IT Executive Federal Express
Give me a fish and I eat for a day; teach me to fish and I eat for a lifetime. Proverb
Managers do not have the luxury of abdicating participation in information systems decisions. Managers who choose to do so risk limiting their future business options. Information systems are at the heart of virtually every business interaction, process, and decision, especially when one considers the vast penetration of the Web in the last few years. Mobile and social technologies have brought information systems to an entirely new level within firms, and between individuals in their personal lives. Managers who let someone else make decisions about their informa- tion systems 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 of introducing the broader implications of the impact of information systems.
The goal of this book is to assist managers in becoming knowledgeable partic- ipants in information systems decisions. Becoming a knowledgeable participant means learning the basics and feeling comfortable enough to ask questions. It does not mean having all the answers nor having a deep understanding of all the technologies out in the world today. No text will provide managers with everything they need to know to make important information systems decisions. Some texts instruct on the basic technical background of information systems. Others discuss applications and their life cycle. Some take a comprehensive view of the management information systems (MIS) field 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. This text is intended to provide the reader with a foundation of basic concepts relevant to using and managing information. It is not intended to provide a comprehensive treatment on any one aspect of MIS, for certainly
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each aspect is itself a topic of many books. It is not intended to provide readers with enough technological knowledge to make them MIS experts. It is not intended to be a source of discussion of any particular technology. This textbook is written to help managers begin to form a point of view of how information systems will help, hinder, and create opportunities for their organizations.
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 introduc- tion 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 one, hence students had to purchase thick reading packets made up of articles and case studies to provide them with the basic concepts. The course was structured to provide the general MBA with enough knowledge of the field of MIS that they could recognize opportunities to use the rapidly changing technologies available to them. The course was an appetizer to the menu of specialty courses, each of which went much deeper into the various topics. But completion of the appetizer course meant that students were able to feel comfortable listening to, contributing to, and ultimately participating in information systems decisions.