Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling goods or services. Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit. It does not mean it is a company, a corporation, partnership, or have any such formal organization, but it can range from a street peddler to General Motors." The term is also often used colloquially (but not by lawyers or public officials) to refer to a company, but this article will not deal with that sense of the word.
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 academic discipline including bachelor, master, diploma and PhD programs in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and is establishing in an increasing number of other countries as well as Australia, Malaysia or Mexico. BI integrates core elements from the disciplines of business administration, information systems and computer science into one field.
Informatics is a branch of information engineering. It involves the practice of information processing and the engineering of information systems, and as an academic field it is an applied form of information science. The field considers the interaction between humans and information alongside the construction of interfaces, organisations, technologies and systems. As such, the field of informatics has great breadth and encompasses many subspecialties, including disciplines of computer science, information systems, information technology and statistics. Since the advent of computers, individuals and organizations increasingly process information digitally. This has led to the study of informatics with computational, mathematical, biological, cognitive and social aspects, including study of the social impact of information technologies.
All businesses operate below their true potential. That is unavoidable, given the fallibility of human beings.
Robert Heller, British management journalist and author. 'The Competitors', Chapter 10, The Decision makers (1989).
O brave youth, how good for thee it were couldst thou be made to understand how infinitely precious are thy school years—years when thou hast leisure to grow, when new worlds break in upon thee, and thou fashionest thy being in the light of the ideals of truth and goodness and beauty! If now thou dost not fit thyself to become free and whole, thou shalt, when the doors of this fair mother-house of the mind, close behind thee, be driven into ways that lead to bondage, be compelled to do that which cripples and dwarfs; for the work whereby men gain a livelihood involves mental and moral mutilation, unless it be done in the spirit of religion and culture. Ah! well for thee, canst thou learn while yet there is time that it will profit thee nothing to become the possessor of millions, if the price thou payest is thy manhood.
John Lancaster Spalding, Aphorisms and Reflections (1901), pp. 58-59.
The technical and commercial functions of a business are clearly defined, but the same cannot be said of the administrative function. Not many people are familiar with its constitution and powers; our senses cannot follow its workings - we do not see it build or forge, sell or buy - and yet we all know that, if it does not work properly, the undertaking is in danger of failure.
Henri Fayol (1900) Henri Fayol addressed his colleagues in the mineral industry 23 June 1900.