Requiring Information Systems to support Communication:
In the beginning, there was one computer, as we would recognize it today. Historians can be specific on whether it was a code-breaking machine of World War 2, or IBM's first commercial machine. Again, historians can confirm the famous quote of IBM's chairman saying there would only be 4 or 5 computers required for the whole world.
However, once there was more than one computer, it was just a matter of time before connections and networks appeared. It is not my intent, nor am I qualified, to describe how we arrived at the networked world of today; nor am I currently interested in the most popular uses of networks, such as email or instant messaging (although that might change in the future, as content evaluation and management tools allow information systems to make use of such unstructured data; if someone has expertise in that area, please reply to start a thread on that topic.).
From an Information System perspective, networks are useful for sending data from system to system, including the notification of other systems (or sub-systems) of an event on interest that has occurred. This means we can use Information Systems to track business events and actions in a business (or business department), and automate the overall business process, combining data processing with communication. Within a business enterprise, this most commonly results in workflow systems, such as those that originated along with first commercial imaging systems 10 to 15 years ago. Since then, the Internet has allowed the definition and implementation of cross-enterprise processes, best know as B2B. I was fortunate to participate in standards development for B2B processes in the high-tech industry with the RosettaNet organization; see http://www.rosettanet.org/ .
As a result, a very common requirement made of Information Systems today is to use their communications capability to control and improve an Enterprise's business processes.
Next time: its all about the Rules...