The success of how one information system operates in a specific business depends on different factors. There are many types of businesses and information systems. In this article we make a overview on all the factors to consider, in order to choose the right software for your business.
Business profile represents the entire business: its processes, functions, the products and services it provides, the industry it’s in, its competitors, corporate culture and so on.
Business model shows how different business components work together as a whole. The concept consists of four central dimensions:
- the Who: who is the customer;
- the What: what products and services the company offers to the customer?;
- the How: processes and activities that master the products and services;
- and the Value: revenue model; how to make money from the business;
Company type: contrary to how traditional economies worked, today we’re facing different types of companies, due to the increasing importance of the Internet. Companies distinct for being product-oriented, or service-oriented. They also differ by being dot.com companies, existing only on the Internet space, or just brick and mortar companies, based on physical locations.
Information system components (IS)
- Hardware: all the physical parts, equipment and infrastructure IS needs in order to function, like servers, disks, routers, cables etc.
- Software: the programs that operate the hardware components. You have to distinct between system software and application software. System software contains all the operational systems that operate the computer (like Windows), security programs (antiviruses), networking programs and similar.
- Data: this is the raw material that enters the system as an input and goes out as an output. The output of data is called information. Information is data that has a value and has a meaning.
- Processes: refers to all the business operations, functions and work flow of the company. All of the are affected, shaped, or reinvented with the usage of IS.
- People: IS concern all the stakeholders and end users of an application. A stakeholder is someone who affects, or is affected by the IS. End users are the people who will be using it. When determining IS functionality, the IT team has to keep them all in mind.
Types of companies on the Internet
B2B: Those are the companies that use the internet to make business to business transactions. Those transactions can include data, money, sales and other assets.
B2C: Business to customer companies, use the Internet to connect with customers. Think of them as e-commerce companies. Companies, now more often than ever, use the Internet to position and sale their products and services online.
Web based: On the web, applications work a lot different than by creating in-house apps for companies. Developers have to make the application available for a large base of users. Therefore, user interface plays a significant role in the app functionality. A large mass of users, requires strategic organization of the app elements, since all of those users have different demographic elements and technical background. So, web design is crucial.
ERP systems: ERP systems are a set of software applications, that support many organizational functions, and unify data in a shared database. They are designed in modules that can be combined to support unique needs of a company. Aside from supporting functions, ERP systems also include industry best practices, therefore shaping the business model and improving business operations. Read more about ERP here.
Transaction processing systems: These systems help companies process transactions, like customer order processing. They are extremely valuable, since most commonly they hold customer credit card information and other sensitive data, which require an additional set of security and privacy mechanisms.
Business Support systems: These are the systems that support different business operations and functions, like human resource management, for example. These systems are job related. They require a set of extreme security, privacy and user support, to help employees do their job more effectively. Companies use them for user productivity, knowledge management and similar purposes.
Also, a key to successful relationship between an information system and a specific business is how companies implement it. Businesses can face many problems, while implementing an application, like:
User training: The IS can be perfect for the specific business. But, many times, IT professionals overlook user training. Information systems have different level of complexity. Also, users have different level of technology knowledge. Business analyst have to take those factors in consideration, when planning user training. They have to make sure that users use the system properly, before stating that a system isn’t useful for the business.
Legacy systems: User may be used to the legacy systems of the company. So, they refuse to change their habits. The transition period from the legacy, to the new system, can affect the perception about the system functionality. So, when determining the functionalities of the new system, business analysts have to take a look into the old ones, as well. Those systems can say a lot about what functionalities to implement in the new one, and where users face difficulties.
Interoperability: As a summary, make sure the system works in coordination with the other systems the company uses. Many times, companies make the mistake to purchase a system which isn’t compatible with some crucial component. For example, if you purchase a sales system that cannot operate with your database, you have a problem. So, choose carefully.
Therefore, before building or purchasing an information systems, it’s best if each business makes a SWOT analysis to determine which weaknesses should the system improve, or which strengths should the system optimize.