Information systems in business have long been essential to management and operations, even before computers. There was a time when huge amounts of company data, such as insurance claims, were processed quite effectively by hand using paper filing cards.
It’s hard to imagine a world now defined by Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT).
From the vast inventory-tracking programs that facilitate a just-in-time supply chain, right down to a simple work email service, digital information systems have become fundamental to global business over the past century. With each leap in information technology, a corresponding revolution has occurred in business.
These are just a few examples of some revolutionary information systems that have advanced business forever:
- Word processing
- Supply chain management systems
- Mobile app and integrated technologies
- The internet and IoT
- Digital databases, cloud and file sharing technology
- Payroll and accounting software
- eCommerce transaction systems
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems
- Social media
This list is just a fraction of the diverse ways that information systems support the management, organisation and information sharing levels of a business every day. Business technology and information systems have clearly become inseparable.
And yet, technology still only forms three of the five components of any information system: hardware, software and data. The other two are people and processes. This important fact makes the field of information systems distinct from a career in information technology. Information systems are built around technology, but they also encompass a broader understanding of how information is created and shared.
That’s one of the reasons a business information systems (BIS) career is futureproofed: it’s not just about being an expert in whatever technologies we use presently. You learn to creatively apply new technologies to improve businesses, as they are developed.
Business information technology generates business growth
Information systems technologies form a crucial part of any business's growth strategy. In fact, some argue that ICT has completely transformed the structure of the modern corporation.
When correctly applied, new digital information systems technologies can drive growth across whole organisations, facilitating improvements, such as:
- Reduced business costs with easy to use DIY Content Management Systems (CMS), such as WordPress and Wix
- Real-time sentiment analysis through digital chatter monitoring
- Improved customer communications through CRMs, such as Salesforce and HubSpot
- Evidence-based growth strategy based on data analytics
- Improved logistics and operations systems leading to timesaving and efficiency
- Greater flexibility and productivity with cloud computing
- More coordinated supply and distribution chains
- AI and machine learning for constant improvement and better customer experiences
- Improved revenue management, finance and accounting systems using real-time data
- Reaching new audiences and improved online marketing through social media
Business information systems have gone light-years beyond the paper filing systems of the early 20th century. They now form the basis for an entirely new digital economy. We are living in an era where the biggest corporations are all built around data, information and communication technologies, including Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook.
The digital economy supports diverse cutting-edge business information systems that generate growth
The virtual office
Cloud-based information management and communication systems have facilitated an explosion in office-less, virtual corporations run by flexible teams located all around the globe. Tech company Gitlab Inc., for example, has over 1300 employees working remotely across 65 countries. Zoom, Trello, Dropbox, Slack, Google Drive, and other virtual offices, cloud storage and collaborative workflow programs have allowed companies, such as Gitlab Inc., to expand and grow their business to a global customer base across multiple time zones.
Mobile-first businesses improving customer experience
With 62% of online sales now occurring on mobile phones, many companies are now prioritising mobile-first sales platforms. This has led to an explosion in mobile apps offering personalised and convenient products or services that harness real-time data. Uber, Deliveroo, Google Maps, Airbnb, and MyGov: these are all examples of how information systems work paired with mobile technology for an improved customer experience.
AI and machine learning improving Ecommerce
Amazon’s success came from its ability to capture and interpret customer data, using sophisticated systems of data management and analysis. This is just one great example of how information systems play a crucial role in the huge industry that is Ecommerce. Machine learning and AI will continue to have a big impact on how these crucial information systems contribute to growth in this industry in the coming years, facilitating greater improvements in:
- Personalised product recommendations.
- Pricing optimization.
- Enhanced and personalised customer service.
- Improved customer segmentation.
- Smart logistics.
- Sales and demand forecasting.
Information systems technology and employment
Technologies right now are evolving at a pace that outstrips education and training, leading to a massive digital skills shortage worldwide. This comes at a time when many companies are just waking up to the huge potential for growth offered by these information technologies.
After several years of COVID-19, there has been widespread uptake of digital technologies and growth in consumer demand for digital products and services. A huge 90% of Australian businesses adopted new forms of digital technology to support their business activities during the pandemic.
These businesses need experts to manage their diverse digital activities to take full advantage of the data that it generates.
According to the “Australia’s Digital Economy Report 2022,” 250,000 new jobs will be created by digitalisation in Australia by 2025. Digital jobs in this country are growing at a rate that is 1.5 times the average growth in the number of professional occupations over the past several years. This puts business information systems experts in high demand right now.
Some business information systems careers in demand right now include:
- Cybersecurity analyst
- Data analyst or data scientist
- Database administrator
- Information systems manager
- IT consultant
- Penetration tester
- Software engineer
- Systems analyst
- App developer
- Business analyst
- Forensic computer analyst
- Network engineer
- IT and ecommerce sales professional
- UX researcher
- Web content manager
The skills you learn with an education in information systems are diverse, flexible and transferable to a whole range of these in-demand digital jobs.
- Data and Networking
- Data Modelling and Database Design
- Agile Project Management
- Systems Analysis and Design
- Database Fundamentals
- App, Web Design and Development
- Microservices Architecture Cloud and Web IS
- Agile Business Analysis
- Data Management and Analytics
- Requirements Engineering
Your career as an information systems expert relies on your analytical thinking and problem-solving skills. It will outlast any changes in the software. Aside from the broad and flexible application of these in-demand skills, that’s a key part of what makes it a future-proof career.
Thinking of studying business information systems? Make sure you choose a course that is aligned with the Australian Computer Society (ACS) – the largest professional body in Australia representing information and communications technology
Torrens University’s Business Information Systems courses are designed in close consultation with the ACS.