Information system

Information system. Organized set of elements, which can be people, data, activities or material resources in general. These elements interact with each other to process information and distribute it appropriately based on the objectives of an organization.


[ hide ]

  • 1 Function
    • 1 Entry of Information
    • 2 Information processing
    • 3 Information storage
    • 4 Information output
  • 2 Types and uses
    • 1 Features
      • 1.1 Transactional Systems
      • 1.2 Decision Support Systems
      • 1.3 Strategic Systems
    • 3 Evolution of Information Systems
    • 4 Stage of contagion or expansion
    • 5 Control or formalization stage
    • 6 Stage of integration
    • 7 Data management stage
    • 8 Maturity stage
    • 9 Technological approach and its implications of the NICT
    • 10 Trends and technological paradigms
    • 11 Sources


An information system performs four basic functions:

  1. Information output.

Information Entry

It is the process by which the Information System takes the data it requires to process it. Entries can be manual or automatic. The manuals are those that are provided directly by the user, while the automatic ones are data or information that comes from or is taken from other systems or modules. The latter is called automatic interfaces. Typical units of data input to computers are terminals, magnetic tapes, floppy drives, barcodes, scanners , voice, touch-sensitive monitors , keyboards, and mice , among others.

Information processing

It is the capacity of the Information System to perform calculations according to a pre-established sequence of operations. These calculations can be performed with data recently entered into the system or with data that is stored. This characteristic of the systems allows the transformation of source data into information that can be used for decision making, which makes it possible, among other things, for a decision maker to generate a financial projection from the data contained in a statement. of results or a balance sheet of a base year.

Information storage

Storage is one of the most important activities or capacities that a computer has, since through this property the system can remember the information saved in the previous section or process. This information is usually stored in information structures called files. The typical storage unit is magnetic disks or hard disks , floppy or floppy disks, and CD-ROM compact disks .

Information output

The output is the capacity of an Information System to take the processed information or input data abroad. Typical output units are printers, terminals, floppy disks, magnetic tapes, voice, plotters , and plotters , among others. It is important to clarify that the output of one Information System may constitute the input to another system or module. In this case, there is also an automatic exit interface.

Types and uses

The Information Systems that achieve the automation of operational processes within an organization, are frequently called Transactional Systems, since their primary function is to process transactions such as payments, collections, policies, inputs, outputs, among others. On the other hand, the Information Systems that support the decision-making process are the Decision Support Systems, Group Decision Systems, Expert Decision Support Systems and Information System for Executives. The third type of system, according to their use or objectives they meet, is that of Strategic Systems, which are developed in organizations in order to achieve competitive advantages, through the use of information technology.


Transactional Systems

  • Through these, significant savings in labor are often achieved, as they automate operational tasks of the organization.
  • They are often the first type of Information Systems that is implemented in organizations. It begins by supporting the tasks at the operational level of the organization.
  • They are intensive in input and output of information; their calculations and processes are usually simple and unsophisticated.
  • They have the property of being information collectors, that is, through these systems the large information bases are loaded for later exploitation.
  • They are easy to justify to the general management, since their benefits are visible and palpable.

Decision Support Systems

  • They are usually introduced after having implemented the most relevant Transactional Systems of the company, since the latter constitute its information platform.
  • The information they generate serves to support middle managers and senior management in the decision-making process.
  • They are usually intensive in calculations and scarce in information inputs and outputs. A financial planning model requires little input information, generates little information as a result, but can perform many calculations during its process.
  • They do not usually save labor. Due to this, the economic justification for the development of these systems is difficult, since the income of the investment project is not known.
  • They are usually interactive and friendly Information Systems, with high standards of graphic and visual design, since they are aimed at the end user.
  • They support decision making, which by their very nature are repetitive and unstructured decisions that are not usually repeated. For example, a Materials Purchase Systemthat indicates when an order should be made to the supplier or a Business Simulation System that supports the decision to introduce a new product to the market.
  • These systems can be developed directly by the end user without the operational participation of analysts and programmers in the computing area.

This type of systems may include production scheduling, materials purchase, cash flow, financial projections, business simulation models, inventory models, among others.

Strategic Systems

  • Its primary function is not to support the automation of business processes or provide information to support decision making.
  • They usually take place in house, that is, within the organization, therefore they cannot be easily adapted to packages available on the market.
  • Typically its form of development is based on increments and through its evolution within the organization. It starts with a particular process or function and from there new functions or processes are added.
  • Its function is to obtain advantages that competitors do not possess, such as advantages in costs and differentiated services with clients and suppliers. In this context, the Strategic Systems are creators of barriers to business entry. The use of ATMs in banks is a Strategic System, since it provides an advantage over a bank that does not have such a service. If a new bank decides to open its doors to the public, it will have to provide this service to have a level similar to that of its competitors.
  • They support the process of product and process innovation within the company because they seek advantages over competitors and a way to do it by innovating or creating products and processes.

Evolution of Information Systems

Often, Transactional Systems are initially implemented and, later, Decision Support Systems are introduced. Finally, the Strategic Systems are developed that shape the competitive structure of the company.

In the 1970s, Richard Nolan , a well-known author and professor at the Harvard Business School, developed a theory that impacted the resource planning process and activities of computing.

According to Nolan, the role of computing in organizations evolves through certain stages of growth:

  • It begins with the acquisition of the first computer and is usually justified by labor savings and excess paperwork.
  • The typical applications that are implemented are Transactional Systems such as payroll or accounting.
  • The small Systems Department depends in most cases on the accounting area.
  • The type of administration used is scarce and the function of the systems is usually managed by an administrator who does not have formal training in the area of ​​computing.
  • The staff working in this small department consists at most of an operator and / or a programmer. The latter may be on a fee basis, or may be supported by a local manufacturer of application programs.
  • At this stage it is important to be aware of the resistance to change of the personnel and user ( cyberphobia) that are involved in the first systems that are developed, since these systems are important in saving labor.
  • This stage ends with the successful implementation of the first Information System. It should be emphasized that some organizations can go through various initial stages in which the resistance to change by the first users involved aborts the attempt to introduce the computer to the company.

Contagion or expansion stage

The salient aspects that make it possible to quickly diagnose that a company is at this stage are:

  • It begins with the successful implementation of the first Information System in the organization. As a consequence of the above, the first user executive becomes the paradigm or person to be imitated.
  • The applications that are frequently implemented at this stage are the rest of the Transactional Systems not developed at the start stage, such as billing, inventories, control of customer orders, suppliers, checks.
  • The small department is promoted to a higher category, where it depends on the Administrative Management or Comptroller.
  • The type of administration used is oriented towards the sale of applications to all users in the organization; At this point, a function specialist with academic training in the systems area is usually hired.
  • The hiring of specialized personnel begins and positions such as systems analyst, analyst-programmer, systems programmer, development manager, technical support manager, etc. are created.
  • The developed applications lack automatic interfaces between them, in such a way that the outputs produced by one system have to be manually fed to another system, with the consequent irritation of the users.
  • Expenditures for systems begin to grow significantly, which sets the tone to start rationalizing the use of computing resources within the company. This problem and the beginning of its solution mark the step to the next stage.

Control or formalization stage

To identify a company that is going through this stage, it is necessary to consider the following elements:

  • This stage of evolution of Computing within companies begins with the need to control the use of computational resources through zero-based budgeting techniques (based on the fact that they have nothing) and the implementation of charging systems to users (for the service provided).
  • The applications are aimed at facilitating the control of business operations to make them more effective, such as systems to control the flow of funds, control of purchase orders to suppliers, inventory control, control and project management.
  • The company’s systems department is usually located in a managerial position, depending on the organization chart of the Administration or Finance Department.
  • The type of administration used within the Computing area is oriented to administrative control and the economic justification of the applications to be developed. The need to establish criteria for priorities in the development of new applications is born. The portfolio of pending applications to develop begins to grow.
  • At this stage, the development and implementation of work standards within the department begin, such as: documentation standards, project control, system design and development, system auditing and programming.
  • It is integrated into the organization of the systems department, personnel with administrative skills and technically prepared.
  • The development of automatic interfaces between the different systems begins.

Integration stage

The characteristics of this stage are as follows:

  • The integration of data and systems arises as a direct result of the centralization of the systems department under a single administrative structure.
  • New technologies related to databases, database management systems and fourth generation languages ​​made integration possible.
  • At this stage, the first electronic spreadsheet fortrade arises and users start by making their own applications. This tool greatly helped users to do their own work and not have to wait for their system proposals to be fulfilled.
  • The cost of the equipment and softwaredecreased, making it accessible to more users.
  • Parallel to technological changes, the role of the user and the Information Systems department changed. The systems department evolved into a decentralized structure, allowing the user to use tools for systems development.
  • The users and the system department began the development of new systems, replacing the old systems, for the benefit of the organization.

Data management stage

Among the characteristics that stand out at this stage are the following:

  • The Information Systems department recognizes that information is a very valuable resource that must be accessible to all users.
  • In order to comply with the above, it is necessary to manage the data appropriately, that is, store and maintain it properly so that users can use and share this resource.
  • The user of the information takes responsibility for its integrity and must manage different levels of access.

Maturity stage

Among the outstanding aspects that indicate that a company is in this stage, include the following:

  • Upon reaching this stage, IT within the organization is defined as a basic function and is located at the first levels of the organization chart (management).
  • The systems that are developed are Computer Integrated Manufacturing Systems, Knowledge Based Systemsand Expert Systems, Decision Support Systems, Strategic Systems and, in general, applications that provide information for top management decisions and character applications. strategic.
  • In this stage, the applications developed in the database technology are had and the integration of communication networks with terminals in remote places is achieved, through the use of computational resources.

Technological approach and its implications for ICTs

Computerized information system

The technological development of recent years is so overwhelmingly significant that it is not possible to avoid the constraints that this evolution imposes on all areas. The basic consideration to differentiate the technologies from the so-called new technologies is that, in the latter, it is about the computer simulation of intelligence to enhance the human capacity for action and decision in problem solving and the development of complex forms of thought .

Technological trends and paradigms

Innovation in information technology is likely to continue at an increasing rate. Therefore, some premises must be considered that, when facing technological development projects, condition in one measure or another, but permanently, the aspects related to designs and implementations in this field.

In the first place, the experts affirm that a stage has begun that they have called “O Deade”, 22 marked by a strong opening of the systems that are used for the transfer of information. The “O” stands for open, so it is possible to find: open source , open standarization , open acces and open achive. In turn, the possibilities of the new information technologies of the client-server type and interoperability to support management processes are evident. The innovations will be related to the search for new forms of storage of data, information and knowledge, which will allow obtaining other means to conserve the greatest quantity in devices of lesser magnitude than that required by current media.

Another element to consider is the expansion of online service provision. Studies describing actual experiences provide concrete indications of how online digital services can complement existing services. For this reason, advances in communication networks will continue. And one of the problems to which more attention will be paid will be the creation of security and confidentiality mechanisms for sensitive information that affects citizens and organizations in the legitimate development of their activities.

The Internet is a medium in continuous technological evaluation that is experiencing rapid growth, both in the amount of its content and in the number of people who use it. In the year 2000 , the total number of connected individuals in the world was 4071 million people. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the figure reached 1,645 million. Two years later, the total amount, globally, amounted to 60,560 million. In the American continent, without considering the United States and Canada, the increase brought the figure to 3,335 million. For 2005 , growth of 2 million was expected.

With this network of networks, it is possible to generate broad virtual communities that can share ideas in real time and create a new environment for access, exchange and promotion of knowledge on a global scale, while conditioning a new mode of interaction in the relationships that are created. they establish in the social stratum.

With the Internet, other paradigmatic elements that are inherent to it take shape, such as informational hypermediality and communicative interactivity and multilateralism. Even though NICTs have managed to enhance them very effectively, there are explicit and implicit antecedents of these qualities incorporated in information systems (Reyes Livia M. Interpretation of incident paradigms in Library Science and Information Science . Unpublished observations).


Leave a Comment