Friday, April 21, 2017

Management Information System :Revision Questions

1. What is an information system? What activities does it perform?
The textbook defines an information system as a set of interrelated components that work together to collect, process, store, and disseminate information to support decision making, coordination, control, analysis, and visualization in an organization. In addition to supporting decision making, coordination, and control, information systems may also help managers and workers analyze problems, visualize complex subjects, and create new products.

2. What are the Internet and the World Wide Web? How have they changed the role played by information systems in organizations?
The Internet is the world’s largest and most widely used network. It is a global “network of networks” that uses universal standards to connect millions of different networks with more than 350 million host computers (public and private networks) in over 200 countries around the world. Over 500 million people working in science, education, government, and business connections to the Internet every day. Individuals and organizations use the Internet to exchange information and perform business transactions with other individuals and organizations around the globe. It should be noted that the digital firm uses the Internet as its primary technology platform. The Internet has created a new “universal” technology platform on which to build new products, services, strategies, and business models. For most business firms today, using Internet technology is both a business necessity and a competitive advantage.

The World Wide Web is a system with universally accepted standards for storing, retrieving, formatting, and displaying information in a networked environment. The Web is a part of the Internet that provides a graphically-based system of pages for storing information on the Internet. Web pages contain text, graphics, animations, sound, and video and are linked to other Web pages. By clicking on highlighted words or buttons on a Web page, you can link to related pages to find additional information and links to other locations on the Web.

The Internet and World Wide Web have had a tremendous impact on the role information systems play in organizations. The Internet and World Wide Web are responsible for the increased connectivity and collaboration within and outside the organization. The Internet, World Wide Web, and other technologies have led to the redesign and reshaping of organizations. The Internet and World Wide Web have helped transform the organization’s structure, the scope of operations, reporting and control mechanisms, work practices, workflows, and products and services.

3. Name and describe four quality-of-life impacts of computers and information systems.
Four quality of life impacts of computers and information systems include:
  • Jobs can be lost when computers replace workers or tasks become unnecessary in re-engineered business processes
  • Ability to own and use a computer may be exacerbating socioeconomic disparities among different racial groups and social classes.
  • Widespread use of computers increases opportunities for computer crime and computer abuse
  • Computers can create health problems, such as repetitive stress injury, computer vision syndrome, and technostress.

4. What are the three different regimes that protect intellectual property rights? What challenges to intellectual property rights does the Internet pose?
Intellectual property is subject to a variety of protections under three different legal traditions:
  • Trade secrets
  • Copyright
  • Patent law
Traditional copyright laws are insufficient to protect against software piracy because the digital material can be copied so easily. Internet technology also makes the intellectual property even more difficult to protect because the digital material can be copied easily and transmitted to many different locations simultaneously over the Net. Web pages can be constructed easily using pieces of content from other Web sites without permission.

5. List and describe the components of IT infrastructure that firms need to manage.
IT infrastructure today is composed of seven major components.
  • Internet Platforms – Apache, Microsoft IIS, .NET, UNIX, Cisco, Java
  • Computer Hardware Platforms – Dell, IBM, Sun, HP, Apple, Linux machines
  • Operating Systems Platforms – Microsoft Windows, UNIX, Linux, Mac OS X
  • Enterprise Software Applications – (including middleware), SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Microsoft, BEA
  • Networking/Telecommunications – Microsoft Windows Server, Linux,
  • Novell, Cisco, Lucent, Nortel, MCI, AT&T, Verizon
  • Consultants and System Integrators – IBM/KPMG, EDS, Accenture
  • Data Management and Storage – IBM DB2, Oracle, SQL Server, Sybase, MySQL, EMC Systems

6. Define and describe the following: Web server, application server, multi-tiered client/server architecture.
  • Web server: software that manages requests for Web pages on the computer where they are stored and that delivers the page to the user’s computer.
  • Application server: software that handles all application operations between browser-based computers and a company’s back-end business applications or databases.
  • Multi-tiered client/server architecture: client/server network in which the work of the entire network is balanced over several different levels of servers

7.What is Java? Why is it important today?
Java is a programming language that delivers only the software functionality needed for a particular task. With Java, the programmer writes small programs called applets that can run on another machine on a network. With Java, programmers write programs that can execute on a variety of operating systems and environments. Further, any program could be a series of applets that are distributed over networks as they are needed and as they are upgraded.
Java is important because of the dramatic growth of Web applications. Java is an operating system that can run on multiple hardware platforms and is used widely to run Web servers. It provides a standard format for data exchange and for Web page descriptions.

8. What are software mashups? How do they benefit businesses?

Mashups are new software applications and services based on combining different online software applications using high-speed data networks, universal communication standards, and open-source code. Entrepreneurs are able to create new software applications and services based on combining different online software applications.
These new combined applications depend on high-speed data networks, universal communication standards, and open-source code. The idea is to take different sources and produce a new work that is “greater than” the sum of its parts. Web mashups combine the capabilities of two or more online applications to create a kind of hybrid that provides more customer value than the original sources alone.

9. What is business intelligence? How is it related to database technology?
Powerful tools are available to analyze and access information that has been captured and organized in data warehouses and data marts. These tools enable users to analyze the data to see new patterns, relationships, and insights that are useful for guiding decision making. These tools for consolidating, analyzing, and providing access to vast amounts of data to help users make better business decisions are often referred to as business intelligence. Principle tools for business intelligence include software for database query and reporting tools for multidimensional data analysis and data mining.

10. What is a data warehouse? How can it benefit organizations?

A data warehouse is a database with archival, querying, and data exploration tools (i.e., statistical tools) and is used for storing historical and current data of potential interest to managers throughout the organization and from external sources (e.g., competitor sales or market share). The data originate in many of the operational areas and are copied into the data warehouse as often as needed. The data in the warehouse are organized according to company-wide standards so that they can be used for management analysis and decision making. Data warehouses support looking at the data of the organization through many views or directions. The data warehouse makes the data available to anyone to access as needed, but it cannot be altered. A data warehouse system also provides a range of ad hoc and standardized query tools, analytical tools, and graphical reporting facilities. The data warehouse system allows managers to look at products by customer, by year, by a salesperson, essentially different slices of the data. Normal operational databases do not permit such different views.

11. List some benefits of a DBMS and the solutions it provides for the problems of a traditional file environment.
A DBMS can reduce the complexity of the information systems environment, reduce data redundancy and inconsistency, eliminate data confusion, create program-data independence, reduce program development and maintenance costs, enhance flexibility, enable the ad-hoc retrieval of information, improve access and availability of information, and allow for the centralized management of data, their use, and security.

12. List and describe the problems of the traditional file environment.

Problems with the traditional file environment include data redundancy and confusion, program-data dependence, lack of flexibility, poor security, and lack of data sharing and availability. Data redundancy is the presence of duplicate data in multiple data files. In this situation, confusion results because the data can have different meanings in different files. Program-data dependence is the tight relationship between data stored in files and the specific programs required to update and maintain those files. This dependency is very inefficient, resulting in the need to make changes in many programs when a common piece of data, such as the zip code size, changes. Lack of flexibility refers to the fact that it is very difficult to create new reports from data when needed. Ad-hoc reports are impossible to generate; a new report could require several weeks of work by more than one programmer and the creation of intermediate files to combine data from disparate files. Poor security results from the lack of control over the data because the data are so widespread. Data sharing is virtually impossible because it is distributed in so many different files around the organization.

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