information systems engineering
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information systems engineering[‚in·fər¦mā·shən ¦sis·təmz ‚en·jə′nir·iŋ]
Information systems engineering
The process by which information systems are designed, developed, tested, and maintained. The technical origins of information systems engineering can be traced to conventional information systems design and development, and the field of systems engineering. Information systems engineering is by nature structured, iterative, multidisciplinary, and applied. It involves structured requirement analyses, functional modeling, prototyping, software engineering, and system testing, documentation, and maintenance.
Modern information systems solve a variety of data, information, and knowledge-based problems. In the past, most information systems were exclusively data-oriented; their primary purpose was to store, retrieve, manipulate, and display data. Application domains included inventory control, banking, personnel record keeping, and the like. The airline reservation system represents the quintessential information system of the 1970s. Since then, expectations as to the capabilities of information systems have risen considerably. Information systems routinely provide analytical support to users. Some of these systems help allocate resources, evaluate personnel, and plan and simulate large events and processes. The users expect information systems to perform all the tasks along the continuum shown in the illustration.
Systems engineering extends over the entire life cycle of systems, including requirement definitions, functional designs, development, testing, and evaluation. The systems engineer's perspective is different from that of the product engineer, software designer, or technology developer. The product engineer deals with detail, whereas the systems engineer takes an overall viewpoint. Systems engineering is based upon the traditional skills of the engineer combined with additional skills derived from applied mathematics, psychology, management, and other disciplines. The systems engineering process is a logical sequence of activities and decisions that transform operational needs into a description of system performance configuration. The process is by nature iterative and multidisciplinary. See Systems engineering