University of Baltimore
Merrick School of Business

INSS 640 - Information Systems in Business
Fall 2005

Thursdays 8:15 - 10:45 PM - BC 221

Professor Al Bento

office BC 473 v-mail 837-5272
e-mail URL

Office hours: Thursdays 2:30 - 5:00 PM and TBA

[projects][Mini-case analysis][IT news report][outline] [WebTycho]


Over the past 20 years, information technology (computers, telecommunications and office automation) and the management of information technology have changed dramatically. The need to learn how to use and deploy information systems and technology became a must for business professionals. E-Business is here to stay and Web is an integral part of both internal (intranet) and external (Internet) information systems and networking.

In many industries, obtaining competitive advantages became directly related to the deployment of information technology to design, create and provide the main products/services. In many instances the information technology became an integral part of the product/service. The course aims to provide you with learning experiences in the use, development and management of information systems and technology.

Each class meeting will be divided in two parts:

  1. lecture and discussions, related to in-depth study of main types of information systems and technologies: system concepts, decision making, business processes, systems development, data base, networking, electronic commerce, information systems planning, ethical and human issues and strategic use of information technology.

  2. activities, discussions of selected topics starting with a presentation by a lead group of students. It will also include demonstrations of software and course project orientation.

Class materials will be linked to the course syllabus at


Projects (3) 40%
Mini-case analysis (6) 20%
IT news report (2)10%
Final exam30%


Your grade in the projects will depend upon the content and structure of the final system and written documentation. The projects are to be made in group, but one -- create your home page on the Web, which will be done individually.

  1. World Wide Web (10%): the objective is to create your own home page, in your HOME account, like an one-page resume. You will use an HTML editor in order to do so. After the course is over you can keep this page and use it for recruiting purposes.

  2. Office Products Company (20%): the objective is the design and implementation of a database system for OPC. The final report should include: (a) management summary, (b) data base design, (c) data base structure and table values, (d) joining the tables and (e) reports of sales by city and product. The implementation should be done in Access or similar.

  3. Financial Planning (10%): the objective is the design and implementation of a Financial Planning system for Porter. The final report should include: (a) management summary, (b) spreadsheet formulas, and (c) spreadsheet values.

Mini-case analysis

Each group will prepare a report answering the "Case Study Questions" at the end of each case on each of the following mini-cases (the numbers between parenthesis are the page numbers in the textbook):

  1. Wisconsin Physicians Services and Winnebago (100)
  2. Mark's Work Wearhouse, Home Depot and GE Power Systems (136)
  3. UPS, Wells Dairy, Novell and GM (208)
  4. Geisinger Health Systems and Du Pont (399) -
  5. E*Trade and Wells Fargo (289)
  6. Progressive, Yellow, JetBlue and Gentex (62)

I created six groups, which have no members in the beginning of the semester. In our first class meeting you will choose what group to join, and, therefore, the corresponding case to present in class, in addition to submit a written case report. Group 1 will present mini-case 1, Group 2 mini-case 2, etc.

Each group will create a presentation for their corresponding mini-case using PowerPoint software and will post a brief message in the Conference for the case and will attach a copy of the PowerPoint slides answering the "Case Study Questions" at the end of each case.

Each group will do a formal presentation using PowerPoint in class (see outline for specific dates). The quality of the slides, the depth of the topic coverage, and the delivery of the presentation are important for the grade in the presentation.

Each group should select one person to post a report for each of the mini-cases (all groups will post a report for all mini-cases). The report is due by the end of the day of the Sunday after the in-class presentation. Each group can have many postings inside of their group area, but be sure to post only one group report in the Conference area of the mini-case.

IT news report

This is an individual assignment. Group members are extremely discouraged of choosing the same news items to write their individual reports. Each student will select a news article from an IST/IT journals and/or magazines and explain what it means using a topic studied in the course. The first report needs to be submitted up to October 6, while the second report needs to be submitted up to November 27.

The following periodicals, among others, may be used as source of news for IT news report.

Final Exam

The final is an in-class, multiple-choice, open book exam.


O'Brien, James A. Introduction to Information Systems, 12th. ed., McGraw-Hill, 2005
(required, textbook). [ ]
O'Brien, James A. Course Web resources (on-line only)
Bento, Al DSS Design: A case example (on-line only)
Bento, Al National Merchandising case(on-line only)
Drewry, Tony Data Flow Diagrams (on-line only)
MISource CD-ROM, McGraw-Hill, 2005 (required, included with textbook) {  }

Day 8:15 - 9:30 9:40 - 10:45 Assignments
09/01 Course overview, information and systems concepts [1] Review of using PowerPoint  {PowerPoint 2002}Introduce yourself
09/08 Information Technology: hardware [3] Group 1 presentation case 1 due (100)
09/15 Information Technology: software [4] Group 2 presentation case 2 due (136)
09/22 Telecommunications, networking [6] Your home page and using FTP to upload your page.  
09/29 TPS and MIS. ERP, CRM, and CSM [7] Group 3 presentation case 3 due (208)
10/06 Systems Development [10]  {MIS Concepts, Systems Development Life Cycle}   IT news report 1
10/13 Systems Analysis and DFDs (Tony Drewry) and National Merchandising Case. Introduction to OPC Home page project due
10/20 Files & Data Base concepts, DB design [5] MS Access Review  {ACCESS 2002}, OPC and Access.  
10/27 Security and Ethics [11] Group 4 presentation case 4 due (399)
11/03 Electronic Commerce [8]    
11/10 Decision-making and Information systems. Decision Support Systems. [9]   OPC project due
11/17 DSS Design (Bento) and Introduction to Porter Group 5 presentation case 5 due (289)
11/24 Thanksgiving no classes IT news report 2
12/01 Strategic Impact of IS/IT [2]. No face-to-face meeting. No face-to-face meeting. case 6 due (62)
12/08 Management of IT and Information Systems Planning [12] Group 6 presentation Porter project due
12/15 Final Exam    

[ ] corresponds to chapters; ( ) refers to page numbers; { } refers to materials in the CD-ROM.

It is a good practice to print the class notes before coming to class.

This page is maintained by Al Bento who can be reached at This page was last updated on August 11, 2005. Although we will attempt to keep this information accurate, we can not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided.