Q: What is an information system? What are the components? In your work environment, describe the information system you utilize. (i.e. hardware, number and type of users, advantages/disadvantages).
What is an information system?
An information system is an ever evolving concept that involves a number of things both physical and abstract. The reading material defines an information system as a collection of 5 components (hardware, software, stored data, personnel and procedures). Having evolved with technology as it evolved I disagree with this definition of an information system.
An information system is broken down into to basic elements hardware (the physical) and software (the logical abstract).
The hardware element is all of things referred to in the text that are used to process, store and transmitted data via some type of medium either wired or wireless. The text does not give the new student to technology a clear picture of what the hardware layer looks like. Below I have attached a common small business hardware configuration. A big business diagram would look much the same but with more devices and connections.
The software layer is the non tangible logical abstract. It is a series of bits arranged in a manner that information can be manipulated and stored. It is stored in a machine readable format and displayed in a human readable format. This logical layer uses the hardware layer to transmit and receive data. You can review the software layer diagram below.
What are the components?
The provided reading material states that there are 5 major components (hardware, software, stored data, personnel and procedures). I argue against this as I have already defined hardware and software.
The reason I do not consider stored data as part of the overall is it is a hardware device that provides yet one function. It is part of the hardware layer.
The reason I do not consider people as part of the equation is an information system does run without people. People are the users of the system are not a direct component of the system. In order to qualify as a component I used this process; if the component is removed will the system stop? If a person dies the system will still continue to function.
I do not consider procedures as a part of the component as that is an element of software. The text has you to believe that it is part of explaining how to use the information system. If that were true then we would spend our entire life understanding how the information system works. A person does not need to know how a watch works in order to tell time. Nor does a person need to understand how an internal combustion engine works in order to drive a car. A person is a user of the watch, not a component of the watch that makes it work. The human procedure component as the text states, is a very tiny part that does not hold enough weight.
Q: In your work environment, describe the information system you utilize. (i.e. hardware, number and type of users, advantages/disadvantages).
Please see my diagram as a picture tells a 1,000 words for the hardware and software systems. The advantages are processing more information, from anywhere, anytime. The disadvantages are you are processing more information, from anywhere, anytime. It is a double edge sword that cuts both ways. The diagram below generically represent a company's information system.