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Business informatics (BI) or organizational informatics is a discipline combining information technology (IT), informatics and management concepts. The BI discipline was created in Germany, from the concept of "Wirtschaftsinformatik". It is an established, successful academic discipline including bachelor, master and diploma programs in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and is establishing in an increasing number of other countries as well as Australia. BI integrates core elements from the disciplines business administration, information systems and computer science into one field.
Business informatics as an integrative discipline
BI shows many similarities to information systems (IS), which is a well established discipline originating from North America. However, there are a few differences that make business informatics a unique own discipline:
- Business informatics includes information technology, like the relevant portions of applied computer science, to a larger extent than information systems does.
- 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 (IS) focuses on empirically explaining phenomena of the real world. 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 goal in business informatics. Insights gained in actual research projects become part of the curricula quite fast because most researchers are also lecturers at the same time. The pace of scientific and technological progress in BI is quite rapid, therefore subjects taught are under permanent reconsideration and revision. In its evolution, the BI discipline is fairly young. Therefore, significant hurdles have to be overcome in order to further establish its vision.