Viva-Voce – Management Information System Terms for Job Interviews | BBA & MBA Review of Basic Terms


Management Information System Terms for Job Interview


acceptance testing: Provides the final certification that the system is ready to be used in a production setting.

access control: Policies and procedures to prevent improper access to systems.

access point: Box consisting of a radio receiver/transmitter and antennae that link to a wired network, router, or hub.

accountability: The mechanisms for assessing responsibility for decisions made and actions taken.

accounting rate of return on investment (ROI ): Calculation of the rate of return on an investment by adjusting cash inflows produced by the investment for depreciation. Approximates the accounting income earned by the investment.

accumulated balance digital payment systems: Systems enabling users to make micropayments and purchases on the Web, accumulating a debit balance on their credit card or telephone bills.

activity-based costing: Model for identifying all the company activities that cause costs to occur while producing a specific product or service so that managers can see which products or services are profitable or losing money and make changes to maximize firm profitability.

administrative controls: Formalized standards, rules, procedures, and disciplines to ensure that the organization’s controls are properly executed and enforced.

agency theory: Economic theory that views the firm as a nexus of contracts among self-interested individuals who must be supervised and managed.

AI shell: The programming environment of an expert system.

analog signal: A continuous waveform that passes through a communications medium; used for voice communications.

analytical CRM: Customer relationship management applications dealing with the analysis of customer data to provide information for improving business performance.

antivirus software: Software designed to detect, and often eliminate, computer viruses from an information system.

application controls: Specific controls unique to each computerized application.

application server: Software that handles all application operations between browser-based computers and a company’s back-end business applications or databases.

application service provider (ASP): Company providing software that can be rented by other companies over the Web or a private network.

application software package: A set of prewritten, precoded application software programs that are commercially available for sale or lease.

application software: Programs written for a specific application to perform functions specified by end users.

arithmetic-logic unit (ALU): Component of the CPU that performs the computer’s principal logic and arithmetic operations.

artificial intelligence (AI): The effort to develop computer-based systems that can behave like humans, with the ability to learn languages, accomplish physical tasks, use a perceptual apparatus, and emulate human expertise and decision making.

asynchronous transfer mode (ATM): A networking technology that parcels information into 8-byte cells, allowing data to be transmitted between computers from different vendors at any speed.

attribute: A piece of information describing a particular entity.

authentication: The ability of each party in a transaction to ascertain the identity of the other party.

automation: Using the computer to speed up the performance of existing tasks.


backbone: Part of a network handling the major traffic and providing the primary path for traffic flowing to or from other networks.

backward chaining: A strategy for searching the rule base in an expert system that acts like a problem solver by beginning with a hypothesis and seeking out more information until the hypothesis is either proved or disproved.

balanced scorecard: Model for analyzing firm performance which supplements traditional financial measures with measurements from additional business perspectives, such as customers, internal business processes, and learning and growth.

bandwidth: The capacity of a communications channel as measured by the difference between the highest and lowest frequencies that can be transmitted by that channel.

banner ad: A graphic display on a Web page used for advertising. The banner is linked to the advertiser’s Web site so that a person clicking on it will be transported to the advertiser’s Web site.

batch processing: A method of collecting and processing data in which transactions are accumulated and stored until a specified time when it is convenient or necessary to process them as a group.

baud: A change in signal from positive to negative or vice versa that is used as a measure of transmission speed.

behavioral models: Descriptions of management based on behavioral scientists’ observations of what managers actually do in their jobs.

benchmarking: Setting strict standards for products, services, or activities and measuring organizational performance against those standards.

best practices: The most successful solutions or problem-solving methods that have been developed by a specific organization or industry.

biometric authentication: Technology for authenticating system users that compares a person’s unique characteristics such as fingerprints, face, or retinal image, against a stored set profile of these characteristics.

bit: A binary digit representing the smallest unit of data in a computer system. It can only have one of two states, representing 0 or 1.

bluetooth: Standard for wireless personal area networks that can transmit up to 722 Kbps within a 10-meter area.

broadband: High-speed transmission technology. Also designates a single communications medium that can transmit multiple channels of data simultaneously.

bugs: Program code defects or errors.

bullwhip effect: Distortion of information about the demand for a product as it passes from one entity to the next across the supply chain.

bundling: Cross-selling in which a combination of products is sold as a bundle at a price lower than the total cost of the individual products.

bureaucracy: Formal organization with a clear-cut division of labor, abstract rules and procedures, and impartial decision making that uses technical qualifications and professionalism as a basis for promoting employees.

bureaucratic models of decision making: Models of decision making where decisions are shaped by the organization’s standard operating procedures (SOPs).

bus network: Network topology linking a number of computers by a single circuit with all messages broadcast to the entire network.

business continuity planning: Planning that focuses on how the company can restore business operations after a disaster strikes.

business functions: Specialized tasks performed in a business organization, including manufacturing and production, sales and marketing, finance and accounting, and human resources.

business intelligence: Applications and technologies that focus on gathering, storing, analyzing, and providing access to data from many different sources to help users make better business decisions.

business model: An abstraction of what an enterprise is and how the enterprise delivers a product or service, showing how the enterprise creates wealth.

business process management: Methodology for revising the organization’s business processes to use business processes as fundamental building blocks of corporate information systems.

business process reengineering: The radical redesign of business processes, combining steps to cut waste and eliminating repetitive, paper-intensive tasks in order to improve cost, quality, and service, and to maximize the benefits of information technology.

business processes: The unique ways in which organizations coordinate and organize work activities, information, and knowledge to produce a product or service.

business-to-business (B2B) electronic commerce: Electronic sales of goods and services among businesses.

business-to-consumer (B2C) electronic commerce: Electronic retailing of products and services directly to individual consumers.

byte: A string of bits, usually eight, used to store one number or character in a computer system.


C: A powerful programming language with tight control and efficiency of execution; is portable across different microprocessors and is used primarily with PCs.

C ++: Object-oriented version of the C programming language.

cable modem: Modem designed to operate over cable TV lines to provide high-speed access to the Web or corporate intranets.

call center: An organizational department responsible for handling customer service issues by telephone and other channels.

capacity planning: The process of predicting when a computer hardware system becomes saturated to ensure that adequate computing resources are available for work of different priorities and that the firm has enough computing power for its current and future needs.

capital budgeting: The process of analyzing and selecting various proposals for capital expenditures.

carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS): Type of RSI in which pressure on the median nerve through the wrist’s bony carpal tunnel structure produces pain.

case-based reasoning (CBR): Artificial intelligence technology that represents knowledge as a database of cases and solutions.

CD-ROM (compact disk read-only memory): Read-only optical disk storage used for imaging, reference, and database applications with massive amounts of unchanging data and for multimedia.

CD-RW (CD-ReWritable): Optical disk storage that can be rewritten many times by users.

cellular telephone: A device that transmits voice or data, using radio waves to communicate with radio antennas placed within adjacent geographic areas called cells.

central processing unit (CPU): Area of the computer system that manipulates symbols, numbers, and letters, and controls the other parts of the computer system.

centralized processing: Processing that is accomplished by one large central computer.

change agent: In the context of implementation, the individual acting as the catalyst during the change process to ensure successful organizational adaptation to a new system or innovation.

channel conflict: Competition between two or more different distribution chains used to sell the products or services of the same company.

channel: The link by which data or voice are transmitted between sending and receiving devices in a network.

chatting: Live, interactive conversations over a public network.

chief information officer (CIO): Senior manager in charge of the information systems function in the firm.

chief knowledge officer (CKO): Senior executive in charge of the organization’s knowledge management program.

choice: Simon’s third stage of decision making, when the individual selects among the various solution alternatives.

churn rate: Measurement of the number of customers who stop using or purchasing products or services from a company. Used as an indicator of the growth or decline of a firm’s customer base.

classical model of management: Traditional description of management that focused on its formal functions of planning, organizing, coordinating, deciding, and controlling.

clicks-and-mortar: Business model where the Web site is an extension of a traditional bricks-and-mortar business.

clickstream tracking: Tracking data about customer activities at Web sites and storing them in a log.

client: The user point-of-entry for the required function in client/server computing. Normally a desktop computer, workstation, or laptop computer.

client/server computing: A model for computing that splits processing between clients and servers on a network, assigning functions to the machine most able to perform the function.

clustering: Linking two computers together so that the second computer can act as a backup to the primary computer or speed up processing.

coaxial cable: A transmission medium consisting of thickly insulated copper wire; can transmit large volumes of data quickly.

COBOL (COmmon Business Oriented Language): Major programming language for business applications because it can process large data files with alphanumeric characters.

cognitive style: Underlying personality dispositions toward the treatment of information, selection of alternatives, and evaluation of consequences.

collaborative commerce: The use of digital technologies to enable multiple organizations to collaboratively design, develop, build and manage products through their life cycles.

collaborative filtering: Tracking users’ movements on a Web site, comparing the information gleaned about a user’s behavior against data about other customers with similar interests to predict what the user would like to see next.

collaborative planning, forecasting, and replenishment (CPFR): Firms collaborating with their suppliers and buyers to formulate demand forecasts, develop production plans, and coordinate shipping, warehousing, and stocking activities.

communications technology: Physical devices and software that link various computer hardware components and transfer data from one physical location to another.

competitive forces model: Model used to describe the interaction of external influences, specifically threats and opportunities, that affect an organization’s strategy and ability to compete.

compiler: Special system software that translates a high-level language into machine language for execution by the computer.

complementary assets: Additional assets required to derive value from a primary investment.

component-based development: Building large software systems by combining pre-existing software components.

computer: Physical device that takes data as an input, transforms the data by executing stored instructions, and outputs information to a number of devices.

computer abuse: The commission of acts involving a computer that may not be illegal but are considered unethical.

computer crime: The commission of illegal acts through the use of a computer or against a computer system.

computer forensics: The scientific collection, examination, authentication, preservation, and analysis of data held on or retrieved from computer storage media in such a way that the information can be used as evidence in a court of law.

computer hardware: Physical equipment used for input, processing, and output activities in an information system.

computer literacy: Knowledge about information technology, focusing on understanding of how computer-based technologies work.

computer software: Detailed, preprogrammed instructions that control and coordinate the work of computer hardware components in an information system.

computer virus: Rogue software programs that are difficult to detect which spread rapidly through computer systems, destroying data or disrupting processing and memory systems.

computer vision syndrome (CVS): Eyestrain condition related to computer display screen use; symptoms include headaches, blurred vision, and dry and irritated eyes.

computer-aided design (CAD): Information system that automates the creation and revision of designs using sophisticated graphics software.

computer-aided software engineering (CASE): Automation of step-by-step methodologies for software and systems development to reduce the amounts of repetitive work the developer needs to do.

computer-based information systems (CBIS): Information systems that rely on computer hardware and software for processing and disseminating information.

conceptual schema: The logical description of the entire database showing all the data elements and relationships among them.

connectivity: The ability of computers and computer-based devices to communicate with each other and share information in a meaningful way without human intervention..

consumer-to-consumer (C2C): electronic commerce Consumers selling goods and services electronically to other consumers.

control unit: Component of the CPU that controls and coordinates the other parts of the computer system.

controls: All of the methods, policies, and procedures that ensure protection of the organization’s assets, accuracy and reliability of its records, and operational adherence to management standards.

converged network: Network with technology to enable voice and data to run over a single network.

conversion: The process of changing from the old system to the new system.

cookies: Tiny file deposited on a computer hard drive when an individual visits certain Web sites. Used to identify the visitor and track visits to the Web site.

cooptation: Bringing the opposition into the process of designing and implementing a solution without giving up control of the direction and nature of the change.

copyright: A statutory grant that protects creators of intellectual property against copying by others for any purpose for a minimum of 70 years.

core competency: Activity at which a firm excels as a world-class leader.

core systems: Systems that support functions that are absolutely critical to the organization.

cost-benefit ratio: A method for calculating the returns from a capital expenditure by dividing total benefits by total costs.

counterimplementation: A deliberate strategy to thwart the implementation of an information system or an innovation in an organization.

critical success factors (CSFs): A small number of easily identifiable operational goals shaped by the industry, the firm, the manager, and the broader environment that are believed to assure the success of an organization. Used to determine the information requirements of an organization.

cross-selling: Marketing complementary products to customers.

customer-decision-support system (CDSS): System to support the decision-making process of an existing or potential customer.

customer lifetime value (CLTV): Difference between revenues produced by a specific customer and the expenses for acquiring and servicing that customer minus the cost of promotional marketing over the lifetime of the customer relationship, expressed in today’s dollars.

customer relationship management (CRM): Business and technology discipline that uses information systems to coordinate all of the business processes surrounding the firm’s interactions with its customers in sales, marketing, and service.

customer relationship management systems: Information systems that track all the ways in which a company interacts with its customers and analyze these interactions to optimize revenue, profitability, customer satisfaction, and customer retention.

customization: The modification of a software package to meet an organization’s unique requirements without destroying the package software’s integrity.



data: Streams of raw facts representing events occurring in organizations or the physical environment before they have been organized and arranged into a form that people can understand and use.

data administration: A special organizational function for managing the organization’s data resources, concerned with information policy, data planning, maintenance of data dictionaries, and data quality standards.

data definition language: The component of a database management system that defines each data element as it appears in the database.

data dictionary: An automated or manual tool for storing and organizing information about the data maintained in a database.

data-driven DSS: A system that supports decision making by allowing users to extract and analyze useful information that was previously buried in large databases.

data element: A field.

data flow diagram (DFD): Primary tool for structured analysis that graphically illustrates a system’s component process and the flow of data between them.

data inconsistency: The presence of different values for same attribute when the same data are stored in multiple locations.

data management software: Software used for creating and manipulating lists, creating files and databases to store data, and combining information for reports.

data manipulation language: A language associated with a database management system that end users and programmers use to manipulate data in the database.

data mart: A small data warehouse containing only a portion of the organization’s data for a specified function or population of users.

data quality audit: A survey and/or sample of files to determine accuracy and completeness of data in an information system.

data redundancy: The presence of duplicate data in multiple data files.

data security controls: Controls to ensure that data files on either disk or tape are not subject to unauthorized access, change, or destruction.

data visualization: Technology for helping users see patterns and relationships in large amounts of data by presenting the data in graphical form.

data warehouse: A database, with reporting and query tools, that stores current and historical data extracted from various operational systems and consolidated for management reporting and analysis.

data workers: People such as secretaries or bookkeepers who process the organization’s paperwork.

database: A group of related files.

database (rigorous definition): A collection of data organized to service many applications at the same time by storing and managing data so that they appear to be in one location.

database administration: Refers to the more technical and operational aspects of managing data, including physical database design and maintenance.

database management system (DBMS): Special software to create and maintain a database and enable individual business applications to extract the data they need without having to create separate files or data definitions in their computer programs.

database server: A computer in a client/server environment that is responsible for running a DBMS to process SQL statements and perform database management tasks.

dataconferencing: Teleconferencing in which two or more users are able to edit and modify data files simultaneously.

datamining: Analysis of large pools of data to find patterns and rules that can be used to guide decision making and predict future behavior.

debugging: The process of discovering and eliminating the errors and defects–bugs–in program code.

decisional roles: Mintzberg’s classification for managerial roles where managers initiate activities, handle disturbances, allocate resources, and negotiate conflicts.

decision-support systems (DSS): Information systems at the organization’s management level that combine data and sophisticated analytical models or data analysis tools to support semistructured and unstructured decision making.

dedicated lines: Telephone lines that are continuously available for transmission by a lessee. Typically conditioned to transmit data at high speeds for high-volume applications.

demand planning: Determining how much product a business needs to make to satisfy all its customers’ demands.

denial of service (DoS) attack: Flooding a network server or Web server with false communications or requests for services in order to crash the network.

dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM): Technology for boosting transmission capacity of optical fiber by using many different wavelengths to carry separate streams of data over the same fiber strand at the same time.

Descartes’ rule of change: A principle that states that if an action cannot be taken repeatedly, then it is not right to be taken at any time.

design: Simon’s second stage of decision making, when the individual conceives of possible alternative solutions to a problem.

desktop publishing software: Software for producing professional-quality documents with capabilities for design, layout, and work with graphics.

development methodology: A collection of methods, one or more for every activity within every phase of a development project.

digital cash: Currency that is represented in electronic form that moves outside the normal network of money.

digital certificate: An attachment to an electronic message to verify the identity of the sender and to provide the receiver with the means to encode a reply.

digital checking: Systems that extend the functionality of existing checking accounts so they can be used for online shopping payments.

digital credit card payment system: Secure services for credit card payments on the Internet that protect information transmitted among users, merchant sites, and processing banks.

digital divide: Large disparities in access to computers and the Internet among different social groups and different locations.

digital firm: Organization where nearly all significant business processes and relationships with customers, suppliers, and employees are digitally enabled, and key corporate assets are managed through digital means.

digital market: A marketplace that is created by computer and communication technologies that link many buyers and sellers.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA): Adjusts copyright laws to the Internet Age by making it illegal to make, distribute, or use devices that circumvent technology-based protections of copy-righted materials.

digital signal: A discrete waveform that transmits data coded into two discrete states as 1-bits and 0-bits, which are represented as on-off electrical pulses; used for data communications.

digital signature: A digital code that can be attached to an electronically transmitted message to uniquely identify its contents and the sender.

digital subscriber line (DSL): A group of technologies providing high-capacity transmission over existing copper telephone lines.

digital video disk (DVD): High-capacity optical storage medium that can store full-length videos and large amounts of data.

digital wallet: Software that stores credit card, electronic cash, owner identification, and address information and provides this data automatically during electronic commerce purchase transactions.

direct cutover: A risky conversion approach where the new system completely replaces the old one on an appointed day.

disaster recovery planning: Planning for the restoration of computing and communications services after they have been disrupted.

disintermediation: The removal of organizations or business process layers responsible for certain intermediary steps in a value chain.

distance learning: Education or training delivered over a distance to individuals in one or more locations.

distributed database: A database that is stored in more than one physical location. Parts or copies of the database are physically stored in one location, and other parts or copies are stored and maintained in other locations.

distributed processing: The distribution of computer processing work among multiple computers linked by a communications network.

documentation: Descriptions of how an information system works from either a technical or end-user standpoint.

domain name: The name identifying a unique node on the Internet.

Domain Name System (DNS): A hierarchical system of servers maintaining database enabling the conversion of domain names to their IP addresses.

domestic exporter: Form of business organization characterized by heavy centralization of corporate activities in the home county of origin.

downsizing: The process of transferring applications from large computers to smaller ones.

downtime: Period of time in which an information system is not operational.

drill down: The ability to move from summary data to lower and lower levels of detail.

DSS database: A collection of current or historical data from a number of applications or groups. Can be a small PC database or a massive data warehouse.

DSS software system: Collection of software tools that are used for data analysis, such as OLAP tools, datamining tools, or a collection of mathematical and analytical models.

due process: A process in which laws are well-known and understood and there is an ability to appeal to higher authorities to ensure that laws are applied correctly.

Dynamic page generation: Technology for storing the contents of Web pages as objects in a database where they can be accessed and assembled to create constantly changing Web pages.

dynamic pricing: Pricing of items based on real-time interactions between buyers and sellers that determine what a item is worth at any particular moment.


e-government: Use of the Internet and related technologies to digitally enable government and public sector agencies’ relationships with citizens, businesses, and other arms of government.

e-learning: Instruction delivered through purely digital technology, such as CD-ROMs, the Internet, or private networks.

efficient customer response system: System that directly links consumer behavior back to distribution, production, and supply chains.

electronic billing and payment presentation system: Systems used for paying routine monthly bills that allow users to view their bills electronically and pay them through electronic funds transfers from banks or credit card accounts.

electronic business (e-business): The use of the Internet and digital technology to execute all the business processes in the enterprise. Includes e-commerce as well as processes for the internal management of the firm and for coordination with suppliers and other business partners.

electronic commerce server software: Software that provides functions essential for running e-commerce Web sites, such as setting up electronic catalogs and storefronts, and mechanisms for processing customer purchases.

electronic commerce: The process of buying and selling goods and services electronically involving transactions using the Internet, networks, and other digital technologies.

electronic data interchange (EDI): The direct computer-to-computer exchange between two organizations of standard business transaction documents.

electronic mail (e-mail): The computer-to-computer exchange of messages.

electronic payment system: The use of digital technologies, such as credit cards, smart cards and Internet-based payment systems, to pay for products and services electronically.

encryption: The coding and scrambling of messages to prevent their being read or accessed without authorization.

end users: Representatives of departments outside the information systems group for whom applications are developed.

end-user development: The development of information systems by end users with little or no formal assistance from technical specialists.

end-user interface: The part of an information system through which the end user interacts with the system, such as on-line screens and commands.

enterprise analysis: An analysis of organization-wide information requirements by looking at the entire organization in terms of organizational units, functions, processes, and data elements; helps identify the key entities and attributes in the organization’s data.

enterprise applications: Systems that can coordinate activities, decisions, and knowledge across many different functions, levels, and business units in a firm. Include enterprise systems, supply chain management systems, and knowledge management systems.

enterprise application integration (EAI) software: Software that works with specific software platforms to tie together multiple applications to support enterprise integration.

enterprise networking: An arrangement of the organization’s hardware, software, network, and data resources to put more computing power on the desktop and create a company-wide network linking many smaller networks.

enterprise portal: Web interface providing a single entry point for accessing organizational information and services, including information from various enterprise applications and in-house legacy systems so that information appears to be coming from a single source.

enterprise software: Set of integrated modules for applications such as sales and distribution, financial accounting, investment management, materials management, production planning, plant maintenance, and human resources that allow data to be used by multiple functions and business processes.

enterprise systems: Integrated enterprise-wide information systems that coordinate key internal processes of the firm.

entity: A person, place, thing, or event about which information must be kept.

entity-relationship diagram: A methodology for documenting databases illustrating the relationship between various entities in the database.

ergonomics: The interaction of people and machines in the work environment, including the design of jobs, health issues, and the end-user interface of information systems.

ethical “no free lunch” rule: Assumption that all tangible and intangible objects are owned by someone else, unless there is a specific declaration otherwise, and that the creator wants compensation for this work.

ethics: Principles of right and wrong that can be used by individuals acting as free moral agents to make choices to guide their behavior.

exchange: Third-party Net marketplace that is primarily transaction oriented and that connects many buyers and suppliers for spot purchasing.

executive support systems (ESS): Information systems at the organization’s strategic level designed to address unstructured decision making through advanced graphics and communications.

expert system: Knowledge-intensive computer program that captures the expertise of a human in limited domains of knowledge.

explicit knowledge: Knowledge that has been documented.

external integration tools: Project management technique that links the work of the implementation team to that of users at all organizational levels.

extranet: Private intranet that is accessible to authorized outsiders.


facsimile (fax ): A machine that digitizes and transmits documents with both text and graphics over telephone lines.

Fair Information Practices (FIP): A set of principles originally set forth in 1973 that governs the collection and use of information about individuals and forms the basis of most U.S. and European privacy laws.

fault-tolerant computer systems: Systems that contain extra hardware, software, and power supply components that can back a system up and keep it running to prevent system failure.

feasibility study: As part of the systems analysis process, the way to determine whether the solution is achievable, given the organization’s resources and constraints.

feedback: Output that is returned to the appropriate members of the organization to help them evaluate or correct input.

fiber-optic cable: A fast, light, and durable transmission medium consisting of thin strands of clear glass fiber bound into cables. Data are transmitted as light pulses.

field: A grouping of characters into a word, a group of words, or a complete number, such as a person’s name or age.

file transfer protocol (FTP): Tool for retrieving and transferring files from a remote computer.

file: A group of records of the same type.

Finance and accounting information systems: Systems keep track of the firm’s financial assets and fund flows.

firewall: Hardware and software placed between an organization’s internal network and an external network to prevent outsiders from invading private networks.

floppy disk: Removable magnetic disk storage primarily used with PCs.

focused differentiation: Competitive strategy for developing new market niches for specialized products or services where a business can compete in the target area better than its competitors.

formal control tools: Project management technique that helps monitor the progress toward completion of a task and fulfillment of goals.

formal planning tools: Project management technique that structures and sequences tasks, budgeting time, money, and technical resources required to complete the tasks.

formal system: System resting on accepted and fixed definitions of data and procedures, operating with predefined rules.

forward chaining: A strategy for searching the rule base in an expert system that begins with the information entered by the user and searches the rule base to arrive at a conclusion.

fourth-generation language: A programming language that can be employed directly by end users or less-skilled programmers to develop computer applications more rapidly than conventional programming languages.

frame relay: A shared network service technology that packages data into bundles for transmission but does not use error-correction routines. Cheaper and faster than packet switching.

framing: Displaying the content of another Web site inside one’s own Web site within a frame or a window.

franchiser: Form of business organization in which a product is created, designed, financed, and initially produced in the home country, but for product-specific reasons relies heavily on foreign personnel for further production, marketing, and human resources.

fuzzy logic: Rule-based AI that tolerates imprecision by using nonspecific terms called membership functions to solve problems.


“garbage can” model: Model of decision making that states that organizations are not rational and that decisions are solutions that become attached to problems for accidental reasons.

general controls: Overall controls that establish a framework for controlling the design, security, and use of computer programs throughout an organization.

genetic algorithms: Problem-solving methods that promote the evolution of solutions to specified problems using the model of living organisms adapting to their environment.

geographic information system (GIS): System with software that can analyze and display data using digitized maps to enhance planning and decision-making.

graphical user interface (GUI): The part of an operating system users interact with that uses graphic icons and the computer mouse to issue commands and make selections.

grid computing: Applying the resources of many computers in a network to a single problem.

group decision-support system (GDSS): An interactive computer-based system to facilitate the solution to unstructured problems by a set of decision makers working together as a group.

groupware: Software that provides functions and services that support the collaborative activities of work groups.


hacker: A person who gains unauthorized access to a computer network for profit, criminal mischief, or personal pleasure.

hard disk: Magnetic disk resembling a thin steel platter with a metallic coating; used in large computer systems and in most PCs.

hierarchical DBMS: One type of logical database model that organizes data in a treelike structure. A record is subdivided into segments that are connected to each other in one-to-many parent-child relationships.

high-availability computing: Tools and technologies ,including backup hardware resources, to enable a system to recover quickly from a crash.

hit: An entry into a Web server’s log file generated by each request to the server for a file.

home page: A World Wide Web text and graphical screen display that welcomes the user and explains the organization that has established the page.

hot spot: A specific geographic location in which an access point provides public Wi-Fi network service.

human resources information systems: Systems that maintain employee records, track employee skills, job performance and training, and support planning for employee compensation and career development.

hybrid AI systems: Integration of multiple AI technologies into a single application to take advantage of the best features of these technologies.

hypermedia database: An approach to data management that organizes data as a network of nodes linked in any pattern the user specifies; the nodes can contain text, graphics, sound, full-motion video, or executable programs.

hypertext markup language (HTML): Page description language for creating Web pages and other hypermedia documents.

hypertext transport protocol: The communications standard used to transfer pages on the Web. Defines how messages are formatted and transmitted.


identity theft: Theft of key pieces of personal information, such as credit card or Social Security numbers, in order to obtain merchandise and services in the name of the victim or to obtain false credentials.

Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative: A principle that states that if an action is not right for everyone to take it is not right for anyone.

I-mode: Standard developed by Japan’s NTT DoCoMo mobile phone network for enabling cell phones to received Web-based content and services.

implementation: Simon’s final stage of decision-making, when the individual puts the decision into effect and reports on the progress of the solution.

industry structure: The nature of participants in an industry and their relative bargaining power. Derives from the competitive forces and establishes the general business environment in an industry and the overall profitability of doing business in that environment.

inference engine: The strategy used to search through the rule base in an expert system; can be forward or backward chaining.

information: Data that have been shaped into a form that is meaningful and useful to human beings.

information appliance: Device that has been customized to perform a few specialized computing tasks well with minimal user effort.

information architecture: The particular design that information technology takes in a specific organization to achieve selected goals or functions.

information asymmetry: Situation where the relative bargaining power of two parties in a transaction is determined by one party in the transaction possessing more information essential to the transaction than the other party.

information center: A special facility within an organization that provides training and support for end-user computing.

information partnership: Cooperative alliance formed between two or more corporations for the purpose of sharing information to gain strategic advantage.

information policy: Formal rules governing the maintenance, distribution, and use of information in an organization.

information requirements: A detailed statement of the information needs that a new system must satisfy; identifies who needs what information, and when, where, and how the information is needed.

information rights: The rights that individuals and organizations have with respect to information that pertains to themselves.

information system: Interrelated components working together to collect, process, store, and disseminate information to support decision making, coordination, control, analysis, and visualization in an organization.

information systems department: The formal organizational unit that is responsible for the information systems function in the organization.

information systems literacy: Broad-based understanding of information systems that includes behavioral knowledge about organizations and individuals using information systems as well as technical knowledge about computers.

information systems managers: Leaders of the various specialists in the information systems department.

information systems plan: A road map indicating the direction of systems development: the rationale, the current situation, the management strategy, the implementation plan, and the budget.

information technology (IT) infrastructure: Computer hardware, software, data, storage technology, and networks providing a portfolio of shared IT resources for the organization.

informational roles: Mintzberg’s classification for managerial roles where managers act as the nerve centers of their organizations, receiving and disseminating critical information.

informed consent: Consent given with knowledge of all the facts needed to make a rational decision.

input: The capture or collection of raw data from within the organization or from its external environment for processing in an information system.

input controls: The procedures to check data for accuracy and completeness when they enter the system.

instant messaging: Chat service that allows participants to create their own private chat channels so that a person can be alerted whenever someone on his or her private list is on-line to initiate a chat session with that particular individual.

intangible benefits: Benefits that are not easily quantified; they include more efficient customer service or enhanced decision making.

Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN): International standard for transmitting voice, video, image, and data to support a wide range of service over the public telephone lines.

integrated software package: A software package that provides two or more applications, such as word processing and spreadsheets, providing for easy transfer of data between them.

intellectual property: Intangible property created by individuals or corporations that is subject to protections under trade secret, copyright, and patent law.

intelligence: The first of Simon’s four stages of decision making, when the individual collects information to identify problems occurring in the organization.

intelligent agent: Software program that uses a built-in or learned knowledge base to carry out specific, repetitive, and predictable tasks for an individual user, business process, or software application.

internal integration tools: Project management technique that ensures that the implementation team operates as a cohesive unit.

Internal Rate of Return (IRR): The rate of return or profit that an investment is expected to earn.

Internet Protocol (IP) address: Four-part numeric address indicating a unique computer location on the Internet.

Internet Service Provider (ISP): A commercial organization with a permanent connection to the Internet that sells temporary connections to subscribers.

Internet telephony: Technologies that use the Internet Protocol’s packet-switched connections for voice service.

Internet: International network of networks that is a collection of hundreds of thousands of private and public networks.

Internet2: Research network with new protocols and transmission speeds that provides an infrastructure for supporting high-bandwidth Internet applications.

internetworking: The linking of separate networks, each of which retains its own identity, into an interconnected network.

interorganizational systems: Information systems that automate the flow of information across organizational boundaries and link a company to its customers, distributors, or suppliers.

interpersonal roles: Mintzberg’s classification for managerial roles where managers act as figureheads and leaders for the organization.

intranet: An internal network based on Internet and World Wide Web technology and standards.

intrusion detection system: Tools to monitor the most vulnerable points in a network to detect and deter unauthorized intruders.

intuitive decision makers: Cognitive style that describes people who approach a problem with multiple methods in an unstructured manner, using trial and error to find a solution.

investment workstation: Powerful desktop computer for financial specialists, which is optimized to access and manipulate massive amounts of financial data.

iteration construct: The logic pattern in programming where certain actions are repeated while a specified condition occurs or until a certain condition is met.

iterative: A process of repeating over and over again the steps to build a system.



Java: Programming language that can deliver only the software functionality needed for a particular task, such as a small applet downloaded from a network; can run on any computer and operating system.

Joint Application Design (JAD): Process to accelerate the generation of information requirements by having end users and information systems specialists work together in intensive interactive design sessions.

just-in-time: Scheduling system for minimizing inventory by having components arrive exactly at the moment they are needed and finished goods shipped as soon as they leave the assembly line.


key field: A field in a record that uniquely identifies instances of that record so that it can be retrieved, updated, or sorted.

knowledge: Concepts, experience, and insight that provide a framework for creating, evaluating, and using information.

knowledge- and information-intense products: Products that require a great deal of learning and knowledge to produce.

knowledge base: Model of human knowledge that is used by expert systems.

knowledge discovery: Identification of novel and valuable patterns in large databases.

knowledge engineer: A specialist who elicits information and expertise from other professionals and translates it into a set of rules, or frames, for an expert system.

knowledge management: The set of processes developed in an organization to create, gather, store, maintain, and disseminate the firm’s knowledge.

knowledge management systems: Systems that support the creation, capture, storage, and dissemination of firm expertise and knowledge.

knowledge network: Online directory for locating corporate experts in well-defined knowledge domains.

knowledge repository: Collection of documented internal and external knowledge in a single location for more efficient management and utilization by the organization.

knowledge workers: People such as engineers or architects who design products or services and create knowledge for the organization.


learning management system (LMS): Tools for the management, delivery, tracking, and assessment of various types of employee learning.

legacy system: A system that has been in existence for a long time and that continues to be used to avoid the high cost of replacing or redesigning it.

liability: The existence of laws that permit individuals to recover the damages done to them by other actors, systems, or organizations.

Linux: Reliable and compactly designed operating system that is an offshoot of UNIX and that can run on many different hardware platforms and is available free or at very low cost. Used as alternative to UNIX and Windows NT.

LISTSERV: On-line discussion groups using e-mail broadcast from mailing list servers.

load balancing: Distribution of large numbers of requests for access among multiple servers so that no single device is overwhelmed.

local area network (LAN): A telecommunications network that requires its own dedicated channels and that encompasses a limited distance, usually one building or several buildings in close proximity.

logistics: Planning and control of all factors that will have an impact on transporting a product or service.


machine cycle: Series of operations required to process a single machine instruction.

machine language: A programming language consisting of the 1s and 0s of binary code.

magnetic disk: A secondary storage medium in which data are stored by means of magnetized spots on a hard or floppy disk.

magnetic tape: Inexpensive, older secondary-storage medium in which large volumes of information are stored sequentially by means of magnetized and nonmagnetized spots on tape.

mainframe: Largest category of computer, used for major business processing.

maintenance: Changes in hardware, software, documentation, or procedures to a production system to correct errors, meet new requirements, or improve processing efficiency.

managed security service provider (MSSP): Company that provides security management services for subscribing clients.

management control: Monitoring how efficiently or effectively resources are utilized and how well operational units are performing.

management information systems (MIS): The study of information systems focusing on their use in business and management..

management-level systems: Information systems that support the monitoring, controlling, decision-making, and administrative activities of middle managers.

managerial roles: Expectations of the activities that managers should perform in an organization.

man-month: The traditional unit of measurement used by systems designers to estimate the length of time to complete a project. Refers to the amount of work a person can be expected to complete in a month.

Manufacturing and production information systems: Systems that deal with the planning, development, and production of products and services and with controlling the flow of production.

market segmentation: Dividing a heterogeneous market into smaller, more homogeneous subgroups where marketing efforts can be more specifically targeted and effective.

mass customization: The capacity to offer individually tailored products or services using mass production resources..

massively parallel computers: Computers that use hundreds or thousands of processing chips to attack large computing problems simultaneously.

megahertz: A measure of cycle speed, or the pacing of events in a computer; one megahertz equals one million cycles per second.

message integrity: The ability to ascertain that a transmitted message has not been copied or altered.

metric: A standard measurement of performance.

metropolitan area network (MAN): Network that spans a metropolitan area, usually a city and its major suburbs. Its geographic scope falls between a WAN and a LAN.

microbrowser: Web browser software with a small file size that can work with low-memory constraints, tiny screens of handheld wireless devices, and low bandwidth of wireless networks.

micropayment: Payment for a very small sum of money, often less than $10.

microprocessor: Very large scale integrated circuit technology that integrates the computer’s memory, logic, and control on a single chip.

microwave: A high-volume, long-distance, point-to-point transmission in which high-frequency radio signals are transmitted through the atmosphere from one terrestrial transmission station to another.

middle managers: People in the middle of the organizational hierarchy who are responsible for carrying out the plans and goals of senior management.

middleware: Software that connects two disparate applications, allowing them to communicate with each other and to exchange data.

midrange computer: Middle-size computer that is capable of supporting the computing needs of smaller organizations or of managing networks of other computers.

minicomputer: Middle-range computer used in systems for universities, factories, or research laboratories.

mirroring: Duplicating all the processes and transactions of a server on a backup server to prevent any interruption in service if the primary server fails.

MIS audit: Identifies all the controls that govern individual information systems and assesses their effectiveness.

mobile commerce (m-commerce): The use of wireless devices, such as cell phones or handheld digital information appliances, to conduct both business-to-consumer and business-to-business e-commerce transactions over the Internet.

mobile computing: Wireless computing that allows Internet-enabled cell phones, PDAs, and other wireless computing devices to access digital information from the Internet and other sources from any location.

mobile data networks: Wireless networks that enable two-way transmission of data files cheaply and efficiently.

model: An abstract representation that illustrates the components or relationships of a phenomenon.

model-driven DSS: Primarily stand-alone system that uses some type of model to perform “what-if” and other kinds of analyses.

modem: A device for translating a computer’s digital signals into analog form for transmission over ordinary telephone lines, or for translating analog signals back into digital form for reception by a computer.

module: A logical unit of a program that performs one or several functions.

MP3 (MPEG3): Compression standard that can compress audio files for transfer over the Internet with virtually no loss in quality.

multicasting: Transmission of data to a selected group of recipients.

multimedia: The integration of two or more types of media such as text, graphics, sound, voice, full-motion video, or animation into a computer-based application.

multinational: Form of business organization that concentrates financial management and control out of a central home base while decentralizing

multiplexing: Ability of a single communications channel to carry data transmissions from multiple sources simultaneously.


natural language: Nonprocedural language that enables users to communicate with the computer using conversational commands resembling human speech.

net marketplace: A single digital marketplace based on Internet technology linking many buyers to many sellers.

Net Present Value (NPV): The amount of money an investment is worth, taking into account its cost, earnings, and the time value of money.

network: The linking of two or more computers to share data or resources, such as a printer.

network-attached storage: Attaching high-speed RAID storage devices to a network so that the devices in the network can access these storage devices through a specialized server dedicated to file service and storage.

Network Computer (NC): Simplified desktop computer that does not store software programs or data permanently. Users download whatever software or data they need from a central computer over the Internet or an organization’s own internal network.

network DBMS: Older logical database model that is useful for depicting many-to-many relationships.

network economics: Model of strategic systems at the industry level based on the concept of a network where adding another participant entails zero marginal costs but can create much larger marginal gains.

Network Operating system (NOS): Special software that routes and manages communications on the network and coordinates network resources.

neural network: Hardware or software that attempts to emulate the processing patterns of the biological brain.

nomadic computing: Wireless computing where users move from wireless hot spot to wireless hot spot to gain network or Internet access.

nonobvious relationship awareness (NORA): Technology that can find obscure hidden connections between people or other entities by analyzing information from many different sources to correlate relationships.

normalization: The process of creating small stable data structures from complex groups of data when designing a relational database


object-oriented DBMS: An approach to data management that stores both data and the procedures acting on the data as objects that can be automatically retrieved and shared; the objects can contain multimedia.

object-oriented development: Approach to systems development that uses the object as the basic unit of systems analysis and design. The system is modeled as a collection o objects and the relationship between them.

object-oriented programming: An approach to software development that combines data and procedures into a single object.

object-relational DBMS: A database management system that combines the capabilities of a relational DBMS for storing traditional information and the capabilities of an object-oriented DBMS for storing graphics and multimedia.

Office 2000, Office XP, and Office 2003: Integrated desktop productivity software suites with capabilities for supporting collaborative work on the Web or incorporating information from the Web into documents.

office systems: Systems such as word processing, desktop publishing, e-mail, electronic scheduling, and videoconferencing, designed to increase worker productivity in the office.

on-line analytical processing (OLAP): Capability for manipulating and analyzing large volumes of data from multiple perspectives.

on-line processing: A method of collecting and processing data in which transactions are entered directly into the computer system and processed immediately.

on-line transaction processing: Transaction processing mode in which transactions entered on-line are immediately processed by the computer.

Open Systems Interconnect (OSI): Less widely used network connectivity model developed by International Standards Organization for linking different types of computers and networks.

open-source software: Software that provides free access to its program code, allowing users to modify the program code to make improvements or fix errors.

operating system: The system software that manages and controls the activities of the computer.

operational control: Deciding how to carry out specific tasks specified by upper and middle management and establishing criteria for completion and resource allocation.

operational CRM: Customer-facing applications, such as sales force automation, call center and customer service support, and marketing automation.

operational managers: People who monitor the day-to-day activities of the organization.

operational-level systems: Information systems that monitor the elementary activities and transactions of the organization.

opt-in: Model of informed consent permitting prohibiting an organization from collecting any personal information unless the individual specifically takes action to approve information collection and use.

opt-out: Model of informed consent permitting the collection of personal information until the consumer specifically requests that the data not be collected.

optical network: High-speed networking technologies for transmitting data in the form of light pulses.

organization (behavioral definition): A collection of rights, privileges, obligations, and responsibilities that are delicately balanced over a period of time through conflict and conflict resolution.

organization (technical definition): A stable, formal, social structure that takes resources from the environment and processes them to produce outputs.

organizational and management capital: Investments in organization and management such as new business processes, management behavior, organizational culture, or training.

organizational culture: The set of fundamental assumptions about what products the organization should produce, how and where it should produce them, and for whom they should be produced.

organizational impact analysis: Study of the way a proposed system will affect organizational structure, attitudes, decision making, and operations.

organizational learning: Creation of new standard operating procedures and business processes that reflect organizations’ experience.

organizational memory: The stored learning from an organization’s history that can be used for decision making and other purposes.

organizational models of decision making: Models of decision making that take into account the structural and political characteristics of an organization.

output controls: Measures that ensure that the results of computer processing are accurate, complete, and properly distributed.

output: The distribution of processed information to the people who will use it or to the activities for which it will be used.

outsourcing: The practice of contracting computer center operations, telecommunications networks, or applications development to external vendors.


P3P: Industry standard designed to give users more control over personal information gathered on Web sites they visit. Stands for Platform for Privacy Preferences Project.

packet switching: Technology that breaks messages into small, fixed bundles of data and routes them in the most economical way through any available communications channel..

paging system: A wireless transmission technology in which the pager beeps when the user receives a message; used to transmit short alphanumeric messages.

paradigm shift: Radical reconceptualization of the nature of the business and the nature of the organization.

parallel processing: Type of processing in which more than one instruction can be processed at a time by breaking down a problem into smaller parts and processing them simultaneously with multiple processors.

parallel strategy: A safe and conservative conversion approach where both the old system and its potential replacement are run together for a time until everyone is assured that the new one functions correctly.

partner relationship management (PRM): Automation of the firm’s relationships with its selling partners using customer data and analytical tools to improve coordination and customer sales.

patent: A legal document that grants the owner an exclusive monopoly on the ideas behind an invention for 17 years; designed to ensure that inventors of new machines or methods are rewarded for their labor while making widespread use of their inventions.

payback method: A measure of the time required to pay back the initial investment on a project.

peer-to-peer computing: Form of distributed processing that links computers via the Internet or private networks so that they can share processing tasks.

peer-to-peer payment system: Electronic payment system for people who want to send money to vendors or individuals who are not set up to accept credit card payments.

peer-to-peer: Network architecture that gives equal power to all computers on the network; used primarily in small networks.

Personal Communication Services (PCS): A wireless cellular technology that uses lower power, higher frequency radio waves than does cellular technology and so can be used with smaller size telephones.

Personal Computer (PC): Small desktop or portable computer.

Personal Digital Assistants (PDA): Small, pen-based, handheld computers with built-in wireless telecommunications capable of entirely digital communications transmission.

phased approach: Introduces the new system in stages either by functions or by organizational units.

pilot study: A strategy to introduce the new system to a limited area of the organization until it is proven to be fully functional; only then can the conversion to the new system across the entire organization take place.

political models of decision making: Models of decision making where decisions result from competition and bargaining among the organization’s interest groups and key leaders.

pop-up ad: Ad that opens automatically and does not disappear until the user clicks on it.

portal: Web site or other service that provides an initial point of entry to the Web or to internal company data.

portfolio analysis: An analysis of the portfolio of potential applications within a firm to determine the risks and benefits, and to select among alternatives for information systems.

post-implementation audit: Formal review process conducted after a system has been placed in production to determine how well the system has met its original objectives.

predictive analysis: Use of datamining techniques, historical data, and assumptions about future conditions to predict outcomes of events.

present value: The value, in current dollars, of a payment or stream of payments to be received in the future.

presentation graphics: Software to create professional-quality graphics presentations that can incorporate charts, sound, animation, photos, and video clips.

primary activities: Activities most directly related to the production and distribution of a firm’s products or services.

primary storage: Part of the computer that temporarily stores program instructions and data being used by the instructions.

privacy: The claim of individuals to be left alone, free from surveillance or interference from other individuals, organizations, or the state.

private exchange: Another term for a private industrial network.

private industrial networks: Web-enabled networks linking systems of multiple firms in an industry for the coordination of trans-organizational business processes.

process specifications: Describe the logic of the processes occurring within the lowest levels of a data flow diagram.

processing controls: The routines for establishing that data are complete and accurate during updating.

processing: The conversion, manipulation, and analysis of raw input into a form that is more meaningful to humans.

procurement: Sourcing goods and materials, negotiating with suppliers, paying for goods, and making delivery arrangements.

product differentiation: Competitive strategy for creating brand loyalty by developing new and unique products and services that are not easily duplicated by competitors.

production or service workers: People who actually produce the products or services of the organization.

production: The stage after the new system is installed and the conversion is complete; during this time the system is reviewed by users and technical specialists to determine how well it has met its original goals.

profiling: The use of computers to combine data from multiple sources and create electronic dossiers of detailed information on individuals.

profitability index: Used to compare the profitability of alternative investments; it is calculated by dividing the present value of the total cash inflow from an investment by the initial cost of the investment.

program: A series of statements or instructions to the computer.

program-data dependence: The close relationship between data stored in files and the software programs that update and maintain those files. Any change in data organization or format requires a change in all the programs associated with those files.

programmers: Highly trained technical specialists who write computer software instructions.

programming: The process of translating the system specifications prepared during the design stage into program code.

protocol: A set of rules and procedures that govern transmission between the components in a network.

prototype: The preliminary working version of an information system for demonstration and evaluation purposes.

prototyping: The process of building an experimental system quickly and inexpensively for demonstration and evaluation so that users can better determine information requirements.

public key infrastructure: System for creating public and private keys using a certificate authority (CA) and digital certificates for authentication.

pull-based model: Supply chain driven by actual customer orders or purchases so that members of the supply chain produce and deliver only what customers have ordered.

pure-play: Business models based purely on the Internet.

push-based model: Supply chain driven by production master schedules based on forecasts or best guesses of demand for products, and products are “pushed” to customers.

“push” technology: Method of obtaining relevant information on networks by having a computer broadcast information directly to the user based on prespecified interests.


query language: Software tool that provides immediate online answers to requests for information that are not predefined.

radio-frequency identification (RFID): Technology using tiny tags with embedded microchips containing data about an item and its location to transmit short-distance radio signals to special RFID readers that then pass the data on to a computer for processing.

RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks): Disk storage technology to boost disk performance by packaging more than 100 smaller disk drives with a controller chip and specialized software in a single large unit to deliver data over multiple paths simultaneously.

RAM (Random Access Memory): Primary storage of data or program instructions that can directly access any randomly chosen location in the same amount of time.

Rapid Application Development (RAD): Process for developing systems in a very short time period by using prototyping, fourth-generation tools, and close teamwork among users and systems specialists.

rational model: Model of human behavior based on the belief that people, organizations, and nations engage in basically consistent, value-maximizing calculations.

rationalization of procedures: The streamlining of standard operating procedures, eliminating obvious bottlenecks, so that automation makes operating procedures more efficient.

reach: Measurement of how many people a business can connect with and how many products it can offer those people.

real options pricing models: Models for evaluating information technology investments with uncertain returns by using techniques for valuing financial options.

record: A group of related fields.

recovery-oriented computing: Computer systems designed to recover rapidly when mishaps occur.

Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC): Technology used to enhance the speed of microprocessors by embedding only the most frequently used instructions on a chip.

reintermediation: The shifting of the intermediary role in a value chain to a new source.

relational DBMS: A type of logical database model that treats data as if they were stored in two-dimensional tables. It can relate data stored in one table to data in another as long as the two tables share a common data element.

Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI): Occupational disease that occurs when muscle groups are forced through repetitive actions with high-impact loads or thousands of repetitions with low-impact loads.

Request for Proposal (RFP): A detailed list of questions submitted to vendors of software or other services to determine how well the vendor’s product can meet the organization’s specific requirements.

resource allocation: The determination of how costs, time, and personnel are assigned to different phases of a systems development project.

responsibility: Accepting the potential costs, duties, and obligations for the decisions one makes.

reverse logistics: The return of items from buyers to sellers in a supply chain.

richness: Measurement of the depth and detail of information that a business can supply to the customer as well as information the business collects about the customer.

ring network: A network topology in which all computers are linked by a closed loop in a manner that passes data in one direction from one computer to another.

risk assessment: Determining the potential frequency of the occurrence of a problem and the potential damage if the problem were to occur. Used to determine the cost/benefit of a control.

Risk Aversion Principle: Principle that one should take the action that produces the least harm or incurs the least cost.

ROM (Read-Only Memory): Semiconductor memory chips that contain program instructions. These chips can only be read from; they cannot be written to.

router: Specialized communications processor that forwards packets of data from one network to another network.

rule base: The collection of knowledge in an AI system that is represented in the form of IF-THEN rules.


safe harbor: Private self-regulating policy and enforcement mechanism that meets the objectives of government regulations but does not involve government regulation or enforcement.

Sales and marketing information systems: Systems that help the firm identify customers for the firm’s products or services, develop products and services to meet their needs, promote these products and services, sell the products and services, and provide ongoing customer support.

satellite: The transmission of data using orbiting satellites that serve as relay stations for transmitting microwave signals over very long distances.

scalability: The ability of a computer, product, or system to expand to serve a larger number of users without breaking down.

scoring model: A quick method for deciding among alternative systems based on a system of ratings for selected objectives.

search-based advertising: Payment to a search service to display a sponsored link to a company’s Web site as a way of advertising that company.

search costs: The time and money spent locating a suitable product and determining the best price for that product.

search engine: A tool for locating specific sites or information on the Internet.

secondary storage: Relatively long term, nonvolatile storage of data outside the CPU and primary storage.

security: Policies, procedures, and technical measures used to prevent unauthorized access, alteration, theft, or physical damage to information systems.

selection construct: The logic pattern in programming where a stated condition determines which of two alternative actions can be taken.

Semantic web: Collaborative effort led by the World Wide Web Consortium to make Web searching more efficient by reducing the amount of human involvement in searching for and processing web information.

semistructured knowledge: Information in the form of less structured objects, such as e-mail, chat room exchanges, videos, graphics, brochures, or bulletin boards.

semistructured knowledge system: System for organizing and storing less structured information, such as e-mail, voice mail, videos, graphics, brochures, or bulleting boards. Also known as digital asset management system.

senior managers: People occupying the topmost hierarchy in an organization who are responsible for making long-range decisions.

sensitivity analysis: Models that ask “what-if” questions repeatedly to determine the impact of changes in one or more factors on the outcomes.

sequence construct: The sequential single steps or actions in the logic of a program that do not depend on the existence of any condition.

server: Computer specifically optimized to provide software and other resources to other computers over a network.

server farm: Large group of servers maintained by a commercial vendor and made available to subscribers for electronic commerce and other activities requiring heavy use of servers.

service platform: Integration of multiple applications from multiple business functions, business units, or business partners to deliver a seamless experience for the customer, employee, manager, or business partner.

shopping bot: Software with varying levels of built-in intelligence to help electronic commerce shoppers locate and evaluate products or service they might wish to purchase.

six sigma: A specific measure of quality, representing 3.4 defects per million opportunities; used to designate a set of methodologies and techniques for improving quality and reducing costs.

smart card: A credit-card-size plastic card that stores digital information and that can be used for electronic payments in place of cash.

smart phone: Wireless phone with voice, text, and Internet capabilities.

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol): Set of rules that allows Web services applications to pass data and instructions to one another.

social engineering: Tricking people into revealing their passwords by pretending to be legitimate users or members of a company in need of information.

sociotechnical design: Design to produce information systems that blend technical efficiency with sensitivity to organizational and human needs.

software metrics: The objective assessments of the software used in a system in the form of quantified measurements.

software package: A prewritten, precoded, commercially available set of programs that eliminates the need to write software programs for certain functions.

source code: Program instructions written in a high-level language that must be translated into machine language to be executed by the computer.

spam: Unsolicited commercial e-mail.

spreadsheet: Software displaying data in a grid of columns and rows, with the capability of easily recalculating numerical data.

spyware: Technology that aids in gathering information about a person or organization without their knowledge.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): Formal rules for accomplishing tasks that have been developed to cope with expected situations.

star network: A network topology in which all computers and other devices are connected to a central host computer. All communications between network devices must pass through the host computer.

Storage Area Network (SAN): A high-speed network dedicated to storage that connects different kinds of storage devices, such as tape libraries and disk arrays so they can be shared by multiple servers.

Storage Service Provider (SSP): Third-party provider that rents out storage space to subscribers over the Web, allowing customers to store and access their data without having to purchase and maintain their own storage technology.

storage technology: Physical media and software governing the storage and organization of data for use in an information system.

stored value payment systems: Systems enabling consumers to make instant on-line payments to merchants and other individuals based on value stored in a digital account.

strategic decision making: Determining the long-term objectives, resources, and policies of an organization.

strategic information systems: Computer systems at any level of the organization that change goals, operations, products, services, or environmental relationships to help the organization gain a competitive advantage.

strategic transitions: A movement from one level of sociotechnical system to another. Often required when adopting strategic systems that demand changes in the social and technical elements of an organization.

strategic-level systems: Information systems that support the long-range planning activities of senior management.

streaming technology: Technology for transferring data so that they can be processed as a steady and continuous stream.

structure chart: System documentation showing each level of design, the relationship among the levels, and the overall place in the design structure; can document one program, one system, or part of one program.

structured: Refers to the fact that techniques are carefully drawn up, step by step, with each step building on a previous one.

structured analysis: A method for defining system inputs, processes, and outputs and for partitioning systems into subsystems or modules that show a logical graphic model of information flow.

structured decisions: Decisions that are repetitive, routine, and have a definite procedure for handling them.

structured design: Software design discipline encompassing a set of design rules and techniques for designing systems from the top down in hierarchical fashion.

structured knowledge: Knowledge in the form of structured documents and reports.

structured knowledge system: System for organizing structured knowledge in a repository where it can be accessed throughout the organization. Also known as content management system.

structured programming: Discipline for organizing and coding programs that simplifies the control paths so that the programs can be easily understood and modified; uses the basic control structures and modules that have only one entry point and one exit point.

Structured Query Language (SQL): The standard data manipulation language for relational database management systems.

subschema: The specific set of data from the database that is required by each user or application program.

supercomputer: Highly sophisticated and powerful computer that can perform very complex computations extremely rapidly.

supply chain: Network of organizations and business processes for procuring materials, transforming raw materials into intermediate and finished products, and distributing the finished products to customers.

supply chain execution systems: Systems to manage the flow of products through distribution centers and warehouses to ensure that products are delivered to the right locations in the most efficient manner.

supply chain management: Integration of supplier, distributor, and customer logistics requirements into one cohesive process.

supply chain management systems: Information systems that automate the flow of information between a firm and its suppliers in order to optimize the planning, sourcing, manufacturing, and delivery of products and services.

supply chain planning systems: Systems that enable a firm to generate demand forecasts for a product and to develop sourcing and manufacturing plans for that product.

support activities: Activities that make the delivery of a firm’s primary activities possible. Consist of the organization’s infrastructure, human resources, technology, and procurement.

switched lines: Telephone lines that a person can access from a terminal to transmit data to another computer, the call being routed or switched through paths to the designated destination.

switching costs: The expense a customer or company incurs in lost time and expenditure of resources when changing from one supplier or system to a competing supplier or system.

syndicator: Business aggregating content or applications from multiple sources, packaging them for distribution, and reselling them to third-party Web sites.

system failure: An information system that either does not perform as expected, is not operational at a specified time, or cannot be used in the way it was intended.

system software: Generalized programs that manage the computer’s resources, such as the central processor, communications links, and peripheral devices.

system testing: Tests the functioning of the information system as a whole in order to determine if discrete modules will function together as planned.

systematic decision makers: Cognitive style that describes people who approach a problem by structuring it in terms of some formal method.

systems analysis: The analysis of a problem that the organization will try to solve with an information system.

systems analysts: Specialists who translate business problems and requirements into information requirements and systems, acting as liaison between the information systems department and the rest of the organization.

systems design: Details how a system will meet the information requirements as determined by the systems analysis.

systems development: The activities that go into producing an information systems solution to an organizational problem or opportunity.

systems lifecycle: A traditional methodology for developing an information system that partitions the systems development process into formal stages that must be completed sequentially with a very formal division of labor between end users and information systems specialists.


T1 line: A dedicated telephone connection comprising 24 channels that can support a data transmission rate of 1.544 megabits per second. Each channel can be configured to carry voice or data traffic.

tacit knowledge: Expertise and experience of organizational members that has not been formally documented.

tangible benefits: Benefits that can be quantified and assigned a monetary value; they include lower operational costs and increased cash flows.

taxonomy: Method of classifying things according to a predetermined system.

teamware: Group collaboration software that is customized for teamwork.

technostress: Stress induced by computer use; symptoms include aggravation, hostility toward humans, impatience, and enervation.

telecommunications system: A collection of compatible hardware and software arranged to communicate information from one location to another.

teleconferencing: The ability to confer with a group of people simultaneously using the telephone or electronic-mail group communication software.

Telnet: Network tool that allows someone to log on to one computer system while doing work on another.

test plan: Prepared by the development team in conjunction with the users; it includes all of the preparations for the series of tests to be performed on the system.

testing: The exhaustive and thorough process that determines whether the system produces the desired results under known conditions.

touch point: Method of firm interaction with a customer, such as telephone, e-mail, customer service desk, conventional mail, or point-of-purchase.

topology: The way in which the components of a network are connected.

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): Designates the total cost of owning technology resources, including initial purchase costs, the cost of hardware and software upgrades, maintenance, technical support, and training.

Total Quality Management (TQM): A concept that makes quality control a responsibility to be shared by all people in an organization.

trade secret: Any intellectual work or product used for a business purpose that can be classified as belonging to that business, provided it is not based on information in the public domain.

transaction cost theory: Economic theory stating that firms grow larger because they can conduct marketplace transactions internally more cheaply than they can with external firms in the marketplace.

Transaction Processing Systems (TPS): Computerized systems that perform and record the daily routine transactions necessary to conduct the business; they serve the organization’s operational level.

transborder data flow: The movement of information across international boundaries in any form.

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP): Dominant model for achieving connectivity among different networks. Provides a universally agree-on method for breaking up digital messages into packets, routing them to the proper addresses, and then reassembling them into coherent messages.

transnational: Truly global form of business organization with no national headquarters; value-added activities are managed from a global perspective without reference to national borders, optimizing sources of supply and demand and local competitive advantage.

Trojan horse: A software program that appears legitimate but contains a second hidden function that may cause damage.

tuple: A row or record in a relational database.

twisted wire: A transmission medium consisting of pairs of twisted copper wires; used to transmit analog phone conversations but can be used for data transmission.


UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration): Allows a Web service to be listed in a directory of Web services so that it can be easily located by other organizations and systems.

unified messaging: System combining voice messages, e-mail, and fax so that they can all be obtained from a single system.

Unified Modeling Language (UML): Industry standard methodology for analysis and design of an object-oriented software system.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL): The address of a specific resource on the Internet.

unit testing: The process of testing each program separately in the system. Sometimes called program testing.

UNIX: Operating system for all types of computers, which is machine independent and supports multiuser processing, multitasking, and networking. Used in high-end workstations and servers.

unstructured decisions: Nonroutine decisions in which the decision maker must provide judgment, evaluation, and insights into the problem definition; there is no agreed-upon procedure for making such decisions.

up-selling: Marketing higher-value products or services to new or existing customers.

Usenet: Forums in which people share information and ideas on a defined topic through large electronic bulletin boards where anyone can post messages on the topic for others to see and to which others can respond.

user interface: The part of the information system through which the end user interacts with the system; type of hardware and the series of on-screen commands and responses required for a user to work with the system.

user-designer communications gap: The difference in backgrounds, interests, and priorities that impede communication and problem solving among end users and information systems specialists.

Utilitarian Principle: Principle that assumes one can put values in rank order and understand the consequences of various courses of action.

utility computing: Model of computing in which companies pay only for the information technology resources they actually use during a specified time period. Also called on-demand computing or usage-based pricing.


value chain model: Model that highlights the primary or support activities that add a margin of value to a firm’s products or services where information systems can best be applied to achieve a competitive advantage.

value web: Customer-driven network of independent firms who use information technology to coordinate their value chains to collectively produce a product or service for a market.

Value-Added Network (VAN): Private, multipath, data-only, third-party-managed network that multiple organizations use on a subscription basis.

videoconferencing: Teleconferencing in which participants see each other over video screens.

virtual organization: Organization using networks to link people, assets and ideas to create and distribute products and services without being limited to traditional organizational boundaries or physical location.

Virtual Private Network (VPN): A secure connection between two points across the Internet to transmit corporate data. Provides a low-cost alternative to a private network.

Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML): A set of specifications for interactive three-dimensional modeling on the World Wide Web.

virtual reality systems: Interactive graphics software and hardware that create computer-generated simulations that provide sensations that emulate real-world activities.

Visual Basic: Widely used visual programming tool and environment for creating applications that run on Microsoft Windows.

visual programming: The construction of software programs by selecting and arranging programming objects rather than by writing program code.

voice mail: A system for digitizing a spoken message and transmitting it over a network.

Voice over IP (VoIP): Facilities for managing the delivery of voice information using the Internet Protocol (IP).


walkthrough: A review of a specification or design document by a small group of people carefully selected based on the skills needed for the particular objectives being tested.

Web browser: An easy-to-use software tool for accessing the World Wide Web and the Internet.

Web bugs: Tiny graphic files embedded in e-mail messages and Web pages that are designed to monitor online Internet user behavior.

Web content management tools: Software to facilitate the collection, assembly, and management of content on a Web site, intranet, or extranet.

Web hosting service: Company with large Web server computers to maintain the Web sites of fee-paying subscribers.

Web personalization: The tailoring of Web content directly to a specific user.

Web server: Software that manages requests for Web pages on the computer where they are stored and that delivers the page to the user’s computer.

Web services: Set of universal standards using Internet technology for integrating different applications from different sources without time-consuming custom coding. Used for linking systems of different organizations or for linking disparate systems within the same organization.

Web site performance monitoring tools: Software tools for monitoring the time to download Web pages, perform Web transactions, identify broken links between Web pages, and pinpoint other Web site problems and bottlenecks.

Web site: All of the World Wide Web pages maintained by an organization or an individual.

Webmaster: The person in charge of an organization’s Web site.

Wi-Fi: Standards for Wireless Fidelity and refers to the 802.11 family of wireless networking standards.

Wide Area Network (WAN): Telecommunications network that spans a large geographical distance. May consist of a variety of cable, satellite, and microwave technologies.

Windows 2000: Windows operating system for high-performance PCs and network servers. Supports networking, multitasking, multiprocessing, and Internet services.

Windows 2003: Most recent Windows operating system for servers.

Windows 98: Earlier version of the Windows operating system that is closely integrated with the Internet.

Windows XP: Powerful Windows operating system that provides reliability, robustness, and ease of use for both corporate and home PC users.

Wireless Application Protocol (WAP): System of protocols and technologies that lets cell phones and other wireless devices with tiny displays, low-bandwidth connections, and minimal memory access Web-based information and services.

wireless NIC: add-in-card (network interface card) that has a built-in-radio and antenna.

wisdom: The collective and individual experience of applying knowledge to the solution of problems.

WML (Wireless Markup Language): Markup language for Wireless Web sites; based on XML and optimized for tiny displays.

word processing software: Software for electronically creating, editing, formatting, and printing documents.

work-flow management: The process of streamlining business procedures so that documents can be moved easily and efficiently from one location to another.

workstation: Desktop computer with powerful graphics and mathematical capabilities and the ability to perform several complicated tasks at once.

World Wide Web: A system with universally accepted standards for storing, retrieving, formatting, and displaying information in a networked environment.

worms: Independent software programs that propagate themselves to disrupt the operation of computer networks or destroy data and other programs.

WSDL(Web Services Description Language): Common framework for describing the tasks performed by a Web service so that it can be used by other applications.


XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language): Hybrid of HTML and XML that provides more flexibility than HTML.

XML (eXtensible Markup Language): General-purpose language that describes the structure of a document and supports links to multiple documents, allowing data to be manipulated by the computer. Used for both Web and non-Web applications.

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