Definition of Management Information Systems: A management information system (MIS) is an organized process which provides past, present, and projected information on internal operations as well as external intelligence to support decision making.
Due to the increased advancement in technology, many organizations and businesses are using Management Information Systems to manage themselves efficiently and effectively.
Information is the knowledge gained from processing facts and figures. If a small business has a well managed information system, it can gain competitive advantage in a very competitive market, for example; small businesses can be in position to gather data about the demographics of a targeted market or needs and wants of people in those markets, this gathered information can be processed and used to create competitive decisions.
However, as competition increases in the business world, small business owners must look for opportunities to provide high quality products and services basing on consumers needs and wants, but all this can be possible if they use technology and information. This all process makes information a frontier for businesses seeking to gain and maintain an edge over their competitors.
Many organizations and small businesses use technology to collect, process and manage information. Information systems can be tailored to facilitate various business functions and activities. A well managed information system can provide reports on each and every function in a business, for example; it can provide reports on human resource management, manufacturing, finance and accounting, consumer behaviors and so much more…
Businesses use different types of information systems, and these include;
- Management Information System (MIS)
- Marketing Information System (MIS)
- Office Automation System (OAS)
- Decision Support System (DSS)
- Executive Information System (EIS)
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
- Knowledge Management System (KMS)
In brief, lets see how a ”Marketing information system” helps a business. A marketing information system (MIS) can be used to be used by marketing managers or researchers to manage an overwhelming flood of information by organizing data in a logical and accessible manner. Through this system, a business can monitor its performance in the market and identify obstacles and opportunities with in a defined market. A marketing information system will collect data from inside and outside the business; then it will processes that data to produce relevant information which can be used to support marketing functions. Data processed can be stored for later use; it can be classified or retrieved when needed.
Well established businesses use a combination of high-tech and low-tech solutions to mange the flow of information. The speed at which information flows within and outside a business determines the success of that business, because, all businesses depend on information to make decisions.
USING DATABASES TO MANAGE INFORMATION:
Since management information systems deal with gathering and processing of data, all businesses use Databases to store this gathered data. A database is a centralized integrated collection of data resources. A database is designed basing on a company’s structure of information; it serves as an electronic filing cabinet which stores massive amounts of data and retrieves that data within minutes.
Small businesses can hire IT specialists to design an simple database to manage and store their data, however, this database has to be updated on a daily bases, information stored in a database can be updated at anytime, because, if you store outdated information on a data base, you will be misguided during the process of decision making.
USING INFORMATION SYSTEMS FOR DECISION MAKING:
Now that we have seen that management information systems (MIS) are used to organize and process information, this information can be used to make decisions in an organization or business. MIS reports summarize or aggregate information to support decision-making tasks. MISs provide reports in many different ways. For example, MISs reports can be periodic, summarized, exception, comparative and ad hoc.
So, once a company has created a database, managers have to mine data which should be stored and processed in this database. Data mining is a task of using sophisticated technology to retrieve and evaluate data in a database to identify useful trends. If data is well mined and managed, it can help a business discover patterns in the sale of specific goods and services, it can also help a business find new customers, track customer complaints, requests and also evaluate cost of production and operation.
The process of making decisions in an organization is not easy, we have different types of decisions, and these include; structured decisions and non structured decisions. So, to simplify the all process of decision making, business managers and owners need to use different types of information systems to speed up the decision making process. Below I have listed some detailed points on how to use information systems to make decisions in an organization or business.
- 1. Decision Support Systems: By definition, a decision support system is an information system which provides data to business managers or owners to make decisions and choose a course of action. The primary objective of of DSS is to improve your effectiveness as a decision maker by providing you with assistance that will complement your insights. DSS retrieves data from a database in an analyzed manner to facilitate the decision making process with in an organization, DSS is made up of different types of tools and software, every business or organization uses a different type of Decision support system software to retrieve and process data.
A decision support system is commonly referred to as an interactive information technology system which is designed to support decision making when the problem is not structured. A Decision Support System has three components and these include; (Data management component, Model Management component and User Interface Management component), in brief, let me explain about each of these components of a decision support system.
- Data management component: This performs the function of storing and maintaining the information you might want your DSS to use.
- Model Management component: This one consists of both the DSS models and DSS model management system.
- User Interface Management component: This one allows you to communicate with the DSS. It consists of the user interface and the user interface management system. A user interface is that part of the system you can see when entering information or commands.
- 2. Executive Information Systems: Many businesses and organizations are putting most of their attention on employee empowerment by use of technology and they forget about empowering business executives, but it is very important to create specialized information systems to address the needs of executives. An executive information system (EIS) allows business executives to access the organization’s primary database; information accessed can include financial statements, sales figures, stock market trends and so much more.EIS supports flexible data reporting and tools for analyzing the information. This simplified process, helps managers address problems and opportunities which in return helps them make quick decisions which can help a business or organization.
- 3. Expert Systems: This is a knowledge-based system which imitates human thinking through complicated sets. The system applies reasoning capabilities to reach a conclusion. An expert system is made up of three components and these include; Information Types, People and IT Components. Expert systems are used in different ways, for example, an expert system can be used to determine credit limit for credit card applicants, it can be used to monitor machinery to predict problems or breakdowns and so much more. Expert systems are developed by capturing the knowledge of approved experts in a business or outside it. Expert systems are excellent for diagnostic and prescriptive problems. During the process of decision making, you need to know ”What’s wrong?” and ”What to do?”
RECOMMENDED BOOKS ON MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS:
- a. Management Information Systems for the Information Age
This book will provide you with detailed information on Management information systems and Information technology. Students who want to learn more about MIS, i suggest you read this book. Its chapters will teach you what to do with MIS. If you read this book, you will learn about information technology and how it affects or relates to your daily life. Get this book from here…..
- b. Management Information Systems
This is another detailed text book on MIS and Information technology; it covers topics on databases, networks, system developments, Decision Support Systems, MIS and so much more. This book will give you a detailed view on how companies use technology to improve on their performance. Get Management Information Systems text book from here…..