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Optimizing and Assessing Information Technology: Improving Business Project Execution by K. Scott Proctor

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Chapter 1

IT Fundamentals

Information technology (IT) is a label that is used in many ways in today's increasingly technically focused world. Such wide and varied usage of the “information technology” or “IT” label can lead to confusion and unnecessary complexity. For that reason, I begin this book with an explanation of the context in which I am addressing IT.

IT is more than a function within a business and more than a technical discipline. As noted in the Preface, IT may be characterized as “the study, design, development, application, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware.”1

Parsing even further into the formal definition of IT, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “information” as “knowledge obtained from investigation, study, or instruction,” and “technology” as “the practical application of knowledge, especially in a particular field.” Information may also be characterized as data, or “raw symbols,” that have been given meaning by relational connections.2

Reading into the formal definitions of IT, one interpretation is “the practical application of information in commerce and industry.” This is the definition that I will use throughout this book for IT.

This is but one way of contextualizing IT—while the term can take a variety of meanings, it is important to ground any IT-related conversations in a common definition and understanding of IT itself.

Beyond any formal definition, ...

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