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Stage 1: Strategic Use of Technology

Before you begin work on this assignment, be sure you have read the Case Study on Maryland Technology Consultants (MTC). MTC is a fictional company created for IFSM 300’s Case Study. It is also recommended that you review the additional Stages (2, 3 and 4) as well as the vendor brochure provided for Stage 4. This will help you understand the overall report and potential solution.

Overview

As a business analyst in the Chief Information Officer’s (CIO’s) department of Maryland Technology Consulting (MTC), you have been assigned to conduct an analysis, develop a set of system requirements, evaluate a proposed solution, and develop an implementation plan for an IT solution (applicant tracking or hiring system) to improve the hiring process for MTC. This work will be completed in four stages, and each of these four stages will focus on one section of an overall Business Analysis and System Recommendation (BA&SR) report to be delivered to the CIO.

Section I. Strategic Use of Technology (Stage 1) – The first step is to look at the organization and explain how an IT system could be used to support MTC’s strategies and objectives and support its decision-making processes.

Section II. Process Analysis (Stage 2) – Next you will evaluate current processes and workflow and explain how MTC can use IT to improve its processes and workflow.

Section III. Requirements (Stage 3) –Then you will identify key stakeholder expectations for the new technology solution to support MTC’s hiring process and develop a set of requirements.

Section IV. System Recommendation (Stage 4) – Finally, you will review the provided Vendor brochure for a proposed applicant tracking system and explain how it meets the requirements and what needs to be done to implement the system within MTC.

The sections of the BA&SR will be developed and submitted as four staged assignments. For stages 1, 2, and 3, only the material associated with that stage will be graded. The stage 2, 3, and 4 submissions will include the stage that is due, which will be graded according to the assignment requirements and rubric criteria, as well as include all previously submitted stages with any revisions made. It is recommended that when preparing stages 2, 3, and 4, you review any feedback from previous assignments to help improve the effectiveness of your overall report and increase the likelihood of a well-written final submission. For stage 4, the complete BA&SR submission includes grading criteria for evaluating if the document is a very effective and cohesive assemblage of the four sections, is well formatted across all sections and flows smoothly from one section to the next.

Assignment – BA&SR: Introduction and Section I. Strategic Use of Technology

Write an appropriate Introduction to the entire BA&SR Report (guidelines are provided below). Section I of the BA&SR document contains an organizational analysis and identifies ways in which an information system to improve the hiring process can help MTC, the organization in the case study, meet its strategic goals and meet the information needs of various levels of management.

Using the case study, assignment instructions, Content readings, and external research, develop your Introduction and Section I. Strategic Use of Technology. To start, review the readings in Weeks 1 and 2. The case study tells you that the executives and employees at MTC have identified a need for an effective and efficient applicant tracking or hiring system. As you review the case study, use the assignment instructions to take notes to assist in your analysis.



Use the outline format, headings and tables provided and follow all formatting instructions below. For Stage 1, create a title page and reference page that will be used for all 4 stages.

Apply specific information from the case study to address each area.

Introduction

Begin your report with a clear, concise, well organized introduction to explain why you are writing and what is to come in the complete BA&SR report (not just Stage 1). This should briefly set the context for MTC – business purpose, environment, and current challenges related to hiring. Then specifically provide what is to come in the full report. Keep your audience in mind – this is an internal report for the CIO of MTC. Provide an introduction in one paragraph that engages the reader’s interest in continuing to read your report.

Strategic Use of Technology

A. Business Strategy – In this section, you should clearly present – at a broad level – what MTC’s business strategy is (refer to case study information), then what issues the current manual hiring process may present that interfere with achieving that strategy, and how improving the hiring process will benefit MTC and support its business strategy. (Use two to three strong sentences that explain how the system would support the strategy and justify your position with specifics from the Case Study.)

B. Competitive Advantage – First, provide an overview of the competitive environment that MTC is currently operating in based on information from the case study. Then explain how and why MTC can use the new hiring system to increase its competitive advantage and help achieve its overall business strategy. Your explanation should demonstrate your understanding of what competitive advantage is as well as how improving the hiring process will help achieve MTC’s competitive advantage. Include how MTC can use the type of data or information that will be in the hiring system to improve its competitive advantage. (Paragraph of 4-5 sentences)

C. Strategic Objectives– Review the four Strategic Goals presented in the Strategic Business Plan section of the MTC Case Study. The CIO has asked you to come up with an example of an objective to help meet each goal and explain how a new hiring system would help achieve that objective. As you can see from the example provided in the table below, an objective is a statement that is clear (not vague) and is something that can be measured or evaluated to determine whether it has been met or not. An important part of setting objectives is that they are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound). In order to evaluate whether an objective has been achieved, it’s important to be able to measure it. Consider this difference – Student wants to get a degree (non-specific and not measurable) vs. Student wants to earn a degree in Information Systems Management by May 2020. (This objective provides specific what and when.) First, insert an introductory opening sentence for this table. Then, for each of the rows listed below, complete the table with the requested information. (Provide an introductory sentence and copy the table. Create an objective for each of the 3 remaining goals and explain using 2-3 complete sentences for each.) Note: This is not about an objective to implement a hiring system or broad business goals but rather the focus is on objectives that would be supported by the use of a technology solution to support/improve the hiring process.

Strategic Goal

(from case study)

Objective

(clear, measurable and time-bound)

Explanation

(2-3 sentences)

Increase MTC Business Development by winning new contracts in the areas of IT Consulting

Build a cadre of consultants internationally to provide remote research and analysis support to MTC’s onsite teams in the U. S.

EXAMPLE PROVIDED – (Retain text but remove this label and gray shading in your report)

Increase international recruiting efforts and employ 5 research analysts in the next 12 months.

The new hiring system would allow applicants from around the world to apply online, increasing the number of international applicants. It would enable the recruiters to carefully monitor the applications for these positions, identify the necessary research and analysis skills needed, and screen resumes for these key skills. Recruiters could quickly view the number of applicants and identify when additional recruiting efforts are needed to meet the objective.

Continue to increase MTC’s ability to quickly provide high quality consultants to awarded contracts to best serve the clients’ needs

Increase MTC’s competitive advantage in the IT consulting marketplace by increasing its reputation for having IT consultants who are highly skilled in leading edge technologies and innovative solutions for its clients

D. Decision Making – In the reading, “How Information Supports Decision Making,” you were introduced to the information requirements of various levels of the organization. First, insert an introductory opening sentence for this section. Then, for each of the management roles listed below, complete the table with the appropriate level (as defined in the reading – one word is all that is required in this column), an example of a specific decision supported by the Hiring System to be made at that level, and what type of information from the hiring system would be needed to support that decision. Think about what information the hiring system could provide about applicants, etc., and then identify an example of a decision that might be made by each level of management. A decision is a choice or conclusion that the management might make about business operations or future planning. This is not about the decisions about implementing a new technology solution or about general responsibilities of each role. Example: A decision example could be stated as: CEO decides to expand MTC’s services to include cybersecurity. He can make this decision because the hiring system provides information that many applicants have the needed skills, certifications and experience to enable MTC to easily recruit IT consultants in this area. (Provide an introductory sentence then copy the table and insert information within, writing in complete sentences.)

Role

Level as defined in Course Content Reading

Example of Possible Decision Supported by Hiring System

Example of Information the Hiring System Could Provide to Support Your Example Decision

Senior/Executive Managers

(Decisions made by the CEO and the CFO at MTC supported by the hiring system.)

Middle Managers

(Decisions made by the Director of HR and the Manager of Recruiting supported by the hiring system.)

Operational Managers

(Decisions made by the line managers in the organization who are hiring for their projects supported by the hiring system.)

Formatting Your Assignment



Consider your audience – you are writing in the role of an MTC business analyst and your audience is MTC and your boss, the CIO. Don’t discuss MTC as if the reader has no knowledge of the organization. Also do not reference “stage #” or “case study” – these are class terms and would not be in a business report. Use third person consistently throughout the report. In third person, the writer avoids the pronouns I, we, my, and ours. The third person is used to make the writing more objective by taking the individual, the “self,” out of the writing. This method is very helpful for effective business writing, a form in which facts, not opinion, drive the tone of the text. Writing in the third person allows the writer to come across as unbiased and thus more informed.

· Create a title page that includes: The title of report, company name, your name, Course and Section number and date (revise date with each submission).

· In Stage 1, you are preparing the first part of a 4-stage report. Use the structure, headings, and outline format provided here for your report. Use the numbering/lettering in the assignment instructions as shown below.

Introduction

I. Strategic Use of Technology

A. Business Strategy

B. Competitive Advantage

C. Strategic Objectives

D. Decision Making

· Write a short concise paper: Use the recommendations provided in each area for length of response. It’s important to value quality over quantity. Assignment should not exceed 4 pages excluding title and reference pages.

· Content areas should be double spaced; table entries should be single-spaced.

· To
copy a table
: Move your cursor to the table, then click on the small box that appears at the upper left corner of the table to highlight the table; right click and COPY the table; put the cursor in your paper where you want the table and right click and PASTE the table.

· Ensure that each of the tables is preceded by an introductory sentence that explains what is contained in the table, so the reader understands why the table has been included.

·
Use at least two resources with APA formatted citation and reference. Use at least one external reference and one from the course content. Course content should be from the class reading content, not the assignment instructions or case study itself. Refer to APA Requirements for IFSM 300 Classes that is posted under Content>Course Resources>Writing Resources for specifics related to citing from the class content. For information on general APA format, refer to Content>Course Resources>Writing Resources.

· Begin a Reference Page for resources required for this assignment. Additional research in the next stages will be added to this as you build the report. The final document should contain all references from all stages appropriately formatted and alphabetized. Use APA format for your reference page.

· Running headers are not required for this report.

· Compare your work to the Grading Rubric below to be sure you have met content and quality criteria.

· Submit your paper as a Word document, or a document that can be read in Word. Keep tables in Word format – do not paste in graphics.

· Your submission should include
your last name first in the filename:
Lastname_firstname_Stage_1


GRADING RUBRIC:

Criteria

90-100%

Far Above Standards

80-89%

Above Standards

70-79%

Meets Standards

60-69%

Below Standards

< 60%

Well Below Standards

Possible Points

Introduction

Describes the organization and provides an introduction to the overall Report

9-10 Points

The introduction is very effective; is clear, logical, derived from the Case Study; and demonstrates a sophisticated level of writing.

8.5 Points

The introduction is clear, logical, and derived from the Case Study.

7.5 Points

The introduction is adequate and is derived from the Case Study.

6.5 Points

The introduction is not clear, logical and/or derived from the Case Study.

0-5 Points

Content missing or extremely incomplete, did not reflect the assignment instructions, showed little or no originality, demonstrated little effort, is not derived from the Case Study; and/or is not original work for this class section.

10

Strategy

How the system will support the organization’s strategy as derived from the case study

18-20 Points

The explanation is clear, logical and fully supported with information from the Case study and using a sophisticated level of writing.

16-17 Points

The explanation is clear, logical and supported with information from the Case study.

14-15 Points

The explanation is provided and supported with information from the Case Study.

12-13 Points

The explanation is not clear, logical and/or supported with information from the Case Study.

0-11 Points

Content missing or extremely incomplete, did not reflect the assignment instructions, showed little or no originality, demonstrated little effort, is not supported with information from the Case Study; and/or is not original work for this class section.

20

Competitive Advantage

Explanation of how the system and its data can be used for competitive advantage

13-15 Points

Clear, complete, logical, derived from the Case Study, and demonstrates sophisticated analysis and writing.

12.75 Points

Complete and accurate; derived from the Case Study, demonstrates analysis and effective writing.

10-11 Points

Explanation is provided and related to the Case Study, may lack specifics and/or clear logic.

9 Points

Explanation is not clear, logical and/or supported with information from the Case Study.

0-8 Points

Content missing or extremely incomplete, did not reflect the assignment instructions, showed little or no originality, demonstrated little effort, is not supported with information from the Case Study; and/or is not original work for this class section.

15

Strategic Objectives

Three objectives derived from Strategic Goals in Case Study with explanation of how new hiring system would help achieve.

Generally, 0-5 points per objective. Both quantity and quality evaluated.

13-15 Points

Objectives are clear, measurable and time-bound and are strongly and fully explained using a sophisticated level of writing.

12.75 Points

Objectives are clear, measurable and time-bound, and are clearly explained.

10-11 Points

Objectives are somewhat clear, measurable and time-bound, and are explained.

9 Points

Objectives are not clear, measurable and/or time-bound, and/or are not explained.

0-8 Points

Content missing or extremely incomplete, did not reflect the assignment instructions, showed little or no originality, demonstrated little effort, is not supported with information from the Case Study; and/or is not original work for this class section.

15

Decision-Making

Types of decisions supported by the system for each of the three levels of the organization

Generally, 0-5 points per decision example. Both quantity and quality evaluated.

13-15 Points

Identified correctly and fully, clearly and logically explained; are derived from the Case Study; and demonstrate sophisticated analysis and writing.

12.75 Points

Identified correctly and clearly and logically explained; are derived from the Case Study; and demonstrate analysis and effective writing.

10-11 Points

Identified correctly and explained and are derived from the Case Study.

9 Points

Not all provided; and/or are not correct and/or not derived from the Case Study.

0-8 Points

Content missing or extremely incomplete, did not reflect the assignment instructions, showed little or no originality, demonstrated little effort, is not supported with information from the Case Study; and/or is not original work for this class section.

15

Research


Two or more sources–one source from within the IFSM 300 course content and one external (other than the course materials)

9-10 Points

Required resources are incorporated and used effectively. Sources used are relevant and timely and contribute strongly to the analysis. References are appropriately incorporated and cited using APA style.

8.5 Points

At least two sources are incorporated and are relevant and somewhat support the analysis. References are appropriately incorporated and cited using APA style.

7.5 Points

Only one resource is used and properly incorporated and/or reference(s) lack correct APA style.

6.5 Points

A source may be used, but is not properly incorporated or used, and/or is not effective or appropriate; and/or does not follow APA style for references and citations.

0-5 Points

No course content or external research incorporated; or reference listed is not cited within the text.

10

Format

Uses outline format provided; includes Title Page and Reference Page

13-15 Points

Well organized and easy to read. Very few or no errors in sentence structure, grammar, and spelling; double-spaced, written in third person and presented in a professional format.

12.75 Points

Effective organization; has few errors in sentence structure, grammar, and spelling; double-spaced, written in third person and presented in a professional format.

10-11 Points

Some organization; may have some errors in sentence structure, grammar and spelling. Report is double spaced and written in third person.

9 Points

Not well organized, and/or contains several grammar and/or spelling errors; and/or is not double-spaced and written in third person.

0-8 Points

Extremely poorly written, has many grammar and/or spelling errors, or does not convey the information required.

15

TOTAL Points Possible

100


Stage 1: Strategic Use of Technology 03/19/2020 1


Running head: EXTERNAL BUSINESS ANALYSIS 1

EXTERNAL BUSINESS ANALYSIS 4

External Business Analysis

Student’s name

Institution

Introduction

Kelly’s salon important strategy depends on the organization’s reactions to the Five Forces in its industry surroundings. The firm has succeeded in accomplishing the leading position in the beauty business. Kelly now remains as the leading player in the industry. In any case, the external factors in the business environment force weight that must be addressed. Kelly needs to create strategies that address the bargaining power of buyers and suppliers. Viable systems are likewise required for the firm to withstand the dangers of substitutes and new entrants. While Kelly has made progress in this industry environment, Porter’s Five Forces analysis uncovers that the organization must continue advancing to guarantee long-term suitability (Tabacchi, 2010).

Five Forces Analysis


FORCE


EXPLANATION

(Minimum 2 good sentences)


IMPACT
(POSITIVE, NEGATIVE, or NEUTRAL)


AFFECT STRATEGY?
(YES/NO)

BUYER POWER

The bargaining power of purchasers is high in this industry because there are such a variety of determinations of salon clients can look over. Consequently, clients have a significant impact and control over the organizations in this industry (Tabacchi, 2010).

Customers can change over to another spa effortlessly with next to zero expense. Therefore, because there are such a large number of choices of comparable products and services at comparative value levels, brand unwavering is hard to keep up

Yes

SUPPLIER POWER

The bargaining power of suppliers is low. As a result of the reality, there are such a large number of suppliers offering similar items at costs which are moderately the same the dealing force of suppliers is relatively small.

Prices for salon products and services are frequently set at a wholesale price; however, costs for every single other item are regularly debatable. It makes the bargaining power rather low

No

THREAT OF SUBSTITUTE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES

The potential for substitutes is low. The possibility of substitute for facial medications is fair since clients can buy elective facial items, for example, creams, covers, and so forth.

Therefore, the risk of substitution in this industry is low, especially because numerous individuals have stress from their day by day lives and appreciates being spoiled by administrations from this industry.

Yes

THREAT OF NEW ENTRANTS

It is high. While evaluating what the potential for new entrants is, we ought to take a gander at the capital prerequisite to beginning the business and how available the capital is.

Government directions don’t act like a huge boundary to the section because a firm needs to agree to authorize prerequisites to work, which isn’t excessively confounded.

Yes

RIVALRY AMONG EXISTING COMPETITORS

The competition among current rivals is high. The beauty industry is a divided one in which there are numerous small to medium firms. These organizations have low to medium piece of the pie. A considerable lot of these organizations are singular businesses and some are chains.

It implies clients have a wide assortment of alternatives since they can without much of a stretch change amongst contenders. It prompts an open door for price wars since clients have more power and the divided firms need to give customers a motivating force to consume from that firm.

Yes

Justification of the strategy

The company’s cost leadership strategy is in line with the porters five forces analysis. Kelly can reduce costs by assessing those set by competitors and ensuring he differentiates her services to attract clients at a lower price. The issue of buyer power can be addressed by making the services negotiable and adjustable depending on the customer’s needs. The supplier power is critical as it drives the costs strategy. Developing long-term relationships with producers ensures that the business can access products cheaper. The company should always be up to date when it comes to potential substitutes so as to adjust as fast as possible. New entrants can be curbed by stabling strong customer loyalty to avoid the possibility of losing customers to new rivals (Bose, 2008).

Business Process

To maintain a competitive advantage, the business should adopt technology in a way that regulates customers and employees. The use of technology will propel the cost leadership strategy to the desired level. The system can allow customers to book appointments at specific times and even choose their favorite employee to provide the service. It will allow Kelly’s salon to adjust and be ready to serve clients at their requested times. It also allows employees to plan and balance work-life issues (Evans, 2003).

References

Bose, R. (2008). Competitive intelligence process and tools for intelligence analysis. Industrial Management & Data Systems108(4), 510-528.

Evans, N. D. (2003). Business Innovation and Disruptive Technology: Harnessing the Power of Breakthrough Technology… for Competitive Advantage. FT Press.

Fleisher, C. S., & Bensoussan, B. E. (2003). Strategic and competitive analysis: methods and techniques for analyzing business competition (p. 457). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Tabacchi, M. H. (2010). Current research and events in the spa industry.Cornell Hospitality Quarterly51(1), 102-117.

1/6/22, 4:46 PM Business Strategy

https://learn.umgc.edu/d2l/le/content/622997/viewContent/25150592/View 1/3

Business Strategy

This section presents a high-level overview of the strategic planning process for business.

All companies want to formulate technology solutions that effectively support the

business and its objectives. To do so, the company must first understand its business

model, the fundamentals of its business type (manufacturing, finance, service, etc.), and its

strategy. Only once the company has understood these, should it begin to focus on its

systems. Information systems are only tools that are used to support a business;

therefore, if the tools are not aligned with business requirements, then its resources (time,

money, and people) may be wasted, triggering an undesirable outcome.

Many businesses establish an overall mission or vision statement—Why are we in

business? Following is a list of companies with their mission statements:

Amazon—”to be earth’s most customer-centric company, to build a place where people

can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” (Amazon Jobs,

2018)

Marriott—”to be the world’s favorite travel company” (Marriott Investor Relations).

Google—“to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and

useful” (Google.com, 2018).

As you can see, these mission and vision statements are very broad and overarching;

however, to achieve these, organizations need more specifics with actionable areas to

accomplish to help support the mission/vision. In order to define the goals and objectives,

first organizations scan the environment looking at several factors, such as competition,

business environment, customers, employees, and location. This analysis helps identify

threats and opportunities. A frequent tool used in business is SWOT Analysis: identifying

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. The section Does IT Matter? also

looks at further methods to analyze the competitive environment.

Learning Resource

1/6/22, 4:46 PM Business Strategy

https://learn.umgc.edu/d2l/le/content/622997/viewContent/25150592/View 2/3

This analysis can result in organizations defining business goals and objectives and the

specific actions needed to be successful. When these objectives are defined,

opportunities can be identified to use information technology to help reach those

objectives.

It’s important that technology support the business objectives rather than drive the

objectives. For example, looking back at Amazon’s mission statement, specific goals and

objectives would need to be defined (e.g., How can customer-centric be increased?). One

approach is customizing the user experience so customers feel valued and that Amazon

really “knows” them. A strategic goal might be to maximize the customer’s experience

through personalization of the online shopping experience. With technology, information

regarding customers’ browsing and shopping habits can be stored and retrieved when a

customer returns to the Amazon site, prompting with messages such as “Hello John—

Recommended Links for You” or “John—Buy it Again,” followed by a list of recent

purchases John has made. The benefits of the information technology can be increased

sales and increased customer loyalty, which give Amazon a competitive advantage in the

online retail arena.

This information would then be documented for everyone in the company to understand

and be able to do their part to support the business strategy. For example, Amazon might

document as follows:

Mission/Vision: Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company, to build a

place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy

online.

Business Strategy (derived from the Mission/Vision): to be earth’s most customer-centric

company, to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they

might want to buy online.

Technology Support: A robust online shopping system would accommodate millions

of customers and products and focus on the individual customer’s searches and

buying habits.

Competitive Advantage: Availability of millions of products would increase sales, and

a focus on the customer would increase customer loyalty.

Strategic Goal 1: Increase customer-centricity by maximizing the customer’s experience

through personalization of the online shopping experience.

Objective: Provide customer with at least five other items they might be interested in

based on previous purchases by the end of the first quarter.

1/6/22, 4:46 PM Business Strategy

https://learn.umgc.edu/d2l/le/content/622997/viewContent/25150592/View 3/3

Technology Support: The system would store each customer’s purchases and retrieve that

information when the customer returns to the Amazon site, and present a message such

as “Hello, John – Recommended for you” with icons of several items related to his recent

purchases.

Strategic Goal 2: Increase the number of items available.

Objective: Add 10% more items to the inventory.

Technology Support: The system would provide the ability to store and retrieve items for

display to customers.

To achieve success, an organization should translate its high-level mission into specific

objectives so it can align its technology support to those objectives. The alignment can

provide clear direction and enable all levels of the organization to work towards

maximizing their investments in information technology.

References

Amazon Jobs (2018). Retrieved from https://www.amazon.jobs/en/working/working-

amazon

Google.com/About. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.google.com/about/

Marriott. (2018). Marriott investor relations: Frequently asked questions. Retrieved from

https://marriott.gcs-web.com/investor-faqs

© 2022 University of Maryland Global Campus

All links to external sites were verified at the time of publication. UMGC is not responsible for the validity or integrity

of information located at external sites.

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and job requirements.

Integration: Easy integration with your corporate email, existing systems, website, and social media sites.

Impress the Candidates: Impress applicants with the efficiency of the process and professional
communication, including offer letters.

Capture Skills of New Hires: As applicants are hired, their information and skills can be exported to your
employee management system.

Try EZ-ATS for FREE!

FREE 30-day trial
No obligation, no credit card needed. Getting started is as easy as 1-2-3!

Test drive EZ-ATS and when you have decided it is the system for you, visit our website and sign up!

UMGC Hiring Solutions, Inc. is a fictitious company designed for the UMGC IFSM 300 case study and its product, EZ-ATS is an applicant tracking
system representative of typical SaaS products. (10/19/2019 ver. 1)

EZ-ATS APPLICANT TRACKING SOFTWARE

Page 4

Launching EZ-ATS

1. Select the services you need at a price that fits your budget
➢ Up to 25 system users $50 per month
➢ 25-100 system users $100 per month
➢ 101-1000 system users $200 per month
➢ Over 1000 system users $500 per month
➢ One-time system setup fee $1,000 to initialize system connections
➢ One-time configuration fee $2,500 to individualize system for your company
➢ Web-based training $295 for “Train the Trainers” course
➢ Unlimited data storage Included in licensing fees
➢ Comprehensive security Included in licensing fees
➢ System maintenance Included in licensing fees
➢ Regular updates Included in licensing fees
➢ Offsite backup and recovery Included in licensing fees

2. Sign the User Agreement with the vendor and provide credit card or purchase order information.
3. When your User Agreement and payment are received, your dedicated Account Manager will contact

you to help you with the configuration steps and preparation to “go live.”
➢ Use your company name and logo
➢ Link to your corporate email and social media sites
➢ Link to the LinkedIn and job boards you use to post job announcements
➢ Show you how to

▪ Set up custom reports
▪ Set up user accounts for your employees
▪ Set up your custom workflow
▪ Redesign and upload your job requisitions to use the automated screening function
▪ Test each function to ensure it is working as intended

Deploying EZ-ATS is just as simple!

1. Train your employees
➢ Using free EZ-ATS website videos
➢ Using EZ-ATS training resources to develop on-site training to meet your needs

2. Provide users with account and login information, including one-time password
3. Identify user support resources provided by your company

Using the system is even easier!

1. Authorized users can access EZ-ATS
➢ From any device
➢ From any location
➢ At any time

2. System maintenance does not interrupt user experience
3. Security and other updates are automatically installed – with no action on your part required!

UMGC Hiring Solutions, Inc. is a fictitious company designed for the UMGC IFSM 300 case study and its product, EZ-ATS is an applicant tracking
system representative of typical SaaS products. (10/19/2019 ver. 1)

EZ-ATS APPLICANT TRACKING SOFTWARE

Page 5

About Software as a Service (SaaS)

What is Software-as-a-Service?

• Available to customers over the Internet; available from anywhere

• Application is hosted by a third-party provider; typically no additional IT
infrastructure or expertise required for customer; low startup costs for customer

• Updates and data backups automatically available

• Subscription services available; cost based on number of users; predictable
scheduled payments

Key Benefits of EZ-ATS Cloud-based SaaS to Your Organization

• Cost efficiency and fixed payment schedule
• Saves time and money on implementing a solution; low up-front costs
• No disruption due to product installation
• Frees staff to focus on key business activities
• Greater flexibility – available anywhere, anytime, from any device
• More efficient support – controlled environment managed by experts
• Safety and security of systems and data through access control, network security

using firewalls, and data encryption
• Easy scalability as business grows
• Free upgrades and enhancements

Reference Listing and Citation for this Brochure

UMGC Hiring Solutions, Inc. (2019). EZ-ATS Brochure [Course Resources]. In IFSM 300: Information
Systems in Organizations. Retrieved from http://learn.umgc.edu

In-text citation (UMGC Hiring Solutions, 2019)

Information Systems for Business and Beyond

David T. Bourgeois, Ph.D.

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Saylor URL: http://www.saylor.org/courses/bus206
Attributed to: David T. Bourgeois, Ph.D.

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Information Systems for Business and Beyond © 2014 David T. Bourgeois, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license made possible by funding from The Saylor Foundation’s Open Textbook Challenge in order to be incorporated into Saylor.org’s collection of open courses available at http://www.saylor.org. Full license terms may be viewed at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/legalcode
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Contents

1Introduction

Part 1: What Is an Information System?
Chapter 1: What Is an Information System?

5David T. Bourgeois

Chapter 2: Hardware
14David T. Bourgeois

Chapter 3: Software
26David T. Bourgeois

Chapter 4: Data and Databases
39David T. Bourgeois

Chapter 5: Networking and Communication
52David T. Bourgeois

Chapter 6: Information Systems Security
64David T. Bourgeois

Part 2: Information Systems for Strategic Advantage
Chapter 7: Does IT Matter?

76David T. Bourgeois

Chapter 8: Business Processes
85David T. Bourgeois

Chapter 9: The People in Information Systems
94David T. Bourgeois

Chapter 10: Information Systems Development
104David T. Bourgeois

Part 3: Information Systems Beyond the Organization
Chapter 11: Globalization and the Digital Divide

120David T. Bourgeois

Chapter 12: The Ethical and Legal Implications of Information Systems
129David T. Bourgeois

Chapter 13: Future Trends in Information Systems
144David T. Bourgeois

150Answers to Study Questions
162Bibliography

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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

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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.

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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.

Introduction 3

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Part 1: What Is an Information System?

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Chapter 1: What Is an Information System?

David T. Bourgeois

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this chapter, you will be able to:

• define what an information system is by identifying its major components;
• describe the basic history of information systems; and
• describe the basic argument behind the article “Does IT Matter?” by Nicholas Carr.

Introduction

If you are reading this, you are most likely taking a course in information systems, but do you even know
what the course is going to cover? When you tell your friends or your family that you are taking a course
in information systems, can you explain what it is about? For the past several years, I have taught an
Introduction to Information Systems course. The first day of class I ask my students to tell me what they
think an information system is. I generally get answers such as “computers,” “databases,” or “Excel.”
These are good answers, but definitely incomplete ones. The study of information systems goes far beyond
understanding some technologies. Let’s begin our study by defining information systems.

Defining Information Systems

Almost all programs in business require students to take a course in something called information systems.
But what exactly does that term mean? Let’s take a look at some of the more popular definitions, first from
Wikipedia and then from a couple of textbooks:

• “Information systems (IS) is the study of complementary networks of hardware and software that
people and organizations use to collect, filter, process, create, and distribute data.”1

• “Information systems are combinations of hardware, software, and telecommunications networks
that people build and use to collect, create, and distribute useful data, typically in organizational
settings.”2

• “Information systems are interrelated components working together to collect, process, store, and
disseminate information to support decision making, coordination, control, analysis, and
viualization in an organization.”3

1. Wikipedia entry on “Information Systems,” as displayed on August 19, 2012. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. San Francisco:
Wikimedia Foundation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_systems_(discipline).

2. Excerpted from Information Systems Today – Managing in the Digital World, fourth edition. Prentice-Hall, 2010.
3. Excerpted from Management Information Systems, twelfth edition, Prentice-Hall, 2012.

5
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As you can see, these definitions focus on two different ways of describing information systems:
the components that make up an information system and the role that those components play in an
organization. Let’s take a look at each of these.

The Components of Information Systems

As I stated earlier, I spend the first day of my information systems class discussing exactly what the
term means. Many students understand that an information system has something to do with databases
or spreadsheets. Others mention computers and e-commerce. And they are all right, at least in part:
information systems are made up of different components that work together to provide value to an
organization.

The first way I describe information systems to students is to tell them that they are made up of five components: hardware,
software, data, people, and process. The first three, fitting under the category technology, are generally what most students think of
when asked to define information systems. But the last two, people and process, are really what separate the idea of information
systems from more technical fields, such as computer science. In order to fully understand information systems, students must
understand how all of these components work together to bring value to an organization.

Technology

Technology can be thought of as the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. From the
invention of the wheel to the harnessing of electricity for artificial lighting, technology is a part of our lives
in so many ways that we tend to take it for granted. As discussed before, the first three components of
information systems – hardware, software, and data – all fall under the category of technology. Each of
these will get its own chapter and a much lengthier discussion, but we will take a moment here to introduce
them so we can get a full understanding of what an information system is.

Hardware

Information systems hardware is the part of an information system you can touch – the physical components
of the technology. Computers, keyboards, disk drives, iPads, and flash drives are all examples of
information systems hardware. We will spend some time going over these components and how they all
work together in chapter 2.

Software

Software is a set of instructions that tells the hardware what to do. Software is not
tangible – it cannot be touched. When programmers create software programs,
what they are really doing is simply typing out lists of instructions that tell the
hardware what to do. There are several categories of software, with the two main
categories being operating-system software, which makes the hardware usable, and
application software, which does something useful. Examples of operating systems
include Microsoft Windows on a personal computer and Google’s Android on a
mobile phone. Examples of application software are Microsoft Excel and Angry Birds. Software will be
explored more thoroughly in chapter 3.

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Data

The third component is data. You can think of data as a collection of facts. For example, your street address,
the city you live in, and your phone number are all pieces of data. Like software, data is also intangible. By
themselves, pieces of data are not really very useful. But aggregated, indexed, and organized together into
a database, data can become a powerful tool for businesses. In fact, all of the definitions presented at the
beginning of this chapter focused on how information systems manage data. Organizations collect all kinds
of data and use it to make decisions. These decisions can then be analyzed as to their effectiveness and the
organization can be improved. Chapter 4 will focus on data and databases, and their uses in organizations.

Networking Communication: A Fourth Technology Piece?

Besides the components of hardware, software, and data, which have long been considered the core
technology of information systems, it has been suggested that one other component should be added:
communication. An information system can exist without the ability to communicate – the first personal
computers were stand-alone machines that did not access the Internet. However, in today’s hyper-connected
world, it is an extremely rare computer that does not connect to another device or to a network. Technically,
the networking communication component is made up of hardware and software, but it is such a core
feature of today’s information systems that it has become its own category. We will be covering networking
in chapter 5.

People

When thinking about information systems, it is easy to get focused
on the technology components and forget that we must look
beyond these tools to fully understand how they integrate into an
organization. A focus on the people involved in information
systems is the next step. From the front-line help-desk workers, to
systems analysts, to programmers, all the way up to the chief
information officer (CIO), the people involved with information
systems are an essential element that must not be overlooked. The
people component will be covered in chapter 9.

Process

The last component of information systems is process. A process is a series of steps undertaken to
achieve a desired outcome or goal. Information systems are becoming more and more integrated with
organizational processes, bringing more productivity and better control to those processes. But simply
automating activities using technology is not enough – businesses looking to effectively utilize information
systems do more. Using technology to manage and improve processes, both within a company and externally with suppliers and
customers, is the ultimate goal. Technology buzzwords such as “business process reengineering,” “business process management,”
and “enterprise resource planning” all have to do with the continued improvement of these business procedures and the integration
of technology with them. Businesses hoping to gain an advantage over their competitors are highly focused on this component of
information systems. We will discuss processes in chapter 8.

Ch.1:What Is an Information System? 7

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IBM 704 Mainframe (Copyright: Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory)

Registered trademark of
International Business Machines

The Role of Information Systems

Now that we have explored the different components of information systems, we need to turn our attention
to the role that information systems play in an organization. So far we have looked at what the components
of an information system are, but what do these components actually do for an organization? From our
definitions above, we see that these components collect, store, organize, and distribute data throughout the
organization. In fact, we might say that one of the roles of information systems is to take data and turn it
into information, and then transform that into organizational knowledge. As technology has developed, this
role has evolved into the backbone of the organization. To get a full appreciation of the role information
systems play, we will review how they have changed over the years.

The Mainframe Era

From the late 1950s through the 1960s, computers were
seen as a way to more efficiently do calculations. These
first business computers were room-sized monsters, with
several refrigerator-sized machines linked together. The
primary work of these devices was to organize and store
large volumes of information that were tedious to manage
by hand. Only large businesses, universities, and
government agencies could afford them, and they took a
crew of specialized personnel and specialized facilities to
maintain. These devices served dozens to hundreds of
users at a time through a process called time-sharing.
Typical functions included scientific calculations and

accounting, under the broader umbrella of “data processing.”

In the late 1960s, the Manufacturing Resources Planning (MRP) systems
were introduced. This software, running on a mainframe computer, gave
companies the ability to manage the manufacturing process, making it
more efficient. From tracking inventory to creating bills of materials to
scheduling production, the MRP systems (and later the MRP II systems)
gave more businesses a reason to want to integrate computing into their
processes. IBM became the dominant mainframe company. Nicknamed
“Big Blue,” the company became synonymous with business computing. Continued improvement in
software and the availability of cheaper hardware eventually brought mainframe computers (and their little
sibling, the minicomputer) into most large businesses.

The PC Revolution

In 1975, the first microcomputer was announced on the cover of Popular Mechanics: the Altair 8800.
Its immediate popularity sparked the imagination of entrepreneurs everywhere, and there were quickly
dozens of companies making these “personal computers.” Though at first just a niche product for computer
hobbyists, improvements in usability and the availability of practical software led to growing sales. The
most prominent of these early personal computer makers was a little company known as Apple Computer,
headed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, with the hugely successful “Apple II.” Not wanting to be left
out of the revolution, in 1981 IBM (teaming with a little company called Microsoft for their operating-

8 Information Systems for Business and Beyond

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Registered trademark of
SAP

system software) hurriedly released their own version of the personal computer, simply called the “PC.”
Businesses, who had used IBM mainframes for years to run their businesses, finally had the permission
they needed to bring personal computers into their companies, and the IBM PC took off. The IBM PC was
named Time magazine’s “Man of the Year” for 1982.

Because of the IBM PC’s open architecture, it was easy for other companies to copy, or “clone” it.
During the 1980s, many new computer companies sprang up, offering less expensive versions of the PC.
This drove prices down and spurred innovation. Microsoft developed its Windows operating system and
made the PC even easier to use. Common uses for the PC during this period included word processing,
spreadsheets, and databases. These early PCs were not connected to any sort of network; for the most part
they stood alone as islands of innovation within the larger organization.

Client-Server

In the mid-1980s, businesses began to see the need to connect their computers together as a way to
collaborate and share resources. This networking architecture was referred to as “client-server” because
users would log in to the local area network (LAN) from their PC (the “client”) by connecting to a powerful
computer called a “server,” which would then grant them rights to different resources on the network (such
as shared file areas and a printer). Software companies began developing applications that allowed multiple
users to access the same data at the same time. This evolved into software applications for communicating,
with the first real popular use of electronic mail appearing at this time.

This networking and data sharing all stayed within the confines of each business,
for the most part. While there was sharing of electronic data between companies,
this was a very specialized function. Computers were now seen as tools to
collaborate internally, within an organization. In fact, these networks of computers
were becoming so powerful that they were replacing many of the functions
previously performed by the larger mainframe computers at a fraction of the cost.

It was during this era that the first Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems were developed and run on
the client-server architecture. An ERP system is a software application with a centralized database that can
be used to run a company’s entire business. With separate modules for accounting, finance, inventory,
human resources, and many, many more, ERP systems, with Germany’s SAP leading the way, represented
the state of the art in information systems integration. We will discuss ERP systems as part of the chapter on
process (chapter 9).

The World Wide Web and E-Commerce

First invented in 1969, the Internet was confined to use by universities, government agencies, and
researchers for many years. Its rather arcane commands and user applications made it unsuitable for
mainstream use in business. One exception to this was the ability to expand electronic mail outside the
confines of a single organization. While the first e-mail messages on the Internet were sent in the early
1970s, companies who wanted to expand their LAN-based e-mail started hooking up to the Internet in the
1980s. Companies began connecting their internal networks to the Internet in order to allow communication
between their employees and employees at other companies. It was with these early Internet connections
that the computer truly began to evolve from a computational device to a communications device.

In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee developed a simpler way for researchers to share information over the
network at CERN laboratories, a concept he called the World Wide Web.4 This invention became the
launching point of the growth of the Internet as a way for businesses to share information about themselves.

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Registered trademark of Amazon
Technologies, Inc.

As web browsers and Internet connections became the norm, companies rushed to grab domain names and
create websites.

In 1991, the National Science Foundation, which governed how the
Internet was used, lifted restrictions on its commercial use. The year 1994
saw the establishment of both eBay and Amazon.com, two true pioneers in
the use of the new digital marketplace. A mad rush of investment in
Internet-based businesses led to the dot-com boom through the late 1990s,
and then the dot-com bust in 2000. While much can be learned from the speculation and crazy economic
theories espoused during that bubble, one important outcome for businesses was that thousands of miles of
Internet connections were laid around the world during that time. The world became truly “wired” heading
into the new millenium, ushering in the era of globalization, which we will discuss in chapter 11.

As it became more expected for companies to be connected to the Internet, the digital world also
became a more dangerous place. Computer viruses and worms, once slowly propagated through the sharing
of computer disks, could now grow with tremendous speed via the Internet. Software written for a
disconnected world found it very difficult to defend against these sorts of threats. A whole new industry of
computer and Internet security arose. We will study information security in chapter 6.

Web 2.0

As the world recovered from the dot-com bust, the use of technology in business continued to evolve at
a frantic pace. Websites became interactive; instead of just visiting a site to find out about a business and
purchase its products, customers wanted to be able to customize their experience and interact with the
business. This new type of interactive website, where you did not have to know how to create a web page or
do any programming in order to put information online, became known as web 2.0. Web 2.0 is exemplified
by blogging, social networking, and interactive comments being available on many websites. This new
web-2.0 world, in which online interaction became expected, had a big impact on many businesses and
even whole industries. Some industries, such as bookstores, found themselves relegated to a niche status.
Others, such as video rental chains and travel agencies, simply began going out of business as they were
replaced by online technologies. This process of technology replacing a middleman in a transaction is called
disintermediation.

As the world became more connected, new questions arose. Should access to the Internet be
considered a right? Can I copy a song that I downloaded from the Internet? How can I keep information
that I have put on a website private? What information is acceptable to collect from children? Technology
moved so fast that policymakers did not have enough time to enact appropriate laws, making for a Wild
West–type atmosphere. Ethical issues surrounding information systems will be covered in chapter 12.

The Post-PC World

After thirty years as the primary computing device used in most businesses, sales of the PC are now
beginning to decline as sales of tablets and smartphones are taking off. Just as the mainframe before it, the
PC will continue to play a key role in business, but will no longer be the primary way that people interact
and do business. The limited storage and processing power of these devices is being offset by a move to
“cloud” computing, which allows for storage, sharing, and backup of information on a massive scale. This

4. CERN’s “The Birth of the Web.” http://public.web.cern.ch/public/en/about/web-en.html

10 Information Systems for Business and …

Information Systems for Business and Beyond

David T. Bourgeois, Ph.D.

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Information Systems for Business and Beyond © 2014 David T. Bourgeois, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license made possible by funding from The Saylor Foundation’s Open Textbook Challenge in order to be incorporated into Saylor.org’s collection of open courses available at http://www.saylor.org. Full license terms may be viewed at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/legalcode
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Contents

1Introduction

Part 1: What Is an Information System?
Chapter 1: What Is an Information System?

5David T. Bourgeois

Chapter 2: Hardware
14David T. Bourgeois

Chapter 3: Software
26David T. Bourgeois

Chapter 4: Data and Databases
39David T. Bourgeois

Chapter 5: Networking and Communication
52David T. Bourgeois

Chapter 6: Information Systems Security
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Part 2: Information Systems for Strategic Advantage
Chapter 7: Does IT Matter?

76David T. Bourgeois

Chapter 8: Business Processes
85David T. Bourgeois

Chapter 9: The People in Information Systems
94David T. Bourgeois

Chapter 10: Information Systems Development
104David T. Bourgeois

Part 3: Information Systems Beyond the Organization
Chapter 11: Globalization and the Digital Divide

120David T. Bourgeois

Chapter 12: The Ethical and Legal Implications of Information Systems
129David T. Bourgeois

Chapter 13: Future Trends in Information Systems
144David T. Bourgeois

150Answers to Study Questions
162Bibliography

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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

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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.

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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.

Introduction 3

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Part 1: What Is an Information System?

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Chapter 1: What Is an Information System?

David T. Bourgeois

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this chapter, you will be able to:

• define what an information system is by identifying its major components;
• describe the basic history of information systems; and
• describe the basic argument behind the article “Does IT Matter?” by Nicholas Carr.

Introduction

If you are reading this, you are most likely taking a course in information systems, but do you even know
what the course is going to cover? When you tell your friends or your family that you are taking a course
in information systems, can you explain what it is about? For the past several years, I have taught an
Introduction to Information Systems course. The first day of class I ask my students to tell me what they
think an information system is. I generally get answers such as “computers,” “databases,” or “Excel.”
These are good answers, but definitely incomplete ones. The study of information systems goes far beyond
understanding some technologies. Let’s begin our study by defining information systems.

Defining Information Systems

Almost all programs in business require students to take a course in something called information systems.
But what exactly does that term mean? Let’s take a look at some of the more popular definitions, first from
Wikipedia and then from a couple of textbooks:

• “Information systems (IS) is the study of complementary networks of hardware and software that
people and organizations use to collect, filter, process, create, and distribute data.”1

• “Information systems are combinations of hardware, software, and telecommunications networks
that people build and use to collect, create, and distribute useful data, typically in organizational
settings.”2

• “Information systems are interrelated components working together to collect, process, store, and
disseminate information to support decision making, coordination, control, analysis, and
viualization in an organization.”3

1. Wikipedia entry on “Information Systems,” as displayed on August 19, 2012. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. San Francisco:
Wikimedia Foundation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_systems_(discipline).

2. Excerpted from Information Systems Today – Managing in the Digital World, fourth edition. Prentice-Hall, 2010.
3. Excerpted from Management Information Systems, twelfth edition, Prentice-Hall, 2012.

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As you can see, these definitions focus on two different ways of describing information systems:
the components that make up an information system and the role that those components play in an
organization. Let’s take a look at each of these.

The Components of Information Systems

As I stated earlier, I spend the first day of my information systems class discussing exactly what the
term means. Many students understand that an information system has something to do with databases
or spreadsheets. Others mention computers and e-commerce. And they are all right, at least in part:
information systems are made up of different components that work together to provide value to an
organization.

The first way I describe information systems to students is to tell them that they are made up of five components: hardware,
software, data, people, and process. The first three, fitting under the category technology, are generally what most students think of
when asked to define information systems. But the last two, people and process, are really what separate the idea of information
systems from more technical fields, such as computer science. In order to fully understand information systems, students must
understand how all of these components work together to bring value to an organization.

Technology

Technology can be thought of as the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. From the
invention of the wheel to the harnessing of electricity for artificial lighting, technology is a part of our lives
in so many ways that we tend to take it for granted. As discussed before, the first three components of
information systems – hardware, software, and data – all fall under the category of technology. Each of
these will get its own chapter and a much lengthier discussion, but we will take a moment here to introduce
them so we can get a full understanding of what an information system is.

Hardware

Information systems hardware is the part of an information system you can touch – the physical components
of the technology. Computers, keyboards, disk drives, iPads, and flash drives are all examples of
information systems hardware. We will spend some time going over these components and how they all
work together in chapter 2.

Software

Software is a set of instructions that tells the hardware what to do. Software is not
tangible – it cannot be touched. When programmers create software programs,
what they are really doing is simply typing out lists of instructions that tell the
hardware what to do. There are several categories of software, with the two main
categories being operating-system software, which makes the hardware usable, and
application software, which does something useful. Examples of operating systems
include Microsoft Windows on a personal computer and Google’s Android on a
mobile phone. Examples of application software are Microsoft Excel and Angry Birds. Software will be
explored more thoroughly in chapter 3.

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Data

The third component is data. You can think of data as a collection of facts. For example, your street address,
the city you live in, and your phone number are all pieces of data. Like software, data is also intangible. By
themselves, pieces of data are not really very useful. But aggregated, indexed, and organized together into
a database, data can become a powerful tool for businesses. In fact, all of the definitions presented at the
beginning of this chapter focused on how information systems manage data. Organizations collect all kinds
of data and use it to make decisions. These decisions can then be analyzed as to their effectiveness and the
organization can be improved. Chapter 4 will focus on data and databases, and their uses in organizations.

Networking Communication: A Fourth Technology Piece?

Besides the components of hardware, software, and data, which have long been considered the core
technology of information systems, it has been suggested that one other component should be added:
communication. An information system can exist without the ability to communicate – the first personal
computers were stand-alone machines that did not access the Internet. However, in today’s hyper-connected
world, it is an extremely rare computer that does not connect to another device or to a network. Technically,
the networking communication component is made up of hardware and software, but it is such a core
feature of today’s information systems that it has become its own category. We will be covering networking
in chapter 5.

People

When thinking about information systems, it is easy to get focused
on the technology components and forget that we must look
beyond these tools to fully understand how they integrate into an
organization. A focus on the people involved in information
systems is the next step. From the front-line help-desk workers, to
systems analysts, to programmers, all the way up to the chief
information officer (CIO), the people involved with information
systems are an essential element that must not be overlooked. The
people component will be covered in chapter 9.

Process

The last component of information systems is process. A process is a series of steps undertaken to
achieve a desired outcome or goal. Information systems are becoming more and more integrated with
organizational processes, bringing more productivity and better control to those processes. But simply
automating activities using technology is not enough – businesses looking to effectively utilize information
systems do more. Using technology to manage and improve processes, both within a company and externally with suppliers and
customers, is the ultimate goal. Technology buzzwords such as “business process reengineering,” “business process management,”
and “enterprise resource planning” all have to do with the continued improvement of these business procedures and the integration
of technology with them. Businesses hoping to gain an advantage over their competitors are highly focused on this component of
information systems. We will discuss processes in chapter 8.

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IBM 704 Mainframe (Copyright: Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory)

Registered trademark of
International Business Machines

The Role of Information Systems

Now that we have explored the different components of information systems, we need to turn our attention
to the role that information systems play in an organization. So far we have looked at what the components
of an information system are, but what do these components actually do for an organization? From our
definitions above, we see that these components collect, store, organize, and distribute data throughout the
organization. In fact, we might say that one of the roles of information systems is to take data and turn it
into information, and then transform that into organizational knowledge. As technology has developed, this
role has evolved into the backbone of the organization. To get a full appreciation of the role information
systems play, we will review how they have changed over the years.

The Mainframe Era

From the late 1950s through the 1960s, computers were
seen as a way to more efficiently do calculations. These
first business computers were room-sized monsters, with
several refrigerator-sized machines linked together. The
primary work of these devices was to organize and store
large volumes of information that were tedious to manage
by hand. Only large businesses, universities, and
government agencies could afford them, and they took a
crew of specialized personnel and specialized facilities to
maintain. These devices served dozens to hundreds of
users at a time through a process called time-sharing.
Typical functions included scientific calculations and

accounting, under the broader umbrella of “data processing.”

In the late 1960s, the Manufacturing Resources Planning (MRP) systems
were introduced. This software, running on a mainframe computer, gave
companies the ability to manage the manufacturing process, making it
more efficient. From tracking inventory to creating bills of materials to
scheduling production, the MRP systems (and later the MRP II systems)
gave more businesses a reason to want to integrate computing into their
processes. IBM became the dominant mainframe company. Nicknamed
“Big Blue,” the company became synonymous with business computing. Continued improvement in
software and the availability of cheaper hardware eventually brought mainframe computers (and their little
sibling, the minicomputer) into most large businesses.

The PC Revolution

In 1975, the first microcomputer was announced on the cover of Popular Mechanics: the Altair 8800.
Its immediate popularity sparked the imagination of entrepreneurs everywhere, and there were quickly
dozens of companies making these “personal computers.” Though at first just a niche product for computer
hobbyists, improvements in usability and the availability of practical software led to growing sales. The
most prominent of these early personal computer makers was a little company known as Apple Computer,
headed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, with the hugely successful “Apple II.” Not wanting to be left
out of the revolution, in 1981 IBM (teaming with a little company called Microsoft for their operating-

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Registered trademark of
SAP

system software) hurriedly released their own version of the personal computer, simply called the “PC.”
Businesses, who had used IBM mainframes for years to run their businesses, finally had the permission
they needed to bring personal computers into their companies, and the IBM PC took off. The IBM PC was
named Time magazine’s “Man of the Year” for 1982.

Because of the IBM PC’s open architecture, it was easy for other companies to copy, or “clone” it.
During the 1980s, many new computer companies sprang up, offering less expensive versions of the PC.
This drove prices down and spurred innovation. Microsoft developed its Windows operating system and
made the PC even easier to use. Common uses for the PC during this period included word processing,
spreadsheets, and databases. These early PCs were not connected to any sort of network; for the most part
they stood alone as islands of innovation within the larger organization.

Client-Server

In the mid-1980s, businesses began to see the need to connect their computers together as a way to
collaborate and share resources. This networking architecture was referred to as “client-server” because
users would log in to the local area network (LAN) from their PC (the “client”) by connecting to a powerful
computer called a “server,” which would then grant them rights to different resources on the network (such
as shared file areas and a printer). Software companies began developing applications that allowed multiple
users to access the same data at the same time. This evolved into software applications for communicating,
with the first real popular use of electronic mail appearing at this time.

This networking and data sharing all stayed within the confines of each business,
for the most part. While there was sharing of electronic data between companies,
this was a very specialized function. Computers were now seen as tools to
collaborate internally, within an organization. In fact, these networks of computers
were becoming so powerful that they were replacing many of the functions
previously performed by the larger mainframe computers at a fraction of the cost.

It was during this era that the first Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems were developed and run on
the client-server architecture. An ERP system is a software application with a centralized database that can
be used to run a company’s entire business. With separate modules for accounting, finance, inventory,
human resources, and many, many more, ERP systems, with Germany’s SAP leading the way, represented
the state of the art in information systems integration. We will discuss ERP systems as part of the chapter on
process (chapter 9).

The World Wide Web and E-Commerce

First invented in 1969, the Internet was confined to use by universities, government agencies, and
researchers for many years. Its rather arcane commands and user applications made it unsuitable for
mainstream use in business. One exception to this was the ability to expand electronic mail outside the
confines of a single organization. While the first e-mail messages on the Internet were sent in the early
1970s, companies who wanted to expand their LAN-based e-mail started hooking up to the Internet in the
1980s. Companies began connecting their internal networks to the Internet in order to allow communication
between their employees and employees at other companies. It was with these early Internet connections
that the computer truly began to evolve from a computational device to a communications device.

In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee developed a simpler way for researchers to share information over the
network at CERN laboratories, a concept he called the World Wide Web.4 This invention became the
launching point of the growth of the Internet as a way for businesses to share information about themselves.

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Registered trademark of Amazon
Technologies, Inc.

As web browsers and Internet connections became the norm, companies rushed to grab domain names and
create websites.

In 1991, the National Science Foundation, which governed how the
Internet was used, lifted restrictions on its commercial use. The year 1994
saw the establishment of both eBay and Amazon.com, two true pioneers in
the use of the new digital marketplace. A mad rush of investment in
Internet-based businesses led to the dot-com boom through the late 1990s,
and then the dot-com bust in 2000. While much can be learned from the speculation and crazy economic
theories espoused during that bubble, one important outcome for businesses was that thousands of miles of
Internet connections were laid around the world during that time. The world became truly “wired” heading
into the new millenium, ushering in the era of globalization, which we will discuss in chapter 11.

As it became more expected for companies to be connected to the Internet, the digital world also
became a more dangerous place. Computer viruses and worms, once slowly propagated through the sharing
of computer disks, could now grow with tremendous speed via the Internet. Software written for a
disconnected world found it very difficult to defend against these sorts of threats. A whole new industry of
computer and Internet security arose. We will study information security in chapter 6.

Web 2.0

As the world recovered from the dot-com bust, the use of technology in business continued to evolve at
a frantic pace. Websites became interactive; instead of just visiting a site to find out about a business and
purchase its products, customers wanted to be able to customize their experience and interact with the
business. This new type of interactive website, where you did not have to know how to create a web page or
do any programming in order to put information online, became known as web 2.0. Web 2.0 is exemplified
by blogging, social networking, and interactive comments being available on many websites. This new
web-2.0 world, in which online interaction became expected, had a big impact on many businesses and
even whole industries. Some industries, such as bookstores, found themselves relegated to a niche status.
Others, such as video rental chains and travel agencies, simply began going out of business as they were
replaced by online technologies. This process of technology replacing a middleman in a transaction is called
disintermediation.

As the world became more connected, new questions arose. Should access to the Internet be
considered a right? Can I copy a song that I downloaded from the Internet? How can I keep information
that I have put on a website private? What information is acceptable to collect from children? Technology
moved so fast that policymakers did not have enough time to enact appropriate laws, making for a Wild
West–type atmosphere. Ethical issues surrounding information systems will be covered in chapter 12.

The Post-PC World

After thirty years as the primary computing device used in most businesses, sales of the PC are now
beginning to decline as sales of tablets and smartphones are taking off. Just as the mainframe before it, the
PC will continue to play a key role in business, but will no longer be the primary way that people interact
and do business. The limited storage and processing power of these devices is being offset by a move to
“cloud” computing, which allows for storage, sharing, and backup of information on a massive scale. This

4. CERN’s “The Birth of the Web.” http://public.web.cern.ch/public/en/about/web-en.html

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