Course Details

Course Number: 91-802

Information Systems for Managers

Units: 12

Most organizations depend on databases for delivery of goods and services, allocation of resources, and support of policy analysis. Policy analysts and managers also find database packages like Microsoft Access valuable for personal use, especially for importing and processing data.

Almost all databases used in organizations today are “relational”, because that kind of database is the most flexible and easiest to use. The first half of the course covers design and implementation of relational databases using a 50 – 50 mix of lectures and practical lab work using Microsoft Access 2010.

Information systems have become integrated with all aspects of business – operations, marketing, accounting, finance and managers are thus expected to manage and use information systems effectively if their organizations are to succeed in today’s digital economy. Although most organizations maintain entire departments dedicated to the management of information systems (MIS), managers outside of MIS must lead the changes driven by IS. To do this they must be knowledgeable participants in the decision-making process for leveraging information & information technology to achieve organizational goals. The second half of the course therefore examines selected technological features of IS that are essential to the information literacy of the general manager. The course takes the perspective of a general manager, not a computer programmer, systems analyst, IS manager, or computer scientist.

Learning Objectives:

First, students completing this course will have developed two complementary database-oriented skills, which can be used to their advantage in managerial positions. The first is the ability to design and use so-called “service delivery system” databases. As opposed to scientific databases, service delivery systems are designed to contribute to the effectiveness and efficiency of organizations. Common examples include invoice and inventory systems, and cataloging systems used in libraries and museums. Understanding how such systems are conceived and built will enable students to oversee and contribute to the development of innovative systems in their own work. Students will gain a working knowledge of related concepts:
(a) the relational database model, (b) the entity-relationship model, and (c) the data normalization. The second skill, which reinforces the first, is the ability to use specific database management system software (Microsoft Access 2013). Facility in using such software is a transferable skill, because of the widely used relational database technology. Students will become proficient in the techniques used to: (a) create and use tables, (b) query the database, and (c) generate reports.

The second half of the course will provide students with the theoretical foundation and practical skills required for the selection, deployment and management of information systems in the private, non-profit and public sectors. Specifically, the course seeks to provide students with the following:
- understanding the benefits and limitations of different kinds of computer-based information systems commonly used in business, such as database management systems, decision support and enterprise systems,
- a sophisticated awareness of the rich variety of managerial issues raised by information systems, and knowledge of key IS applications and their technical & business architectures,
- information literacy by attending to the managerial implications of selected additional topics, such as the utilization of information systems for competitive advantage and the process of systems development (building an IS).

The focus is not only with information technology alone. Our objective is to understand technological issues and then proceed to examine the more difficult matter of how a business organization can use the technology in efficient and effective ways (for instance, in increasing revenue and gaining a competitive edge).


Murlikrishna Viswanathan