In this chapter, we discussed in detail about computer applications and the nuances of computers.
We can define a computer as an electronic machine capable of making calculations storing and analyzing data, and bringing out meaningful information by acting on a set of instructions, or a machine capable of performing many diversified mathematical functions at a phenomenal speed and accuracy. Therefore, it means that computers process or act upon data and the processing includes recording, manipulating and retrieving information. They are capable of storing data and making it available when required.
Hardware: Computer components that can be physically touched, such as keyboard, CPU, monitor, mouse etc., are known as computer hardware.
Software: The hypothetical or imaginary part of the computer which is used with hardware to perform computer applications is known as software.
Humanware: People interacting with the computer and executing the programme or software are known as humanware. They pass on the inputs based on which the computer will carry out specified operations in accordance with a set of instructions, i.e., software.
Limitations of computers
Computers do not have intelligence of their own; they cannot think or make a decision on their own. It only runs on the instructions given to it by the humanware.
Units of a computer System
- Input Unit
Input unit is the unit which controls the input devices used for data entry. The input devices used for entering data into the computer system are keyboard, mouse, compact discs, optical scanner, Magnetic Ink Character Recogniser (MICR), Optical Character Recogniser (OCR), barcode reader and smart card reader.
- Processing Unit
It is also known as the Central Processing Unit (CPU). This is the main part of a computer system. It processes the given data according to the instructions and arranges the information in a manner which provides easier retrieval of the data, when required, by the user.
- Output Unit
The device which is used to get the information in a readable and understandable from after processing the given data comprises the output unit. It translates the processed data into readable and understandable information and makes it available to the users through the output device. The output devices are monitor (Visual Display Unit), Printer, LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), plotter and a recently developed device, the speech synthesizer.
Components of a computer
There are the basic components of a computer that collectively form a system. These parts are necessary for a computer to perform the basic functions and they are Mother Board, Processor, Primary Storage Memory, Secondary Storage Devices, Keyboard, Sound Card and speakers, Monitor and LCD panel, were discussed in depth in this chapter.
An information system differs from other systems in the sense that its objective is to monitor/document the operations of other systems, which we can call the target systems. An information system cannot exist without such a target system.
SPECIFICATIONS OF AN INFORMATION SYSTEM
Specifications of any information system before its development is crucial. Specifications perform the same function for the information system that blueprints and engineering specifications perform for physical structures. Specifications serve as benchmarks for evaluating designs as well as their implementation. They also facilitate quality assurance through verification (Are we building the system right, i.e., do the design and implementation meet the specifications?) and validation
Specifications of an information system include-
- Structure - How it is organized
- Function - What it does
- Behaviour - How it responds to events and stimuli
- Data - Its meaning and organization.
ACCOUNTING INFORMATION SYSTEM
Accounting was carried out through a manual process, in the earlier periods. The manual system is cost effective and suitable for small businesses. Gradually, as the sales increased, machines which would calculate taxes and also total the sales were innovated. Technological advancement brought in computers which could store data and process it with phenomenal speed and also accuracy. The use of computers could carry out not only arithmetical calculations with accuracy and speed but also provide timely accounting information, the need of today for effective and timely business decisions. It is popularly known as Computerised Accounting System.
Information and Decisions
Accounting Information System can be better understood with an understanding of the setup of the organization. An organization comprises of independent units pursuing their path to achieve the organizational objectives. In the process, they take independent decisions on the basis of inputs received from different units.
Operational Level Management - Operational Level Management is concerned with routine business transactions and, thus, requires Transaction Processing System (TPS). TPS performs the function of recording daily transactions that are essential for conducting the business. TPS is used in a number of applications. Some of the applications where TPS is used are Order and Payroll processing and Automated Teller Machines (ATM).
Strategic Level Management - Strategic Level Management is concerned with the overall policy - making and strategic planning. It is supported by the Executive Support System (ESS) which presents the reports to the management after analyzing them with the help of advance level softwares, such as trend analysers, etc.
###SUB-TOPCI###Relationship of AIS with other Information Systems###
AIS have relationship with other information systems, such as Human Resource Information System, Manufacturing Information System and Marketing Information System.
These were the topics that were discussed in detail in this chapter. The students would have gained a far deal of knowledge about computers and its topics after going through this topic.