Input, Processing, Output & Feedback: Information System Components

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  1. 0:06 IPOS
  2. 2:50 IPOS In Action
  3. 4:48 Lesson Summary
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Taught by

Lori Jacobson

Lori holds an MBA. She has taught business and accounting at several community colleges.

What are the components that really make an information system work? In this less, we'll explore IPOS (input, process, output and storage) and how this system works.


Printing a photo is an example of short-term output
Short Term Output

Information systemsinputprocessoutputstorageIPOS

Input is anything we wish to embed in a system for some type of use. A variety of sources are used to input: keyboard, scanner, microphone, mouse, even another computer. What we input has a purpose - but until it is processed and generated in some form of output, it doesn't do us much good.

Processing takes place in the internal parts of the computer. It is the act of taking inputted data and converting it to something usable. What we typically see on the screen in today's computer world (known as what you see is what you get or WYSIWYG) is the result of our input being processed by some program so we can have usable output: an English paper, an edited photograph, this video you're watching.

Output, or processed information in a usable format, comes in many different forms: monitor or printer for visual work, a speaker for audio. Sometimes our output is short-term, such as printing a photo, and sometimes what we work on needs to be kept around for a while. That's where storage comes in.

Storage is the term used to indicate we will be saving data for a period of time. We store for many reasons: for future reference; to prevent full loss of data; because we forget to purge. But, storage is vital. There are several mediums on which we can keep output and processed data: a hard disk, a USB drive, a CD.

Here are two anecdotes to drive that point home. Someone lost an entire season of her son playing hockey because she didn't back-up the video and photo files. And, a fellow student was working on a year-long bachelor's thesis and did not back it up the first, the second or the third time she lost it - all at different stages of completion, with a thesis over 60 pages long when she was done.

Quick - what does IPOS stand for? That's right, input, process, output and store! Besides the four functions of IPOS, an information system also requires feedback. This is how future systems are revised and rebuilt - by receiving ideas, impressions and constructive (or not so constructive) criticism by users and other stakeholders.

IPOS in Action

Types of storage mediums
Storage Mediums

'Okay, teach. You gave us a bunch of technical jargon, but what does it mean?'

Let's take a trip to a favorite restaurant. The overall system means that a patron is entering the doors, being seated (and served a tasty meal), then departing as a happy customer. The bottom line is a meal that pleases the customer because all of the criteria were met. There are multiple inputs in this transaction and we will step through them.

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