Information Systems

General Terms

Application Software: An application a set of computer programs designed to permit the user to perform a group of coordinated functions, tasks, or activities. It cannot run on itself but is dependent on the OS.


Data: A collection of facts, that is intangible.


Hardware: The part of an information system you can touch–the physical components of the technology.


Information System (IS): The study of complementary networks of hardware and software that people and organizations use to collect, filter, and process, create and distribute data.


Operating System (OS): The program that, after being initially loaded into the computer by a boot program, manages all the other programs in a computer.


Role: The function of information technology components in an organization.


Software: A set of instructions that tells the hardware what to do, it is not tangible.


User: The person who uses and operates a computer or other machine.

Information Systems Development

Agile Methodologies: A group of methodologies that utilize incremental changes with a focus on quality and attention to detail.

Build vs. Buy Decision: When an organization decides that a new software program needs to be developed, they must determine if it makes more sense to build it themselves or to purchase it from an outside company.

Change Management: As new systems are brought online and old systems are phased out, it becomes important to manage the way change is implemented in the organization.

End-User Computing: Refers to systems in which non-programmers can create working applications.

Implementation Methodology – Parallel Operation: The old and new systems are used simultaneously for a limited period.

Implementation Methodology – Direct Cutover: The organization selects a particular date that the old system is not going to be used. On that date, the old system is turned off and the new one is operational.

Implementation Methodology – Phased Implementation: Different functions of the new application are implemented in phases, adding functionality as the phases are implemented.

Implementation Methodology – Pilot Implementation: A subset of the organization starts using the new system before the rest of the organization.

Joint Application Development: A methodology that involves the client or end-user in the design and development of an application, through a succession of collaborative workshops called JAD sessions.

Lean Methodology: A methodology that focuses on taking an initial idea and developing a minimum viable product (MVP).

Maintenance: Making changes, corrections, and improvements to a system already in use by a company.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP): A working software application with just enough functionality to demonstrate the idea behind the project.

Quality Triangle: A model that illustrates the constraints of project management: time, cost, and quality. A manager cannot change one of the constraints without impacting the others.


Rapid Application Development: A development methodology that focuses on quickly building a working model of the software, getting feedback from users, and then using that feedback to update the working model.

Systems Development Life Cycle: This methodology was developed in the 1960s to manage the large software projects associated with corporate systems running on mainframes. Phases are Preliminary Analysis, Systems Analysis, Systems Design, Programming, Testing, Implementation, and Maintenance.

Web Services: When companies have the options to license functions provided by other companies instead of writing the code themselves.