Shared business information systems and personal information systems differ significantly in terms of degree of flexibility, control, environment, emphasis, user acceptance, and value addition. In this article, we will explore each of these differences in detail.
Degree of Flexibility
Shared information systems are complex and large systems with numerous applications and users competing for priorities. As a result, adapting to changes in users’ needs may take time, making their degree of flexibility lower than that of personal information systems.
A group of professionals handles operations in shared information systems for all applications, and users belong to various interest groups. Therefore, comprehensive control systems are developed to prevent any abuse of IT infrastructure. Personal information systems, on the other hand, are used and controlled by the concerned user with almost no control systems except for backup and data recovery procedures.
Shared information systems require significant investments in IT and impact almost everyone in the organization. Efficient utilization of IT resources is critical to their success, and therefore, every element of these systems is better planned, managed, and maintained in a predetermined and centrally controlled structure. On the other hand, personal information systems operate better in an unstructured or semi-structured environment. They only work when the user needs them and work the way the user desires, even for relatively inefficient uses.
The main emphasis of shared information systems is generating information for the business enterprise as a whole, developing new applications, and maintaining existing applications. Changes in hardware, software, and communication links are routine activities. The emphasis is mainly on attaining efficiency in operation and better service. Personal information systems are more like problem-driven systems than service-driven systems, with emphasis on problems rather than facilities and infrastructure.
Shared business information systems are designed and offered to users keeping in view the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the information system as a whole, which may not satisfy everyone in the enterprise. Therefore, user acceptance levels may be lower in the case of shared systems than personal information systems, which are designed and used to meet specific individual needs.
The major benefit of shared information systems lies in cost displacement in terms of reduced manpower requirements, quicker response from the central control setup, and efficiency in operations, etc. Personal information systems focus on local problems and aim primarily at improving the flow of information and its availability for present and potential users.
Comparison Table on Qualitative Differences between Shared Business Information Systems and Personal Information Systems
|Qualitative Differences||Shared Business Information Systems||Personal Information Systems|
|Degree of Flexibility||Lower than personal systems||Higher than shared systems|
|Control||Comprehensive control systems||Almost no control systems|
|Environment||Predetermined and centrally controlled structure||Unstructured or semi-structured environment|
|Emphasis||Generating information for the enterprise as a whole||Problem-driven system|
|User Acceptance||May not satisfy everyone||Designed and used to meet specific individual needs|
|Value Addition||Cost displacement in terms of reduced manpower requirements, quicker response, and efficiency in operations||Focus on local problems and improving information flow and availability|
To fully utilize IT infrastructure in a business environment, it is necessary to bring changes to the role of information technology in business processes. The information technology must reorient itself, and business enterprises must also change to ensure that the business information systems contribute their best to the attainment of the common goals of the enterprise.