Assignment: Information Hierarchy
Assignment: Information Hierarchy
might involve steps taken by other departments that generate obligations, which the accounting department pays. Likewise, the product creation process might begin with an idea from R&D, which is transferred to an operations organization that builds the actual product and involves marketing to get the word out, sales to sell and deliver the product, and support to provide customer assistance as needed. This view takes into account the activities in each functional area that are needed to complete a process, and any organization can be described by the processes it performs. Improving coordination among activities increases business profit. Organizations that effectively manage core processes across functional boundaries are often the industry leaders because they have made efficiencies that are not visible from the functional viewpoint. IS are often the key to process improvement and cross‐functional coordination.
Spokesperson IS manager represents IS department at organization’s recruiting fair.
Decisional Entrepreneur IS division manager suggests an application of a new technology that improves the division’s operational efficiency.
Both the process and functional views are important to understanding IS. The functional view is useful when sim- ilar activities must be explained, coordinated, executed, or communicated. For example, understanding a marketing information system means understanding the functional approach to business in general and the marketing function in particular. The process view, on the other hand, is useful when examining the flow of information throughout a business. For example, understanding the information associated with order fulfillment, product development, or customer service means taking a process view of the business. This text assumes that both views are important for participating in IS decisions.
Assumptions about Information Systems Consider the components of an information system from the manager’s viewpoint rather than from the technolo- gist’s viewpoint. Both the nature of information (hierarchy and economics) and the context of an information system must be examined to understand the basic assumptions of this text.
Information Hierarchy The terms data, information, and knowledge are often used interchangeably, but have significant and discrete mean- ings within the knowledge management domain (and are more fully explored in Chapter 12). Tom Davenport, in his book Information Ecology, pointed out that getting everyone in any given organization to agree on common defi- nitions is difficult. However, his work (summarized in Figure I-6) provides a nice starting point for understanding the subtle but important differences.
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