University of Baltimore
Merrick School of Business

INSS 640 - Information Systems in Business
Fall 2005

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.


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 week you will choose what group to join, and, therefore, the corresponding case to create a presentation, in addition to submit a written case report. Group 1 will create a presentation for mini-case 1, Group 2 for mini-case 2, etc.

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

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 of the week the mini-case is scheduled. Each group can have many postings inside of their group area, but be sure to post only one group report in the general Conference area for each 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 journal and/or magazine and explain what it meaning 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 on-line, multiple-choice 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) {  }

Week Topics Assignments
08/29 Course overview, information and systems concepts [1].
Review of using PowerPoint
Introduce yourself
09/05 Information Technology: hardware [3]. Group 1 presentation case 1 due (100)
09/12 Information Technology: software [4] . Group 2 presentation case 2 due (136)
09/19 Telecommunications, networking [6] . Your home page and
using FTP to upload your page.
09/26 TPS and MIS , CRM, ERP [7]. Group 3 presentation case 3 due (208)
10/03 Systems Development [10] IT news report 1
10/10 Systems Analysis and DFDs (Tony Drewry ) and
National Merchandising Case .
Home page project due
10/17 Database concepts, DB design [5]. Introduction to OPC.
MS Access Review.
10/24 Security and Ethical issues [11]. Group 4 presentation case 4 due (399)
10/31 Electronic Commerce [8].  
11/7 Decision-making and Information Systems. Decision Support Systems. [9] OPC project due
11/14 DSS Design (Bento) and Introduction to Porter.
Group 5 presentation
case 5 due (289)
11/21 Thanksgiving IT news report 2
11/28 Strategic Impact of IS/IT [2]. Group 6 presentation case 6 due (62)
12/05 Management of IT and Information Systems Planning [12] Porter project due
12/12 Final Exam  

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

This page is maintained by Al Bento who can be reached at . This page was last updated on August 10, 2005. Although we will attempt to keep this information accurate, we can not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided.