Information systems (IS) and information technology (IT) are often considered synonymous. In reality, information technology is a subset of information systems. The perception that these terms can be used interchangeably can cause confusion for individuals interested in pursuing a technology-related career. Although both these fields deal with computers, they have distinct characteristics and specific career paths that require different education and training.
What is Information Systems?
Information systems is an umbrella term for the systems, people and processes designed to create, store, manipulate, distribute and disseminate information. The field of information systems bridges business and computer science.
One of the reasons people may not distinguish between IS and IT is that they assume all information systems are computer-based systems. An information system, however, can be as simple as a pencil and a piece of paper. Separate, the objects are just tools. Used together, they create a system for recording information.
Although information systems are heavily reliant on computers and other technology-based tools, the term predates computers and can include non-technological systems. One example is management information systems, which use information such as a database to improve performance, create reports and make decisions.