systems in organizations and society. But, while there may be considerable overlap of the disciplines at the boundaries, the disciplines are still differentiated by the focus, purpose and orientation of their activities.

In a broad scope, the term Information Systems (IS) is a scientific field of study that addresses the range of strategic, managerial and operational activities involved in the gathering, processing, storing, distributing and use of information, and its associated technologies, in society and organizations. The term information systems is also used to describe an organizational function that applies IS knowledge in industry, government agencies and not-for-profit organizations. Information Systems often refers to the interaction between algorithmic processes and technology. This interaction can occur within or across organizational boundaries. An information system is not only the technology an organization uses, but also the way in which the organizations interact with the technology and the way in which the technology works with the organization’s business processes. Information systems are distinct from information technology
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

 (IT) in that an information system has an information technology component that interacts with the processes components.

Types of information systems

The 'classic' view of Information systems found in the textbooks of the 1980s was of a pyramid of systems that reflected the hierarchy of the organization, usually transaction processing systems
Transaction processing systems
Transaction processing systems automate the handling of data about business activities or transactions, which can be thought of as simple, discrete events in the life of an organization....

 at the bottom of the pyramid, followed by management information systems, decision support systems and ending with executive information systems at the top. Although the pyramid model remains useful, since it was first formulated a number of new technologies have been developed and new categories of information systems have emerged, some of which no longer fit easily into the original pyramid model.

Some examples of such systems are:
  • data warehouses
  • enterprise resource planning
    Enterprise resource planning
    Enterprise resource planning systems integrate internal and external management information across an entire organization, embracing finance/accounting, manufacturing, sales and service, customer relationship management, etc. ERP systems automate this activity with an integrated software application...

  • enterprise systems
  • expert systems
  • geographic information system
    Geographic Information System
    A geographic information system, geographical information science, or geospatial information studies is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographically referenced data...

  • global information system
    Global information system
    - Definition :There is a variety of definitions and understandings of a Global Information System and tea , such as* A global information system is an information system which is developed and / or used in a global context....

  • office automation
    Office Automation
    Office automation refers to the varied computer machinery and software used to digitally create, collect, store, manipulate, and relay office information needed for accomplishing basic tasks. Raw data storage, electronic transfer, and the management of electronic business information comprise the...

Information systems career pathways

Information Systems have a number of different areas of work:
  • Information systems strategy
  • Information systems management
  • Information systems development
  • Information systems security
  • Information systems iteration
  • Information system organization

There are a wide variety of career paths in the information systems discipline. "Workers with specialized technical knowledge and strong communications skills will have the best prospects. Workers with management skills and an understanding of business practices and principles will have excellent opportunities, as companies are increasingly looking to technology to drive their revenue."

Information systems development

Information technology departments in larger organizations tend to strongly influence information technology development, use, and application in the organizations, which may be a business or corporation.
A series of methodologies and processes can be used in order to develop and use an information system. Many developers have turned and used a more engineering approach such as the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) which is a systematic procedure of developing an information system through stages that occur in sequence.
An Information system can be developed in house (within the organization) or outsourced. This can be accomplished by outsourcing certain components or the entire system. A specific case is the geographical distribution of the development team (Offshoring
Offshoring describes the relocation by a company of a business process from one country to another—typically an operational process, such as manufacturing, or supporting processes, such as accounting. Even state governments employ offshoring...

, Global Information System
Global information system
- Definition :There is a variety of definitions and understandings of a Global Information System and tea , such as* A global information system is an information system which is developed and / or used in a global context....


A computer based information system, following a definition of Langefors
Börje Langefors
Börje Langefors was a Swedish engineer and computer scientist, Emeritus Professor of Business Information Systems at the Department of Computer and Systems Science, Stockholm University and Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, and "one of those who made systems development a science."-...

, is:
  • a technologically implemented medium for recording, storing, and disseminating linguistic expressions,
  • as well as for drawing conclusions from such expressions.

which can be formulated as a generalized information systems design mathematical program.

Geographic Information Systems,
Land Information systems and
Disaster Information Systems are also some of the emerging information systems but they can be broadly considered as Spatial Information Systems.
System development is done in stages which include:
  • Problem recognition and specification
  • Information gathering
  • Requirements specification for the new system
  • System design
  • System construction
  • System implementation
  • Review and maintenance

Information systems research

Information systems research is generally interdisciplinary concerned with the study of the effects of information systems on the behavior of individuals, groups, and organizations. Hevner et al. (2004) categorized research in IS into two scientific paradigms including behavioral science which is to develop and verify theories that explain or predict human or organizational behavior and design science which extends the boundaries of human and organizational capabilities by creating new and innovative artifacts.

Salvatore March and Gerald Smith proposed a framework for researching different aspects of Information Technology including outputs of the research (research outputs) and activities to carry out this research (research activities). They identified research outputs as follows:
  1. Constructs which are concepts that form the vocabulary of a domain. They constitute a conceptualization used to describe problems within the domain and to specify their solutions.
  2. A model which is a set of propositions or statements expressing relationships among constructs.
  3. A method which is a set of steps (an algorithm or guideline) used to perform a task. Methods are based on a set of underlying constructs and a representation (model) of the solution space.
  4. An instantiation is the realization of an artifact in its environment.

Also research activities including:
  1. Build an artifact to perform a specific task.
  2. Evaluate the artifact to determine if any progress has been achieved.
  3. Given an artifact whose performance has been evaluated, it is important to determine why and how the artifact worked or did not work within its environment. Therefore theorize and justify theories about IT artifacts.

Although Information Systems as a discipline has been evolving for over 30 years now, the core focus or identity of IS research is still subject to debate among scholars such as. There are two main views around this debate: a narrow view focusing on the IT artifact as the core subject matter of IS research, and a broad view that focuses on the interplay between social and technical aspects of IT that is embedded into a dynamic evolving context. A third view provided by calling IS scholars to take a balanced attention for both the IT artifact and its context.

Since information systems is an applied field, industry practitioners expect information systems research to generate findings that are immediately applicable in practice. However, that is not always the case. Often information systems researchers explore behavioral issues in much more depth than practitioners would expect them to do. This may render information systems research results difficult to understand, and has led to criticism.

To study an information system itself, rather than its effects, information systems models are used, such as EATPUT
The EATPUT model is a model for analyzing an information system designed by Dr. Anthony Debons ofthe University of Pittsburgh's School of Information Science in 1961. It has been widely used in the fields of information systems and information science, in a variety of areas...


The international body of Information Systems researchers, the Association for Information Systems
Association for Information Systems
The Association for Information Systems is an international professional organization serving as the premier global organization for academics specializing in Information Systems...

 (AIS), and its Senior Scholars Forum Subcommittee on Journals (23 April 2007), proposed a 'basket' of journals that the AIS deems as 'excellent', and nominated: Management Information Systems Quarterly
Management Information Systems Quarterly
The Management Information Systems Quarterly is a peer-reviewed academic journal that covers research in the areas of management information systems and information technology...

 (MISQ), Information Systems Research
Information Systems Research
Information Systems Research is a peer-reviewed academic journal that covers research in the areas of information systems and information technology. It is published by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, and was recently selected as one of the top 20...

 (ISR), Journal of Association of Information Systems (JAIS), Journal of Management Information Systems
Journal of Management Information Systems
The Journal of Management Information Systems is an academic journal that publishes original peer-reviewed research articles in the areas of Information Systems and Information Technology. JMIS is highly regarded by IS/IT researchers, and consistently ranks among the top three journals in the...

 (JMIS), European Journal of Information Systems
European Journal of Information Systems
The European Journal of Information Systems is an interdisciplinary scientific journal, which wants to offer a distinctive European perspective on the theory and practice of information systems....

 (EJIS), and Information Systems Journal
Information Systems Journal
The Information Systems Journal is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that publishes papers on any aspect of information systems, but has particular emphasis on the relationship between information systems and people, business, and organisations. The journal was established in 1991 by David Avison...


See also

Related studies
  • Computer Science
    Computer science
    Computer science or computing science is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their implementation and application in computer systems...

  • Human–computer interaction
    Human–computer interaction
    Human–computer Interaction is the study, planning, and design of the interaction between people and computers. It is often regarded as the intersection of computer science, behavioral sciences, design and several other fields of study...

  • Bioinformatics
    Bioinformatics is the application of computer science and information technology to the field of biology and medicine. Bioinformatics deals with algorithms, databases and information systems, web technologies, artificial intelligence and soft computing, information and computation theory, software...

  • Health informatics
    Health informatics
    .Health informatics is a discipline at the intersection of information science, computer science, and health care...

  • Business informatics
    Business informatics
    Business informatics or organizational informatics is a discipline combining information technology , informatics and management concepts. The BI discipline was created in Germany, from the concept of "Wirtschaftsinformatik"...

  • Cheminformatics
    Cheminformatics is the use of computer and informational techniques, applied to a range of problems in the field of chemistry. These in silico techniques are used in pharmaceutical companies in the process of drug discovery...

  • Disaster informatics
    Disaster informatics
    Disaster Informatics is the study of the use of information and technology in the preparation, mitigation, response and recovery phases of disasters and other emergencies...

  • Geoinformatics
    Geoinformatics is the science and the technology which develops and uses information science infrastructure to address the problems of geography, geosciences and related branches of engineering.-Overview:...

  • Information system
    Information system
    An information system - or application landscape - is any combination of information technology and people's activities that support operations, management, and decision making. In a very broad sense, the term information system is frequently used to refer to the interaction between people,...

  • MIS
  • Formative Context
    Formative Context
    Formative contexts are the institutional and imaginative arrangements that shape a society's conflicts and resolutions. They are the structures that limit both the practice and the imaginative possibilities in a socio-political order, and in doing so shape the routines of conflict over social,...

  • Data architect
    Data architect
    A data architect is a person responsible for ensuring that the data assets of an organization are supported by an architecture supporting the organization in achieving its strategic goals. The architecture should cover databases, data integration and the means to get to the data. Usually the data...

  • Data modeling
    Data modeling
    Data modeling in software engineering is the process of creating a data model for an information system by applying formal data modeling techniques.- Overview :...

  • Data Processing System
    Data Processor
    In information processing,a Data Processing System is a system which processes data which has been captured and encoded in a format recognizable by the data processing system or has been created and stored by another unit of an information processing system.A data entry is a specialized component...

  • Data Reference Model
    Data Reference Model
    The Data Reference Model is one of the five reference models of the Federal Enterprise Architecture .- Overview :The DRM is a framework whose primary purpose is to enable information sharing and reuse across the United States federal government via the standard description and discovery of common...

  • Database
    A database is an organized collection of data for one or more purposes, usually in digital form. The data are typically organized to model relevant aspects of reality , in a way that supports processes requiring this information...

    The EATPUT model is a model for analyzing an information system designed by Dr. Anthony Debons ofthe University of Pittsburgh's School of Information Science in 1961. It has been widely used in the fields of information systems and information science, in a variety of areas...

  • Metadata
    The term metadata is an ambiguous term which is used for two fundamentally different concepts . Although the expression "data about data" is often used, it does not apply to both in the same way. Structural metadata, the design and specification of data structures, cannot be about data, because at...

  • Predictive Model Markup Language
    Predictive Model Markup Language
    The Predictive Model Markup Language is an XML-based markup language developed by the Data Mining Group to provide a way for applications to define models related to predictive analytics and data mining and to share those models between PMML-compliant applications.PMML provides applications a...

  • Semantic translation
    Semantic translation
    Semantic translation is the process of using semantic information to aid in the translation of data in one representation or data model to another representation or data model...

  • Three schema approach
    Three schema approach
    The three-schema approach, or the Three Schema Concept, in software engineering is an approach to building information systems and systems information management from the 1970s...

  • Enterprise Information System
    Enterprise Information System
    An Enterprise Information System is generally any kind of computing system that is of "enterprise class". This means typically offering high quality of service, dealing with large volumes of data and capable of supporting some large organization .Enterprise Information Systems provide a technology...

  • Environmental Modeling Center
    Environmental Modeling Center
    The Environmental Modeling Center , improves numerical weather, marine and climate predictions at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction , through a broad program of research in data assimilation and modeling...

  • European Research Center for Information Systems
    European Research Center for Information Systems
    The European Research Center for Information Systems was founded in 2004 at the University of Münster in Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The objective of ERCIS is connecting research in Information systems with Business, Computer Science, Communication Sciences, Law, Management and...

  • Information Processing System
    Information processor
    An information processor or information processing system, as its name suggests, is a system which takes information in one form and processes it into another form, e.g...


Further reading

External links

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