Business Information Systems (BIS) Department

Faculty of Management, Commerce and Law
University of Venda

About Us

Welcome to the Business Information Systems (BIS) Department. The department came into existence in January 2001, through the sponsorship of TELP-USAID, coordinated by the University of Georgia, USA. It has four laboratories equipped with state of art 90 computers and data projectors. BIS Department aims to equip students with essential knowledge to become BIS professionals for a wide range of career opportunities, in the fields of business and information technology, both in public and private sectors. The graduates possess in-depth knowledge in information systems and technology, together with a broad spectrum of knowledge including business, management, accounting, finance, logistics, social ethics, and general studies in their three-year studies.

What are Information Systems?

Information systems (IS) are computing systems that support business operations, management, and decision making in organizations. IS are an integral part of virtually every work environment and play a critical role in running organizations. They are the heart of the internet-based economy. IS enable people to access the information they need, to collaborate, make informed decisions, and perform their jobs and personal activities effectively.

What is the Role of IS Professionals?

The IS field bridges computing and business. IS professionals serve as the critical link between the technical and business areas of an organization? They collaborate to solve problems and then design, analyze, implement, deploy and evaluate the computing systems that drive the modern enterprise. IS professionals are thus among the most essential individuals in an organization, building and managing the systems upon which the enterprise survives and thrives. Enterprises depend upon IS Professionals, valuing their ability to design computing solutions.


  • To be identified for excellence in providing a superior BIS educational programme, research and outreach services in manner which is technically relevant to the region.


  • To professionally train business information systems specialists who are able to create and apply appropriate business solutions utilizing information systems technologies
  • To consistently foster a learning environment that provides advanced study of business information systems issues and promotes the application of IS technologies for the benefit of the community
  • To systematically increase the body of academic knowledge through research, debate, educational linkage and corporate partnering



Bachelor of Commerce in Business Information Systems Degree

Programme Description

The Business Information Systems (BIS) programme provides a range of knowledge and skills needed to enter graduate level employment in a business and information systems environment, or to engage in postgraduate study; particular knowledge of the use of information systems and analytical methods to support the analysis and design of policy and practice in business; emphasis on information systems issues and project management; opportunities to develop more general understanding of business management and skills in business information management. BIS is widely diffused across modern organisations, and industry is demanding BIS graduates who are well versed in business concepts; in understanding the role and contribution of information systems in driving and enabling the achievement of business goals and objectives; and in managing the vital information systems resource in organisations. This degree has been designed to meet this need, and will produce graduates, who are competent and knowledgeable in the discipline, possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills, and who are able to critically analyse business problems and develop creative and innovative enterprise solutions.

Aims & Objectives:

The aims and objectives of the BCom (BIS) degree are to:

  • Enable graduates to fulfill key roles in the information systems (IS) and related industries, and to liaise between IS personnel and other professional and industrial personnel.
  • Provide graduates with a solid foundation in information systems skills, knowledge and values at a practical and theoretical level.
  • Develop self confidence through a learning experience aimed at an understanding of the subject areas and including the development of life-long learning skills
  • Provide graduates with a strong systems focus, in their ability to conceive of new designs, address business needs and solve problems.
  • Provide graduates with a good understanding of the roles of IS in society and for individuals, and an awareness that information systems is a powerful factor for change in the global environment.
  • Provide an understanding of the value of research, critical thinking and effective communication in the management of information systems.
  • Develop professional skills in such areas as inter-personal communication, working in teams, and technical report writing.
  • Provide a graduate with an educationally sound route to become competent IS practitioners and academics.

Job Opportunities

The graduates will become IS programmers, IS analyst, project leaders, and business analyst, IS planners, IS consultant, DBA, business account manager, and IS academics, IS entrepreneurs, E-market consultant and etc. Their skills in logical thinking, problem solving and IS systems application will equip them for a more general business career in marketing, finance, personnel management, production and operations management.
Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of the programme, graduates will have:

    • Proficiency in the use of state-of-the-art computing and programming tools used within the Information System environments
    • Knowledge of the foundations, techniques, limitations, trends and applications of business information systems
    • An understanding of the nature and purpose of information systems, and of the types of information systems used in business, commerce and industry

Skills in the application and evaluation of information systems in business, commerce and industry

  • An ability to interact effectively within and across discipline boundaries
  • A range of transferable skills in problem-solving, logical thinking, writing documentation, research and report writing.
Admission Requirements
Admission Criteria

For admission to the BCOM (IT), potential students must comply with the following minimum requirements:

  • NSC with Bachelor’s endorsement or grade 12 certificate with exemption
  • Minimum Admission Points System (APS) of 32 or above excluding Life Orientation. Due to limited spaces available for the programme, applicants with an APS score of more than 32 will be given priority during selection stage.
  • Minimum achievement level of at least 4 (50 – 59%) or above in English and at least 3 (40%-49%) Mathematics.
    • On Dean’s discretion, Mathematical Literacy at rating 5 or above may be considered. However, Mathematics is strongly recommended as opposed to Mathematical Literacy. If accepted with Mathematical Literacy, students have to do Business Mathematics (MAT05463 and MAT0544) ) and a result, the degree will be completed in four (4) years instead of three (3) years.
  • Minimum achievement level of 3 (40%-49%) or above in two of the following subjects:
    • Accounting
    • Business Studies
    • Economics
    • Information Technology or Computer Studies

Applicants with an APS of 28 – 31 (excluding Life Orientation) and an achievement rating of at least 4 (50 – 59%) in English may be considered for Bachelor of Commerce (BCOM) extended (a 4 year degree programme).



Programme Outlines and Modules

BCom BIS Programme Outline

The programme composed of IS modules and Business Modules.  IS modules are the only ones outlined in this Booklet and Business Modules are outlined in their respective departments (e.g. ACC 1541 is found in Accounting Department year booklet).

1st Year

In 1st year, a student takes 11 modules: 4 IS Modules and 7 Business Modules.

IS Modules

BIS 1541 Information Systems Concepts

Basic Concepts of Information Systems: Data and Information, Characteristic of Information, Business Environment it is used, Concepts of Information Systems, Resources that support it, Categories that supports Inf. Systems; Information System Strategic Advantages; Types of Information Systems, their role in an organisation; Organisational Requirements for Information Systems; How IS enables and supports Business Transactions, Processes, Organisational Decision Making, Business Intelligence, Decision Support, and Knowledge Management; Information Systems requirements analysis; Information systems acquisition, development, and Implementation; The Nature of IS Management; Databases, and their importance to Contemporary Business; Enterprise Systems; IS Ethical, Legal and Security Issues.

BIS 1542 Principle of Commercial Programming

Overview of the Programming Development Process, Structured Programming and Modular Design;  Introduction to Programming Concepts, Visual Development Environments; Compilers and Interpreters; User Interface and Screen Design; The Memory Model, Data Types, Declarations, Expressions and Statements, Control Structures, Block Structure, Modules, Parameters, Message Passing, Files, Record Types, Input and Output, Event Handling, Text Handling and Arrays; Documentation, Testing and Debugging Techniques.

BIS 1641 Computer Operations and Packages

Introduction to Operating Systems (OS): Characteristics of OS, Command Line, Windows Based OS, Printer Installation, Internet Browsing; Business Application Software Packages: Word-processing: Definition, Creating, Editing, Formatting, Saving, Printing, Deleting Word Document and etc.;
Definition, Creating, Editing, Formatting, Saving, Printing, Deleting Spreadsheets; Database: Definition, Creating a Database and Forms, Querying,  Editing, Formatting, Saving, Printing, Deleting a Database;
Presentation Software: Definition, Creating, Editing, Formatting, Saving, Printing or Presenting Slides.

BIS 1642 Database Concepts

Introduction to Database Concepts; Demonstrate the ability to Design, Plan and Use a Database; Understanding of Relational Data Model & DBMS Record Structures; Normalization; Data Selection & Retrieval using SQL Queries; Data Definition, Modification or Updating.

Business Modules

Module Code
Module Name
ACC 1541
ACC 1641
Introduction to Financial Accounting
Financial Accounting
Business Management
BMA 1541
BMA 1641
Introduction. To Business Management
Functional Areas of Business Management
ECO 1541
Basic Microeconomics
Mathematics or
MAT 1545 or
STA 1541
Business Mathematics
Introduction to Statistics

2nd Year

In 2nd year, students take 8 modules: 4 IS modules and 4 modules Business modules.

BIS Modules

BIS 2541 Business Data Communication and Networks

Introduction to Data Communications and Networks; Topics include Basic Concepts and Principles of Telecommunications Systems, Data Transmission, Major Components of Data Communications Systems, Communication Software, Data Link Control, Introduction to Network Architecture, Open System Interconnection Models (OSI) and Local Area Networks, Protocols and Standards, Data Transmission Devices and Media, Characteristics, Circuit, Message, Packet Switching Networks, TCP/IP, Topologies, Security, LAN and WAN, EDI, ISDN, Business Applications Management and Administrative Issues.

BIS 2542 Object-oriented Programming

Introduction to object-oriented and Structured Concepts and Design Techniques; Development Environments, Application and Applets; Compilers and Interpreters; Control Structures, Arrays, Strings and Methods.
Object-based Programming:
Abstract Data Types, Classes and Object, GUI Components.

BIS 2543 IS/IT Security

An introduction to the various technical and administrative aspects of Information Security and Assurance. This course provides the foundation for understanding the key issues associated with protecting information assets, determining the levels of protection and response to security incidents, and designing a consistent, reasonable information security system, with appropriate intrusion detection and reporting features. The purpose of the course is to provide the student with an overview of the field of Information Security and Assurance. Students will be exposed to the spectrum of Security activities, methods, methodologies, and procedures. Coverage will include inspection and protection of information assets, detection of and reaction to threats to information assets, and examination of pre- and post-incident procedures, technical and managerial responses and an overview of the Information Security Planning and Staffing functions.

BIS 2641 System Analysis and Design

Introduction to System Analysis and Design: Focuses on the Analysis and Design Phases, including Development of Requirements Specifications and Generation of Design Alternatives, Testing Strategies and Implementation Plans; Overview of the Systems Development Process Environment; Requirements Specification for Information Systems;
Requirements Analysis, describing Software Process Models:
Waterfall, Prototyping, Evolutionary, Rapid Application Development; Conceptual Design; Data Modeling; Integration of Requirements Models; Program Design, Generating and Evaluating Design Alternatives;
Design of Information Systems: Logical Data Design, Logical Process Design, Structured Design, Interface and Dialogue Design, Development and Maintenance of Quality Assurance.

BIS 2642 Internet and Web Design Technology

Introduction Web Designing and Authoring Tools; Physical Design, Programming, Testing and Implementation of Web-based Information Systems and Management.

BIS 2643 Professional Issues in IT/IS

This course offers extensive and topical coverage of issues such as file sharing, infringement of intellectual property, security risks, Internet crime, identity theft, employee surveillance, privacy, and compliance. Students will gain an excellent foundation in ethical decision-making for current and future business managers and IT professionals. Specific topic coverage includes: An Overview of Ethics; Ethics for IT Professionals and IT Users; Computer and Internet Crime; Privacy; Freedom of Expression; Intellectual Property; Software Development; Employer/Employee Issues; The Impact of Information Technology on the Quality of Life.

Business Modules

Module Code
Module Name
ACC 2541
ACC 2641
Company Financial Statements
Introduction to Cost and Management
Business Management
BMA 2541

BMA 2641

Purchasing Management
Human Resources
MRM 2641
Research Methodology

3rd Year

In 3rd year students take 6 modules: 5 IS modules and 1 Business model.

BIS Modules

BIS 3541 Information Systems Management

Introduction and Overview of Information System (IS), IS management: Function, Role of IS in Business, Roles of Managers; Development of IS Policies, IS Strategies, IS Revolution and Strategic Impact of IT, Managerial Overview of Hardware, Software, Networks and Telecommunications, & Databases. IS Application and its Development. IS for Business, Managerial Decision Support, Strategic Advantage, Enterprise and Global Management, Control, Planning and Implementation Change, Managing Internet and Intranet Based IS, Protecting IS against Security Breaches, Ethical, Legal and Moral Constraints on IS, End-user Computing and IS in future.

BIS 3542 Information Technology Project Management

Central Concepts and Issues of Project Management, and the Practical Benefits of Project Planning and Management together with Resource Management; Provision of Practical Skills in Project Planning and Designing, Budgeting, Scheduling, Resource Allocation, Monitoring, Control Auditing, Application of Systems Development Methodologies, Termination; Time Management; Team Work; Contract Project Selection;
The Project Manager: Characteristics, Responsibilities, and Techniques;  Negotiation and Management, Risk Minimization, Carrier Visualization; The Project Team and its Organisation; Project Management Information Systems. Project Management Software Aids.

BIS 3543 Database Systems Management

DB Design Techniques: Entity Relationship (ER) Modeling, Normalization, Physical DB Design; Relational Query Languages, SQL, Application Development via Embedded SQL; DB Administration and Security; Distributed DB Systems and Object Oriented DB Systems: Transaction Management, Concurrency Control, Query Execution, DB Recovery; Data Warehouse and Mining

BIS 3641 Electronic Commerce

Introduction to Electronic Commerce: Types of Electronic Commerce; Internet and World Wide Web Applications; Security; Payment Systems; Applications in the Banking, Retail and Manufacturing Industries; Problems Relating to Implementations of Electronic Commerce; and Essential Concepts / Technologies Supporting Electronic Commerce. Electronic Commerce Strategy and Business Definition; Management of Electronic Commerce in the Organisation; Intranets and Supply Chain Management; Legal Issues and Constraints to Implementation of Electronic Commerce; Government Policy and Electronic Commerce.

BIS 3642 Information Systems Project

IS Project will involve all aspects of the System Development Lifecycle. The student produces a Negotiated Product (usually including a Project Proposal, a Project Plan, a System Specification, User Documentation and some Software) and Perform Project Management Activities to ensure the Project is delivered on time.
Implementation: Developing the Project, Test and Evaluation and Present.

Business Modules

Module Code
Module Name
Business Management
BMA 3541
BMA 3641
Marketing Management
General Management
Human Resources
HRM 3522
Strategic Human resources Management

BCom BIS (Hons) Programme

Every student is expected to do a total of 8 modules (5 modules in the First Semester and 3 modules in the Second Semester) as shown in Table 1. The module outline is shown in Table 2.

Module CodeModule Name Notional HrsCreditsStatus
FIRST SEMESTER (5 modules = 3 cores + 2 electives)
BIS 5541IS Research Methods18018core
BIS 5542Enterprise Systems Management18018core
BIS 5543Data Mining & Warehousing18018core
BIS 5544IS Governance & Strategy18018elective
BIS 5545Mobile and Wireless Information Systems18018elective
BIS 5546Advanced Programming Techniques18018elective
BIS 5547Object-oriented Systems Design18018elective
SECOND SEMESTER (3 modules = 2 cores +1 elective)
BIS 5641IS Research Project20020core
BIS 5642Business Intelligence Systems18018core
BIS 5643Human Computer Interaction18018elective
BIS 5644Management of Information Technology18018elective
BIS 5645Enterprise Database Systems18018elective

Modules Outline

First Semester Modules

Module Code
Module Name
BIS 5541
IS Research Methods
This module will introduce research methods in the field of business and management and show how these methods can be used in practice to prepare for the project. The module covers the basics of both qualitative and quantitative research, as well as practical issues of research project selection, data collection and analysis, planning, proposals and design, and report writing. Analysis and presentation of results of research. It includes extensive workshop-based sessions. The students are expected to identify an area of research interest.
BIS 5542
Enterprise Systems Management
Introduction to Enterprise Systems Management; Enterprise System Project Life Cycle; Requirements Analysis, Business Fit and Tailoring of Enterprise Systems; Configuration Management of Enterprise Systems; Integration management of Enterprise Systems; Change management and Enterprise Systems Management; System Training; Implementing Enterprise Systems; Operational Management of Enterprise Systems; Understanding Benefits, Cost and Risks in Enterprise System Management; Evaluation of Enterprise Systems; Future Trends and Issues in Enterprise Systems.
BIS 5543
Data Mining & Warehousing
This module aims to help students analyze data from different perspectives and to summarize it into useful information that can be used to increase revenue, cut costs, or both. This module concentrates on the following topics: Introduction to data warehousing; Strategy development and justification for data warehousing; Architectures & Basic requirements for database design for data warehouses, Data mining tools, Visualization.
BIS 5544
IS Governance & Strategy
Understand the organisational benefits of effective IS governance & strategy, and be able to be prepare a case demonstrating the benefits of adopting IS governance in a specific organisational context and of more effectively utilizing the IT resource; IT governance approaches (ITIL, COBIT), governance tools, mechanisms and processes, benefits & issues; Implementing structures and processes to ensure effective decision making with respect to IS and IT; Establishing metrics for governance; Understanding business strategy, and its impact on IS strategy; Implementing strategic IS planning, managing the IS planning process; The link between strategic IS planning, IS evaluation and IS benefits realisation; Prioritising proposed investments in IS/IT, establishing policies.
BIS 5545
Mobile and Wireless Information Systems
Introduction to ubiquitous and pervasive information systems (UIPS); The need, applications and solutions for today’s wireless organization; Current and emerging UPIS applications , personalized and context aware applications, location-based applications, multi-party interactive games, content and entertainment services, pervasive healthcare, data-centric applications, mobile commerce applications); Wireless and mobile infrastructure for UPIS, inter-working among multiple networks; Short range wireless networks such as blue-tooth and IEEE 802.11 wireless LANs; Middleware issues (WAP and other middleware, building applications using available middleware); Network access architectures; Quality of Service (end-to-end performance, inter-working applications); Security, content management; Data-access and management; Applications and content providers, pricing and cost of implementation, management of UPIS services; Additional issues in UPIS (future, regulatory and complexity
BIS 5546
Advanced Programming Techniques
Introduction to writing programs that facilitate concurrency and thread safety issues such as synchronization to enable data integrity and deadlock avoidance; Collections and Generics for the creation of dynamic and reusable data structures; Iterating, comparing, searching and sorting these data structures; introduction to the development of enterprise applications that facilitate loose coupling of business logic and database connectivity; other enterprise technologies and design patterns
BIS 5547Object-oriented Systems DesignOne
The focus is on advanced topics in the creation of information systems with emphasis on object-oriented technologies.  This course is intended to give students a solid foundation in systems analysis and design using an object-oriented approach. The use of object-oriented (OO) analysis and design in the software industry is increasing, along with a related need for experienced programmers with OO analysis and design skills. OO technology using the Unified Modeling Language (UML), design patterns and other techniques provides information systems professionals with the means to create appropriate deliverables that can be used by programmers to create cost-effective, easily maintainable, and extendible computer applications with reusable components.

Second Semester Modules

Module Code
Module Name
BIS 5641
IS Research Project
This module continues and develops the work of the first semester and includes the preparation, designing, implementation and submission of a research project. Presentations and discussions occur under the guidance of a supervisor. The seminary is designed to meet the needs of the individual for specific study of particular problems or fields in IS. This capstone/research project is an opportunity for students to make the transition from a consumer to a producer of knowledge and innovation in the field of education. Students investigate some areas of IS theory or practice, gather and analyze information and draw conclusions to add to the body of knowledge in the field of IS development and applications. Research projects are intended to be original work, completed in consultation with departmental advisors.
BIS 5642
Business Intelligence Systems
This module examines Concept of business value from corporate data, the exploitation of information for advantage, types and sources of information value; Nature and value of business intelligence, the business intelligence environment, and how types of data processing can add value to corporate data sources; Knowledge discovery, data mining, data warehousing; Business analytics, OLAP analysis, metadata; The relationship between corporate strategy, IS strategy and business intelligence strategy; BI links to enterprise systems, CRM systems, SCM systems, KM systems; Enterprise information portals, data delivery; Privacy, ethical, legal issues; Legacy data, data integration, data profiling, data cleansing and data enhancement; BI, Decision Support Systems, Expert Systems and Executive Information Systems; Data modelling, star schemas.
BIS 5643
Human Computer Interaction
This module provides the theory and practices needed to design and specify the user requirements for an information system. Emphasis is placed on user-centered design, designing for use, and the design of human-computer interaction. Issues of project and quality management are considered. Group work and communication are central to information systems design and techniques for managing group work and communicating and sharing ideas are explored.
BIS 5644
Management Information Technology
Foundations of IT Management; Managing in the Information Age; Information Technology’s Strategic Importance; Developing the Organization’s IT Strategy;  Information Technology Planning; Technology, Legislative, and Industry Trends; Managing Software Applications; Managing Application Portfolios & Development; Development and Acquisition Alternatives; Managing E-Business Applications; Developing and Managing Customer Expectations; Managing E-Business and Network Systems; Measuring IT Investments and Returns; IT Controls and Asset Protection, and Security
BIS 5646
Enterprise Database Systems
The Web-based database applications, which are the driving force behind any e-commerce, are the core of this module. The following topics are covered: Concurrency control and recovery management; Database security management; Distributed database functions and client-server architecture. Object-oriented concepts and OODDBMS architecture.
The following is staff in the department of Business Information Systems

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