Friday, August 20, 2010

Business Informatics as an integrative discipline

Business Informatics (BI) shows many similarities to the Information Systems (IS), which is a well established discipline originating from the Northern American hemisphere. However, there are a few major differences that make Business Informatics a unique own discipline:

  1. Business Informatics includes Information Technology, like the relevant portions of Applied Computer Science, to a much larger extent than Information Systems does.
  2. Business Informatics includes significant construction and implementation oriented elements. I.e. one major focus lies in the development of solutions for business problems rather than the ex post investigation of their impact.

Information Systems strongly focuses on empirically explaining phenomena of the real world. Often, IS has been said to have an "explanation-oriented" focus in contrast to the "solution-oriented" focus that dominates BI. IS researchers make an effort to explain phenomena of acceptance and influence of IT in organizations and the society applying an empirical approach. In order to do that usually qualitative and quantitative empirical studies are conducted and evaluated. In contrast to that, BI researchers mainly focus on the creation of IT solutions for challenges they have observed or assumed.

Tight integration between research and teaching following the Humboldtian ideal is another tradition in Business Informatics. Recent insights gained in actual research projects become part of the curricula quite fast because most researchers are also lecturers at the same time.[1]The pace of scientific and technological progress in BI is quite rapid, therefore subjects taught are under permanent reconsideration and revision.[2] In its evolution, the BI discipline is fairly young. Therefore, significant hurdles have to be overcome in oder to furhter establish its vision.[3]

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