Our society is full of examples of systems, such as a coffee vending machine , a factory of manufactured goods, a vehicle, a file for documents, our spine, etc. In the case of coffee or beverage machines, we can analyze their operation to better understand the system concept. The coins enter the system, its value is compared with that of the selected beverage (objective of the system) and if both values are equal, the beverage is issued.
With regard to the systems themselves there is a broad consensus as to the characteristics they must have and ways of acting, however the same does not happen with the concept of information system , of which there are many definitions, nuances and schools. Anyway, speaking in general terms, we can say that an information system is a set of interacting components each other to achieve a specific purpose, which is to meet the information needs of that organization. These components can be people, data, activities or material resources in general, which process the information and distribute it properly, seeking to meet the needs of the organization.
The primary objective of an information system is to support decision making and control everything that happens in it. It is important to note that there are two types of information system, formal and informal; the former use solid structures such as computers as a means, the latter are more artisanal and use older media such as paper and pencil or word of mouth.
The study of information systems emerged as a science subdiscipline of computing, with the aim of streamlining the administration of technology within organizations. The field of study was progressing to become part of the higher studies within the administration.
From a business point of view, information systems can be classified in various ways. There are, for example, systems of managerial information (in order to resolve conflicts in companies), systems of transaction processing (which are responsible for managing information in the context of trade), systems of executive information (for managers), systems of decision support (analyze the different factors that make the business to decide which direction to take), systems of office automation (applications that help in administrative work) and systems experts (which emulate the behavior of a specialist in a specific domain).
According to the authors Laudon and Laudon, professors of Business Administration, an information system is an organism that collects, processes, stores and distributes information. They are essential to help managers keep their company tidy, analyze everything that goes through it and create new products that put the organization in a good place. This definition is one of the only ones that expresses the requirement that an information system has components , although it does not specify what they should be, possibly because it tries to encompass all possible variants of this concept.
It should be noted that the concept of information system is usually used as a synonym for computer information system , although they are not the same. The latter belongs to the field of study of information technology and can be part of an information system as a material resource. However, it is said that information systems deal with the development and administration of an organization's technological infrastructure.