The concept of Management Information Systems (MIS) has evolved over a period of time comprising many different facets of the organizational function. MIS is a necessity in all the organizations. The initial concept of MIS was to process the data available in the organization and present it in the form of reports at regular intervals. The system was largely capable of handling the data from collection to processing. It was more impersonal, requiring each individual to pick and choose the processed data and use it for his requirements.
This concept was further modified when a distinction was made between data and information. Information is a product of an analysis of data. This concept is similar to a raw material and the finished product. However, data can be analyzed in a number of ways, producing different shades and specifications of the information as a product. It was, therefore, demanded that the system concept be an individual- oriented, as each individual may have a different orientation towards the information. This concept was further modified, that the system should present information in such a form and format that it creates an impact on its user, provoking a decision or an investigation. It was later realized then even though such an impact was a welcome modification, some sort of selective approach was necessary in analysis and reporting. Hence, the concept of exception reporting was imbibed in MIS. The norm for an exception was necessary to evolve in the organization. The concept remained valid till and to the extent that the norm for an exception remained true and effective. Since the environment turns competitive and is ever changing, fixation of the norm for an exception becomes a futile exercise at least for the people in the higher echelons of the organization. The concept was then evolved that the system should be capable of handling a need based exception reporting. This need maybe either of an individual or a group of people. This called for keeping all data together in such a form that it can be accessed by anybody and can be processed to suit his needs. The concept is that the data is one but it can be viewed by different individuals in different ways.
Over a period of time, when these conceptual developments were taking place, the concept of end user computing using multiple databases emerged. This concept brought a fundamental change in MIS. The change was decentralization of the system and the user of the information becoming independent of computer professionals. When this becomes a reality, the concept of MIS changed to a decision making system. The job in the computer department is to manage the information resource and leave the task of information processing to the user.
The concept of MIS in today’s world is a system which handles the databases, provides computing facilities to the end user and gives a variety of decision making tools to the user of the system and also enable the citizens / beneficiaries to use the MIS from external source and connect with organization. The concept of MIS gives high regard to the individual and his ability to use information. MIS gives information through data analysis. While analyzing the data, it relies on many academic disciplines. These include the theories, principles and concepts from the Management Science, Psychology and Human Behavior, making the MIS more effective and useful. These academic disciplines are used in designing the MIS, evolving the decision support tools for modeling and decision making.
The foundation of MIS is the principles of management and its practices. The concept of management Information System can be evolved for a specific objective if it is evolved after systematic planning and design. It calls for an analysis of a business, management views & policies, organization culture and the management style. Information should be generated in this setting and must be useful in managing the business. This is possible only when it is conceptualized as a system with an appropriate design. MIS, therefore, relies heavily on the systems theory and offers solutions to handle the complex situations of the input and output flows. It uses theories of communication which helps to evolve a system design capable of handling data inputs, process, and outputs with the least possible noise or distortion in transmitting the information form a source to a destination. It uses the principles of system Design, Viz., an ability of continuous adjustment or correction in the system in line with the environmental change in which the MIS operates. Such a design help to keep the MIS tuned with the business managements needs of the organization.
The concept, therefore, is a blend of principle, theories and practices of the Management, Information and System giving rise to single product known as Management Information System (MIS).