An information system (IS) is a formal, sociotechnical, organizational system designed to collect, process, store, and distribute information. From a sociotechnical perspective, information systems are composed by four components: task, people, structure (or roles), and technology. Information systems can be defined as an integration of components for collection, storage and processing of data of which the data is used to provide information, contribute to knowledge as well as digital products that facilitate decision making.
A computer information system is a system that is composed of people and computers that processes or interprets information. The term is also sometimes used to simply refer to a computer system with software installed.
"Information systems" is also an academic field study about systems with a specific reference to information and the complementary networks of computer hardware and software that people and organizations use to collect, filter, process, create and also distribute data. An emphasis is placed on an information system having a definitive boundary, users, processors, storage, inputs, outputs and the aforementioned communication networks.
In many organizations, the department or unit responsible for information systems and data processing is known as "information services".
Any specific information system aims to support operations, management and decision-making. An information system is the information and communication technology (ICT) that an organization uses, and also the way in which people interact with this technology in support of business processes.
Some authors make a clear distinction between information systems, computer systems, and business processes. Information systems typically include an ICT component but are not purely concerned with ICT, focusing instead on the end-use of information technology. Information systems are also different from business processes. Information systems help to control the performance of business processes.
Alter argues for advantages of viewing an information system as a special type of work system. A work system is a system in which humans or machines perform processes and activities using resources to produce specific products or services for customers. An information system is a work system whose activities are devoted to capturing, transmitting, storing, retrieving, manipulating and displaying information.
As such, information systems inter-relate with data systems on the one hand and activity systems on the other. An information system is a form of communication system in which data represent and are processed as a form of social memory. An information system can also be considered a semi-formal language which supports human decision making and action.
Information systems are the primary focus of study for organizational informatics.