Integral Logistics Management — Operations Management and Supply Chain Management Within and Across Companies

20.1 Important Terms in Information Management

Intended learning outcomes: Produce definitions for terms from colloquial language that are easily understood by employees, such as for information, data, information technology, information system, database.

For use in the company, terms from colloquial language that are easily understood by employees are needed.

Information is defined by [MeWe18] as intelligence, news, facts, data, and also as the com­munication or reception of knowledge or intelligence; infor­mation is also the attribute in­he­rent in and communicated by one or more alternative arrangements of something (such as binary digits in a computer program) that produce specific effects. [ASCM22] defines infor­mation as data that have been interpreted and that meet the needs of one or more managers.

These definitions correspond to the imprecise use of the term in practice.

Data (literally, something given/facts) is defined by [MeWe18] as factual information (as measurements or statistics); information output by a sensing device or organ that includes both useful and irrelevant or redundant information that must be processed to be meaningful; information in numerical form that can be digitally transmitted or processed.

Today, data processing (DP) is technology-supported.

Information technology, or simply IT, comprises hardware, i.e., computers, tele­communications, and other devices, and software, i.e., programs and documentation for using computers, for collecting, storing, encoding, protecting, processing, analyzing, transmitting, and retrieving data or information. Here see [ASCM22].

These definitions lead to the term “information system.”

An information system is made up of interrelated computer hardware and software along with people and processes designed for the collection, processing, and dissemination of information for planning, decision making, and control ([ASCM22]).

This definition refers to an IT-supported information system. In practice, an information system can be set up without the IT tools. Data can be kept on paper in suitably organized card indexes, for example. IT-supported information systems in particular have a more or less structured character depending on the organization of their information storage.

A database contains data in defined structures, independently of the programs that use or exploit the data.

A database management system (DBMS) organizes and protects data and allows data to be retrieved according to certain criteria. It regulates access to the data by various users or applications programs at the same time, using diverse routes of access and selection criteria.

A data definition language (DDL) is a set of functions that allow the data in the database to be described (static component of the DBMS, also called data dictionary).

A data manipulation language (DML) is a set of functions that allow the data in a database to be manipulated. These include inserting and retrieving (dynamic component of DBMS).

A data warehouse is a special database that is pulled together especially for query (according to criteria yet to be determined) and reporting purposes. A data warehouse facilitates pattern recognition, or the discovery of correlations between facts and events (data mining).

As a sociotechnical system, an information system must be carefully integrated into the company.

Information management is a broad term for all activities and functions in an organization concerned with managing the resource “information” in the company — that is, strategic and operational management of (1) the information itself, (2) the life cycle of information systems, and (3) the information technologies (IT management).[note 2001].

The subtasks of (1) include identification, acquisition, storage, processing, transmission, presentation, and use of the information. See here, for example, [Schö01, Section 1.4]. These subtasks present a typical design problem. By means of suitable descriptive methods, the individual operational areas are converted into models. These also form a necessary interface to the technical part of an IT-supported information system.

Theoretically, information management should be well coordinated with overall management of the company. Of course, overall management and business process reengineeringshould respond rapidly to changing market situations. In contrast, changing from one IT to another is difficult and often takes too long. This is because it generally requires a large investment, particularly in new knowledge. This is not feasible within a very short time and not always financially feasible. In the world of practice, IT-supported information systems not infrequently survive for 20 to 40 years! Thus, today, an IT strategy is de facto often longer-term than a rapidly changing company strategy. This is a problem that is well-known to become acute when companies merge. Information systems that are not compatible can become a knock-out criterion for mergers or company acquisitions. An information system design with as much flexibility as possible for changes in the company strategy is therefore important. This requires high quality in the data and object modeling.

Course sections and their intended learning outcomes

  • Course 20 – Selected Sections of Information Management

    Intended learning outcomes: Produce a review of important terms in information management. Disclose the modeling of operational information systems. Explain in detail the modeling of information systems in the data view and object view.

  • 20.1 Important Terms in Information Management

    Intended learning outcomes: Produce definitions for terms from colloquial language that are easily understood by employees, such as for information, data, information technology, information system, database.

  • 20.2 Modeling Enterprise Information Systems

    Intended learning outcomes: Present basic principles of modeling. Differentiate various dimensions in the modeling of information systems for business processes. Describe the dimension of hierarchy creation and the dimension of various views in modeling.

  • 20.3 Modeling Information Systems in the Data View and Object View

    Intended learning outcomes: Present terms such as object, attribute, object class, view, primary and secondary keys. Explain basic concepts such as association, association role and type. Describe the breaking up of an n-to-n association – in particular a reflexive one – and the association class. Disclose the use of the hierarchical constructs for developing a company-wide generic object model.