# 2.3: Components of an Information System (2023)

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### The Components of Information Systems

Many students understand that an information system has something to do with databases or spreadsheets. Others mention computers and e-commerce. And they are all right, at least in part: information systems are made up of different components that work together to provide value to an organization.

The first way I describe information systems to students is to tell them that they are made up of five components: hardware, software, data, people, and process. The first three, hardware, software, data,fitting under the category technology, are generally what most students think of when asked to define information systems. But the last two, people and process, are really what separate the idea of information systems from more technical fields, such as computer science. In order to fully understand information systems, students must understand how all of these components work together to bring value to an organization.

###### Technical Components of Information Systems

Technology can be thought of as the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. From the invention of the wheel to the harnessing of electricity for artificial lighting, technology is a part of our lives in so many ways that we tend to take it for granted. As discussed before, the first three components of information systems – hardware, software, and data – all fall under the category of technology. Each of these will get its own chapter and a much lengthier discussion, but we will take a moment here to introduce them so we can get a full understanding of an information system.

Hardware

(Video) 2.3 Quality of Information

The first component is hardware of an information system. Hardware is the part of an information system you can touch – the physical components of the technology. Computers, keyboards, disk drives, iPads, and flash drives are all examples of information systems hardware. We will spend some time going over these components in future chapters. Figure 3.1displays internal parts on a computer.

Software

Software, the second component of an information system,is a set of instructions that tells the hardware what to do. Software is not tangible – it cannot be touched. When programmers create software programs, what they are really doing is simply typing out lists of instructions telling the hardware what to do. There are several categories of software, with the two main categories being operating-system software, which makes the hardware usable, and application software, which does something useful. Examples of operating systems include Microsoft Windows on a personal computer and Google’s Android on a mobile phone. Examples of application software are Microsoft Excel and Angry Birds.

Below is adiagram showing how theuserinteracts withapplication softwareon a typicaldesktop computer. The application software layer interfaces with theoperating system, which in turn communicates with thehardware. The arrows indicate information flow.

Data

The third component is data. You can think of data as a collection of facts. For example, your street address, the city you live in, and your phone number are all pieces of data. Like software, data is also intangible. By themselves, pieces of data are not really very useful. But aggregated, indexed, and organized together into a database, data can become a powerful tool for businesses. In fact, all of the definitions presented at the beginning of this chapter focused on how information systems manage data. Organizations collect all kinds of data and use it to make decisions. These decisions can then be analyzed as to their effectiveness and the organization can be improved.

Networking Communication: A Fourth Technology Piece?

(Video) System Components

Besides the components of hardware, software, and data, which have long been considered the core technology of information systems, it has been suggested that one other component should be added: communication. An information system can exist without the ability to communicate – the first personal computers were stand-alone machines that did not access the Internet. However, in today’s hyper-connected world, it is an extremely rare computer that does not connect to another device or to a network. Technically, the networking communication component is made up of hardware and software, but it is such a core feature of today’s information systems that it has become its own category.

###### Non-TechnicalComponents of Information Systems

People

When thinking about information systems, it is easy to get focused on the technology components and forget that we must look beyond these tools to fully understand how they integrate into an organization. A focus on the people involved in information systems is the fourth component.From the front-line help-desk workers to systems analysts, to programmers, all the way up to the chief information officer (CIO), the people involved with information systems are an essential element that must not be overlooked.

Process

The last component of information systems is process. We have all heard the term process before, but what exactly does it mean?A process is a series of steps undertaken to achieve a desired outcome or goal.Processes are something that businesses go through every day in order to accomplish their mission. The better their processes, the more effective the business. Some businesses see their processes as a strategy for achieving competitive advantage. A process that achieves its goal in a unique way can set a company apart. A process that eliminates costs can allow a company to lower its prices (or retain more profit).

The simplest way to document a process is to simply create a list. The list shows each step in the process; each step can be checked off upon completion. For example, a simple process, such as how to create an account on eBay, might look like this:

(Video) Lecture 2.3 Information Systems in Global Business

1. Go to ebay.com.

2. Click on “register.”

3. Enter your contact information in the “Tell us about you” box.

5. Agree to User Agreement and Privacy Policy by clicking on “Submit.”

For processes that are not so straightforward, documenting the process as a checklist may not be sufficient. For example, here is the process for determining if an article for a term needs to be added to Wikipedia:

1. Search Wikipedia to determine if the term already exists.

(Video) Common Internal Computing Components | CompTIA IT Fundamentals FC0-U61 | 2.3

2. If the term is found, then an article is already written, so you must think of another term. Go to 1.

3. If the term is not found, then look to see if there is a related term.

4. If there is a related term, then create a redirect.

5. If there is not a related term, then create a new article.

This procedure is relatively simple – in fact, it has the same number of steps as the previous example – but because it has some decision points, it is more difficult to track with as a simple list.

Information systems are becoming more and more integrated with organizational processes, bringing more productivity and better control to those processes. But simply automating activities using technology is not enough – businesses looking to effectively utilize information systems do more. Using technology to manage and improve processes, both within a company and externally with suppliers and customers is the ultimate goal. Technology buzzwords such as “business process reengineering,” “business process management,” and “enterprise resource planning” all have to do with the continued improvement of these business procedures and the integration of technology with them. Businesses hoping to gain an advantage over their competitors are highly focused on this component of information systems.

1. Rogers, E. M. (1962). Diffusion of innovations. New York: Free Press
2. Rogers, E. M. (1962). Diffusion of innovations. New York: Free Press

## FAQs

### What are the 3 main components of information system? ›

Typical components of information systems

It has five components – hardware, software, data, and telecommunications.

What is the components of information system? ›

The main components of information systems are computer hardware and software, telecommunications, databases and data warehouses, human resources, and procedures.

What are the 4 components of information system? ›

As discussed before, the first four components of information systems – hardware, software, network communication, and data, are all technologies that must integrate well together.

What are the 6 components of an information system? ›

Information systems are collections of multiple information resources (e.g., software, hardware, computer system connections, the system housing, system users, and computer system information) to gather, process, store, and disseminate information.

What are the 3 types of components system? ›

Every computer system has the following three basic components:
• Input unit.
• Central processing unit.
• Output unit.

What are the 3 types of information systems? ›

Three main categories of information systems serve different organizational levels: operational-level systems, management-level systems, and strategic-level systems.

What are the 5 main components of information system? ›

5 Components of Information Systems
• Computer hardware. This is the physical technology that works with information. ...
• Computer software. The hardware needs to know what to do, and that is the role of software. ...
• Telecommunications. ...
• Databases and data warehouses. ...
• Human resources and procedures.

What are the 5 main components of a system? ›

These are the 5 major components of a computer that you need to know about:
• Motherboard. ...
• Central Processing Unit (CPU) ...
• Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) ...
• Random Access Memory (RAM) ...
• Storage device.
Oct 6, 2022

What are the components of an information system quizlet? ›

) The five components of an information system are computer hardware, software, data, procedures, and people.

What are the 4 functions of an information processing system? ›

Input, Processing, Storage and Output. Input: the transferring of information into a computer system; data entry.

### What are the 4 types of information? ›

There are four types of information:
• Factual. Factual information is information that solely deals with facts. ...
• Analytical. Analytical information is the interpretation of factual information. ...
• Subjective. Subjective information is information from only one point of view. ...
• Objective.
Jan 31, 2023

What are the 4 stages of information management? ›

Each of these steps, gathering, storing, distributing, and deleting are critical when responsible for a client's information management. Taking these steps will help your client manage their information in a proper and secure way.

What is the most important component of information system? ›

The People Component of Information Systems

People are the most important component of an information system. That's because they are the ones in charge of making the hardware and software process data as they should.

What are the 7 components of a computer system? ›

• Motherboard.
• Input Unit.
• Output Unit.
• Central Processing Unit (CPU)
• Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
• Random Access Memory (RAM)
• Storage Unit.

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