Week 0This is a hybrid class and we will meet for one class per week and you will need to work through the course material online each week and do the weekly quiz covering the online content. Most of the content provided covers computing from a business perspective to support the strategic objectives of the business. The goal of using information systems is to enable strategic outcomes to achieve competitive advantage.

If you have a question you can ask in class or email me at:

I will post handouts and hyperlinks to videos for the class on this web page which is accessible at the URL

I recommend you allocate approximately 15 hours per week to this course or approximately 120 hours over the next 8 weeks:

ebook UMUC has moved to free online resources to support all courses and there is a free 167 page eBook titled Information Systems for Business and Beyond. The eBook and other provided documents contain the primary information covered in the online quizzes for the class so it is important to read assigned chapters before doing the quiz each week. I recommend that you get started with Week 1 content today, by clicking Week 1 in the navigation bar above or scrolling down.

Robert Laurie

Week 1: Informations Systems in Organizations

This week, you will learn how businesses develop their strategies for achieving competitive advantage and how information systems can be used for competitive advantage.  In the Week 1 Learning Resources below, there are a number of resources provided to help you understand this week’s concepts and to prepare you to complete the first assignment, which will be due next week.  After reading the Business Perspective Course Module and Chapters 1 and 7 in the e-textbook, you will then read about business strategy and strategic planning.

Readings for week 1

Watch YouTube Videos for week 1

  1. How Kmart Went From Beating Walmart And Target To Bankruptcy 7m
  2. How Target Is Challenging Amazon 7m
  3. Walmart’s RetailLink 7m
  4. Amazon’s Warehouse IT 3m
  5. Why Is Costco Opening Its Own Chicken Farm? 9m
  6. Brynjolfsson: Productivity paradox 4m
  7. Does IT Matter? 17m
  8. Porter on Competitiveness 3m
  9. Porter 5 Force Model 2m
  10. EDI = Electronic Data Interchange 3m
  11. DSS Health 4m
  12. Gordon, Brynjolfsson debate future of work 13m

Assignment 1

Microsoft Excel will be used to create a Decision Support System used for MIS. It will be considered a two-week assignment and will be due Week 3. To do this assignment you need to download both the instructions located in the Asgn1-MIS.pdf file and the import data in the Car-Rental-Data.txt file.

Week 1: Please review the Excel tutorials which are essential content from IFSM201 if you need a refresher.  Complete Steps 1 - 22 this week for the assignment on your computer. However, do not upload your file this week. If you have questions then please post in the Ask your Professor discussion.

Review GCF Excel Tutorials

Excel 2010 Excel 2013 Excel 2016
#1 Getting Started with Excel #4 Getting Started with Excel #1 Getting Started with Excel
#2 Cell Basics #5 Creating and Opening Workbooks #3 Creating and Opening Workbooks
#3 Modifying Columns, Rows and Cells #6 Saving and Sharing Workbooks #4 Saving and Sharing Workbooks
#4 Formatting Cells #7 Cell Basics #5 Cell Basics
#5 Saving #8 Modifying Columns, Rows and Cells #6 Modifying Columns, Rows and Cells
#6 Creating Simple Formulas #9 Formatting Cells #7 Formatting Cells
#7 Worksheet Basics #10 Worksheet Basics #8 Understanding Number Formats
#8 Printing #11 Page Layout #9 Working with Multiple Worksheets
#9 Complex Formulas #12 Printing Workbooks #12 Page Layout and Printing
#10 Functions #13 Simple Formulas #13 Intro to Formulas
#17 Charts #14 Complex Formulas #14 Creating More Complex Formulas
  #15 Relative and Absolute Cell References #15 Relative and Absolute Cell References
  #16 Functions #16 Functions
  #22 Charts #23 Charts

Week 1 Checklist

Week 2: IT Infrastructure

What does a business know about how it operates? How can a company leverage information technology to improve its operations?

In the previous week, we have discussed how information systems can help a business achieve a competitive advantage. This week, you will learn what business processes are and how they are analyzed and improved using process analysis and reengineering. Then you will see how IT, when combined with business processes, can improve an organization’s competitive advantage. The hardware, software, and networking components of the technical infrastructure are combined to provide IT solutions that meet business objectives.

Readings for week 2

Watch YouTube Videos for week 2

  1. Module 1: What is Supply Chain Management? 8m
  2. Module 9: Business Processes 5m
  3. Document Management System 5m
  4. What is ERP? 3m
  5. Why do we need ERP? 8m
  6. Business Process Management 5m
  7. Business Process Reengineering 6m

Assignment 1

Microsoft Excel will be used to create a Decision Support System used for MIS. It will be considered a two-week assignment and will be due Week 3. To do this assignment you need to download both the instructions located in the Asgn1-MIS.pdf file and the import data in the Car-Rental-Data.txt file.

Week 2: Please review the Additional Excel tutorials posted so that you will be able to create pivot tables. Then complete all remaining steps 23 - 40 of Assignment 1 and upload the completed Excel file to the assignment folder.

Continue GCF Excel Tutorials

Excel 2010 Excel 2013 Excel 2016
#11 Sorting Data #17 Freezing Panes and View Options #17 Tips for Working with Data
#12 Outlining Data #18 Sorting Data #18 Freezing Panes
#13 Filtering Data #19 Filtering Data #19 Sorting Data
#14 Formatting Tables #20 Groups and Subtotals #20 Filtering Data
#19 Conditional Formatting #21 Tables #22 Tables
#20 Creating PivotTables #26 Conditional Formatting #24 Conditional Formatting
#21 What-If Analysis #27 PivotTables #27 Intro to PivotTables
  #28 What-If Analysis #28 More with PivotTables
    #28 What-If Analysis

MacOS users notice: MS Excel for Mac does not allow the creation of pivot charts, so just examine the tutorials on this topic. Assignment 1 does not require pivot charts, but if you are Windows user then you may experiment with the concept.

Tutorial Guides for Microsoft Excel 2016 by KSU

Windows MacOS
Quick Start Guide to Excel Quick Start Guide to Excel
Introduction to Excel Introduction to Excel
Excel Formulas Excel Formulas
Ramges and Tables Ramges and Tables
Excel Charts Excel Charts
Excel PivotTables Excel PivotTables

Week 2 Checklist

Week 3: Databases

What does a business know about its customers? Or its products? How could it use that information to increase sales and profits?

To answer questions like these, businesses collect and use data from many sources. This week you will learn about how data and information are used by organizations, including what the difference is between data and information, how data is created and stored, and how it is used throughout an organization in making business decisions.

Earlier week’s readings explained the importance of competitive advantage, the role IT plays in achieving the business strategy, and how business strategies drive planning for information technology. In many organizations, there is a position designated as a business analyst, the job of which is to help the organization translate business strategies into IT system solutions that improve the functioning of the organization. The business analyst may be a member of the IT department or may be assigned to a functional area (human resources, finance, manufacturing, etc.) of the organization. Throughout this course, you will assume the role of a business analyst and apply the course concepts in assignments.

Readings for week 3

Watch YouTube Videos for week 3

  1. ERD Systems Analysis 8m
  2. LucidChart.com ERD Tutorial - Part 1 7m
  3. LucidChart.com ERD Tutorial - Part 2 14m
  4. Real Data Warehouse 5m
  5. Benefits of a Data Warehouse 4m
  6. SQL vs NoSQL or MySQL vs MongoDB 23m

Assignment 2

Microsoft Access will be used to create a database for MIS. It will be considered a two-week assignment and will be due Week 5. Microsoft Access was never ported to MacOS. Therefore, MacOS users should do the database in the UMUC computer lab which utilizes Access 2010.

Windows users have MS Access only in the Office Professional versions. MacOSX users will not have MS Access on any versions of MS Office, because Microsoft never ported the Access database application to MacOS. Therefore, you may want to use MS Access 2010 to do Assignment 2 in the UMUC Computer Lab/Testing Center.

Review GCF Access Tutorials

Access 2010 Access 2013 Access 2016
#1 Intro to DataBases #3 Intro to DataBases #1 Intro to DataBases
#2 Intro to Objects #4 Intro to Objects #2 Intro to Objects
#3 Getting Started #5 Getting Started #3 Getting Started
#4 Managing Objects #6 Managing Objects #4 Managing Objects
#5 Working with Tables #7 Working with Tables #5 Working with Tables
#6 Working with Forms #8 Working with Forms #6 Working with Forms
#7 Sorting, Filtering #9 Sorting, Filtering #7 Sorting, Filtering
#8 Designing a Query #10 Designing a Simple Query #8 Designing a Simple Query
#9 More Query Options #11 Designing a Multi-Table Query #9 Designing a Multi-Table Query
#10 Creating Reports #12 More Query Options #10 More Query Options
#13 Creating Forms #13 Creating Reports #11 Creating Reports
#15 Designing Your Own Database #16 Creating Forms #14 Creating Forms
  #18 Designing Your Own Database #16 Designing Your Own Database

Tutorial Guides for Microsoft Access 2016 by KSU

Week 3 Checklist

Week 4: Process Improvement Supported by IT

How could a company benefit from finding a better, more efficient way to make their product?  How could apply information technology (IT) help to make some processes more efficient? Could IT also help make the processes more effective?

This week you will have the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of business processes and how IT supports them and benefits the organization. The reading for this week explains how to document a process, analyze it by looking for ways to improve it and develop a new, improved process. It also explains how IT can bring benefits to the organization in the areas of workflow, communication, and collaboration.

Readings for week 4

Optional former readings for week 4

Watch YouTube Videos for week 4

  1. W. Edwards Deming - Part 1 10m
  2. W. Edwards Deming - Part 2 9m
  3. W. Edwards Deming - Part 3 10m
  4. Dr. Deming - The 5 Deadly Diseases 16m
  5. Deming - Fourteen Points 9m

Week 4 Checklist

Week 5: Information Systems Development

Do we need a new system? What tasks should it perform? Who would use it? Where would it be housed? These are questions that a company must answer before purchasing an IT system. Without these answers, what kind of risks would the company run into if they tried to use a newly purchased IT system?

This week we will discuss how companies answer these types of questions. You will learn about how information systems are developed and how organizations decide whether to develop their systems in-house or to outsource the systems development. To begin, you will learn about the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC), a widely accepted framework for the design and development of IT systems. Before a system can be developed, we have to know what it is supposed to do. The tasks a system must perform or support are referred to as the requirements. It is also important to define how the system is expected to perform to deliver value to the users and to protect the data it houses. All of these lead to a decision as to whether the organization should build, buy, or outsource its IT solution. In addition to the “what, how, and why” of systems, it is helpful to have an understanding of the roles that people play (i.e., “who” is involved).

Readings for week 5

Optional former readings for week 5

Please download and print the following before class if you wish to take notes:

Assignment 3

Complete Week 5 Discussion

Complete Quiz 5 on LEO covering Information Systems Development

Watch YouTube Videos

  1. Software Development Lifecycle in 9 minutes! 9m
  2. Rapid Application and Agile Development Methodologies 9m
  3. Splitting User Stories - Agile Practices 9m
  4. LucidChart.com ERD Tutorial - Part 1 7m
  5. LucidChart.com ERD Tutorial - Part 2 14m

Week 6: Project Planning

This week, you will learn about IT project management and how it relates to the systems development life cycle (SDLC) process. You’ve heard the expression “plan the work and work the plan.” But what does it take to develop an effective project plan and follow through to a successful completion? What technical and interpersonal skills do project managers need?

This week you will learn about how important an effective project manager is to the success of an IT project and what effective project management is all about.  Major tasks in an IT project include the selection of the system and the IT provider. You will learn about the most important aspects to consider for each of these tasks. Once those selections have been made, the project team will develop a plan for implementing the system, another area that we will cover this week.  You will have the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of these activities when you develop the final project and present next week.

Readings for week 6

Optional Former Readings for week 6

Assignment 3

Assignment 3

Watch YouTube Videos

  1. Learn PMP Critical Path In 17 Minutes Flat! 17m
  2. Critical Chain Project Management vs. Critical Path 10m

Week 7: Globalization and Legal Implications

You have selected your final project topic, posted it, and have been developing the graphics to support it. As time allows this week, we will discuss about globalization and the legal implications of information systems. These are covered in chapters 11 and 12 of our our eBook.

Readings for this week:

Final Project - For people that want to create website using Markdown

GitHub Hosting, Git, and Visual Studio Code Editor

Jekyll Static Generator that powers GitHub

Week 8: Project Presentations

Success This week you will do your final project presentations in class and it is mandatory that you attend class and remain for the whole class. Please upload all content you intend to present and wish me to grade to Leo prior to noon of the day of your class presentation.

After going through IFSM300 this term I hope that you feel more comfortable with spreadsheets, databases, and project planning. They are important life skills that can be applied in your professional and personal life.