An automated information system (AIS) is any combination of hardware, software, and equipment that processes information with minimal human intervention. The system can include a computer, applications, telecommunications devices, and many more. The type of information processed by an AIS depends on the purpose it serves.
For example, a library may use a Library Management System that enables its staff to track and manage books properly. The system alerts them if a book is not returned on time, along with detailed information, such as the borrower’s name and mobile number. On the other hand, an accounting firm may use a different type of AIS that helps them collect and process financial data, calculate and send invoices, and compute taxes.
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Aside from processing any information entered into it, an AIS also facilitates the distribution of such information. A Library Management System, for instance, could send a notification to the borrower about the specific book, along with details about incurred fees.
What Are Some Types of Automated Information Systems?
As you can imagine, there are several types of AIS, as its uses can be as diverse as the different sectors implementing it. Still, there are general AIS types that are common across industries, and we’ll discuss a few of them below.
- Management Information System (MIS): An MIS is designed to help an organization’s management team with operations. Managers use MISs to generate reports that allow them to see the status of the company’s operations, human resources (HR), sales, and the like. Examples of MISs include human resource management (HRM), sales management, and inventory management systems.
- Transaction Processing System (TPS): The information processed by a TPS is related to business transactions, such as sales, expenses, inventory, and payroll. Its primary job is to store and update transaction records for reporting or further processing on an MIS. Payroll and billing systems are some examples of TPSs.
- Office Automation System: While MISs and TPSs focus on aiding select users or departments, Office Automation Systems support processes at every level. They can perform clerical tasks like scheduling meetings and calendar management and managerial processes, such as report generation and performance evaluation.
- Expert System: Expert systems are a more advanced AISs that apply artificial intelligence (AI). They are designed to provide expert insights based on the data entered into them. In the healthcare industry, medical expert systems can diagnose common diseases without the help of a doctor.
What Are Examples of Automated Information Systems?
We already mentioned some examples of AISs above—payroll, billing, inventory management, HRM, and medical expert systems. Aside from the office or corporate setting, AISs are also integrated into our lives.
The Amber Alert system in the U.S. is one example. It automatically notifies people within specific locations about an abducted child. Notifications aren’t limited to text messages or emails but also include TV, radio, and electronic billboards.
Disaster management agencies also employ AISs that allow them to notify affected people about floods, earthquakes, and other occurrences. Even Siri, Alexa, and other AI-based systems fall under AISs, as they take all the data we input daily to create recommendations.
Why Is an Automated Information System Important?
By now, you may already see the benefits of AIS. We’ve specified them below.
- Better decision making: With AISs, managers can make calculated and data-based decisions that can have lucrative results for their whole organization.
- Faster decision making: Aside from making better decisions, people who use AISs can also make decisions quickly. That is crucial, especially for time-critical events, such as ordering stocks before inventory runs out, spotting child abductors before they harm the victim, and evacuating residents from disaster-prone areas.
- Efficiency: Employing AISs reduces the need for allocating HR to mundane tasks. AISs can be left alone while employees perform high-level activities.
AISs are already rooted in our lives, be it personal or professional. They help people make better and faster decisions, saving time and, in some cases, lives. However, we can’t discount some of the challenges that AISs bring.
Among the major challenges is the security risk these systems pose, similar to any digital device. Hacking, data breaches, and other related cybercrime can plague AIS users. As such, AIS providers and users are encouraged to implement robust cybersecurity measures.