Information Systems Management
In its broadest sense information is simply processed, structured and organised information. It gives context to otherwise unprocessed data and allows effective decision making. For instance, a single consumer’s sale in a restaurant is data that becomes information when the company is able to accurately identify the most preferred or least preferred dish. Decision making is made on the basis of information. For example: if you are a student wanting to apply for a college loan, your educational records will be key information to the adviser. This information tells them what sort of person you are and whether or not you should be allowed to apply.
The problem with our current definition of information is that we often take it to the extreme, where it can be used to control people by exerting total control over the distribution of information, which is, of course, an abuse of power. This is a bit like saying: because you are the greatest teacher in the world, you will be the one who decides who gets the school degree. You decide who gets the credit card, credit score, and employment. The definition of information, and therefore its misuse, become problematic because of the fact that information systems are typically not designed to be free-market spaces, but rather systems that humans exert partial control over.
Control, moreover, is intimately connected with efficiency. Information technology must, over time, become more efficient at managing the volume of data that must be processed. The certification system, which was developed by the US Department of Defense, highlights this point: “The ultimate goal of BIDS is to eliminate information technology costs,” which they define as “the cost of implementing the various procedures.” Information systems analysts argue that, because information technology is becoming more specialized, the overall efficiency of computer systems may decrease, particularly with regard to “what kind of information is produced, how that information is stored, how that information is used, and who gets access to that information.” All of these costs must be understood and considered in order to make information systems most cost-effective.