What is a System? Set of inter-related components with a clearly defined boundary Working together to achieve objectives
Simple Example Heating System Objective: Control the temperature inside a building Components: Furnace Thermostat Building Fuel
General Components Every system has some form of Input, and Output Processing is often required to transform the input to output Systems have some point of Control Systems often provide Feedback
Simple Example Heating System Input: Fuel Source, Desired Temperature, Actual Temperature Processing: If Actual Temp. < Desired then burn fuel to produce heat Output: Heat or no heat (depending on Input)
Simple Example Q: In a heating system, what could trigger the furnace to turn on and burn fuel to make heat? Q: In a heating system, what could trigger the furnace to turn off, i.e., top making heat?
Feedback Feedback is data about the performance of a system. Example: Data about salespersons performance is feedback to a sales manager In a heating system, feedback would be the change +/- of the actual temperature.
Control Control involves monitoring and evaluating the feedback to determine whether the system is achieving its goals. Heating System Example: Goal: keep the building at 65 degrees Feedback: Temp falls to 62. Control: Turn on the furnace to make heat
Control & Feedback A thermostat is a control unit of a heating system. Makes control decisions based on feedback. Good systems have self-monitoring control built into them (Cybernetic). Imagine trying to regulate the temperature in a room without a thermostat.
Important Terminology Cybernetic Control – System that can automatically control itself based on feedback. System Parameter – Attribute of a system that cannot be changed. Example: Furnaces maximum temp System Variable – Attribute of a system that can be controlled Example: Desired temperature
Business Systems An Information System helps process Input into Output but it is also the backbone for directing feedback to Management (Control)
Discussion Question Is Microsoft Word really an information system? What is it missing that is so important to information systems? Is Word transforming input into output, or is it the user?
Analysis of Word Goal: To create/edit a document Input: User’s typing and formatting actions Output: A pretty document Feedback: ??? Processing: Auto-numbering, spell checking, word counting, etc. Control: The user can decide when to save, when to auto-format, etc.
Conclusions about Word There is no feedback in a business sense Feedback examples Word could report how fast you can type or how accurately you can spell. Word could tell your manager how efficient you are at creating documents. This feedback could improve business processes Word is missing this important component, i.e. feedback
Conclusions about Thermostat Goal: To keep a room at a specific temperature Input: Desired Temperature Output: Turn on/off furnace Feedback: The Actual Temperature Processing: Compares Desired and Actual Temperature Control: You can change the desired temp or turn the Thermostat off entirely
Conclusions about Facebook Word can best be described as office productivity software. It makes creating and printing documents easier (Purpose) It could be uses as part of a larger information system. Outlook can use Word to edit emails. Word really doesn’t provided feedback in a business sense. It doesn’t tell your manager how fast an employee can type It doesn’t give you any information about how you are performing
Conclusions about TurboTax Paying your taxes is a transaction and TurboTax is specifically designed to make this transaction easier (Purpose). The IRS has integrated it with their internal systems to facilitate data entry and accounting. While it provides users with info that helps them make selections, these are not really decisions…but rather correct or incorrect repsonses. It is most correct to think of Turbo Tax an important part of a bigger TPS system.