Components of an Information System

A system is made up of subsystems that work together to achieve certain goals. The objectives are realized in the outputs of the system. Information systems accept data as input and process it into information products.

The resources that make up an information system are made up of 5 fundamental resources i.e. people, hardware, software, data, and networks.

  1. People – These are the end users and IS specialists
  2. Hardware  – This consist of machines and media
  3. software – specialised set of instructions which are encoded in form of programs and procedures
  4. data – data and knowledge basis
  5. networks – communications media and network support

The input, processing, output, storage, and control activities are put together to convert data resources into information products. The information system model shows the relationship between components and activities. There are four major concepts that can be applied to all information systems.

  • The 5 fundamental resources of information systems are People, hardware, software, data, and networks
  • People resources include end users (people like you and me), IT specialists. The make use of hardware. This hardware resource include machines and media, software resources (used by installing them on hardware) include both programs and procedures, as well as data and knowledge bases, and network resources include communications media and networks.
  • Data is processed to convert it into information by data processing and information processing activities into a variety of information products for end users.
  • Information processing consists of input, processing, output, storage, and control activities.

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Components of Information System Resources

People Resources

 All information systems need people for their operation. End users and IS specialists are included in these resources.

  • People who use an information system are known as end users or clients. They can be any one of the following: accountants, salespersons, engineers, clerks, customers or managers. Most of us are information system end users.
  • People who develop and operate information systems are known as IS specialists. There are systems analysts, programmers, computer operators, and other managerial technical personnel. Broadly speaking, systems analysts design information systems based on the information requirements of end uses, programmers prepare computer programs based on the specifications of systems analysts, and computer operators operate large computer systems.

Hardware resources

These are the physical components configuring a system that support software applications with physical quantity and qualities. In other words, they are any physical things that are necessary to accomplish information processing tasks. And it doesn’t matter whether they are made by human hands or performed by pure electronics technology: Companies require servers, operating systems systems, displays, input devices (keyboards, mice), printers and many others – and there is a special place for hardware designers in the project creation flow. Example of hardware in computer-based information systems are:

  • Computer systems, which consist of central processing units containing microprocessors, and variety of interconnected peripheral devices. Examples are microcomputer systems, midrange computer systems, and large mainframe computer systems.
  • Computer Peripherals: These are the devices which are attached to computer (CPU) through external means. Examples include keyboards, monitor, additional display/ screens, printers, fax machines, external hard drives for data storage and any hardware which is attached for added functionality depending on the user need.

Software Resources 

A program is a sequence of instructions written in some programming language. It tells a machine how to perform certain operations. Programs may be stored either permanently or temporarily. In addition, they may be executed directly by the processor without being loaded into main memory.

Even systems that don’t use computers have a software component. Information processing instructions and procedures are required in order to capture, process, and distribute information.

The following are the examples of software resources:

  • An operating system program, also known as System Software, controls and supports the operations of a computer system.
  • The programs that direct processing for a particular use of computers by end users are called application software. Examples are a sales analysis program, a payroll program, and a work processing program.
  • Instructions for the people who will use an information system are known as procedures. Instructions for filling a survey or steps to be followed in a sequence using a software package are examples of instructions.

Data Resources

Data can be more than the raw material of information systems professionals employ to provide users with business intelligence. They’re realizing that it constitutes a valuable organization resource that should be managed effectively to benefit all end users in an organization. Data takes many forms, including traditional alphanumeric data, composed of numbers and alphabetical and other characters (e.g., names) that describe business transactions and other events as well as entities.

Data can be in different forms and formats such as plain text, tables/ spreadsheets, charts and graphs, maps/ vector or just a raw data consisting of words, sentences, images, audio and videos etc. Data structures are collections of related pieces of information. They organize large volumes of data into manageable units called records. Records contain fields where specific types of information can be placed. Each field has a name and a value associated with it. Fields are arranged within a record according to how they relate to each other.

The data resources of information systems are typically organized into:

  • Database that hold processed and organized data.
  • Knowledge bases that hold knowledge in variety of forms such as facts, rules, and case examples about successful business practices.

For example, data might include census data, data acquired by GDP or other monetary figures, data about a number of industries, profit of a company, etc. Knowledge bases are used by knowledge management systems and expert systems to share knowledge and give expert advice on specific subjects.

Data Vs Information: Data are objective measurements of the attributes (the characteristics) of entities (such as people, places, things, and events). In contrast, information refers to subjective interpretations of these same objects. An interpretation might include how much money was spent on advertising, what kind of car someone drives, or whether a person has been promoted at work. This distinction between data and information helps us understand why we need databases and experts when dealing with large amounts of data. Databases store data; they don’t interpret them. Experts analyze data to determine its meaning.

Data is raw. Information is processed. Data is a set of facts or figures, in no particular order. Data is everything you’ve been looking at up till now, and information is what you’ve extracted from it. It’s only once data has been examined, sorted, and analyzed that the resulting product is information. Data is raw, unprocessed information. This means that data is the foundation of information.

 Thus, data are usually subjected to a value-added process (we call data processing or information processing) where

  1. Its form is aggregated, manipulated, and organized;
  2. its content is analyzed and view information as processed data placed in a context for human user. So you should view information as processed data placed in a context that gives it value for specific end users.

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Network Resources

A network resource is any computer system connected to other systems via some communications medium. The term “network” refers to the physical connections among all the nodes making up the network. For instance, if your company uses telephone lines to connect offices around the world, then those phone lines would constitute one part of the overall network. If each office had a personal computer hooked directly to the local area network, then this would be another component of the same network. The concept of Network resources emphasizes that communications networks are a fundamental resource component of all information systems. Network resources include both hardware components and software applications used to manage them.

Communications media make use of twisted pair wire, coaxial cable, fiber optics, wireless links, satellites, etc.

Network resources provide access to vast stores of information stored at remote locations. In addition, they allow people to communicate with others across great distances. This allows companies to share ideas, knowledge, and expertise over long distances. It also enables individuals to work from home without being tied down to their desks. Finally, communication technologies enable businesses to conduct business activities anywhere in the world.


In summary, these five components are put and used together forms an information system. First of all, you have to start off by choosing your computer parts after which you have to add on your operating system or software in order to make your computer run. Once you’ve got everything set up, you need to enter in some data like customer information into it. After you have set up your hardware with your software installed and running on it, then you will need data input into this structure. Once you have your data ready for the system, you’ll need procedures so that data and information can be properly stored throughout the system., and In order to keep the system up and running you will need people. To make sure that you have a functional running information system, you will need every component.