In the earliest days of computing, every time an information system was needed, they were built as a one-off solution for the problem. While this was an acceptable solution for the time, as computers became more sophisticated and they became more useful to more people, it became apparent that many of these issues that information systems were used to solve had some things in common. Because of this, IT specialists set out attempting to build a single solution to solve a range of similar problems. However, what they realized was that there was no one solution to every problem: rather, they discovered that there were certain genres of issues, leading to the development of these six types of solutions.  

In this post, we will investigate the six types of information systems, discussing what they are and what roles they play. But before we do, it’s important to understand that there are levels to these types, forming a pyramid. This pyramid reflects an organizational structure: classifying information systems into their different types relies on the way tasks and responsibilities are divided within the organization. Different people in different roles solve different problems, and the types of information systems reflect this.   

Now, let’s look at the types of information systems:  

1. Transaction Processing Systems  

The first type of information system is a Transaction Processing System (TPS). Transaction processing systems are operational-level systems at the bottom of the pyramid. This solution is usually for shop floor workers and frontline staff, providing key data to support management. This data is often obtained through automated or semi-automated activities. 

The role of TPS is to produce information for other systems, cross internal and external boundaries, and to be used by operational personnel and supervisors. Ultimately, TPS is efficiency oriented. 

2. Office Automation Systems  

An office automation system (OAS) is a collection of communication technology, computers, and people to perform official tasks. It executes office transactions and support official activities at every organizational level. 

OAS are usually used in one of two areas: clerical and managerial. On the clerical side, OAS helps automate office systems such as preparing written communication, calendar keeping, and scheduling meetings. In the managerial sector, they help in conferencing, creating reports, and overseeing performance. 

3. Knowledge Work Systems  

Knowledge Work System (KWS) is a specific system used to promote the creation of knowledge and to make sure that knowledge and technical skills are integrated into the business. It helps workers in creating and propagating new information and knowledge by providing them with graphics, analytics, communications, and document management tools. 

Some examples of KWS at work are computer-aided design (CAD) programs, virtual reality systems, and financial workstations.  

4. Management Information Systems  

Management Information Systems (MIS) are management-level systems that middle managers use to help ensure the organization is running smoothly in short and medium terms. The information these systems provide allows managers to evaluate the organization’s overall performance. 

MIS is based on the internal flow of information, support structured decisions, and deals with the past and the present–this is not a future-oriented system. These systems are somewhat inflexible and lack overall efficiency. 

Information Systems

Information systems come in a number of varieties that can solve different organizational challenges.

5. Decision Support Systems  

Decision Support Systems (DSS) can be viewed as knowledge-based systems: used by senior managers to facilitate knowledge and allow integration into the organization. This system is used to analyze existing information while also allowing managers to protect the potential effects of their decisions in the future. These systems are usually interactive and are used to solve structural problems. 

DSS add structure to the decision-making process, have modeling capacity, and are concerned with predicting the future. Because of this, DSS have the capacity for modeling information for senior management. 

6. Executive Support Systems  

Finally, we have Executive Support Systems (ESS). ESS provide strategic-level information to the top of the pyramid model. These systems help executives and senior managers analyze the environment, identify long-term trends, and to plan appropriate courses of action. They are, of course, used by executives and the C-Suite. 

EIS are concerned with ease of use and predicting the future. They are oriented towards effectiveness and flexibility in an effort to better support decision making using internal and external data.  

And there we have it! All six types of information systems. For all your IT needs, the Innovative Integrations Team is prepared improve and streamline your systems.