Analysis in the World of Information Systems

Analysis in the World of Information Systems

Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 30
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8073-8.ch006
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There are many ways in which information systems (IS) impact the business. There are several different types of information systems applications that can be a resource for competitive advantage. To respond appropriately to changing market circumstances, it is necessary to constantly monitor and research the overall situation and then adjust the business approach accordingly. This chapter will review the systematic and methodological approach of the information systems analyst and evaluate what techniques and procedures might be useful to assist in the search, collection, and presentation of the research results and analysis for the broader business context. The chapter will also review the need for an information management policy and a management system that is necessary to develop a large-scale system to manage the amount of information that will result from the research and analysis of the business characteristics of the company and its surrounding environment and competition.
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Introduction To Information Systems

It is the research and analysis of the business competitive situation both internal and external to the firm that is the focus of this book. The review of the tools and techniques used within the information systems world is to determine if they can be usefully applied to the gathering, storage and presentation of the information concerning the firm’s business. It is worth outlining the position of each aspect of information systems development as any aspect can be a potential resource in the search for competitive advantage.

It is useful to first of all review the various forms of information systems application that can be used in an organisation, each one has the potential to create a competitive advantage if used appropriately, although this may only be temporary until the competition understands what your firm is doing and copies the process and information systems you have developed. Some of the key application systems are as follows:

  • 1.

    Office automation systems

  • 2.

    The Transaction Processing System - The set of applications that are used for the operation of the business, essentially covering the primary business processes usually referred to as the information system.

  • 3.

    The specific applications that support production like CAD/CAM

  • 4.

    The software designed to massage transaction data and create management reports

  • 5.

    Support of a Communication system to provide collaboration for teams that are spread across the country and around the world.

  • 6.

    Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is defined as the ability to deliver an integrated suite of business applications and is usually purchased as a package BUT still needs a lot of analysis to tailor the package to fit the company.

Transaction data from the information system can be used by an application called the management or executive information system (MIS/ EIS), there is also a system for modelling particular aspects of a problem area called the decision support system (DSS). These applications can manipulate the data by aggregating and correlating it as appropriate to provide a consolidated information database that allows managers to ask questions for decision-making purposes. These information searching applications may be incorporated into the more extensive business intelligence (BI) system or maybe run separately.

These systems are interesting from twofold aspects; one is the source of current information about the status and performance of the company and the other is as a tool to manage the burgeoning collection of information collected in the search for information concerning the competitive situation enveloping the company.

The process of strategic information system planning (SISP) is the planning required for developing the strategic requirements of information systems and their related hardware, and it is recognised that this process should be aligned with the business strategic planning. There is within this process the requirement to look outside the range of activities currently managing operations, to examine new ways of using information technology to strategic advantage, rather than just re-engineer the firm’s existing processes to run more efficiently.

Porter and Millar discuss the strategic use of information for competitive advantage and specifically in terms of information technology and its use in creating competitive advantage. They discuss the importance of identifying the critical information and key functions within the value chain that can be used to add further value and to also improve the collection and processing of data with information technology to provide better information (1985).

Often the IT analysis team deal with the requirement to obtain an application software package or develop an updated proposal for a single specific business function. To develop or purchase an application, the business must be analysed to determine the requirements of the business function concerned. There are several alternative comprehensive systematic methodologies available to review an organisation and determine what elements or processes can be most effectively dealt with by automation and then examine how a process works so that the function can be reproduced.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Enterprise System: The whole of the enterprise not just a subsystem.

Information map: Can show either the information requirements or the location and quality of information resources as a development tool for the information management project.

Zachman Framework: The framework can be used to organise any collection of information needed to describe something, particularly when a complex situation.

Functional-Entity Relationship Diagram (FERD): Similar to ERD but with more extensive relationship definition.

Transaction Data: A significant amount of data produced by the software applications that help manage company operations.

Enterprise Architecture (EA): Is concerned with the structures and behaviours of a business, it is a well-defined practise for conducting enterprise analysis, design, planning, and implementation.

Work System Framework (WSF): That can be used to describe an overview of the key attributes for the whole business with a definition of the customer and product at the forefront of the analysis.

Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD): A modelling tool used to describe the information structure of the enterprise.

Information Management: A policy and project to set the company direction for dealing with the requirement to search out, gather, store, and present the complex information required for an information system or to determine competitive advantage.

Information Systems Planning: The planning phase of system development required to understand the business functions and develop the system requirements document.

Executive Information System (EIS): A software application designed to use data from the transaction processing system and produce strategic management reports on the organisation's performance.

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