unit 30:information systems in organisations

Unit 30: Information Systems in Organisations

Unit code:M/601/1444

QCF Level 5:BTEC Higher National

Credit value:15


To provide learners with an understanding of how organisations use information systems to help them manage their specific needs.

Unit abstract

Information is the most valuable resource that an organisation possesses. The effective gathering, protection, analysis, processing and dissemination of information is vital to the success of any organisation. As globalisation and the 24-hour economy develop and increase, organisations must ensure that their information systems are reliable, efficient and able to cope with rapid change.

Organisations whose information systems previously dealt purely with data processing have now introduced those supporting strategic management and decision support. Managers at all levels need appropriate and timely information to plan successfully in the short, medium and long term, and that information can have many sources and destinations. As organisations diversify and de-centralise, information also needs to be available to many non-managerial staff in a variety of locations. The logical conclusion is that an organisation is now completely dependent on the effectiveness of its information systems in order to survive and thrive in the 21st century business environment.

Learners will begin this unit by analysing the information needs of an organisation at different levels and within different functional areas. It is important that computing professionals are able to understand how an organisation works and how it uses information, in order to be able to design, implement, maintain and manage systems to support its operation.

On completion of this unit, learners will understand the importance of effective information systems to an organisation. They will be aware of the variety of options available for information processing and know that these will inevitably change over time. They will also use an information system to produce management information.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit a learner will:

1     Understand information needs within different functional areas of organisations

2     Be able to compare information systems

3     Be able to use information systems to produce management information.

Unit content

1     Understand information needs within different functional areas of organisations

Functional areas of an organisation: typical areas eg finance, accounts, human resources, stock control, sales, marketing, research and development, production, distribution, customer service, administration

Information needs: requirements analysis eg strategic, tactical, operational; data requirements eg inputs, outputs, processing activities; information distribution requirements eg location, department, individual

2     Be able to compare information systems

Information systems: types eg business information systems, decision support systems, management information systems, executive information systems, office information systems, transaction processing systems, expert systems, global information systems, data warehouse systems, enterprise systems, enterprise resource planning systems, integrated information systems

Information and data: definition of information and data, sources of information, information requirements and the needs for information at different levels within an organisation, storing information and its importance with regard to security, accuracy and relevance; outputs eg payroll, invoicing, ordering, bookings, stock control, personnel records, goods tracking, decision making, marketing, customer service

3     Be able to use information systems to produce management information

Management information: reports eg sales report, college enrolment statistics, marketing analysis (brick v click)

Gathering information: defining requirements; establishing sources of information; defining other factors to be considered eg constraints

Selecting information: analysis of eg validity, accuracy, currency, relevance; identifying alternatives

Learning outcomes and assessment criteria

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit a learner will:

Assessment criteria for pass

The learner can:


Understand information needs within different functional areas of organisations

1.1 evaluate the information needs of the different functional areas of an organisation


Be able to compare information systems

2.1 describe different types of information systems

2.2 investigate the current trends in using information systems applications to solve business problems

2.3 evaluate the suitability of information systems for different functional areas of an organisation


Be able to use information systems to produce management information

3.1 use an information system to generate valid, accurate and useful information for a given problem

3.2 evaluate alternative methods of solving the problem.


Links to National Occupational Standards, other BTEC units, other BTEC qualifications and other relevant units and qualifications

The learning outcomes associated with this unit are closely linked with:

Level 3

Level 4

Level 5

Unit 3: Information Systems

Unit 5: Emerging Technologies

This unit has links to the Level 4 and Level 5 National Occupational Standards for IT and Telecoms Professionals, particularly the areas of competence of:

•     Information Management.

Essential requirements

Learners must have access to an information system.



Avison D, Fitzgerald G Information Systems Development: Methodologies, Techniques and Tools (McGraw Hill, 2006) ISBN-10: 0077114175

Benyon-Davies P Business Information Systems (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) ISBN-10: 023020368X

Giarratano J, Riley G Expert Systems: Principles and Programming (Course Technology, 2004) ISBN-10: 0534384471

Laudon J, Laudon K Essentials of Management Information Systems (Pearson, 2008) ISBN-10: 0135013534

Pijpers G Information Overload: A System for Better Managing Every Day Data (Microsoft Executive Leadership Series) (Wiley, 2010) ISBN-10: 0470625740

Turban E et al Decision Support and Business Intelligence Systems (Pearson, 2008) ISBN-10: 0131580175

Employer engagement and vocational contexts

To further enrich the content of this unit and to provide more of a vocational context, it would be beneficial to bring in guest speakers or use any conference footage that is available. The proceedings or coverage of any workshops may be quite engaging and informative.