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Business informatics (BI; also Business Computing Systems) is a discipline combining information technology (IT), informatics and management concepts. The BI discipline was created in Germany, from the concept of "Wirtschaftsinformatik". It is an established, successful academic discipline including bachelor, master and diploma programs in Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands. The term Business Informatics is now common in Central Europe. BI has strong synergistic effects from truly integrating business administration concepts and computer science technology into one field.

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Organisational informatics and business informatics

Business informatics can be seen to be a subset of organisational informatics. Organisational informatics is fundamentally interested in the application of information, information systems and ICT within organisations of various forms including private sector, public sector and voluntary sector organisations [1].

Organisational informatics is interested not in ICT, information systems, information and organisations in isolation but in their interaction and in the effects that emerge from such interaction. As such, the area draws much of its analytic focus from the concept of system and the application of systemics. Three types of organisational system and their interaction are considered: activity systems, information systems and ICT systems.

Organisational informatics also builds its conception of the relationship between three types of organisational system around a detailed consideration of the concept of information. Hence the concept of information system is central to the area.

Business organisations are considered as systems of activity which rely on systems of information. Within the modern business, information systems, in turn rely on systems of technology, particularly systems of information and communication technology (ICT). The distinctions between these three types of business system are as follows:

An activity system is a logical collection of activities performed by some group of people in pursuit of some goal. The key output of an organisational activity system is therefore activity or action. Another term now used as a synonym for an activity system is organisational or business process.

An information system is a system of communication between people. Information systems are systems involved in the gathering, processing, distribution and use of information. The key output of an information system is clearly information which is used to support activity systems in organisations.

An ICT system is an organised collection of hardware, software, data and communication technology designed to support aspects of some information system. An ICT system outputs data for interpretation as information within some activity system.

Differences between business informatics and information systems

Business Informatics (BI) shows numerous similarities to the discipline of Information Systems (IS) which can mainly be found in English speaking parts of the world. Nevertheless there are a few major differences that make Business Informatics very attractive for employers:

  1. Business Informatics includes information technology, like the relevant portions of applied computer science, to a much larger extent compared to Information Systems.
  2. Business Informatics has significant constructive features meaning that a major focus is on the development of solutions for business problems rather than simply describing them.

On the other hand, information systems strongly focuses on explaining empirical phenomena of the real world. IS has often been called an "explanation-oriented" approach in contrast to the "solution-oriented" BI approach. IS researchers try to explain why things in the real world are the way they are and conduct a lot of empirical surveys whereas a BI researcher tries to develop IT solutions for problems they have observed or assumed. Academics in BI, for example, are often fond of applying new technologies to business problems and doing feasibility studies by building software prototypes. BI students are also taught this constructive approach. Their ability to not only explain reality, but rather shape it, is what makes them very attractive employees for companies as well as good candidates for entrepreneurs in the business IT field.

Tight connections between research and teaching is another tradition of Business Informatics. Recent insights gained in research projects become part of the curricula quite fast because most researchers are also lecturers at the same time. The pace of scientific and technological progress in BI is quite fast, therefore subjects taught are under permanent reconsideration and revision.[2][3][4]

See Also

List of Universities offering degrees in Business informatics

References

  1. ^ Beynon-Davies P. (2002). Indiana University Systems: an introduction to informatics in Organisations. Palgrave, Basingstoke. ISBN 0-333-96390-3
  2. ^ Virtual Global University: Virtual Global University
  3. ^ Ives, B., J. Valacich, R. Watson, R. Zmud and et al., What Every Business Student Needs to Know About Information Systems, Communications of the Association for Information Systems, (9:30) December, 2002
  4. ^ Doukidis, G.: et al. (Hrsg.): Proceedings of the 3rd European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS '95). Athens 1995, p. 1295-1297
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