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Aligning information systems and business decisions

System Hierarchy Information systems are composed of three main elements: technology, people, and process (see Figure I-9). When most people use the term information system, they actually refer only to the technology element as defined by the organization’s infrastructure. In this text, the term infrastructure refers to everything that supports the flow and processing of information in an organization, including hardware, software, data, and network components whereas architecture refers to the blueprint that reflects strategy implicit in combining these components. Information sys- tems (IS) are defined more broadly as the combination of technology (the “what”), people (the “who”), and process (the “how”) that an organization uses to produce and manage information. In contrast, information technology (IT) focuses only on the technical devices and tools used in the system. We define information technology as all forms of technology used to create, store, exchange, and use information. Many people use the terms IS and IT inter- changeably. In recent years, “IT” has been more fashionable, but that changes as fashions change.


Aligning information systems and business decisions is no longer an option; it’s an imperative for business. Every business oper- ates as an information‐based enterprise. In addition, the explosive growth of smart phones, tablets, social tools, and Web‐based businesses provides all managers with some experience in information systems and some idea of the complexity involved in providing enterprise‐level systems. This highlights the need for all managers to be skilled in managing and using IS.

It is no longer acceptable to delegate IS decisions to the management information systems (MIS) department alone. The general manager must be involved to both execute business plans and protect options for future business vision. IS and business maturity must be aligned to provide the right level of information resources to the business.

You must proofread your paper. But do not strictly rely on your computer’s spell-checker and grammar-checker; failure to do so indicates a lack of effort on your part and you can expect your grade to suffer accordingly. Papers with numerous misspelled words and grammatical mistakes will be penalized. Read over your paper – in silence and then aloud – before handing it in and make corrections as necessary. Often it is advantageous to have a friend proofread your paper for obvious errors. Handwritten corrections are preferable to uncorrected mistakes.

Use a standard 10 to 12 point (10 to 12 characters per inch) typeface. Smaller or compressed type and papers with small margins or single-spacing are hard to read. It is better to let your essay run over the recommended number of pages than to try to compress it into fewer pages.

Likewise, large type, large margins, large indentations, triple-spacing, increased leading (space between lines), increased kerning (space between letters), and any other such attempts at “padding” to increase the length of a paper are unacceptable, wasteful of trees, and will not fool your professor.

The paper must be neatly formatted, double-spaced with a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, and sides of each page. When submitting hard copy, be sure to use white paper and print out using dark ink. If it is hard to read your essay, it will also be hard to follow your argument.