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Information Systems is an integrated, man/machine system for providing information to support the operations,
management, and decision-making functions in an organization
 Requires a broad understanding of information technology and the management/strategy/structure processes,
and information requirements of organizations
Three different ways in which people look at problems
 Puzzles – Set of circumstances in which there is no ambiguity whatsoever once some thought has been given to
what is happening or needs to be done
 Problem – A gap between an initial and a goal states which has no single answer that is definitely known to be
correct. At the heart of the problem there is an issue that needs to be tackled which could have several, equally
valid, solutions!
 Messes – A set of circumstances in which there is extreme ambiguity and in which there may well be disagreement.
There is a whole range of possible definitions and descriptions of what is going on, and there may be no way of
knowing whether a solution exists at all
–> Problem Space: initial current state, the goal state and possible states in between
Problem Solving Process:
The Infological Solution: Information = interactive process (Data, Setting/frame of reference, time)
Steps in Problem Solving

  • Identify the problem – Understand the problem
  • Identify alternatives – Select the best alternative solution
  • List instructions to solve the problem – Evaluate the solution
    Types of Problem Solving
     Algorithmic – Some problems can be solved with a series of actions
     Heuristic – reasoning built on knowledge and experience, and trial and error
    Problem with Problem Solving
  • People don’t know how to solve problems – Decision making is very personal and unique
  • People are afraid of making decisions – The process takes practice and perfection
  • Defining the solution requires discipline
    Virtual Teams – same a regular team but is distributed and uses com tech for coordination
    Media Characteristics
     Synchronicity: the ability of communicators to time their message and feedback delivery
     Presence: the state of being immediately available
     Reach: the extent to which a media can send messages to a physical/temporarily distributed source
     Symbol variety: the number of channels available in a media where a message may be communicated
     Rehears-ability: the extent a message sender can formulate a message before delivering it
     Reprocess-ability: the extent a medium allows communicators to revisit a messages sent in the past
    Web 2.0 is about community and collaboration – Any application that supports that is part of the social software. The
    user-focused web – The user as centre of the virtual universe
    RSS (Really Simple Syndication) facilitates the sharing of content

 This is basically a ‘meet and greet’ session
 Team should clarify their goals
 Set rules to for how the team will function
 Conflict ensues over the direction of the team leadership
 Organization starts to emerge
 Some ‘turf’ and power struggles may arise
 Cohesion and communication
 Agreement on the direction and leadership
 Finally the team begins to work on the assigned task
 Members know their role and specific contribution
The Youtube Phenomenon – Established in 2005 by Chad Hurley and Steve Chen in San Francisco, frustrated because they
couldn’t share some videos with friends
Social Bookmarking Sites focus on managing and sharing information
, Furl, Blinklist, Magnolia, StumbleUpon
Categories of Tagging Systems

  • Personal Information Management – Social Bookmarking
  • Collecting Digital Objects – Improving eCommerce
  • Blogs and Aggregators
    Taxonomy: “classification of [things] into an ordered system that indicates natural relationships” (ex: dewy decimal
    system, species etc.)
    Folksonomies – bottom-up classification resulting from social tagging
     Relationships between tags are inferred based on usage patterns
     Tagging is done independently and are aggregated
  1. Technology – Web has evolved from a primarily static repository of information to one in which information and
    knowledge is created constantly and fluidly within self organizing participative communities.
  2. Demographics – Coase’s Law – “A firm will tend to expand until the costs of organizing an extra transaction within
    the firm become equal to the costs of carrying out the same transaction on the open market.”
  3. Global Economy – Need to go global to compete
     Traditionally – Keep coveted resources private
     WikiWay – Open organizational boundaries to new ideas and human capital, open standard programs
     Traditionally – Hierarchical organized firm
     WikiWay – Horizontal (networked) organization, info goods (software, entertainment, media etc)
     Traditionally – Control and protect your IP, prosecute violators
     WikiWay – Share/protect some IP. By sharing you create new opportunities & create new markets
    Acting Globally
     Traditionally – Multinationals with redundancy
     WikiWay – Global capabilities: unified global processes, global IT platform, no physical or regional boundaries
    “Firms coexist with millions of autonomous producers who connect and co-create value in loosely coupled networks.”
    5 Principles for the Age of Networked Intelligence
    Collaboration – Openness – Sharing – Integrity – Interdependence

    Discourse, a social boundary defining what can be said about a specific topic or possible truth
     Relations of power in our society affect and shape the way we both communicate and create knowledge
    Productivity is the value of outputs produced divided by the values of input resources used.
     Productivity = Output/Input
     Using the framework of Problem-solving we can manipulate either the Outputs or the Inputs
    The Productivity Paradox (aka the Solow paradox) theory that computers have contributed to productivity
     Discrepancy between measures of investment in IT and measures of output at the national level
     A clash of expectations and statistics
     Four Explanations for the Paradox
  • Mismeasurement of outputs and inputs – Lags due to learning and adjustment
  • Redistribution and dissipation of profits – Mismanagement of IT
    The Priceless Economy in 6 Broad Categories
     Freemium : Web software and services, some content – Free to users of the basic version
     Advertising : Content, services, software, and more – Free to everyone
     Cross-subsidies : Any product that entices you to pay for something else. – Free to everyone willing to pay
     Zero marginal cost : Can be distributed without an appreciable cost to anyone – Free to everyone
     Labour exchange : Web sites and services – Free to all users
     Gift economy : be it open source software or user-generated content – Free to everyone
    Search Engines – device that provides data collected by automated robots (spiders)

    Excel Review
    A worksheet is a spreadsheet that contains formulas,
    values, text, and visual aids
    A workbook is a file containing related worksheets
    Formulas are combinations of cell addresses, math
    operators, values and/or functions
    Types of Cell Referencing
     Relative Cell References – relative address A8 is
     Absolute Cell Referencing – absolute address
    $B$5 is fixed
     Mixed Cell Referencing – combination of both
    referencing =Sum($A$2,B1)
    Semi-selection uses the mouse pointer to build a formula containing cell references or ranges – This technique is also
    called pointing
    Syntax is the set of rules that govern correct formation of a function
    Common Statistical Functions include:
  • AVERAGE – arithmetic mean – MEDIAN – midpoint value
  • MIN – minimum value – MAX – maximum value
  • COUNT – number of values in range – COUNTA – number of nonempty cells
  • COUNTBLANK – number of empty cells – TODAY – shows current date
  • NOW – shows current date and time
    Lookup functions – are used to look up values in a table to perform calculations or display results
    The PMT financial function calculates the periodic payment for a loan with a fixed interest rate and term length
    A table is a structured range of related data formatted to enable data management and analysis
    A field is an individual piece of data
    A record is a complete set of data for an entity
    A structured reference is a tag or table field name used in a formula or function
    Sorting arranges records in a table
     Multiple level sorts permits differentiation among records with duplicate data in the first sort
     A custom sort can be created to arrange values in a customized fashion
    Conditional Formatting

    Pivot Tables – allows you to summarize, analyze, and explore large amounts of data
     One column must have duplicate values to create categories for organizing and summarizing data
     Another column must have numeric values
    To move a field from one area to another, drag the field from one area to another area in the Drag fields between areas
    below section.
    Sort data in a PivotTable – Default is alphabetical by row label text
     For specialized sorting, click Sort in the Sort & Filter group on the Options tab
    Apply filters to show a subset of data in a PivotTable
     A report filter sets the overall conditions for aggregating data
     A group filter filters out data based on a row or column category
     Slicers: Are graphical, provide buttons that you can click for quick filtering and indicate the current filtering state
    Create a One-Variable Data Table
     What-if analysis ─ allows you to see how changing variables impacts calculated results
     A one-variable data table ─ a data analysis tool that provides various results based on changing one variable
     A substitution value ─ replaces the original value of a variable in a data table
    Create a Two-Variable Data Table ─ a data analysis tool that provides results based on two variables
     Similar to creating a one variable data table; however, you are limited to comparing one result.
     Recommendations include:
    o Use the top row for one variable’s substitution values
    o Use the first column for the other variable’s values
    o Apply a custom number format to the formula cell in the top-left cell
    Goal Seek ─ a tool when you know the desired end result but not the value needed to meet the goal
     Enables you to work backwards to solve a problem
     Suppose you can only afford $300 as a monthly payment on a car loan. You can use Goal Seek to determine the
    maximum amount you can spend on a car to meet that monthly payment.
    Scenario Manager take detailed sets of input values and determine possible results
    Scenario summary report ─ a worksheet that compares the scenario results (Do not automatically update)
    Solver ─ a separate program that must be installed or added in to Excel
     Manipulates variables based on constraints to find the optimal solution to a problem
     What-if analysis tool
    Optimize Results With Solver
     Solver requires three parameters:
    o Objective cell value to be optimized that relates directly/indirectly to the changing cells

    o Changing cells are the cells whose values are adjusted until the constraints are satisfied
    o Constraints specify the restrictions
    Optimize Results with Solver
     Solver uses an iterative process to find an optimal solution and provides a summary report
     Shows the:
    o Binding Constraints which are rules that Solver enforced to reach the target value
    o Nonbinding Constraints do not restrict the target value found
    Use Conditional Math and Statistical Functions
     Excel contains math and statistical functions that enable you to calculate a statistic when a particular circumstance
    or set of circumstances exists. Additionally, you can rank individual values against others in a dataset.
    A Nested IF Function contains one or more additional IF functions nested inside one or more arguments
    The MATCH function ─ identifies a search item’s position in a list
    The INDEX function ─ returns a value or reference to a value within a range
    Advanced Filtering – keeps original dataset visible and extracts copy of data meeting another locations criteria
    Database functions calculate aggregates for databases that have advanced filter – Database, Field, Criteria
    A Loan Amortization Table is a schedule of monthly payments, interest per period, principal repayment/period
    Import Data from External Sources
     Importing — the process of inserting data from another application
    o Embed data: When you import, but do not want to maintain a link and edit the data within Excel
    o Link data: When you want to create a link and you want imported data updated
    o Tab-delimited files: One tab separates columns, columns may not align
    o Comma-separated value (CSV) files: Commas separate columns, newline character separates rows

    Flattener #1 “11/9/89, The New Age of Creativity: When the Walls Came Down and the Windows Went Up.”
     Friedman uses the fall of the Berlin Wall as a symbol for a general global shift towards democratic governments
    and free-market economies (where consumers determine prices based on what they’re willing to pay) and away
    from authoritarian governments and centrally planned economies (in which prices are set by government
     Microsoft shipped its breakthrough operating system, Windows 3.0
     “The New Age of Creativity” – people are given the tools to author and share new information faster and easier
    than ever before.
    Flattener #2 “8/9/95, The New Age of Connectivity: When the Web Went Around and Netscape Went Public.”
     HTML was created, Netscape used HTML to made the Web user-friendly and was available for everyone
     On 8/9/95, Netscape “went public” – they began selling stock on the open market.
     “Dot com bubble” – rise in the stock prices of companies that dealt with the Internet.
     Laying of fiber optic cable was able to carry a lot more information than the previous medium
    Flattener #3: “Work Flow Software”
     Software that enables workers in different locations to collaborate efficiently.
     Work flow software enables all of them to access and manipulate everyone else’s contributions as they are made
    and to share a wide variety of electronic content
    Flattener #4: “UPLOADING, Harnessing the Power of Communities”
     Uploading is the process of transmitting information from your computer to a network
     “Community-developed software.” – Apache, an o/s used by several servers
     Blog consists of one person’s online journal, “an army of citizen journalists”
     Uploading broke down the barrier from individual users to the online community.
    Flattener #5: “OUTSOURCING”: India
     Outsourcing is the process of taking at home work and paying another company to do it.
     It is possible to outsource “knowledge industry” jobs to anyplace with: A broadband Internet connection,
    expertise and a proficiency in English. **Cheap labour – many software companies needed to cut costs
    Flattener #6: “OFFSHORING”: China
     Offshoring is when a company moves its production from its own country to another
     The real money is in creative design rather than manufacturing.
     China sees its low-wage manufacturing jobs as the first step in dominating all stages of production
    Flattener #7: “SUPPLY-CHAINING”: Wal-Mart
     Supply-chaining is increasing the connections between suppliers, retailers, and customers.
     Levels the boundaries between customers and manufacturers regardless of where in the world they are
    Flattener #8: “INSOURCING”: UPS
     Insourcing is hiring another company to handle your supply chain.
     Insourcing flattens the world in three ways:
     Letting little companies be global companies
     Dissolving barriers between companies inside its client companies
     Increasing standardization of business practices across companies and around the world.
    Flattener #9: “IN-FORMING”: Google and Yahoo! Groups
     In-forming refers to the dramatic change in how easy it is to obtain information
     Google enables people to find webpages that are more relevant to their searches
     Google let individuals do their own research and connects users with information and media
    Flattener #10: “THE STEROIDS”
     “The Steroids”, combination of small factors that amplify the effects of outsourcing, off-shoring, uploading,
    supply-chaining, insourcing, and in-forming.
     The digital steroid puts all media into a common standard that anyone can use
     The mobile steroid consists of technologies that let you work away from your office.
     Personal steroids shift power from institutions to individuals and include search engines, personal computers,
    and peer-to-peer file sharing

    Convergence I
     Web-enabled platform for multiple forms of collaboration.
     This platform enables individuals, groups, companies, and universities anywhere in the world to collaborate
     This platform is going to be at the center of everything.
     Friedman cites a recent article by Kevin Kelly, one of the founders of Wired magazine, in which Kelly proposes
    that the current era is a turning point in our history as a civilization, a time when…humans began animating inert
    objects with tiny slivers of intelligence, connecting them into a global field, and linking their own minds into a
    single thing.
     This will be recognized as the largest, most complex, and most surprising event on the planet.
     Weaving nerves out of glass and radio waves, our species began wiring up all regions, all processes, all facts and
    notions into a grand network.
    Convergence II
     Occurred as business practices caught up with the changes in technology produced by Convergence I.
     It took a surprisingly long time for companies to reap the benefits of Convergence I, but the economic historian
    Paul David writes that perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised.
     When electrification began in the late 1800s, the factories that existed were built around steam technology –
    they were huge and designed to support massive steam engines.
     To really save money, industrialists had to scrap those huge factories and replace them with smaller and cheaper
    factories that were filled with the lighter and cheaper electric motors.
     The same process took place with the rise of the ten flatteners: Companies didn’t see the benefits until there was
    a critical mass of experienced managers, innovators, business consultants, etc. who understood the flat world
     The major business change was integration among different departments and sometimes integration of different
     The second major change was a shift from vertical organization to a more horizontal organization in which
    information could flow in both directions: production workers could alert the designers of problems and could
    suggest fixes.
     Companies became more democratic and individual workers participated more at many levels.
    Convergence III
     The third convergence is demographic.
     In the 1990s, several nations in Asia and Europe opened their economies and political systems so that their
    citizens could participate on the global platform.
     It is this triple convergence – of new players, on a new playing field, developing new processes and habits for
     Gave access to tools of collaboration, along with the ability through search engines and the Web to access
    billions of pages of raw information, ensures that the next generation of innovations will come from all over
    Planet Flat.

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