Assignment: Business Interaction

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Assignment: Business Interaction

Assignment: Business Interaction

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Managers do not have the luxury of abdicating participation in decisions regarding information systems (IS). Managers who choose to do so risk limiting their future business options. IS are at the heart of virtually every business interaction, process, and decision, especially when the vast penetration of the Web over the last 20 years is considered. Mobile and social technologies have brought IS to an entirely new level within fi rms and between individuals in their personal lives. Managers who let someone else make decisions about their IS are letting someone else make decisions about the very foundation of their business. This is a textbook about managing and using information written for current and future managers as a way to introduce the broader implications of the impact of IS.

The goal of this book is to assist managers in becoming knowledgeable participants in IS decisions. Becoming a knowledgeable participant means learning the basics and feeling comfortable enough to ask questions. It does not mean having all the answers or having a deep understanding of all the technologies out in the world today. No text will provide managers everything they need to know to make important IS decisions. Some texts instruct on the basic technical background of IS. Others discuss applications and their life cycles. Some take a comprehensive view of the management information systems (MIS) fi eld and offer readers snapshots of current systems along with chapters describing how those technologies are designed, used, and integrated into business life.

This book takes a different approach. It is intended to provide the reader a foundation of basic concepts relevant to using and managing information. This text is not intended to provide a comprehensive treatment on any one aspect of MIS, for certainly each aspect is itself a topic of many books. This text is not intended to provide readers enough technological knowledge to make them MIS experts. It is not intended to be a source of discussion of any particular technology. This text is written to help managers begin to form a point of view of how IS will help or hinder their organizations and create opportunities for them.

The idea for this text grew out of discussions with colleagues in the MIS area. Many faculties use a series of case studies, trade and popular press readings, and Web sites to teach their MIS courses. Others simply rely on one of the classic texts, which include dozens of pages of diagrams, frameworks, and technologies. The initial idea for this text emerged from a core MIS course taught at the business school at the University of Texas at Austin. That course was considered an “appetizer” course—a brief introduction into the world of MIS for MBA students. The course had two main topics: using information and managing information. At the time, there was no text like this


1 Bill Gates, Business @ the Speed of Thought. New York: Warner Books, Inc. 1999. 2 Source: Private conversation with one of the authors.

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