Information, in a broad sense, is simply processed, organized and structured information. It gives context to various data and allows intelligent decision making on the part of users. For instance, a single customer’s sale at a particular restaurant is statistical data-this becomes relevant data when the company is able to identify which food is the most popular or least Popular. The same information can be used for different purposes such as calculating drop off rates at restaurants, analyse customer preferences and build loyalty programmes. The significance of information goes way beyond simple analysis and calculating the figures involved.
The computer age has led to the development of information systems and its usage has gone beyond simple analysis and calculating data to include decision making as well as sharing it with other users. Today, we find that we use computers to browse the internet, send emails, communicate with our friends and even connect to complementary networks. Such examples clearly demonstrate the implications of a computer, software and information systems. Even something as simple as a light or sound card connected to a computer, all the devices running on a network and the personal computers all sharing the same information system are all part of the ‘complementary networks’. These complementary networks range from the hardware like a printer to the software like email.
In a broader sense, the definition of information systems is an umbrella term that includes all the sub-systems of an information system and their functions, and is therefore very large. However, the main meaning of ‘information systems’ is to provide a platform on which computing technologies may be executed for decision making purposes and for providing users with customized services and interactive features. All the sub-systems therefore have a role to play in defining information systems. They form a base on which different technologies may be implemented, allowing for better performance and better quality of services.