Management Information System Terms (J-P)


Java: Programming language that can deliver only the software functionality needed for a particular task, such as a small applet downloaded from a network; can run on any computer and operating system.

Joint Application Design (JAD): Process to accelerate the generation of information requirements by having end users and information systems specialists work together in intensive interactive design sessions.

just-in-time: Scheduling system for minimizing inventory by having components arrive exactly at the moment they are needed and finished goods shipped as soon as they leave the assembly line.


key field: A field in a record that uniquely identifies instances of that record so that it can be retrieved, updated, or sorted.

knowledge: Concepts, experience, and insight that provide a framework for creating, evaluating, and using information.

knowledge- and information-intense products: Products that require a great deal of learning and knowledge to produce.

knowledge base: Model of human knowledge that is used by expert systems.

knowledge discovery: Identification of novel and valuable patterns in large databases.

knowledge engineer: A specialist who elicits information and expertise from other professionals and translates it into a set of rules, or frames, for an expert system.

knowledge management: The set of processes developed in an organization to create, gather, store, maintain, and disseminate the firm’s knowledge.

knowledge management systems: Systems that support the creation, capture, storage, and dissemination of firm expertise and knowledge.

knowledge network: Online directory for locating corporate experts in well-defined knowledge domains.

knowledge repository: Collection of documented internal and external knowledge in a single location for more efficient management and utilization by the organization.

knowledge workers: People such as engineers or architects who design products or services and create knowledge for the organization.


learning management system (LMS): Tools for the management, delivery, tracking, and assessment of various types of employee learning.

legacy system: A system that has been in existence for a long time and that continues to be used to avoid the high cost of replacing or redesigning it.

liability: The existence of laws that permit individuals to recover the damages done to them by other actors, systems, or organizations.

Linux: Reliable and compactly designed operating system that is an offshoot of UNIX and that can run on many different hardware platforms and is available free or at very low cost. Used as alternative to UNIX and Windows NT.

LISTSERV: On-line discussion groups using e-mail broadcast from mailing list servers.

load balancing: Distribution of large numbers of requests for access among multiple servers so that no single device is overwhelmed.

local area network (LAN): A telecommunications network that requires its own dedicated channels and that encompasses a limited distance, usually one building or several buildings in close proximity.

logistics: Planning and control of all factors that will have an impact on transporting a product or service.


machine cycle: Series of operations required to process a single machine instruction.

machine language: A programming language consisting of the 1s and 0s of binary code.

magnetic disk: A secondary storage medium in which data are stored by means of magnetized spots on a hard or floppy disk.

magnetic tape: Inexpensive, older secondary-storage medium in which large volumes of information are stored sequentially by means of magnetized and nonmagnetized spots on tape.

mainframe: Largest category of computer, used for major business processing.

maintenance: Changes in hardware, software, documentation, or procedures to a production system to correct errors, meet new requirements, or improve processing efficiency.

managed security service provider (MSSP): Company that provides security management services for subscribing clients.

management control: Monitoring how efficiently or effectively resources are utilized and how well operational units are performing.

management information systems (MIS): The study of information systems focusing on their use in business and management..

management-level systems: Information systems that support the monitoring, controlling, decision-making, and administrative activities of middle managers.

managerial roles: Expectations of the activities that managers should perform in an organization.

man-month: The traditional unit of measurement used by systems designers to estimate the length of time to complete a project. Refers to the amount of work a person can be expected to complete in a month.

Manufacturing and production information systems: Systems that deal with the planning, development, and production of products and services and with controlling the flow of production.

market segmentation: Dividing a heterogeneous market into smaller, more homogeneous subgroups where marketing efforts can be more specifically targeted and effective.

mass customization: The capacity to offer individually tailored products or services using mass production resources..

massively parallel computers: Computers that use hundreds or thousands of processing chips to attack large computing problems simultaneously.

megahertz: A measure of cycle speed, or the pacing of events in a computer; one megahertz equals one million cycles per second.

message integrity: The ability to ascertain that a transmitted message has not been copied or altered.

metric: A standard measurement of performance.

metropolitan area network (MAN): Network that spans a metropolitan area, usually a city and its major suburbs. Its geographic scope falls between a WAN and a LAN.

microbrowser: Web browser software with a small file size that can work with low-memory constraints, tiny screens of handheld wireless devices, and low bandwidth of wireless networks.

micropayment: Payment for a very small sum of money, often less than $10.

microprocessor: Very large scale integrated circuit technology that integrates the computer’s memory, logic, and control on a single chip.

microwave: A high-volume, long-distance, point-to-point transmission in which high-frequency radio signals are transmitted through the atmosphere from one terrestrial transmission station to another.

middle managers: People in the middle of the organizational hierarchy who are responsible for carrying out the plans and goals of senior management.

middleware: Software that connects two disparate applications, allowing them to communicate with each other and to exchange data.

midrange computer: Middle-size computer that is capable of supporting the computing needs of smaller organizations or of managing networks of other computers.

minicomputer: Middle-range computer used in systems for universities, factories, or research laboratories.

mirroring: Duplicating all the processes and transactions of a server on a backup server to prevent any interruption in service if the primary server fails.

MIS audit: Identifies all the controls that govern individual information systems and assesses their effectiveness.

mobile commerce (m-commerce): The use of wireless devices, such as cell phones or handheld digital information appliances, to conduct both business-to-consumer and business-to-business e-commerce transactions over the Internet.

mobile computing: Wireless computing that allows Internet-enabled cell phones, PDAs, and other wireless computing devices to access digital information from the Internet and other sources from any location.

mobile data networks: Wireless networks that enable two-way transmission of data files cheaply and efficiently.

model: An abstract representation that illustrates the components or relationships of a phenomenon.

model-driven DSS: Primarily stand-alone system that uses some type of model to perform “what-if” and other kinds of analyses.

modem: A device for translating a computer’s digital signals into analog form for transmission over ordinary telephone lines, or for translating analog signals back into digital form for reception by a computer.

module: A logical unit of a program that performs one or several functions.

MP3 (MPEG3): Compression standard that can compress audio files for transfer over the Internet with virtually no loss in quality.

multicasting: Transmission of data to a selected group of recipients.

multimedia: The integration of two or more types of media such as text, graphics, sound, voice, full-motion video, or animation into a computer-based application.

multinational: Form of business organization that concentrates financial management and control out of a central home base while decentralizing

multiplexing: Ability of a single communications channel to carry data transmissions from multiple sources simultaneously.


natural language: Nonprocedural language that enables users to communicate with the computer using conversational commands resembling human speech.

net marketplace: A single digital marketplace based on Internet technology linking many buyers to many sellers.

Net Present Value (NPV): The amount of money an investment is worth, taking into account its cost, earnings, and the time value of money.

network: The linking of two or more computers to share data or resources, such as a printer.

network-attached storage: Attaching high-speed RAID storage devices to a network so that the devices in the network can access these storage devices through a specialized server dedicated to file service and storage.

Network Computer (NC): Simplified desktop computer that does not store software programs or data permanently. Users download whatever software or data they need from a central computer over the Internet or an organization’s own internal network.

network DBMS: Older logical database model that is useful for depicting many-to-many relationships.

network economics: Model of strategic systems at the industry level based on the concept of a network where adding another participant entails zero marginal costs but can create much larger marginal gains.

Network Operating system (NOS): Special software that routes and manages communications on the network and coordinates network resources.

neural network: Hardware or software that attempts to emulate the processing patterns of the biological brain.

nomadic computing: Wireless computing where users move from wireless hot spot to wireless hot spot to gain network or Internet access.

nonobvious relationship awareness (NORA): Technology that can find obscure hidden connections between people or other entities by analyzing information from many different sources to correlate relationships.

normalization: The process of creating small stable data structures from complex groups of data when designing a relational database


object-oriented DBMS: An approach to data management that stores both data and the procedures acting on the data as objects that can be automatically retrieved and shared; the objects can contain multimedia.

object-oriented development: Approach to systems development that uses the object as the basic unit of systems analysis and design. The system is modeled as a collection o objects and the relationship between them.

object-oriented programming: An approach to software development that combines data and procedures into a single object.

object-relational DBMS: A database management system that combines the capabilities of a relational DBMS for storing traditional information and the capabilities of an object-oriented DBMS for storing graphics and multimedia.

Office 2000, Office XP, and Office 2003: Integrated desktop productivity software suites with capabilities for supporting collaborative work on the Web or incorporating information from the Web into documents.

office systems: Systems such as word processing, desktop publishing, e-mail, electronic scheduling, and videoconferencing, designed to increase worker productivity in the office.

on-line analytical processing (OLAP): Capability for manipulating and analyzing large volumes of data from multiple perspectives.

on-line processing: A method of collecting and processing data in which transactions are entered directly into the computer system and processed immediately.

on-line transaction processing: Transaction processing mode in which transactions entered on-line are immediately processed by the computer.

Open Systems Interconnect (OSI): Less widely used network connectivity model developed by International Standards Organization for linking different types of computers and networks.

open-source software: Software that provides free access to its program code, allowing users to modify the program code to make improvements or fix errors.

operating system: The system software that manages and controls the activities of the computer.

operational control: Deciding how to carry out specific tasks specified by upper and middle management and establishing criteria for completion and resource allocation.

operational CRM: Customer-facing applications, such as sales force automation, call center and customer service support, and marketing automation.

operational managers: People who monitor the day-to-day activities of the organization.

operational-level systems: Information systems that monitor the elementary activities and transactions of the organization.

opt-in: Model of informed consent permitting prohibiting an organization from collecting any personal information unless the individual specifically takes action to approve information collection and use.

opt-out: Model of informed consent permitting the collection of personal information until the consumer specifically requests that the data not be collected.

optical network: High-speed networking technologies for transmitting data in the form of light pulses.

organization (behavioral definition): A collection of rights, privileges, obligations, and responsibilities that are delicately balanced over a period of time through conflict and conflict resolution.

organization (technical definition): A stable, formal, social structure that takes resources from the environment and processes them to produce outputs.

organizational and management capital: Investments in organization and management such as new business processes, management behavior, organizational culture, or training.

organizational culture: The set of fundamental assumptions about what products the organization should produce, how and where it should produce them, and for whom they should be produced.

organizational impact analysis: Study of the way a proposed system will affect organizational structure, attitudes, decision making, and operations.

organizational learning: Creation of new standard operating procedures and business processes that reflect organizations’ experience.

organizational memory: The stored learning from an organization’s history that can be used for decision making and other purposes.

organizational models of decision making: Models of decision making that take into account the structural and political characteristics of an organization.

output controls: Measures that ensure that the results of computer processing are accurate, complete, and properly distributed.

output: The distribution of processed information to the people who will use it or to the activities for which it will be used.

outsourcing: The practice of contracting computer center operations, telecommunications networks, or applications development to external vendors.


P3P: Industry standard designed to give users more control over personal information gathered on Web sites they visit. Stands for Platform for Privacy Preferences Project.

packet switching: Technology that breaks messages into small, fixed bundles of data and routes them in the most economical way through any available communications channel..

paging system: A wireless transmission technology in which the pager beeps when the user receives a message; used to transmit short alphanumeric messages.

paradigm shift: Radical reconceptualization of the nature of the business and the nature of the organization.

parallel processing: Type of processing in which more than one instruction can be processed at a time by breaking down a problem into smaller parts and processing them simultaneously with multiple processors.

parallel strategy: A safe and conservative conversion approach where both the old system and its potential replacement are run together for a time until everyone is assured that the new one functions correctly.

partner relationship management (PRM): Automation of the firm’s relationships with its selling partners using customer data and analytical tools to improve coordination and customer sales.

patent: A legal document that grants the owner an exclusive monopoly on the ideas behind an invention for 17 years; designed to ensure that inventors of new machines or methods are rewarded for their labor while making widespread use of their inventions.

payback method: A measure of the time required to pay back the initial investment on a project.

peer-to-peer computing: Form of distributed processing that links computers via the Internet or private networks so that they can share processing tasks.

peer-to-peer payment system: Electronic payment system for people who want to send money to vendors or individuals who are not set up to accept credit card payments.

peer-to-peer: Network architecture that gives equal power to all computers on the network; used primarily in small networks.

Personal Communication Services (PCS): A wireless cellular technology that uses lower power, higher frequency radio waves than does cellular technology and so can be used with smaller size telephones.

Personal Computer (PC): Small desktop or portable computer.

Personal Digital Assistants (PDA): Small, pen-based, handheld computers with built-in wireless telecommunications capable of entirely digital communications transmission.

phased approach: Introduces the new system in stages either by functions or by organizational units.

pilot study: A strategy to introduce the new system to a limited area of the organization until it is proven to be fully functional; only then can the conversion to the new system across the entire organization take place.

political models of decision making: Models of decision making where decisions result from competition and bargaining among the organization’s interest groups and key leaders.

pop-up ad: Ad that opens automatically and does not disappear until the user clicks on it.

portal: Web site or other service that provides an initial point of entry to the Web or to internal company data.

portfolio analysis: An analysis of the portfolio of potential applications within a firm to determine the risks and benefits, and to select among alternatives for information systems.

post-implementation audit: Formal review process conducted after a system has been placed in production to determine how well the system has met its original objectives.

predictive analysis: Use of datamining techniques, historical data, and assumptions about future conditions to predict outcomes of events.

present value: The value, in current dollars, of a payment or stream of payments to be received in the future.

presentation graphics: Software to create professional-quality graphics presentations that can incorporate charts, sound, animation, photos, and video clips.

primary activities: Activities most directly related to the production and distribution of a firm’s products or services.

primary storage: Part of the computer that temporarily stores program instructions and data being used by the instructions.

privacy: The claim of individuals to be left alone, free from surveillance or interference from other individuals, organizations, or the state.

private exchange: Another term for a private industrial network.

private industrial networks: Web-enabled networks linking systems of multiple firms in an industry for the coordination of trans-organizational business processes.

process specifications: Describe the logic of the processes occurring within the lowest levels of a data flow diagram.

processing controls: The routines for establishing that data are complete and accurate during updating.

processing: The conversion, manipulation, and analysis of raw input into a form that is more meaningful to humans.

procurement: Sourcing goods and materials, negotiating with suppliers, paying for goods, and making delivery arrangements.

product differentiation: Competitive strategy for creating brand loyalty by developing new and unique products and services that are not easily duplicated by competitors.

production or service workers: People who actually produce the products or services of the organization.

production: The stage after the new system is installed and the conversion is complete; during this time the system is reviewed by users and technical specialists to determine how well it has met its original goals.

profiling: The use of computers to combine data from multiple sources and create electronic dossiers of detailed information on individuals.

profitability index: Used to compare the profitability of alternative investments; it is calculated by dividing the present value of the total cash inflow from an investment by the initial cost of the investment.

program: A series of statements or instructions to the computer.

program-data dependence: The close relationship between data stored in files and the software programs that update and maintain those files. Any change in data organization or format requires a change in all the programs associated with those files.

programmers: Highly trained technical specialists who write computer software instructions.

programming: The process of translating the system specifications prepared during the design stage into program code.

protocol: A set of rules and procedures that govern transmission between the components in a network.

prototype: The preliminary working version of an information system for demonstration and evaluation purposes.

prototyping: The process of building an experimental system quickly and inexpensively for demonstration and evaluation so that users can better determine information requirements.

public key infrastructure: System for creating public and private keys using a certificate authority (CA) and digital certificates for authentication.

pull-based model: Supply chain driven by actual customer orders or purchases so that members of the supply chain produce and deliver only what customers have ordered.

pure-play: Business models based purely on the Internet.

push-based model: Supply chain driven by production master schedules based on forecasts or best guesses of demand for products, and products are “pushed” to customers.

“push” technology: Method of obtaining relevant information on networks by having a computer broadcast information directly to the user based on prespecified interests.