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Business Information Systems Major

Information technology (IT) has revolutionized the way consumers and businesses relate and interact. For consumers, online retailing has become the dominant distribution channel for a wide variety of products and services, with massive shifts underway from brick and mortar to e-commerce and the Web, and now into social media. Not only has technology changed consumer habits, it has also dramatically changed the workplace.

Technological innovations enable new strategies, products, and distribution channels while increasing efficiency and productivity in all industries.Success in the 21st century requires that business managers and analysts understand what technologies are available in the marketplace and how these technologies can lead to competitive advantage, staying competitive, and to new business products, services, and models. Therefore, it is necessary that managers understand how IT interacts with business strategies, organizations, and customers, and it is essential that businesses manage their portfolios of IT investments accordingly.

Through the Pitt Business Business Information Systems (BIS) major, students will develop the abilities to partner with, or contribute to, IT-enabled business strategy, operations and projects in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to:

  • Evaluating new information technologies, business models, and their implications
  • Understanding the relationships between competitive advantage and information technologies
  • Assessing a business or business area to recognize where process improvements can be made
  • Eliciting and identifying requirements
  • Communicating effectively with consumers, managers, analysts, business partners, and IT professionals
  • Modeling needs, processes, and data
  • Managing data as an asset
  • Managing processes

Required Major Courses

  • BUSBIS 1600: Technology-Enabled Business Transformation
    IT does not matter—it's what you do with it! Business in the 21st Century runs on IT. However, competitive advantage seldom comes from having exclusive or proprietary access to a technology. Rather it comes from more effectively utilizing technologies to which everyone—including the competition—has access. The implications of this reality are many. First, it is necessary to understand what technologies are available in the marketplace and their capabilities. Next, and far more challenging, it is necessary to understand how these capabilities may positively (or negatively) interact with business strategy.

    Business transformation is the alignment of process, people and technology such that it can both support and innovate business strategies. Given that technologies evolve and develop at a rapid pace, it is necessary for managers to understand what technologies can do (both established and new) and how IT can be leveraged to create real value.
  • BUSBIS 1605: Database Management
    Topics covered include development of enterprise-wide data models using entity-relationship diagrams and semantic data models, logical design and implementation of relational databases, SQL, elements of data structures, and basic issues in the management of the corporate data resource.
  • BUSBIS 1630: Project Management
    Planning, organizing, staffing, and controlling projects requires traditional management skills as well as an appreciation of the tools, techniques, and practices unique to project management. This course starts with an overview of project management concepts, and then focuses on project planning, estimating, monitoring, and controlling. It also covers topics related to being an effective project leader and managing project teams. The project management institute (PMI), a professional organization for project managers has produced a guide to the project management body of knowledge, which documents the knowledge and practices needed by today’s project managers. This guide, along with current research and management trends related to project management, provide the framework for material covered in this class.

Elective Major Courses

Must take a minimum of two.

  • BUSBIS 1625: Electronic Commerce
    This course will cover: (1) electronic business, defined as the use of Internet and related communication technologies for organizational communication, coordination, and management of the firm; (2) electronic commerce, defined as the process of buying and selling goods and services electronically; and (3) societal implications of the new technologies. Students will be evaluated on the basis of class participation, assignments, quizzes, exams, and a business plan where students propose e-commerce solutions to tackle specific organizational or business problems and opportunities.
  • BUSBIS 1635: IT Systems in Supply Chains
    Using the SAP integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, this course will, explore how information technology systems are fast becoming the foundation of effective supply chain agility. Supply chain partners exchange data via information technology systems to place orders, share product design specifications, track material movements, manage inventories, track product quality complaints, utilize logistical tracking systems, and receive orders from customers for goods and services. Using SAP, the students will compete with their peers using both distribution and manufacturing simulation games; reinforcing the role of Information Technology Systems in Supply Chains.
  • BUSBIS 1640: IT Architectures and Issues
    There is no such thing as a technology decision – there are only business decisions.

    The options and issues affecting the deployment and utilization of business information systems have grown in number and greatly increased in complexity since the Internet and concomitant technologies have become the most important de-facto standards for business computing and networking.

    Business people who are involved in technology selection and deployment decisions need a basic knowledge of these areas as well as an understanding the value, costs and benefits they might offer to a business. They also must be able to find out about and evaluate new or emerging technologies and issues that could have relevance in their business situations. They then need to be able to explain all of this to other business people - in business terms.
    This course will utilize:
    - Lectures and presentations by the instructor and outside speakers to present current and relevant architectures and issues that affect businesses deploying information systems
    - Full-length case studies and class discussion to facilitate the examination of the business implications of and the context in which these system deployment factors are involved
    - Team projects to give the students experience in researching, understanding, evaluating and explaining information technologies and issues within a business context.
  • BUSBIS 1645: Information Systems Ethics
    This course provides an overview of ethics concepts and decision-making as they are related to Information Systems and Computing. Emphasis is placed on the study of ethical situations and responsibilities of IS professionals around current and emerging technologies in a global setting. Research papers, case studies and discussion of current ethical events around technology will be used to facilitate discussions in areas including, but not limited to: cloud computing, data protection, cyber security, the digital divide, social media, intellectual property, whistleblowing, professional codes of conduct, professional liability, nternet freedom in computing and international laws and governance. Invited subject matter experts will conduct informative sessions on key subject matter areas aligned with the course content.
  • BUSACC 1236: Accounting Information Systems
    Deals with both the design and implementation of accounting-information systems and their ability to collect data on the activities of the organization, to accumulate and summarize it, and to make the information available to managers for analysis, decision making, and control. Special emphasis is placed on the problems inherent to this effort. This course is required for all accounting majors.

    Prerequisite: BUSACC 0040

MBA-level courses might also be selected with the approval of the BIS Major Coordinator (for example: Technology Innovation, Adoption, and Diffusion; Current Topics in Information Systems).

Elective choices within the BIS major can complement a second major or particular career goal. For example, students targeting marketing careers would likely find E-Commerce to be valuable. Students interested in manufacturing or supply chain would be encouraged to choose IT Systems in Supply Chains as an elective, whereas students interested in a career managing within an IT organization would be advised to elect IT Architectures and Issues.

Skills Needed

  • Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Types of Jobs

  • Business Technology Analysis
  • Consulting
  • IT Management
  • Operations
  • Customer Service/Sales

Types of Industries

  • Medium to Large Corporations
  • Government
  • Start-up Organizations
  • Retail
  • Consulting Firms