Communication Systems and Groupware - Information System Concepts that Apply in All Functional Areas of Business


Information systems can be defined as set of co-ordinated network of components, which act together towards producing, distributing and or processing information. Information systems in conjunction with information technology have various applications in today’s business environment.

Communication System

The process of transmitting information from one place to another is called communication. The transfer of communication needs to be done in an efficient manner without any interference. The transfer of communication has to be reliable and secure.

Communication system is a network of components and devices, which interact with each other to accomplish the task of transmission of information.

Components of a communication system are input device, transmitter, channel, receiver and output device. Functions of communication system components are as follows:

Input Device: Function of input device is to convert a message to a form suitable to that particular communication system.

Transmitter: Function of the transmitter is to convert the message suitable to that particular communication channel.

Channel: It is the medium through which message gets transmitted, for example, air, cable, fiber-optic, etc.

Receiver: Function of the receiver is to convert the signal into form suitable for the output device to consume.

Output Device: Function of the output device is to convert the signal into form suitable to the end user.

Communication systems are of two types, digital communication and analog communication systems.

Some of the communication systems currently in use are email, voice mail, smart phone, telecommuting, e-commerce, global positioning system, fax, instant messaging, video conferencing, the internet, web, etc.


Groupware is a technology which provides support for work in a group. This technology is referred to as collaborative technology. This technology facilitates communication, cooperation, coordination, problem-solving and in negotiations among internal as well as with the external work group. Compared to earlier telephony systems, modern information systems use computer networks such as the internet, email, etc. to achieve collaboration.

Groupware is primarily divided into two sub systems synchronous and asynchronous. In synchronous groupware; interaction between users is at real time where as in asynchronous groupware interaction between users is at a different time.

Groupware is essential of all modern organizations. Groupware has a definite advantage over stand alone user.

Some examples of groupware are as follows:

Newsgroup and mailing list: This groupware looks at collaboration beyond on 1on1 communication. It enables faster flow of information across organization.

Workflow systems: This groupware allows smooth flow of documents and information across organization. For example, monthly time card, once entered by the employee is routed to the employee’s manager for approval, after manager’s approval time card is sent to the payroll department for monthly salary processing.

Hypertext: This groupware system is used to link several documents on the web.

Group Calendars: This groupware is essential part of the project management system. It provides information of project status, scheduling conflicts, etc.

Shared Whiteboards: This groupware allows user located at different location access to a common whiteboard. Whiteboards are commonly used in informal conversation and brain storming session.

Information systems concepts play an important part in today’s work environment. Collaboration and innovation are the mantra of success for today’s organization.

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Management Information System