The Cornerstones of Business Information Technology
In a broader sense, information is structured, processed and organised information that informs decision making. It gives context to data and allows decision making about any future activity. For instance, a single customer’s sale in a particular restaurant is data: this becomes information the restaurant has when it can identify which of the least popular or most popular dish is. The restaurant has information on every customer that has ever come in: every reservation, every sales and every food order. This becomes data that identifies patterns and allows the management to build up a picture of what customers are looking for and why.
What about information about processes and procedures? We know a great deal about how people process information, especially in terms of computer-related practices. How do they decide what is important? What makes a difference in how a customer perceives and utilises a product or service? Through processes and procedures, information about those aspects of a business can be extracted and used to provide better service and increased value to customers.
Information systems are the key to developing better decisions about information. They give structure to the information that users extract from computers and database management software. Information technology is all about designing systems that extract, organise and present information in the appropriate ways. Information technology disciplines include computer science, computer engineering, information theory, e-business, information management, software engineering, and even marketing which study the methods and forms of communication that attract people to specific businesses.
What about information technology as it applies to information systems and business? The discipline is all about building computer systems that make the information users’ lives easier. Computer systems should satisfy users’ needs and enable them to use the information in a convenient and effective manner. These needs can vary widely and a development environment should be flexible enough to support this. A database management software system, for example, may have features to meet all the needs of its users, but it may not be a perfect fit for a particular company.
One aspect of information technology that is becoming increasingly important is the need for improved information security. A problem that many people face today is the ability to trust information that they see online or in emails. Secure sites to ensure that only well-known and recommended people can access information on a website. Database management software provides another layer of security by keeping information secure until it is needed. Developers of information technology need to consider security issues in depth. Database management software will also allow for more efficient usage of bandwidth and other computer systems.
The development of a sound information technology system is critical for a business. If information is poorly maintained it can lead to costly errors in judgement. Poorly-designed information systems and databases are a major cause of business failure. In addition, information that is improperly used can lead to loss of profits. Therefore, a quality information system is one of the cornerstones of a successful business.