How to Manage Information & Media Systems Effectively

Instructor: James Kuhn

Jim has taught adults for more than 20 years and has a Masters Degree in Christian Leadership.

In this lesson, we'll focus on three key elements that make up information systems as well as the efforts required to effectively manage them. We'll also examine the function and purpose of these components.

Information and Media Systems

A brand manager at a global beverage maker needs to know where to invest scarce marketing dollars for the best return. A high school literature teacher wants to use the lyrics from a 1970s rock ballad as the basis for a poetry study. A teenager is looking for movie times for a date this weekend. They all have a similar need that will be met in a similar way - an information system.

An information system is a complex set of technologies specifically designed to collect, store, and deliver information to users in support of an action. The success of the resulting action is directly related to the management effectiveness of the respective information system.

Any repository of data of any type can be considered an information system, and for the purposes of this discussion, a media system is incorporated into the broader category of information systems. Data could be global soft drink sales totals, music catalogs and lyrics, or local movie theater information. However, all information systems are comprised of the same three key elements:

  • Platform
  • Content
  • User Access

In order to effectively manage the information system, care must be provided for each of these elements.

Information Systems - Key Elements


The platform is the unseen, but critical, component of the information system delivery process. As the platform serves as the technology driving the information systems, effective management of this element includes regular maintenance of the hardware, software, and network components. Certain aspects of the hardware require constant monitoring and oversight, including server processor usage and hard drive space.

Software is generally self-maintaining once installed, although it does need to be monitored for license compliance and regular patches/upgrades to achieve full potential. The network components, such as routers, switches, hubs, and gateways, also require regular oversight to ensure proper bandwidth and throughput. Additionally, the platform will also require periodic upgrades to ensure highest performance. Thus, an effective information system strategy will always include a repair/replace/upgrade schedule.


The Content is the 'meat' in the information systems sandwich. It is the first thing people think of when you mention an information system and the element that the end users most expect. As such, much attention must be given to manage the content of an information system. The important considerations for effective information is that it must be relevant, accurate, and current.

Since the primary purpose of any information system is to support some decision-making, the content (and delivery) must be useful and applicable. Further, the content must have a high degree of reliability if it is to be used for decision making. Finally, the content must be timely and reflect present conditions of the data.

Consider the outcome if we provided our brand manager with production reports (not sales) and they were a year old! Thus, an effective information systems management strategy must include a robust content authoring/verification/refresh process.

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