Running head: Information Technology vs. Information Systems Information Technology for Managers John Alexander Keys to Information Technology Abstract 1. In your own words, define the terms “information technology” (IT) and “information systems” (IS) and explain their components and infrastructure. Why is it important for a manager to be involved in IT and what are the critical responsibilities for the manager? 2. Case Study (discuss the case and answer questions at end of case): The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies – Managers Leverage Ongoing IT Investments to Achieve Competitive Advantages (p. 23 of text)
Information Technology vs. Information Systems While both terms can be interchangeable, it is important to differentiate between the two if a meaningful dialogue is to take place between businesses and IS staff and ultimately successful IS/IT strategies are to be developed. It should be clear, that information systems existed in organizations long before the advent of information technology and, even today, there are still many information systems present in organizations with technology nowhere in sight. IT refers specifically to technology, essentially hardware, software and telecommunications networks.
IT facilitates the acquisition, processing, storing, delivery and sharing of information and other digital content. Some of the basic components could include mainframe computers, laptops, servers and related equipment. This equipment could be the technology infrastructure of the company. Information systems are an integral part of all business activities and careers. These systems enable a firm to meet the fundamental needs of the business. Information systems allow companies to increase revenue by reducing cost, improving decision making, enhancing customer relationships and helps to speedup product time to the customer.
Depending on the type of business, these systems could have many different parts. Some components could include databases that can store both customer information and products available for shipping all stored in a central database. The involvement of management is just as important as the direction the project receives from the project manager. Management must be involved in monitoring progress and making critical decisions through implementation. Managers have three principle responsibilities when it comes to IT, they must be able to identify opportunities to use the information, be able to introduce, apply and reduce its risks.
It may require changes within the company for example may require changes to the companies’ business processes, responsibilities, as well as decisions on how to do business. While changes do occur, there will be some that will resist those changes by either not using the system to its full potential. Managers also must be able to direct this resistance so the system will be accepted and used throughout the business. The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies – Managers Leverage Ongoing IT Investments to Achieve Competitive Advantages.
Progressive, rated the best Web site for buying and owning car insurance by Keynote Systems Inc. , has given the site a ratings in all but one of its Insurance Carrier Scorecards since 2000. Notable features of the site include a real-time comparison rate ticker; our Name Your Price option for car insurance; online claims reporting and tracking; and 24/7 online customer service, which includes online payments and policy updates. (Progressive. com) Progressive was chosen for creating an infrastructure that enables it to more easily expand the products and services it offers to customers.
Progressive Insurance Co. is one company that has figured out how to use information technology to revolutionize the business. With the constant changes in IT, Progressive as well as other companies, continue to try to reduce costs and increase flexibility for product changes. An example of this would be the Web-quoting platform, which provided faster online quotes and led to an increase in Web application completion. References Progressive. com http://www. progressive. com/progressive-insurance/progressive-websites. aspx