14 julio, 2024

Information system: characteristics, elements, life cycle, types

A information system It is a set of interrelated elements that collect, store, process and display information to support coordination, control and decision making in an organization.

It also helps to visualize complex issues, analyze a problem, and create new services and products. Therefore, it is the study of the networks that people and companies use to collect, process and deliver data.

The data is only facts as such, they are the material to obtain information. Information systems use data stored in databases to provide the necessary information.

A database is an organized set of interrelated data, which express important aspects of the activities of a company.


Characteristics of information systems


There must be a true integration between the structure of a company and the information system. This makes it easier to coordinate divisions, departments, and other kinds of organizational units. Additionally, the integration process facilitates decision making.


Every system must conceive necessary and relevant information for the company. In addition, it must be reliable and must be generated on time. Thus, this information will have a cost close to that estimated by the organization, taking into account the operational and management requirements of the company.


Information systems may include internal control instruments, whose purpose is to ensure that the information generated is reliable and that they act in such a way as to protect the data they control.


They serve to guarantee that the objectives of the organization will be attended to efficiently, objectively and directly.

Process transactions

Transactions can be defined as the activities that take place in an organization. For example, making a purchase, a sale, or manufacturing a product.

keep files

The information system creates and updates the files of an organization. A file stores historical data on the different entities of the company.

For example, to prepare an employee’s salary, data is required for their basic salary, taxes, deductions, etc.

produce reports

Reports are important products of an information system. Many reports occur periodically, such as scheduled reports. Reports can also be produced according to particular requests.

It can be a computer system

An information system can also be any organized composition of software, hardware, data, communication networks, and human resources that retrieves, processes, stores, and disseminates information in an organization. This enables people to make successful decisions about running a business.

This computer system provides management with the tools so that they can organize and manage the different departments efficiently.

In order to offer information from the past, present and future, an information system includes software that helps in decision making, as well as resources such as databases, hardware, decision support systems, people management applications. and of projects.

Elements/components of an information system

– Human resources (people)

Systems personnel include development managers, systems analysts, programmers, and operators, with specialized skills. End users are the people who use the information systems or the information generated.

– Procedures or activities

They are the policies and methods that must be followed to operate and maintain an information system, to process the data and thus produce the desired information. They are compiled in manuals and similar documents.


It is made up of multiple computing systems such as microcomputers, minicomputers, and mainframes, along with their peripheral devices. These devices are monitors, printers, and keyboards, which work together to receive data, process it, and display the information.

– Software

They are the set of computer programs that allow the hardware to process data to convert it into information. The software is divided into:

system software

Manage computer system resources. An operating system is the main system software. It manages all the resources of a computer system and provides an interface through which the user can implement these resources.

app software

They are programs that directly help users to perform their work. They can be purchased as ready-to-use packages.

– Databases

They are the organized set of files or associated tables, which contain data related to each other. This set of files is used by application software. The databases are managed by system software, known as a database management system.

– Communication networks

They are connection systems that allow various computer systems to be interconnected and resources distributed. Telecommunications are the means of transmitting information at a distance.

Life cycle of an information system

The life cycle of an information system goes through different stages/phases:


Its purpose is to investigate the scope of the problem and determine solutions. Identifies whether there is a need for a new system to achieve the main objectives. It involves project management, including human resources, capacity planning, scheduling, and cost estimation.

Requirements analysis

When there is a problem in the system, any possible solution is analyzed to satisfy the main objective of the project. The team discusses with others the need for certain project requirements.

This helps determine what the organization needs, who will be responsible for each part of the project, and its timeline for completion.


Among the results is the design of a document that lists the patterns and elements selected for the project, in addition to the coding of prototypes, used as a starting point for development.

Users determine their specific information needs, they will consider the component structure, processing and procedure for the system to be successful.


Database programmers and developers write the system code. This includes the use of a flowchart to ensure that the system’s organizational process is appropriate.

Integration and testing

Conducted by a quality assurance professional, their job is to see if the design meets the initial set of goals. The tests will ensure that the system is free of errors.


It involves the actual installation of the newly developed system. Puts the project into production, by moving data and items from the old system to the new system.


The new system must be maintained over time, since the process of changes and updates is constant. It is a continuous process where users adjust the system in order to increase its performance, adding new capabilities or meeting their requirements.

Types of information systems

office system

It is an information system that uses its different elements to facilitate communication between employees and also improve workflow.

It supports the full range of activities of a business office, such as creating and distributing graphics, documents, messaging, and accounting. All levels of administrative users can benefit from and use this type of system.

Transaction process system

It is an information system that collects and processes the data generated in the daily activities of an organization, such as deposits, payments, orders or reservations.

executive information system

System in charge of facilitating and supporting the decisions made by senior executives. That is, it provides the necessary information to support the action maneuvers of those who have the final responsibility.

Management information system

It is a system that generates organized and timely information so that managers can solve problems, review activities and make decisions.

Since the reporting is daily, this information system can also be called a management reporting system.

Decision support system

It is information designed to help users make decisions. This system can use data from both internal and external sources.

Internal sources can be a company’s sales, manufacturing, inventory, or financial data. External sources include interest rates, population trends, inflation, etc.

For example, to establish the annual sales budget, this type of system can be used to provide information support on the factors that would affect it internally and externally.

Expert system

It is an information system that captures and stores the knowledge of the human expert, then mimics their reasoning and decision-making process for those with less experience.

global information system

Information system that covers a broader scenario than what used to be measured at a more personal or developmental level. This system seeks to obtain the largest amount of globally measurable data in order to have as much information as possible.

Geographic information system

Geographic and spatial data collection and analysis system. Very useful to apply in different technologies, techniques or processes related to transport, logistics, engineering or telecommunications.

Examples of information systems


Information systems are used to establish the business supply chain. For example, companies use information systems to manage their personnel and financial accounts, as well as manage production and sales.

Many high-value companies are established entirely on information systems. Among them are:

– Amazon: It is a large electronic shopping center and also a provider of cloud computing services.

– eBay: large-scale auction market.

– Google: Search engine company that earns most of its revenue from keyword advertising on Internet searches.

– Alibaba: business-to-business e-marketplace


– Software and video products.

– Digital products, such as electronic books.

– Online services, such as social networks and games.

People rely on information systems, often based on the Internet, to carry out much of their personal lives: to socialize, study, shop, bank and entertain themselves.

mechanical information systems

The first large-scale mechanical information system was Herman Hollerith’s census tabulator….

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