Over a decade now there has been a fundamental shift on how traditional business operated and engaged with their customers. The rise of technology and its several ways it can be used is changing the old structures of working that have existed for centuries (O'Brien & Marakas, 2006). Moreover, the changes happen on a daily basis, and it is felt in all aspects of business operations in both large and small businesses. This transformation is eliminating commercial and technological obstacles that in the past years have impeded the free flow of communication among people. Significant advancement, especially in the mobile devices, provide a lot of benefits for both the customers and the brand (O'Brien & Marakas, 2006). For instance, with the mobile web, people can shop, advertise, read, buy and bank using their mobile phones. Therefore, it will be of great help if any business person understands the information systems, its components which are information technology, people, process and structure and the importance of each component.
Information technology comprises of hardware, software and other telecommunication systems used to capture, store, process, and distribute information. Hardware is the physical equipment needed to process information (Avison & Fitzgerald, 2003). Some of the hardware resources include machines such as computers and data media objects, and computer systems comprising of interconnected peripheral devices. Software, on the other hand, refers to the coded instructions that make the hardware to perform the needed tasks (Avison & Fitzgerald, 2003). It includes system software, application software, and procedures. Finally, the telecommunication systems refer to the networking equipment that allow devices and users to communicate with one another (Avison & Fitzgerald, 2003). Telecommunication systems include communication media and network support.
Information technology provides vital roles in many organizations. First, it assists in the re-engineering of work practices. This involves an organization or a business its processes or routine of doing work so as to eradicate roadblock that can impede the organization from giving services and products that are of high quality and assist the organization to focus on its strength (Avison & Fitzgerald, 2003). Additionally, information technology has tools such as the database that helps in the centralization of data and users can transfer and transmit data on time thus increasing productivity. Secondly, tools like the computers can be used to perform tasks accurately and at a fast speed. Also, computers have an application that organizes and stores data in a systematic way, and this makes it easy to organize and comprehend important facts. Moreover, the computer has another tool called the internet and can be assessed anywhere and at any given time (Avison & Fitzgerald, 2003). The internet allows people to interact and helps in exchanging of relevant information. Lastly, information technology is very reliable, it can run for 24 hours in 7 days a week. The only way in which these systems can be interrupted is when repairing and maintaining and this only takes a few hours, and the system will be ready for use.
The process component of an information system refers to the steps that an organization employs to carry out specific organizational activities. It maps the actions that an individual or a group in the organization must follow to complete a certain activity (O'Brien & Marakas, 2006). Thus, the process component of an information system ensures that the information generated is useful for organizational decision making. The critical thing to consider here is to design the process so as to fit with the other three components of the information system (O'Brien & Marakas, 2006). Additionally, the process needs to be adjusted when any change occurs in the system.
Today, information systems have become deeply integrated into organizational processes. In turn, this has resulted in better control of the processes and thus an increase in productivity. However, simply integrating the information systems into organizational processes is not enough to manage and improve these processes. Rather, an organization needs to develop the processes based on agreed best practices that ensure the people and all other components work efficiently (O'Brien & Marakas, 2006). When this is the case, the organization is bound to utilize the information system effectively hence leading to improved business operations.
People resources comprise of end users and information system specialists. The end users are the people in the organization who use the information system and the information it produces (Avison & Fitzgerald, 2003). Some of the end users include managers, engineers, accountants, clerks, and even customers. Information system specialists, on the other hand, are the people who design, develop, and operate the information systems in an organization (Avison & Fitzgerald, 2003). They include system analysts, programmers, and computer operators. Briefly, system analysts are responsible for designing information systems for an organization based on the requirements of end users, programmers are responsible for preparing computer programs based on what the systems analysts have specified, and computer operators will operate the computer systems after they are ready.
People, in most organizations, are the most significant and expensive component. Any successful business or organization have the best performers at all levels. Moreover, successful businesses and organizations have the best techniques and methods for motivating, developing, and hiring their employees (Avison & Fitzgerald, 2003). Therefore, people play a key role in the operational processes and systems. This is because they possess skills, knowledge, and attitudes that are used in determining quality and quantity of output of a system.
The structure component of an information system refers to the relationships that guide the usage of the information systems. It encompasses the hierarchical structures, reporting structures, and reward systems. All these aspects of the structure component ensure that people understand how the new system will assist in achieving organizational goals and objectives as well as increase efficiency in the workplace (O'Brien & Marakas, 2006). Additionally, an appropriate organizational structure ensures that there is minimal resistance to change to the new work system.
Structure plays an important role in an organization's information system since the system will not work efficiently if the intended users resist it. Such resistance may be caused by individuals feeling threatened by the new system in the workplace or as a result of the inherent behavior of humans on resistance to change (O'Brien & Marakas, 2006). Thus, when designing and developing an information system, the organization should tailor its structures to meet its current and future needs as well as ensure that all people understand and are comfortable with the new work system.
Information systems play a critical role in today's businesses. The use of information systems has changed the way organizations work as well as resulted in reduced uncertainty in the business decision making processes. For an information system to be effective and ensure that an organization improves its processes, it is important for all the components to work together in an efficient manner. To ensure that this is the case, organizations need to have a deep understanding of the different aspects of the component so as to tailor the information system to meet organizational needs. Ultimately, this will ensure that information system improves the business process and operations and improves productivity.
Avison, D., & Fitzgerald, G. (2003). Information systems development: methodologies, techniques, and tools. McGraw-Hill.
O'Brien, J. A., & Marakas, G. M. (2006). Management information systems. McGraw-Hill Irwin.
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