Information technology definition
Information Technology (IT) is extensively used in sourcing and supply management to improve communications and reduce cycle times. For example, in most buying organizations, the sourcing process flow is electronic. As IT continues to rapidly evolve and new applications are developed, it is important to stay current and to identify those technologies that may benefit your organization.
What is an information technology
Information technology (IT) systems link business operations, such as production, supply management, and logistics, with both the supplier and the customer. IT systems offer organizations tools to manage and integrate data into business processes.
Why is information technology important?
Organizations use this shared information and associated visibility for replenishing products in the workplace with their upstream operations and those of their key suppliers. For example, retailers often use point-of-sale systems, which keep track of products being sold through the use of magnetic or electronic media, and adjust inventory levels accordingly.3 This information can also be relayed to suppliers who then proactively release shipments to always ensure a sufficient inventory level at the retailer. In this fashion, a just-in-time (JIT) environment can be created, which refers to a “system in which materials are purchased, transported, and processed ‘just in time’ for their use in a subsequent stage of the manufacturing process.” It is “an operations management philosophy whose objectives are to reduce waste and cycle time. Operationally, JIT minimizes inventory at all levels. The approach is also related to supplier-managed inventory, which is an “inventory management system that holds a supplier responsible for ensuring that stock is maintained at appropriate levels in the purchaser’s facility and for replenishing items when these levels drop.
Information technology systems examples
The process of developing IT systems through investigation, analysis, design, implementation, and maintenance is known as the system development life cycle (SDLC). Also referred to as information systems development or application development, it covers the entire spectrum of an information system, from requirements analysis to systems maintenance. There are six phases in the SDLC, with each phase containing several steps and considerations, as shown in below figure. A description of each step follows.
This is the process of analyzing the informational needs of end users, the organizational environment, and any present systems in use. Ultimately, the functional requirements of the system must be developed based on user needs. Requirements of the system can be documented with the use of interface storyboards or executable prototypes. This documentation will be referred to throughout the system development process to ensure the project aligns with identified needs and requirements.
Once requirements have been determined, an organization can determine the specifications for hardware, software, data resources, and information products that are needed. The design will serve as a system blueprint with the goal of detecting problems and errors before they are built into the final system.
At this stage new components and programs are purchased and installed. The system is integrated with any existing systems (where required), and any customization based on client-specific needs is done at this time. Also, security needs should be analyzed and addressed at this stage. There could be risks to the organization, assets, or individuals, so a security plan — if not already developed — is needed.
All systems must be tested to evaluate their actual functionality as compared to the intended functionality. Other issues to consider during this phase are the conversion of old data into the new system and training of employees on system use. End users are important in helping to determine whether the developed system meets the intended requirements
Also known as rollout, at this stage the end user takes ownership of the new or updated system and incorporates it into everyday business processes. Any security measures are enabled.
There will always be issues related to the data or performance. Typically, a feedback system will be available so the user can report any problems that need to be fixed. Also, IT will create and implement a regular maintenance schedule. IT will install any updates and/or upgrades that are needed to run the system more efficiently.