In a broad sense, information is simply processed, structured and organised data. It gives context to other data and allows effective decision making about various options. For instance, a single consumer’s sale in a restaurant is multiple data this becomes information if the company is able to identify which the most popular or least common dish is. Decision making is often based on information systems and this is why some businesses have a focus on providing IT consulting services to help them build these systems.
Information technology itself covers a wide field but the concepts are grouped into two main areas: formal information technology and the more ad hoc or ‘on the fly’ information technologies. In the case of formal information technology, this includes such things as databases, web services, email services, intranet systems, white space and SOA. These are all built around well established information science concepts and there are specific standards for how they are developed and managed. This ensures that a discrete and systematic approach is taken to improving the quality and usability of information technology systems.
On the other hand, informal information systems are usually those created by an individual or organisation. Examples include web pages, user groups and file repositories. These can be anything from a social networking site to a handy calendar or address book. The important thing to note is that management information systems need to be tightly coupled with the rest of the organisation in order to make data use and sharing easy. Too many changes can result in poor collaboration and a lack of clarity about the direction in which business is moving. If too much or too little change occurs at the same time, it can be hard for people to understand where they should be going.
One of the key factors in assessing a business information systems strategy is whether it focuses on providing good customer service. Good customer service means that the process of getting information to a client as quickly as possible and that the client feels that the service was of high quality regardless of the speed of delivery. Similarly, information technology must also provide information technology solutions that allow people to work flexibly and not be tied to any particular machine. If information technology is to be used as a way to manipulate machines, then it has to be understood that the use of such machines will only ever be as productive as the people who use them.
It is important that business information systems are scalable. Scalability means that a business information systems can grow as and when necessary. For instance, a company that is employing a few hundred employees can grow its workforce over time with minimal financial outlay, but if the company is employing a thousand employees it can only grow so quickly without causing financial and operational chaos. The right business information systems can allow for growth as and when necessary. They are a very flexible and scalable technology that is very important in an era of tight budgets and where the pace of change is ever increasing.
Information technologies are at the present time a very complex but very progressive field. At the same time they are also highly diverse, extremely versatile, and very robust. The potential applications of mba in business functions are many. However, the decision involved in choosing an information systems management professional will always be an individual one. Each person needs to take into account their own skills, their own interests, their own aptitudes, and their own experience before they can decide upon a management information systems provider.