Management information system (MIS) refers to the processing of information through computers to manage and support managerial decisions within an organization. The concept may include systems termed transaction processing system, decision support system, expert system, or executive information system. The term is often used in the academic study of businesses and has connections with other areas, such as information systems, information technology, informatics, e-commerce and computer science; as a result, the term is used interchangeably with some of these areas.
Management information systems (plural) as an academic discipline studies people, technology, organizations, and the relationships among them. This definition relates specifically to “MIS” as a course of study in business schools. Many business schools (or colleges of business administration within universities) have an MIS department, alongside departments of accounting, finance, management, marketing, and may award degrees (at undergraduate, master, and doctoral levels) in Management Information Systems.
MIS professionals help organizations to maximize the benefit from investments in personnel, equipment, and business processes.
There are different areas of concentration with different duties and responsibilities in information system managers starting from the Chief information officer (CIOs), Chief technology officer (CTOs), IT directors and IT security managers. Chief information officers (CIOs) are responsible for the overall technology strategy of their organizations. Basically, they are more of the decision makers and action takers when it comes down to determining the technology or information goals of an organization and making sure the necessary planning to implement those goals is being met.
Chief technology officers (CTOs) are responsible for evaluating how new technology can help their organization. They usually recommend technological solutions to support the policies issued by the CIO.
IT directors including MIS directors are in charge of both their organization’s Information technology departments and the supervision of thereof. They are also in charge of implementing the policies chosen by the other top branches (CIOs, CTOs). It is their role to ensure the availability of data and network services by coordinating IT activities.
IT Security Managers oversee the network and security data as the title implies. They develop programs to offer information and awareness to their employees about security threats. This team is very important because they must keep up-to-date on IT security measures in order to be successful within their organization. Any security violations need to be investigated and supervised by this specific team.
Kenneth and Aldrich Estel identify six eras of Management Information System evolution corresponding to the five phases in the development of computing technology:
mainframe and minicomputer computing,
enterprise computing, and
The first era (mainframe and minicomputer) was ruled by IBM and their mainframe computers; these computers would often take up whole rooms and require teams to run them—IBM supplied the hardware and the software. As technology advanced, these computers were able to handle greater capacities and therefore reduce their cost. Smaller, more affordable minicomputers allowed larger businesses to run their own computing centers in-house / on-site / on-premises.
The second era (personal computer) began in 1965 as microprocessors started to compete with mainframes and minicomputers and accelerated the process of decentralizing computing power from large data centers to smaller offices. In the late 1970s, minicomputer technology gave way to personal computers and relatively low-cost computers were becoming mass market commodities, allowing businesses to provide their employees access to computing power that ten years before would have cost tens of thousands of dollars. This proliferation of computers created a ready market for interconnecting networks and the popularization of the Internet. (NOTE that the first microprocessor — a four-bit device intended for a programmable calculator — was introduced in 1971 and microprocessor-based systems were not readily available for several years. The MITS Altair 8800 was the first commonly known microprocessor-based system, followed closely by the Apple I and II. It is arguable that the microprocessor-based system did not make significant inroads into minicomputer use until 1979, when VisiCalc prompted record sales of the Apple II on which it ran. The IBM PC introduced in 1981 was more broadly palatable to business, but its limitations gated its ability to challenge minicomputer systems until perhaps the late 1980s to early 1990s.)
As technological complexity increased and costs decreased, the need to share information within an enterprise also grew—giving rise to the third era (client/server), in which computers on a common network access shared information on a server. This lets thousands and even millions of people access data simultaneously. The fourth era (enterprise) enabled by high speed networks, tied all aspects of the business enterprise together offering rich information access encompassing the complete management structure. Every computer is utilized.
The fifth era (cloud computing) is the latest and employs networking technology to deliver applications as well as data storage independent of the configuration, location or nature of the hardware. This, along with high speed cellphone and Wi-Fi networks, has led to new levels of mobility in which managers may access the MIS remotely with laptops, tablet computers and smartphones.
The terms management information system (MIS), information system, enterprise resource planning (ERP), and information technology management (IT) are often confused. Information systems and MIS are broader categories that include ERP. Information technology management concerns the operation and company of information technology resources independent of their purpose.
Management information systems, produce fixed, regularly scheduled reports based on data extracted and summarized from the firm’s underlying transaction processing systems to middle and operational level managers to identify and inform semi-structured decision problems.
Decision support systems (DSS) are computer program applications used by middle and higher management to compile information from a wide range of sources to support problem solving and decision making. A DSS is used mostly for semi-structured and unstructured decision problems.
Executive information systems (EIS) is a reporting tool that provides quick access to summarized reports coming from all company levels and departments such as accounting, human resources and operations.
Marketing Information Systems are Management Information Systems designed specifically for managing the marketing aspects of the business
Accounting information systems are focused accounting functions.
Human resource management systems are used for personnel aspects.
Office automation systems (OAS) support communication and productivity in the enterprise by automating workflow and eliminating bottlenecks. OAS may be implemented at any and all levels of management.
School Information Management Systems (SIMS) cover school administration, and often including teaching and learning materials.
Enterprise resource planning facilitates the flow of information between all business functions inside the boundaries of the organization and manage the connections to outside stakeholders.
The following are some of the benefits that can be attained using:
Companies are able to identify their strengths and weaknesses due to the presence of revenue reports, employees’ performance record etc. Identifying these aspects can help a company improve its business processes and operations.
Giving an overall picture of the company.
Acting as a communication and planning tool.
The availability of customer data and feedback can help the company to align its business processes according to the needs of its customers. The effective management of customer data can help the company to perform direct marketing and promotion activities.
MIS can help a company gain a competitive advantage. Competitive advantage is a firm’s ability to do something better, faster, cheaper, or uniquely, when compared with rival firms in the market.
MIS report help to take decision and action on certain object with quick time.
Enterprise systems—also known as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems—provide integrated software modules and a unified database that personnel use to plan, manage, and control core business processes across multiple locations. Modules of ERP systems may include finance, accounting, marketing, human resources, production, inventory management, and distribution.
Supply chain management (SCM) systems enable more efficient management of the supply chain by integrating the links in a supply chain. This may include suppliers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and final customers.
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems help businesses manage relationships with potential and current customers and business partners across marketing, sales, and service.
Knowledge management system (KMS) helps organizations facilitate the collection, recording, organization, retrieval, and dissemination of knowledge. This may include documents, accounting records, unrecorded procedures, practices, and skills. Knowledge management (KM) as a system covers the process of knowledge creation and acquisition from internal processes and the external world. The collected knowledge is incorporated in organizational policies and procedures, and then disseminated to the stakeholders.
“The actions that are taken to create an information system that solves an organizational problem are called system development”. These include system analysis, system design, computer programming/implementation, testing, conversion, production and finally maintenance.
Conversion is the process of changing or converting the old system into the new. This can be done in three basic ways:
Direct cut – The new system replaces the old at an appointed time.
Parallel implementation – both old and new systems run at the same time until developers are certain the new system is operating correctly.
Pilot study – Introducing the new system to a small portion of the operation to see how it fares. If results are good then the new system expands to the rest of the company.