Information Technology and Information Systems

People often use the terms Information Technology and Information Systems interchangeably, although both the terminologies have established identities of their own. However it is crucial for every professional and individual to understand the subtle differences that defines the individuality of these disciplines.

Information Systems (IS) is a discipline bridging the business field and the well-defined computer science field (popularly called information technology) that has been evolving since it was coined in the early 1970s.An information systems discipline therefore is supported by the theoretical foundations of management social science, information theories and information technology such that students of the discipline have unique opportunity to explore the academics of various business models as well as related algorithmic processes within a computer science discipline. Typically, information systems include people, business procedures or processes, data, software, and hardware that are used to gather and analyze digital information. Specifically Information Systems are the intersection that people and organizations use to collect, filter, process, create, & distribute data (computing) through its business processes, and implemented by its human capital.

While Information Technology (IT) typically is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of digitized information, often represented technically as “Data” through electronics-based media built upon the disciplines of computing and telecommunications. The terminology was first coined in a 1958 by Leavitt and Whisler who defined it as “the new technology that does not yet have a single established name. We shall call it information technology.” Essentially, in its raw form, it comprises of Hardware, Software, the platforms to support both, communication networks and protocols.

It is crucial to understand that while “Information Technology” is a huge discipline with an identity of its own, it essentially is a subset of the discipline “Information Systems”, although the latter evolved much later. The discipline of Information Systems specifically studies the intersection of Business Processes (which may or may not be technology enabled), People (who will be part of the business processes and will use information technology) and Information Technology.

Hope this clarifies your thoughts. Do let me know what you think or would like to discuss further,

Author: Kar

Dr. Kar works in the interface of digital transformation and data science for business management domains. Professionally a professor (IIT, IIM) and an alumni of XLRI, he has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research in reputed institutes. He is a Regular Contributor of Business Fundas and a blogging addict. Note: The articles authored in this blog are his personal views and does not reflect that of his affiliations.