Introduction to Management Information Systems (MIS)

A management information system (MIS) can be defined as a system that:

  • Provides information to support managerial functions like planning, organizing, directing, controlling.
  • Collects information in a systematic and a routine manner which is in accordance with a well defined set of rules.
  • Includes files, hardware, software and operations research models of processing, storing, retrieving and transmitting information to the users.

A management information system (MIS) is a subset of the overall internal controls of a business covering the application of people, documents, technologies, and procedures by management accountants to solving business problems such as costing a product, service or a business-wide strategy. Management information systems are distinct from regular information systems in that they are used to analyze other information systems applied in operational activities in the organization. Academically, the term is commonly used to refer to the group of information management methods tied to the automation or support of human decision making, e.g. Decision Support Systems, Expert systems, and Executive information systems.

Objectives of Management Information Systems (MIS)

An effective MIS has the following objectives;

  1. Facilitate the decision – making process by furnishing information in the proper time frame. This helps the decision – maker to select the best course of action.
  2. Provide requisite information at each level of management to carry out their functions.
  3. Help in highlighting the critical factors to the closely monitored for successful functioning of the organization.
  4. Support decision-making in both structured and unstructured problem environments.
  5. Provide a system of people, computers, procedures, interactive query facilities, documents for collecting, sorting, retrieving and transmitting information to the users.

Characteristics of Management Information Systems (MIS)

  • Management Oriented: The system is designed from the top to work downwards. It does not mean that the system is designed to provide information directly to the top management. Other levels of management are also provided with relevant information. For example, in the marketing information system, the activities such as sales order processing, shipment of goods to customers and billing for the goods are basically operational control activities. A salesman can also track this information, to know the sales territory, size of order, geography and product line, provide the system has been designed accordingly. However, if the system is designed keeping in mind the top management, then data on external competition, market and pricing can be created to know the market share of the company’s product and to serve as a basis of a new product or market place introduction.
  • Management Directed: Because of management orientation of MIS, it is necessary that management should actively direct the system development efforts. In order to ensure the effectiveness of system designed, management should continuously make reviews.
  • Integrated: The world “integration” means that the system has to cover all the functional areas of an organization so as to produce more meaningful management information, with a view to achieving the objectives of the organization. It has to consider various sub-system their objectives, information needs, and recognize the interdependence, that these subsystem have amongst themselves, so that common areas of information are identified and processed without repetition and overlapping
  • Common Data Flows: Because of the integration concept of MIS, common data flow concept avoids repetition and overlapping in data collection and storage combining similar functions, and simplifying operations wherever possible.
  • Heavy Planning Element: A management information system cannot be established overnight. It takes almost 2 to 4 years to establish it successfully in an organization. Hence, long-term planning is required for MIS development in order to fulfill the future needs and objectives of the organization. The designer of an information system should therefore ensure that it will not become obsolete before it actually gets into operation.
  • Flexibility and Ease Of Use: While building an MIS system all types of possible means, which may occur in future, are added to make it flexible. A feature that often goes with flexibility is the ease of use. The MIS should be able to incorporate all those features that make it readily accessible to the wide range of users with easy usability.

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