MIS or Management Information System is a planned system of controlling, storing, organizing information. MIS provides information that an organization needs to manage. So, an MIS plays a very important role in every aspect of an organization. Basically, MIS provides a computer-based system which is used for managing 3 primary components. – Technology, People, Data. But before moving on to the details of management information system, we have to understand ‘what is a system‘ and ‘what is an information system‘.
What is a system?
The system can be defined as each process which has a group of related components working together to achieve a common goal. For say a car system, where all components of a car work together to accelerate the car. Do you think if the front wheels and back wheels both rotate in the opposite direction of each other then the car will move? Obviously, it’s not possible.
A system can be of various types like the education system, transport system, political system… and also the information system. Now, let’s see what is an information system and what are the role of an information system in an organization.
What is an information system?
An information system is basically a combination of different computer-based tools which is used to collect data, store data and finally to process data. Businesses and organizations rely on information systems to carry out and manage their operations, interact with their customers and suppliers to compete in the market. For example, government use information systems to provide services cost-effectively to the citizens, manage the economy and also to collect taxes.
A typical information system basically has 3 components – a database which is a massive collection of related data of the system, there will be a computer program which helps you to use or access the data from the database and lastly, the program will have a user interface where the user issue commands and receive results.
Management Information System:
Management information system or MIS is an information system which is specially designed for providing information to the management. It is a computer-based system which produces regular reports on various operations for each and every level of management in an organization or business. It basically helps the company managers to make a proper planning about the business and also to control decision.
The MIS consists of 3 elements- Management, Information and System.
Management is a process of planning, controlling, organizing all of the people working in an organization to work together for achieving a common target. Management relies on the 3 functions – Planning, Controlling and Organizing.
In the planning phase, the objectives of the organization are discussed. For example, when to complete it, how to complete it etc. So, it is an important function of management.
In the organising phase, the manager assigns the objectives or task which are discussed in the planning phase. The manager also organises the resources to complete the objectives or tasks of the organization in properly and efficiently.
In the controlling phase, the measurement and correction of activities of subordinates are done. So it is basically the controlling of all the workers or subordinates in the organization to work correctly.
It is the next element of MIS which comes after management. Basically, the data and information both are interrelated to each other. So, data basically is the collection of raw facts and figures and the data is been processed to obtain information.
For say a student roll number, which is a data. When we enter this roll number into a computer-based information system like online result system, then the system will process the roll number and provide us with the details of marks carried by the student along with his/her details like name, age, class, section, address etc. So, here we entered a data and got all information regarding the exam of the student.
We have already discussed the system above. It is basically an orderly grouping of interrelated components that are arranged together to achieve a desired objectives or goal. In a system the relation among the different components matters. If elements of a system are added or removed then the behaviour of the system changes.
Characteristics of Management Information System:
I hope you have a clear picture of MIS. Now, management information system or MIS has some important characteristics to be considered. These characteristics of MIS are the building blocks of MIS. Let’s talk about the important characteristics of MIS in details.
It is concerned with the whole of the system and its performance is measured with the objectives for which it has been made by taking a comprehensive view. It is a step by step procedure to study the whole system along with its subsystems.
The system should be designed by keeping the organizational objectives in the mind. For designing of MIS top-down approach should be followed. The top-down approach means the system development should start from the determination of the management needs and overall objectives of the business.
The system should be able to serve to a specific needs of managers at different levels that are strategic planning level, management control level and operational control level. So, it should be designed accordingly to present that criteria.
MIS should also be exception based. In some abnormal cases, the expected value may vary beyond the sufferance limits. In those cases, there should be exception reporting to the decision makers at the required level.
An MIS also should be future oriented. MIS should also look to the future. In other words, It should not only provide past or historical information that already exists. It has to provide information on the idea of projections that are to be initiated in future.
A management information system should be integrated. An MIS is a logically integrated system comprising of subsystems. Where all the activities of each subsystem are inter-related. Integration is possible by the rotation of the data among those subsystems. Integration is significant because of its ability to produce more meaningful information. It is important to have an integrated system because to make an effective decision, information may be required from different areas or within the different parts of the organisation. In order to provide a total solution of the plan, a complete and integrated information is needed which can only be provided by an integrated system.
Common Data Flows/Common Databases
Common data flow is a logical cost-effective concept of making an MIS more meaningful. There should be some common data flows in the system in order to avoid data redundancy and duplicity.
Long-term planning is another important characteristic of MIS that should have. It should not get obsolete very soon. At the time of designing of MIS, the system analyser should keep in mind that the design should be a future-oriented and future effectiveness.
Sub System Concept
Subsystem concept is another characteristic of MIS which says that the system must be broken down into subsystems so that the work can be completed easily and on time. Although a system is considered as a single entity, a big system should be divided into subsystems so that one subsystem can be implemented at a time for better effectiveness.
Flexibility also important for an MIS. A system must be able to adopt changes and should also be dynamic. It should be designed in such a way that it can be modified to changing circumstances. It must be capable of expansion, accommodate, growth or a new type of processing activities.
Reliability & Accuracy
Reliability and accuracy is another key point of an effective MIS. MIS whole improves the efficiency of the complete organisation. So, the information provided should be reliable and accurate in all aspects. Inadequate or incorrect information generally leads to the decision of poor quality.
An incomplete or partial presentation of data will result in a call that doesn’t have the expected results. Information should be complete and contain all the facts that are necessary for the decision makers to satisfactorily solve the problem.