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Information Systems by Efrem G. Mallach

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419
Chapter 12
Managing Information
Systems
CHAPTER OUTLINE
Linking Strategy
Information Systems Department
Information Systems Jobs and Careers
Managing Information Systems Security
WHY THIS CHAPTER MATTERS
Information systems are an important corporate resource. ey require a substantial
budget and can make the dierence between success and failure. Many information sys-
tems (IS)-related decisions must be made by businesspeople, not by technical specialists.
Managing these resources is therefore a concern of managers in general, not only of those
specialists and their supervisors.
In some companies, information systems management evolved without much thought.
It can be good to step back, look at the options and at the factors that aect the choice, and
decide if they are appropriate or should be changed. is chapter gives some tools to do that.
In others, decisions that should be in the realm of management are le to the techni-
cal sta. No matter how competent those people are in their professions, they are oen
not qualied to make business decisions. is chapter covers one such area, information
systems security, to show you why you, as a manager, must take an active role in decisions
that aect it.
Finally, knowing how your company works is essential to your career success. is
chapter shows you the major variations in the information systems area, so youll know
what to look for.
420 Information Systems: What Every Business Student Needs to Know
CHAPTER TAKE-AWAYS
As you read this chapter, focus on these key concepts to use on the job:
1. e best way to manage information systems varies with an organizations dependence
on its IS, now and in the future. ere is no single best answer for all organizations.
2. Information systems can provide interesting, fullling, and well-paid work. e
demand for information systems professionals is expected to continue to grow.
3. Keeping information secure and private requires everyones attention. e most
important precautions, and those that cost the least, involve people more than
technology.
LINKING STRATEGY
Amazon couldn’t function without its information systems. ey are vital to its business
concept. It cant stay ahead of its competition unless it keeps innovating with them.
A regional heating oil supplier could operate without its information systems. It might
not want to, but if it couldnt use the computerized oil delivery system in its trucks, its
drivers could record the amount of each delivery on paper. Clerks could gure out the bills
later and mail them. at would be less convenient, but not disabling. Such a rm needs
computers to plan deliveries on the basis of temperature patterns and customers’ histori-
cal usage, but those applications can be down for several hours, even a day or two, without
aecting the business.
e dierence between Amazon and a heating oil supplier is not just size. e two com-
panies are in dierent businesses. eir protability is determined by dierent factors.
ey have dierent customers who choose them for dierent reasons. As a result, their
dependence on information systems is dierent. Should the way they manage those sys-
tems be dierent as well?
e answer is “yes, it should.” e approach a business should take to managing its
information resources is inuenced by two factors:
1. How dependent is the organization on reliable, well-performing information sys-
tems? In 2015 every organization depends on them somewhat. Does it depend on
them more or less than a typical organization?
2. How much will the organization depend on information systems to maintain
or enhance its competitive position in the future? Again, this is relative to typical
organizations.
Researchers created the grid of Figure 12.1 from these factors. Dont read too much into
their names for the quadrants. For example, a rm in the Factory quadrant (depends heav-
ily on reliable, well-performing information systems today, doesnt stand to gain competi-
tive advantage from IS in the future) can be in any industry. e name of the quadrant
doesnt mean that the rm is a manufacturing company or has a factory.

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