The University of Minnesota is one of the founding schools for the Management Information Systems (MIS) discipline and is home to the MIS Quarterly, one of the top academic journals in the field. Teaching the Information Systems Specialization is Assistant Professor Soumya Sen from the Department of Information & Decision Sciences in the Carlson School of Management. Soumya’s research takes a multi-disciplinary approach involving computer networks, economics, and human-computer interaction, and his work has won multiple recognitions and awards, among which include the BITSAA 30 under 30 Award and the INFORMS ISS Design Science Award. Read on to discover how IT infrastructure impacts business success and what you can learn from this Specialization.
What is Information Systems?
Information Systems are software processes and hardware systems that help businesses collect, organize, store, filter, generate, and distribute information. These include a range of technologies, such as cloud computing, web communications, enterprise systems, security systems, network communications, and data analytics. Together these processes support operations, facilitate communication, and improve decision-making. And these are essential for any business today to compete effectively in the digital world.
What excites you about Information Systems?
The topic of IT Infrastructure and emerging trends is the most exciting for me. That’s because the success of any business today is critically dependent on the digital infrastructure it operates on and how innovative it is in applying information technology to gain competitive advantage in the market. From retail to healthcare to banking, each domain is undergoing a digital transformation with technologies like mobile, cloud, blockchains, and analytics, while struggling to keep its infrastructure secure and robust. The most successful executives and managers will be those who understand the underlying technology well enough to use them effectively and innovatively in their respective domains.
Why was this Specialization created?
Today most executives are wary of digital disruption of their business, and they would rather be the disruptors themselves. But to effectively use information technology, one must gain an appreciation of a range of issues, including IT governance and change management, enterprise systems, business analysis, and emerging technologies. This Specialization will prepare a learner to develop a holistic understanding of the issues and how to address them.
This Specialization was created to provide learners with an opportunity to understand the most fundamental aspects of IT in organizations – IT governance, enterprise systems, business analysis, and new technologies. The four courses in the Specialization are designed to be complementary and to provide a holistic overview of the key concepts.
What will students learn from the Information Systems Specialization?
Upon completing the Specialization, learners will be able to align IT investments with business strategy, specify business requirements as information system specifications, assess the fit between business requirements and enterprise systems features, manage the change associated with a significant IT system implementation, and evaluate technological alternatives for developing the IT infrastructure for the organization.
In the course on IT infrastructure we will also cover many topics that might provide surprising insights. For example, in the cybersecurity lecture, we will learn about how roman generals used to exchange secret messages, how cold war spies encrypted instructions, and how hackers stole data from Target in the Black Friday breach. In the lecture on cloud, we will take a peek inside a datacenter. And in blockchains we will learn about the bitcoin mining farms of Mongolia. One will discover that information system is not just about technology, but more about how technology can transform marketing, sales, customer relations, finance, supply chain, etc.
Who should take this Specialization?
This Specialization will be useful to anyone who is interested in knowing more about the role of IT in organizations. The learner can be someone who is or aims to be in a managerial role that requires them to have a basic understanding of technologies. It will be most directly relevant to managers at any level who use Information Technology to address business problems and thus are directly or indirectly responsible for managing IT investments/projects. It can both be a new learning opportunity or a refresher depending on the individual’s background.