Organizations operating today without the use of a computer are generally an exception. Because information systems are so tightly tied into organizations, it makes sense to know something about organizations, how they work and what they do.


Organizations are entities built to accomplish goals through the creation of products or services. the goals might be to raise money or sell dishwashers or family counseling. However, all organizations try to co-ordinate and plan the work of many people through teamwork in order to accomplish more than one person alone could do.


Organizations build information systems for two primary reasons:


1. to mange and control internal groups and forces used to create products and services.

2. to manage and control external forces which could be anything from customers to the production of monthly reports for scrutiny by the board of directors.


Business organizations have 4 internal functions that they must manage and control

1. Production group that produces and sells the product or services

2. A sales and marketing group that sells the product

3. a human resources group that recruits and trains the workers

4. and a finance and accounting group that seeks out funds to pay for all of these activities and to keep track of accounts


Surrounding the organization is the environment which is usually highly competitive and hostile. It consists of government, competitors, customers, and the public


Most organizations are hierarchical. They are arranged in ascending order of power, pay and privilege.


1. Management-control existing operations and plan for the future

2. Information workers-clerical who process information like writing letters, make lists. Some may be knowledge workers, who create new information, products and services

3. Production workers-who actually produces the product or service


Types of Information Systems in Organizations


For each level in the organization you will find a unique class of information system

1. Management support systems (MSS) to serve and management’s need to control and plan for the future i.e. Bloomberg


2. Knowledge work systems (KWS) which serves the need for clerical and professional workers to process and create information


3. Transaction Processing Systems (TPS) which serves the needs of production workers which sometimes involves dealing with thousands of customers or transactions.


Transaction Processing Systems: Revenue Canada


Many organizations have to keep track of thousands or even millions of transactions in a day.


 What is a transaction? Every time you deposit or withdraw money from a bank or ATM, sign up for a University course or buy something in a store.


Transactions are all those recorded events that surround the production, distribution, sale, and transportation of goods and services.


Transactions are the basis of any organization, and the information systems to keep track of these transactions are the most fundamental. Without transaction processing systems (TPS) an organization would not be viable.


Two kinds of TPS

-Batch processing system where all the forms or transactions are collected and then processed in a batch sometime later i.e. tax forms

-On-line transaction processing-where an instant response is needed- stock market quotes, banking systems


TPS also includes computer data bases and files to organize information on individuals or products. Once a customer list is digitized and captured by the computer, the information can be manipulated, processed and reused. i.e. oil and gas geological sites


Revenue Canada Tomorrow


Two major systems are being planned

1. Electronic Filing System- which will strongly encourage individuals and companies to submit their returns electronically so that the elaborate labor intensive manual data entry can be eliminated

2. Document Processing System- handle all forms that are not electronically filed. The Document Processing System is an imaging system that will use image scanners to digitize incoming forms and convert them to computer images that can be stored electronically.


This two systems will reduce the amount of paper generated, allow electronic forms to be fed automatically into mainframe computers for manipulation and storage, and permit tax agents to retrieve individual taxpayer records on screen in seconds.


Management Support Systems


Harvey’s - a Canadian Franchise or Tim Horton’s just recently sold to Americans. The small size of these individual franchises impose special constraints when it comes to adopting new information technologies. They must be inexpensive but just as powerful and useful as those of its larger competitors.


Managers of these small businesses need to know who is buying hat, when, shy and how much money is being generated from these transactions.


Are people buying more hamburgers over chicken burgers? Are customers buying more coffee or donuts? In today’s competitive market the owner needs to know this information right away to be able to change ideas to sell more product. i.e. If more coffee is being sold, perhaps introducing different kinds of coffee. Needs to market changes right away to compete with McDonald’s or Burger King.


Knowledge Work Systems


Knowledge Work Systems or KWS re used by information workers to help deal with the problems requiring knowledge for technical expertise. They are used by geologists or geophysicists in the oil and gas sector, or by people doing scientific research, much like I am doing.


The need for more powerful analysis. These consists of processing programs,. databases, spreadsheets or computer aided design. See that in small oil and gas companies. Need to be able to be on top of exploration, development and production. Need to be fast and efficient, streamlines so that huge expenses are not incurred. The need for powerful tools to manipulate and estimate oil reserves and how to get the oil out of the ground in the most efficient and inexpensive manner. Looking for big reservoirs. Some oil and gas companies are going on-line, not just an internal network but an outside network to contact clients. Involves the sending of electronically produced maps and graphs and oil logs.


NUDIST-non-numerical unstructured data indexing, sorting and theory building


These also include groupware or shareware which is a knowledge based system which helps groups work together. They sort and display and process telephone messages, e-mail, letters. Lotus notes an extension of 3M corporations little yellow post it note.


With the power of these information technologies and their rapid growth, it is not even necessary to work at the office. I use my laptop to prepare lectures when I am out of the country. Still need my large Pentium PC for my research, but the day will come when I will be able to do that in the field.