In a broader sense, information is simply processed, arranged and systematically analyzed data. It provides context to previously processed data and allows effective decision making. For instance, a single consumer’s sale at a particular restaurant is statistical data-it becomes information when the company is able to identify which dish is most popular or least popular.
In business, information systems hardware, software and data can often be located in one building or located in several different places. With this in mind, organizations need to consider where to store them so that they can easily access and process the information. As an example, certain software used to process large amounts of data may need to be located in multiple locations so that the decision maker has more choices and options. Organizations may also have to think about whether there are complementary networks between the information systems and other systems such as finance and accounting.
In addition, the relationship between information systems and complementary networks is important because certain types of software are more suited for specific types of networks and because certain types of information systems are better suited for specific formats. For example, some types of information systems are best used on intranet systems while others may be suitable for extranets. Also, some formats are more appropriate for one type of network than for another, while some information systems may better suit some forms of email than others. It is also important for organizations to consider whether their staff has the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively use and access the information systems.