Today, a company’s competitiveness is, more than ever, at the heart of its strategy and challenges. To achieve this and to become a leader, the company must structure itself and use all of its resources in the best possible way and, above all, in a coherent and productive manner.
The information system is a tool that offers this possibility allowing a more rational processing of the different information. Which dimensions and functions does the information system take in the company? What are the characteristics and types? What process is set up for the creation of an information system?
Dimension and function of an information system
Within a company, the information system (IS) is a set of interconnected resources that collect, store and distribute information in order to facilitate decision-making and guide strategies. To organize this structure, the company relies on new information technology (IT) software and hardware. These include computer hardware, peripherals for storage, management of operating systems or dedicated software such as CRM or ERP.
A company is divided into several systems. There is the piloting system which brings together all the decision-makers and the management of the organization, and the operating system which brings together all the people who found the activity of the company. To achieve perfect cohesion between the two, the information system is the heart of the company’s engine, with a set of hardware resources, data, people and software capable of processing and storing information.
Thus, the information system develops several functions in the company. First of all, it generates information while identifying it, then it stores the information according to a defined classification. It communicates the information and ensures the exchange between the control system and the operating system. Finally, it transforms the different pieces of information into concrete actions in the company’s strategy.
Characteristics and types of information system
To define an information system, it must group together a set of characteristics. It consists of a set of interrelated procedures that create either a service or a product. The information system includes software adapted to each business line of the company.
Important for operation, the IS relies on databases that store information. On the technical level, the IS relies on computer hardware and other peripherals, all linked by a network that ensures communication. Finally, people use the information system and maintain it.
Depending on the company’s business and activity, the information system can be different and be available in several formats. There is the information system ensuring transactional processing. Its function is to store all of a company’s transactions. Then there is the Business Intelligence system. This system is intended for the managers of the company, since it produces information that helps in decision making.
In addition, there is the management information system which, with regard to the information collected by the transactional processing system, transcribes reports and documents allowing the control of the company. Finally, the management information system is set up to ensure competitive intelligence and the implementation of the company’s strategy.
The process of creating an information system
To define all the actions of an information system, we talk about life cycle. This cycle groups together all the stages of a product or service, from its design to its distribution and its disappearance. To set up this information system, several phases are necessary.
Define the objectives
As soon as the management system decides to create an IT product or service or simply to buy one, the need to create an information system is obvious to go in the direction of the company’s strategy.
Define the needs
Specifications are then drawn up in consultation with all project stakeholders. The document includes the needs and desired functionalities, but also the non-functional constraints.
Define the product according to the needs
This step allows to highlight the specificities of the product, but also the constraints that are imposed in the creation. The product meets the needs, the constraints of realization are known and the way to use the interface is revealed. The hardware is clearly defined at this stage of the creation process.
Designing the system
The information system materializes with the creation of its architecture. An assembly of different resources and different modules which, even if they are linked, must be able to remain independent of each other. It is a sure way to be able to create a parallel system and facilitate future maintenance.
Technical part of the creation process, coding and testing. Each module goes through the coding phase with value integration to receive the information necessary for its operation. Then, the modules are tested one by one to make sure there are no errors.
Integrating the modules
An integration plan is established in an orderly manner to set up the information system. As modules are integrated, tests are carried out. Once the integration is completed, the user manual is provided.
Qualify the information system
As the final version is integrated, all that remains is to carry out a test in real-life use. This is the qualification of the system. All the functionalities are tested on a typical use case. The results are used to launch the exploitation of the system.
As soon as the information system is up and running, it requires rigorous monitoring to avoid any malfunction. This is how maintenance is ensured throughout the life of the system to maintain it, but also to update it.