From a resource-oriented perspective, information management means the efficient provision of required data (machines) and information (through the human processing of the data) to support corporate objectives. In a broader interpretation of the term, it is synonymous to business informatics. We deal with the questions why, to what extent, and how information comes into existence in and between institutions, is made available for additional purposes in a process-related way, and has to be edited so that organizations can meet their corporate objectives. The increasing penetration of all activities of the value-added chain by information systems (automated and non-automated) means that the role of information management as a sub-discipline of management should become more and more important, even if this is not the case in business practice.
Institutions mostly see IT systems as cost-draining. The connection between costs and benefit is seldom seen. Most decision-makers consider information technology to be a given entity: it has a certain benefit which cannot be valued. These poorly structured decision-making situations as a rule lead to states in companies that leave room for improvement. The costs that have been increasing significantly in the last decades are seldom accompanied by an observation of the related benefits. The deficit in business-management practice, and the lack of performance accounting are especially reflected in IT costs. Only in the designing of information systems that make the corporate strategy possible and support it appropriately can the benefit of an investment be nocticed at all. These are questions that literature discusses under the key word "productivity paradox of information technology" (the fundametal criticism of using information technology in companies).
Institutionalization of Trade in the Age of the Internet?
Regarding information technology, the internet may well have been the most important change in business in the last 20 years. The internet has enabled a lot of new business models, has lifted processes in companies and between institutions onto new performance levels, and last but not least has brought about a new competitive situation. For trading companies of many industries, the changes of the digital age are reflected in new competitors that exclusively trade in the internet. These competitors are usually technologically leading and take an advantage of their dominance compared to old competitors - which allows them to create a critical competitive situation for the old competitors. The economic legitimation of trading companies lies in the transaction costs that would be incurred if trading companies did not exist. Due to the dramatic importance of the internet for transaction costs, the combination of trading companies and digitalization provides a broad academic field of study on how internet technologies influence the competitiveness (and finally the existence) of trading companies.
Information Systems Architectures and Information Modelling
The Chair of Information Management at Zeppelin University is the first chair in business administration that has an explicit orientation towards trade information systems. This sets it apart from other chairs which are mainly neutral regarding a specific domain. Based on a profound knowledge of reference models in general and reference models for trade information systems in particular, IS architectures for trading companies are developed. These are improved on a conceptual level and made usable especially also for a technical application design.