computer based information system

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CHAPTER 2

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Computer Based Information System (CBIS)

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CBIS consists of following applications Management Information Systems. Decision Support Systems. The Virtual Office. Knowledge Based Systems. The fundamental work of CBIS is to manage information in an efficient way such that it can be utilized by the managers effectively to solve problems. Computer Based Information System

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Information is the method of efficiently manage the Resources. There are basically five types of resources that need to be managed by the managers. Personnel Material Machines (includes energy and facilities) Money Information (includes data) The first four resources are tangible i.e. they exist physically, they are also known as physical resources. The fifth resource type is not tangible hence called as conceptual resource. Managers use conceptual resources to manage physical resources. Information Management

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Resource and Information Management Management of resources. Resources are acquired and assembled to make it available for use any time. The manager always tries to maximize the usage of the assembled resources by minimizing the idle time and functioning at peak of efficiency. Finally the manager replaces those resources which have become obsolete or inefficient. Management of Information The manager ensures that all the necessary data is gathered and then the process of conversion of data to information is done. The manager ensures that the information is received to proper individuals at proper time and in proper form. Finally the manager discards all those information which have become obsolete and replaces those with the latest and useful information. This entire process of gathering information, using it in the most effective manner and discarding it in proper time is called Information Management.

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The Information Users The users of computer based information are Managers. Non managers. Persons and organizations included in the firm. In the early years of development of computers in information management the users of the computers were clerical employees who used computers in accounting area, billing, etc. When the concept of MIS was developed then computers were implemented for management support. Among other users were the users outside the firm,like customers received receipts, stock holders receiving dividend checks etc.

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Manager and Systems

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System A system is a group of elements that are integrated with a common purpose of achieving a common objective. An organization contains resources, they work hard towards achieving particular objectives that are specified by the management. System Elements. The basic elements of a system is as follows Input element. Transformation element. Output element. Control mechanism. Objectives.

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System Elements fig 2.1 Objectives Transformation Input Output Control Mechanism

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System Elements Figure 2.1 shows the diagram for system elements. The resources flow from the input element, through the transformation element and to the output element. A control mechanism monitors the transformation process to ensure that the system meets the objectives laid down by the management. The control mechanism is connected with the resource flow by the means of the feedback loop from output. The control mechanism compares the output with the objectives and accordingly directs the input system to make the necessary changes ( if required). The various category of systems are Open loop & Closed loop System. Open Systems & Closed System. Sub Systems & Super Systems. Physical Systems & Conceptual Systems.

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Open Loop & closed Loop Systems fig 2.2 Transformation Input Output An open loop system does not have a feedback or control mechanism. These are very simple systems that do not require monitoring. For example simple space heaters. In case of closed loop systems there is a feedback mechanism that monitors the output with respect to objectives. For example room air conditioners. Refer fig 2.1

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Open Systems & Closed Systems Open systems are connected to their environment through resource flows. These systems require the help of systems in the environment to accomplish their completion. For example, a centralized air conditioning system requires a cooling plant for it to cool the entire building, here the centralized air conditioning system is an open system. A closed system does not have connection with the environment with which its connected. Closed systems exist in controlled laboratory conditions. They are kept in ideal conditions which are not possible in actual environment.

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Sub-system & Super-system A sub-system is a system that exists in another system. Its existence depends up on the existence of its super-system. The sub-system contributes in the proper working of the entire system. The proper functioning of the sub-systems ensure proper functioning of the entire system. For example an Automobile system, it consists of many sub-systems like acceleration system, fuel injection system, breaking system etc., every sub-system is responsible for the proper functioning of the entire automobile system. A super-system is a system which contains many sub-systems. The super-system is responsible for monitoring the overall working of its sub-systems. The super-system decides the constrains and resources to be put on its sub-systems. For example, a Central government system, it is a super-system which has under its control the state government systems which form the sub-systems.

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Physical & Conceptual Systems Physical Systems use physical resources or tangible resources. A physical system represents a working model for any conceptual system. A physical system is completely practical oriented and interacts continuously with the environment. For example, a computer is a physical system which has practical implementations and inter acts a lot with the users. Conceptual Systems use abstract and conceptual resources. Conceptual systems can make the physical resources work in a proper manner. They basically consist of data, information and mental concepts. Both Physical and Conceptual systems require each other for proper functioning and effective practical implementation respectively.

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Evolution of Computer Based Information Systems (CBIS)

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The Initial Focus on Data During the first half of twentieth century, when punch cards were used, firms generally ignored the information needs of managers. The first computers were only used for accounting applications. The name given to these early computer based applications was Electronic Data Processing (EDP). Now a days the term Accounting Information System (AIS) is used to describe those applications. The New Focus on Information In 1964, a new generation of computing equipment was introduced that influenced strongly on the manner in which computers were employed. They were the computers using the silicon technology. The concept of using computers as Management Information System was promoted.The MIS initiated that the computers should be applied for the management of information. This concept was adopted slowly by larger firms. The revised focus on Decision Support A Decision Support System (DSS) is an information-producing system aimed at a particular problem that a manager must solve and the decisions the manager must take. The manager can be located any where, at any level in the organization. These DSS were used widely in the organizations.

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The Current Focus on Communication During the time DSS evolved, interest was focused on another computer application called Office Automation (OA) which facilitates communication and increases productivity among the managers and office workers through the use of electronic devices. OA got started in 1964, when IBM announced its Magnetic tape and electronic typewriter (called Selectric typewriter). The selectric typewriter could type the information stored in the magnetic tapes. This lead to an OA application called word processing. The Office Automation grew to such levels that applications such as video conferencing, e-mail, desktop publishing etc started. In a collective term it was given the name Virtual Office. Potential Focus on Consultation The development of computers had made it possible to perform tasks of logical reasoning just like humans. The application called Artificial Intelligence (AI) were developed. Now a days a subclass of AI known as Expert Systems are growing which works as a specialist in a particular area. To solve the problems using AI the applications were given the name Knowledge-based Systems. From 1990s the use of knowledge-based systems were extensively used by large firms.

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A Model of Computer Based Information System CBIS AIS DSS Virtual Office Knowledge Based System Information Decisions Problem Problem Solution MIS Fig 2.3

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A Model of Computer Based Information System Managers make decisions to solve problems, and decisions are made based on the available information. Information is presented both in oral as well as in written form using information processors. The computer portion of the information processors contain each of the computer based application areas :- AIS ( Accounting Information System), MIS (Management Information System), DSS (Decision Support System), Virtual Office and Knowledge Based Systems. They are collectively called CBIS ( Computer Based Information System). The CBIS collectively provides necessary information for problem solving.

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Information Services Organization The firms using computers realized that there was a need to form separate organizational units of specialists who would be responsible for implementing the systems. These specialists were known as Information Specialists. Information Specialists Information specialists have the complete responsibility of developing and managing the computer based systems in the firm.There are five main categories of information specialists. System Analyst. Database Administrators. Network Specialists. Programmers. Operators.

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Traditional Communication Chain The concept of Traditional Communication Chain connects the Users, Information Specialists and the Computer. This communication is named traditional because they have been communicating with each other traditionally (since old times). From fig 2.4 it can be seen the various levels in a communication chain. The functions of the members of a traditional communication chain are as follows. System Analysts They work with the users to develop new systems and in improving the present system. They are expert in defining problems and at preparing written documents on how the computer will assist in solving the problem. They are expert in computer systems as they require to know the capabilities of the software and hardware in which the solution of the problem is to be accomplished.

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Database Administrators (DBA s) They work with users and system analysts to create the appropriate databases that would help in effectively solving the problem. Once the database is created, the DBAs frequently monitor and manage these resources. Network Specialists They work with systems analysts and users to establish the data communication networks that would connect users with the required systems that are widespread. They combine the expertise from the fields of computing and telecommunications. Another form of Network specialists are called Web Masters who are expert on the World Wide Web.

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Programmers They use the documentation prepared by the System analysts to encode the instructions. They require to be very conversant with the software they are working on. Operators They are responsible for handling the computing equipments. They are expected to be able to handle mainframes to mini computers. They monitor the consoles, manage memory libraries etc.

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User System Analyst Network Specialist Database Administrator Operator Programmer Computer The Traditional Communication Chain Fig 2.4

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End-User Computing In the late 1970s the trend of end user computing started growing. The users started growing interest in developing their own computer applications. Following are the reasons for the development of en-user computing. Increase in Computer Literacy. During the early 1980s, good education programs related to computers were conducted in colleges and institutions which caused a computer awareness between the students. The management ranks, especially on the lower levels started filling up with computer literate people. The Information services backlog The situation of the information specialists became critical during early 1980s when the work load increased beyond accepted limits as the users started demanding more information services and so the specialist could not cope up with the demands. Low-Cost Hardware The market got filled up low cost minicomputers, so the users could afford them at their homes making it easier for them to develop applications. Prewritten Software Both the hardware and software companies produced software that would do the accounting, word processing, facilitate development of applications etc. made it easy for the users to rely more up on themselves rather that in information specialists.

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Assignment #2 What are the resources a manager handles? What is a System? Explain its elements. Explain a) Open loop & closed loop systems b) Open & closed systems c) Super & Sub systems. d) Physical & Conceptual systems. 4) Explain the evolution of Computer based Information Systems. 5) Explain the model of CBIS with diagram. 6) Explain the categories of Information Specialists. 7) Explain with diagram the Traditional Communication Chain. 8) Explain the reasons for the evolution of End-User Computing.