The information technology definition

The Information Technology

With the development of the information technology and economic globalization, a large number of companies have to bear more and more competitive pressure in the contemporary society. Information systems help companies to raise the competitive advantages. For example, it can improve the quality of products, enhance the quality of services, transform the traditional business model, build the strategy of information resources and so on. Therefore, successful Information systems as effective approach are increasingly used by those enterprises to raise the competitive advantages, development business, take the proportion of market, improve the level of management and so on. In this short report, I shall define the contest of successful information system. Then, there are three parts which are affected by information systems will be discussed. Thirdly, the impact of successful information systems will be discussed in these organizations. Fourthly, I shall introduce the features of successful IS in these companies. Fifthly, the approaches that improve successful IS development and use will be described. At last, I will give the conclusion of this report.

IS is defined as' a set of interrelated components that collect (or retrieve), process, store, and distribute information to support decision making, coordination, and control in an organization' (Laudon & Laudon, 2001, p.7). From my perspective, successful information systems mean information systems which are effectively implemented and operated in organizations and/or society give organizations and/or society technical and informational support to analyze business and/or society situation, reform business or society process, manage knowledge and make organizations informatization. As an essential action also can help organizations and/or society to gain competitive advantage, get benefits, satisfy various needs and make organizations or society more effective and efficient. Successful information systems are maintained and protected well by specific professionals, such as update system software and avoid virus and attacks of hackers.

There are three main parts which are positively affected by successful information systems: individuals, business and society. [IS Success in 21th] Individuals can learn and capture useful abilities or knowledge by using successful information systems. Furthermore, people can feel convenient through application of successful IS, such as data mining. For instance, when costumers want to find some books or DVDs in an e- commerce website, such as Amazon online shop, this website would provide some recommend books or video tapes which costumers might interest though analyzing the records which costumers bought before. For this reason, costumers would feel convenient and comfortable.

In terms of business companies, successful information systems help these organizations improve their efficiency, enhance productivity and raise the capability of management. These information systems also increase the quality of services and products of those business companies while they decrease the cost of product and organization operation. In the meanwhile, some firms are supported by successful information systems to make smart strategy, as do Target and Dell, by which it offers the best prices in its industry on its goods and services (Jessup & Valacich, 2006, p.44). Therefore, these companies can use information systems to bring competitive advantages to occupy the market share base on successful implementing information systems.

In terms of society, successful information systems play an increasing essential part in the contemporary society. Firstly, a completely social system can provide security and heath guarantee. For example, if someone who is encountered an accident calls police or hospital number, the police or hospital would give sufficient assistance as soon as possible. The reason is that they have complete information through huge society database when this person calls. Secondly, successful IS can be used to analyzed society situation. In addition, several society plans can be made by the research data, such as social welfare program. Thirdly, mature information system can help society to prevent natural disasters through analyzing previous information, integrating with other society IS and building rapid reflection system.

There are five primary components built up successful information systems: people who operate or use the system, procedures, hardware, software, date which is to be processed through the system (Simon, 2001, p.8). These five components as subsystems must be effectively worked together to achieve the goals of IS. Besides, successful information systems are constituted by another five components: input, processes, output, feedback, control. (Gupta, 2000, p.13). In these components, IS collects the data from the input. Then IS analyze these data and transform the data into useful information or knowledge. After that, feedback is given to managers by IS to help them control the procedures, input, output, deal with problems, make correct decisions and so on. The information systems would be successful implemented and operated when these subsystems achieve their own system goals. After successful implementing and operating these systems, they can make business organization efficient and effective in many respects. Firstly, successful IS can enhance the management systems of companies. More precisely, the information would be transferred frequently between different departments through IS. That is to say, these different departments could have good teamwork, communication and i relationship. The problem of low efficiency also could be solved. Secondly, the style of enterprise management can be improved by successful IS, such as cut down the circle time of management. Specifically, enterprises would decrease the cost by managing quality and processes step by step depend on enterprise strategies which have been made. Thirdly, successful IS can standardize and normalize most departments of companies, thereby reducing the operation cost and promoting the efficiency of companies' procedures. Fourthly, successful IS can help companies to make correctly decisions and plans according to the demands of market and changes of business environment. In another word, IS are used by these companies to raise the capability of competitiveness and adoption. Fifthly, these successful systems are used to promote the management conception and business creativity of staffs by those enterprises. This would help works and managers to learn advanced knowledge, technology and approach about information systems.

There are three major levels of successful information systems can help organizations to business process reengineering: transaction processing systems(TPS), Management information systems(MIS) and decision support systems(DSS)/executive information systems(EIS)(Davies, 2002, p.70). As high structure system, TPS has simple business function. This just deal with real time business information and provide information resources to IS. MIS generally are proposed for providing data in support of structured decision-making (Davies, 2002, p.92). MIS uses the data from TPS to give supports to managers and provides reports and history data to help them to make assistant decisions and strategies. DSS provides more effective supports to high level managers to make decisions through analyzing system models when MIS cannot meet the informational needs of these managers.

There is a case of FedEx to explain that this company has more completive advantage after successfully implementing MIS. FedEx, the global shipping and business solutions giant, was having growing pains. As the company added to its operational network, integrating everything from order processing and shipment tracking to billing and customer support became time-consuming and labor-intensive. The result was a group of applications called FedEx Unified Strategic Information Optimization Network, or FUSION. Its three entities are Shipment FUSION, Customer FUSION, and Revenue FUSION. The solution ties together the shipment systems of each business unit to provide internal and external users with a single resource for all shipment tracking and account reporting. These applications depend on Oracle WebLogic Server Enterprise Edition, a core foundational component of Oracle Fusion Middleware (Baum, 2008) .

This case shows that FedEx appropriate adjusts its business strategy when its internal structure has been changed. Then "FUSUION" information systems which are matched with current business strategy are developed by this company. There are several approaches to achieve the systems goals. Firstly, information systems help FedEx to integrate information and increase the core competitiveness. Specifically, these information systems break the informational barriers and ramparts between different subsidiaries. These subsidiaries used to be independent while they competed with each other in the old business strategy. With the supports of new information systems, these subsidiaries share and integrate their business and customer resources. Besides, these subsidiaries can get the information of the needs and feedbacks of customers and promote their service quality through effective customer relationship management. Secondly, the internal structure of these subsidiaries is suitable to the implement management information system through integrating business. It is difficult to integrate hardware and software between subsidiaries and head office, especially merger or acquisition. However, this current information systems' basic structure of FedEx help new subsidiaries to combine with these IS. Thirdly, the information systems strategy is matched with business strategy. The IS which is suitable for company can provide supports and qualifications to FedEx and help this company to make and execute business strategy. Therefore, this successful IS are an essential completive advantage of company.

There are several features in successful information systems. Firstly, when information systems begin to be implemented, executive sponsorship must be sufficient and safe (Jessup & Valacich, 2006, p.278). More precisely, information systems which are a complex project usually need a long period to be implemented. The reason for this is that the enterprises need to put in enough employees, material and financial resources to manage and maintain the information system. Secondly, successful information systems always have appropriate long-term plans and goals which satisfy the needs of enterprises development. For instance, the problem which restricts the development of firms, development direction of enterprises and the currently informational infrastructure must be thought carefully. Thirdly, top management support plays an significant role in implementing IS. (Biehl, 2007, p.56) high level of managers can keep the making of project decisions, clearly authorization and standard of addressing problems the same. With the recognition and participation of senior leadership, the project planning and each stage of implementation can be effective conducted, coordinated and monitored. Similarly, the senior managers' confidence and determination can ensure the project to be implemented on schedule. Fourthly, teams of information system implementation would be set up in the successful IS. Specifically, these professionals in implementation teams not only have the capability of information technology and experience of implement hardware or software but also familiar with the processes and development of business. Besides, they would have capability of communication skill result form they must to coordinate various relationship, such as the relationship between companies and software providers, the relationship of different departments and staffs. Fifthly, most staffs and managers might be trained in the successful IS. Most employees would be trained to build consensus on informatization. This can reduce antipathy of these staffs and improve the transparency in the process of project construction, reduce the risks of wrong decisions and improve success rate of project. Sixthly, knowledge management as the set of business processes developed in an organization to create, store, transfer and apply knowledge is used widely in successful information systems (Laudon & Laudon, 2006, p.434). Staffs of companies can receive specific knowledge through sharing knowledge in different departments. As capturing the new knowledge continually, staffs can adopt the changes of informatization implementation. Seventhly, successful IS have ability to protect itself from computer crime which is a growing threat to society caused by the criminal or irresponsible actions of individuals who are taking advantages of the widespread use and vulnerability of computers and the Internet and other networks (O'Brien, 2005, p.384).

There are mainly approaches to enhance successful information systems development and use: system development life cycle (SDLC), prototyping, end-user computing, joint application design (JAD) and computer-aided software engineering (CASE). The SDLC is one of the oldest and most traditional methods for developing information systems (Gupta, 2000, p. 298). The SDLC which usually used in complex and large-scale IS implementation is divided into five independent phases: system definition, system analysis, system design, programming, testing, implementation and maintenance. This approach is designed from system definition to system maintenance. In addition, the stages of the project are clear to understand. This is easy to meet the needs of users and maintain the systems. However, this development method needs a long period and a large number of funds. JAD is a group-based tool for colleting user requirements and creating system designs (Kelly, 2007, p. 319). This method can save the time of communication between different designers and increase the possibility of success this development. CASE is a development approach that uses specialized tools to automate many of the tasks in the SDLC (Kelly, 2007, p. 319). This method provides high quality of documents and programs which needed in system development to designers. That is to say, the CASE means bring convenient to these designers. Prototyping is a methodology in which the system development phases are executed at the same time, rather than in sequence like SDLC (Gupta, 2000, p. 303). Firstly, designers and users ensure the fundamental function of system and needs of users. However, the demands of function of system and the qualification of environment are unsure. Secondly, prototyping module which has limit functions is created by these designers in a short time. Thirdly, several problems and changes of needs are found through evaluating prototyping module by these designers and users. Then the suggestions of modification are proposed. Fourthly, according these suggestions, the prototyping module is improved or restructured by these designers. Then, this modified module would be sent to users to assess. This module is more and more enhanced continually base on the feedbacks form users. At last, the final information system which completely meets of needs of users would be built. The prototyping approach would cost fewer funds and would have shorter development period. This system which is designed by prototyping method is easily to maintain and can meet the various demands of users. Besides, this is an effective and efficiency approach to design middle and small information systems. Take Blue Lounge Company for example, Blue Lounge use rapid prototypes method to design its product. Then, this company improves its product through feedbacks from end users. Finally, this company is helped by prototype approach to decrease the development time and cost.

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