The exact definition of information systems is going to vary depending upon the speaker or the writer. A science historian will probably give a different definition than a computer programmer or a systems analyst. However, both parties are going to recognize the tremendous impact that information systems have had on the world.
Information systems could be generally defined as an operation’s data and communication technology. However, the Internet itself is an information system, and it’s an information system that spans the entire world. Our increasingly global society could be regarded as an operation in its own right, especially since an increasing number of people are participating in the industrial aspects of modern society. The Internet is an information system that seems to also bring other information systems together, as if it were a massive, overarching information system operating on a meta level.
Information systems will have inputs, processing, and outputs. The inputs and outputs could be almost anything, and the processing could be multifaceted. However, even the simplest information systems will have these components at least. While many of the information systems that people think of today are extremely complicated, plenty of them can actually be relatively straightforward. Customer relationship management systems are information systems, and they’re largely about keeping records of the relevant activities of specific customers.
Businesses will have information systems like customer relationship management systems, as well as a whole host of other information systems. Some people might regard these types of information systems as simple facets of much larger information systems, but the categorization sometimes becomes a matter of semantics. Still though, it should be noted that even the most simple businesses will use several information systems in order to manage all of their organizational and managerial matters.
People aren’t going to be surprised that software companies are little more than series of interlocking information systems, at least at one level. However, even restaurants and clothing stores are going to run on information and information systems. The Information Age isn’t just defined by the fact that so many people use the Internet today and mass communication networks. The fact that the world runs through information systems helps to truly define our age.