Management Information System Terms (E-I)


e-government: Use of the Internet and related technologies to digitally enable government and public sector agencies’ relationships with citizens, businesses, and other arms of government.

e-learning: Instruction delivered through purely digital technology, such as CD-ROMs, the Internet, or private networks.

efficient customer response system: System that directly links consumer behavior back to distribution, production, and supply chains.

electronic billing and payment presentation system: Systems used for paying routine monthly bills that allow users to view their bills electronically and pay them through electronic funds transfers from banks or credit card accounts.

electronic business (e-business): The use of the Internet and digital technology to execute all the business processes in the enterprise. Includes e-commerce as well as processes for the internal management of the firm and for coordination with suppliers and other business partners.

electronic commerce server software: Software that provides functions essential for running e-commerce Web sites, such as setting up electronic catalogs and storefronts, and mechanisms for processing customer purchases.

electronic commerce: The process of buying and selling goods and services electronically involving transactions using the Internet, networks, and other digital technologies.

electronic data interchange (EDI): The direct computer-to-computer exchange between two organizations of standard business transaction documents.

electronic mail (e-mail): The computer-to-computer exchange of messages.

electronic payment system: The use of digital technologies, such as credit cards, smart cards and Internet-based payment systems, to pay for products and services electronically.

encryption: The coding and scrambling of messages to prevent their being read or accessed without authorization.

end users: Representatives of departments outside the information systems group for whom applications are developed.

end-user development: The development of information systems by end users with little or no formal assistance from technical specialists.

end-user interface: The part of an information system through which the end user interacts with the system, such as on-line screens and commands.

enterprise analysis: An analysis of organization-wide information requirements by looking at the entire organization in terms of organizational units, functions, processes, and data elements; helps identify the key entities and attributes in the organization’s data.

enterprise applications: Systems that can coordinate activities, decisions, and knowledge across many different functions, levels, and business units in a firm. Include enterprise systems, supply chain management systems, and knowledge management systems.

enterprise application integration (EAI) software: Software that works with specific software platforms to tie together multiple applications to support enterprise integration.

enterprise networking: An arrangement of the organization’s hardware, software, network, and data resources to put more computing power on the desktop and create a company-wide network linking many smaller networks.

enterprise portal: Web interface providing a single entry point for accessing organizational information and services, including information from various enterprise applications and in-house legacy systems so that information appears to be coming from a single source.

enterprise software: Set of integrated modules for applications such as sales and distribution, financial accounting, investment management, materials management, production planning, plant maintenance, and human resources that allow data to be used by multiple functions and business processes.

enterprise systems: Integrated enterprise-wide information systems that coordinate key internal processes of the firm.

entity: A person, place, thing, or event about which information must be kept.

entity-relationship diagram: A methodology for documenting databases illustrating the relationship between various entities in the database.

ergonomics: The interaction of people and machines in the work environment, including the design of jobs, health issues, and the end-user interface of information systems.

ethical “no free lunch” rule: Assumption that all tangible and intangible objects are owned by someone else, unless there is a specific declaration otherwise, and that the creator wants compensation for this work.

ethics: Principles of right and wrong that can be used by individuals acting as free moral agents to make choices to guide their behavior.

exchange: Third-party Net marketplace that is primarily transaction oriented and that connects many buyers and suppliers for spot purchasing.

executive support systems (ESS): Information systems at the organization’s strategic level designed to address unstructured decision making through advanced graphics and communications.

expert system: Knowledge-intensive computer program that captures the expertise of a human in limited domains of knowledge.

explicit knowledge: Knowledge that has been documented.

external integration tools: Project management technique that links the work of the implementation team to that of users at all organizational levels.

extranet: Private intranet that is accessible to authorized outsiders.


facsimile (fax ): A machine that digitizes and transmits documents with both text and graphics over telephone lines.

Fair Information Practices (FIP): A set of principles originally set forth in 1973 that governs the collection and use of information about individuals and forms the basis of most U.S. and European privacy laws.

fault-tolerant computer systems: Systems that contain extra hardware, software, and power supply components that can back a system up and keep it running to prevent system failure.

feasibility study: As part of the systems analysis process, the way to determine whether the solution is achievable, given the organization’s resources and constraints.

feedback: Output that is returned to the appropriate members of the organization to help them evaluate or correct input.

fiber-optic cable: A fast, light, and durable transmission medium consisting of thin strands of clear glass fiber bound into cables. Data are transmitted as light pulses.

field: A grouping of characters into a word, a group of words, or a complete number, such as a person’s name or age.

file transfer protocol (FTP): Tool for retrieving and transferring files from a remote computer.

file: A group of records of the same type.

Finance and accounting information systems: Systems keep track of the firm’s financial assets and fund flows.

firewall: Hardware and software placed between an organization’s internal network and an external network to prevent outsiders from invading private networks.

floppy disk: Removable magnetic disk storage primarily used with PCs.

focused differentiation: Competitive strategy for developing new market niches for specialized products or services where a business can compete in the target area better than its competitors.

formal control tools: Project management technique that helps monitor the progress toward completion of a task and fulfillment of goals.

formal planning tools: Project management technique that structures and sequences tasks, budgeting time, money, and technical resources required to complete the tasks.

formal system: System resting on accepted and fixed definitions of data and procedures, operating with predefined rules.

forward chaining: A strategy for searching the rule base in an expert system that begins with the information entered by the user and searches the rule base to arrive at a conclusion.

fourth-generation language: A programming language that can be employed directly by end users or less-skilled programmers to develop computer applications more rapidly than conventional programming languages.

frame relay: A shared network service technology that packages data into bundles for transmission but does not use error-correction routines. Cheaper and faster than packet switching.

framing: Displaying the content of another Web site inside one’s own Web site within a frame or a window.

franchiser: Form of business organization in which a product is created, designed, financed, and initially produced in the home country, but for product-specific reasons relies heavily on foreign personnel for further production, marketing, and human resources.

fuzzy logic: Rule-based AI that tolerates imprecision by using nonspecific terms called membership functions to solve problems.


“garbage can” model: Model of decision making that states that organizations are not rational and that decisions are solutions that become attached to problems for accidental reasons.

general controls: Overall controls that establish a framework for controlling the design, security, and use of computer programs throughout an organization.

genetic algorithms: Problem-solving methods that promote the evolution of solutions to specified problems using the model of living organisms adapting to their environment.

geographic information system (GIS): System with software that can analyze and display data using digitized maps to enhance planning and decision-making.

graphical user interface (GUI): The part of an operating system users interact with that uses graphic icons and the computer mouse to issue commands and make selections.

grid computing: Applying the resources of many computers in a network to a single problem.

group decision-support system (GDSS): An interactive computer-based system to facilitate the solution to unstructured problems by a set of decision makers working together as a group.

groupware: Software that provides functions and services that support the collaborative activities of work groups.


hacker: A person who gains unauthorized access to a computer network for profit, criminal mischief, or personal pleasure.

hard disk: Magnetic disk resembling a thin steel platter with a metallic coating; used in large computer systems and in most PCs.

hierarchical DBMS: One type of logical database model that organizes data in a treelike structure. A record is subdivided into segments that are connected to each other in one-to-many parent-child relationships.

high-availability computing: Tools and technologies ,including backup hardware resources, to enable a system to recover quickly from a crash.

hit: An entry into a Web server’s log file generated by each request to the server for a file.

home page: A World Wide Web text and graphical screen display that welcomes the user and explains the organization that has established the page.

hot spot: A specific geographic location in which an access point provides public Wi-Fi network service.

human resources information systems: Systems that maintain employee records, track employee skills, job performance and training, and support planning for employee compensation and career development.

hybrid AI systems: Integration of multiple AI technologies into a single application to take advantage of the best features of these technologies.

hypermedia database: An approach to data management that organizes data as a network of nodes linked in any pattern the user specifies; the nodes can contain text, graphics, sound, full-motion video, or executable programs.

hypertext markup language (HTML): Page description language for creating Web pages and other hypermedia documents.

hypertext transport protocol: The communications standard used to transfer pages on the Web. Defines how messages are formatted and transmitted.


identity theft: Theft of key pieces of personal information, such as credit card or Social Security numbers, in order to obtain merchandise and services in the name of the victim or to obtain false credentials.

Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative: A principle that states that if an action is not right for everyone to take it is not right for anyone.

I-mode: Standard developed by Japan’s NTT DoCoMo mobile phone network for enabling cell phones to received Web-based content and services.

implementation: Simon’s final stage of decision-making, when the individual puts the decision into effect and reports on the progress of the solution.

industry structure: The nature of participants in an industry and their relative bargaining power. Derives from the competitive forces and establishes the general business environment in an industry and the overall profitability of doing business in that environment.

inference engine: The strategy used to search through the rule base in an expert system; can be forward or backward chaining.

information: Data that have been shaped into a form that is meaningful and useful to human beings.

information appliance: Device that has been customized to perform a few specialized computing tasks well with minimal user effort.

information architecture: The particular design that information technology takes in a specific organization to achieve selected goals or functions.

information asymmetry: Situation where the relative bargaining power of two parties in a transaction is determined by one party in the transaction possessing more information essential to the transaction than the other party.

information center: A special facility within an organization that provides training and support for end-user computing.

information partnership: Cooperative alliance formed between two or more corporations for the purpose of sharing information to gain strategic advantage.

information policy: Formal rules governing the maintenance, distribution, and use of information in an organization.

information requirements: A detailed statement of the information needs that a new system must satisfy; identifies who needs what information, and when, where, and how the information is needed.

information rights: The rights that individuals and organizations have with respect to information that pertains to themselves.

information system: Interrelated components working together to collect, process, store, and disseminate information to support decision making, coordination, control, analysis, and visualization in an organization.

information systems department: The formal organizational unit that is responsible for the information systems function in the organization.

information systems literacy: Broad-based understanding of information systems that includes behavioral knowledge about organizations and individuals using information systems as well as technical knowledge about computers.

information systems managers: Leaders of the various specialists in the information systems department.

information systems plan: A road map indicating the direction of systems development: the rationale, the current situation, the management strategy, the implementation plan, and the budget.

information technology (IT) infrastructure: Computer hardware, software, data, storage technology, and networks providing a portfolio of shared IT resources for the organization.

informational roles: Mintzberg’s classification for managerial roles where managers act as the nerve centers of their organizations, receiving and disseminating critical information.

informed consent: Consent given with knowledge of all the facts needed to make a rational decision.

input: The capture or collection of raw data from within the organization or from its external environment for processing in an information system.

input controls: The procedures to check data for accuracy and completeness when they enter the system.

instant messaging: Chat service that allows participants to create their own private chat channels so that a person can be alerted whenever someone on his or her private list is on-line to initiate a chat session with that particular individual.

intangible benefits: Benefits that are not easily quantified; they include more efficient customer service or enhanced decision making.

Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN): International standard for transmitting voice, video, image, and data to support a wide range of service over the public telephone lines.

integrated software package: A software package that provides two or more applications, such as word processing and spreadsheets, providing for easy transfer of data between them.

intellectual property: Intangible property created by individuals or corporations that is subject to protections under trade secret, copyright, and patent law.

intelligence: The first of Simon’s four stages of decision making, when the individual collects information to identify problems occurring in the organization.

intelligent agent: Software program that uses a built-in or learned knowledge base to carry out specific, repetitive, and predictable tasks for an individual user, business process, or software application.

internal integration tools: Project management technique that ensures that the implementation team operates as a cohesive unit.

Internal Rate of Return (IRR): The rate of return or profit that an investment is expected to earn.

Internet Protocol (IP) address: Four-part numeric address indicating a unique computer location on the Internet.

Internet Service Provider (ISP): A commercial organization with a permanent connection to the Internet that sells temporary connections to subscribers.

Internet telephony: Technologies that use the Internet Protocol’s packet-switched connections for voice service.

Internet: International network of networks that is a collection of hundreds of thousands of private and public networks.

Internet2: Research network with new protocols and transmission speeds that provides an infrastructure for supporting high-bandwidth Internet applications.

internetworking: The linking of separate networks, each of which retains its own identity, into an interconnected network.

interorganizational systems: Information systems that automate the flow of information across organizational boundaries and link a company to its customers, distributors, or suppliers.

interpersonal roles: Mintzberg’s classification for managerial roles where managers act as figureheads and leaders for the organization.

intranet: An internal network based on Internet and World Wide Web technology and standards.

intrusion detection system: Tools to monitor the most vulnerable points in a network to detect and deter unauthorized intruders.

intuitive decision makers: Cognitive style that describes people who approach a problem with multiple methods in an unstructured manner, using trial and error to find a solution.

investment workstation: Powerful desktop computer for financial specialists, which is optimized to access and manipulate massive amounts of financial data.

iteration construct: The logic pattern in programming where certain actions are repeated while a specified condition occurs or until a certain condition is met.

iterative: A process of repeating over and over again the steps to build a system.