Because organizations have access to large quantities of information in this modern era, they have a responsibility to know the best methods to collect, organize, and store this information so it can be used to answer important business questions and streamline operations.
Unfortunately, there are many in the business world who don't understand the importance of science computer information collection and analysis, nor do they know how to even begin the process. Thankfully, there are IT departments and computer information system professionals available to help businesses meet key objectives by performing much of the hard work themselves.
Read ahead for an overview of information systems managers and what steps they take to turn raw data into valuable information that can be used to improve decision-making throughout an organization.
What Are Computer Information Systems?
A computer information system is a network of tools and methodologies utilized by businesses to collect, organize, maintain, and deliver data. A computer information specialist is a type of professional with an information systems degree that enhances the implementation of this nexus of intelligence systems in the business domain. Those involved in the computer information system field utilize their computer science skills in an organization to-
- Develop Software- A software developer designs, generates, and updates all types of computer systems. He/she assesses the organization's needs to create software that assists in meeting specific key objectives.
- Administer Systems- A systems administrator helps to update and maintain all of the computer networks in an organization.
- Write Code- A programmer writes customized code to develop software for companies.
- Develop Websites- A developer designs and codes websites for businesses.
Because automation and data analysis increase efficiency and productivity by saving time and resources, businesses with information systems can increase their profits and attract new customers.
For businesses to derive the most benefit from their business intelligence and information systems, they need to understand the various functions of information systems and how they control the flow of data. The 5 main purposes of an IS include-
Input refers to the data that is put in or uploaded into a database. Organizations must assess their business needs to determine which type of data sources can help to increase knowledge and meet key objectives before hiring a specialist to begin the input process.
A computer information system specialist captures and collects raw data from sources inside the organization, such as a customer relationship management system, set of financial statements, or inventory counts. Data can also be collected externally from sources such as a purchasing list or social media channels.
During the input process, a specialist must code and specify the type of analysis that will be performed by the user so the data has meaning to the organization.
A specialist must store data in the most precise and detailed manner to ensure information security is maintained. IT should perform backups and summaries of the data regularly to prevent losing valuable information caused by a user error.
To ensure the data is secure in case of a disruption or natural disaster, specialists should store the data in a different physical location from the business itself. Though rare, a flood or fire can cause immense harm to both data storage and backup data storage.
During the processing stage, a computer information system specialist takes the raw data and transforms it into meaningful business information. Both simple and complex processing techniques are utilized, depending on the circumstances and data sets.
For example, a simple processing tactic is to use the raw data to calculate the total number of products sold in a certain location or day.
A more challenging processing technique may require performing complex calculations and analysis to estimate how many products were sold on a Wednesday (when data from that day is missing) based on historical sales data from other Wednesdays.
To gain the most insight from collected raw data, organizations need to ensure they hire a qualified computer information specialist that is well versed in both simple and complex processing techniques.
4. Feedback or Control Loop
Once data is processed and generated, it goes through a feedback or control loop. A computer system will repeatedly perform the same process that depends on the output of the prior loop. If there is a poorly processed data set, it can affect the input of the following data in the next loop. This is why it's so important for an organization to hire a specialist who understands the complexities of proper processing techniques.
Feedback or control loops happen in the computer systems of many different business units, depending on the circumstances and set of information. For example, a company that wants to optimize their inventory management may want to program their computer system to reorder when there is 100 left of a specific product left in the warehouse.
A computer system can be programmed to check inventory levels every 2 hours in a feedback loop and then notify the company to buy it once it reaches 100. If there is one programming error in this loop (incorrect input of 80 instead of 100, or a check every 4 hours instead of 2), the organization will lose money.
Once data is inputted, stored, processed, and programmed for control loops, it is referred to as output data. Output data are the insights or results generated through the entire information system functional process. For example, a dashboard uses data sets to portray information in the form of charts, graphs, and other visuals.
Other output data may be presented in the form of a charter or a document that summarizes and describes the data. Numbers are also another form of textual output that is utilized to convey information. The type of visuals or textual output utilized should depend on what is being conveyed.
For example, a pie chart helps to show portions while a line graph is better at displaying a time series trend. Organizations can use output data to develop insights and perform further analysis that helps decision-makers take the correct actions at the correct times.
In conclusion, here are the key takeaways to remember about computer information systems-
- A computer information system is an information systems program of tools and technologies utilized by businesses to collect, organize, maintain, and deliver data.
- A computer information security analyst can either develop software, administer systems, write code, or develop websites for organizations.
- The main functions of an information system include the input and collection of raw data, storing it in a secure location and performing regular backups, processing it to turn it into valuable information, programming a feedback loop that performs specific functions at specific times, and generating output data in the form of graphs, visuals, or textual data.