This book is primarily intended as an undergraduate text that introduces students to the enormous impact of modern information technology on business. It presupposes no previous study of information technology or of business. Although written from a British perspective it emphasizes the worldwide impact of the trends described and draws upon examples from the USA, Europe, Japan and the newly industrialized countries of the Pacific rim.
The theme of this book is that the way in which computing technology develops and is applied is the result of social decision-making. There is a need to take conscious choices both within organizations and in society as a whole using the technology to ensure that it is used to serve the strategy of the organization concerned and the public interest.
The book focuses upon the use of information technology in organizations of all kinds - including manufacturing, services, the public sector and not-for-profit organizations - and the way this is constrained by the wider society within which such organizations operate.
Modern information technology (IT) is understood in this book to be the result of a convergence between modern digital computing and communication technologies. The importance of IT is as the core of an ‘Information System’ which consists of a series of interactions between people, data, hardware and software, organizations and their social environment.
Information and its associated technologies are now so vital to business success that information is frequently regarded as an independent factor of production on a par with capital, land and labour. In the twenty-first century every business manager must understand the role which information technology plays, not only in their organization but also in the wider society, within which their organization must compete.
A full understanding of information technology is impossible without considering its interaction with the social world in which it has developed. Computer professionals who are unaware of the social, political, and economic political dimension of their work are doomed to be the pawns of ‘decision-makers’ who are.