The environment of computing
A systems approach
| • Business and information technology|
| • Technical systems: hardware and software|
| • Technology and social systems|
This chapter has three main themes. First, the nature of modern information technology (IT) and its impact on modern business. Next, the idea of how thinking in terms of systems of different sorts helps us to understand the nature of IT and its impact on society. Finally we focus upon theme of technology change and IT management.
For less technical readers the section on technical systems gives a brief explanation of how hardware and software systems operate and interrelate.
Business and information technology
What is information technology?
Linking together definitions of ‘information’ and ‘technology’ from the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, ‘information technology’ means ‘the systematic study of the industrial arts relating to the communication of instructive knowledge’. This definition includes studying printing, or, for that matter, smoke signals. However the general usage today, followed in this book, is more like the definition employed by Flowers (1988, 284) ‘the application of computers and telecommunications to the collection, processing, storage, and dissemination of voice, graphics, text, and numerical information’.
One notable development in recent years has been the convergence of