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.At the start, in businesses and other organizations, internal reporting was made manually and only periodically, as a by-product of the accounting system and with some additional statistics, and gave limited and delayed information on management performance. In their infancy, business computers were used for the practical business of computing the payroll and keeping track of accounts payable and accounts receivable. As applications were developed that provided managers with information about sales, inventories, and other data that would help in managing the enterprise, the term "MIS" arose to describe these kinds of applications. Today, the term is used broadly in a number of contexts and includes (but is not limited to): decision support systems, resource and people management applications, project management and database retrieval application.
An 'MIS' is a planned system of the collecting, processing, storing and disseminating data in the form of information needed to carry out the functions of management. According to Philip Kotler "A marketing information system consists of people, equipment, and procedures to gather, sort, analyze, evaluate, and distribute needed, timely, and accurate information to marketing decision makers." The terms MIS and information system are often confused. Information systems include systems that are not intended for decision making. The area of study called MIS is sometimes referred to, in a restrictive sense, as information technology management. That area of study should not be confused with computer science. IT service management is a practitioner-focused discipline. MIS has also some differences with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) as ERP incorporates elements that are not necessarily focused on decision support. Before one can explain management information systems, the terms systems, information, and management must briefly be defined. A system is a combination or arrangement of parts to form an integrated whole. A system includes an orderly arrangement according to some common principles or rules. A system is a plan or method of doing something. The study of systems is not new. The Egyptian architects who built the pyramids relied on a system of measurements for construction of the pyramids. Phoenician astronomers studied the system of the stars and predicted future star positions. The development of a set of standards and procedures, or even a theory of the universe, is as old as history itself. People have always sought to find relationships for what is seen or heard or thought about. A system is a scientific method of inquiry, that is, observation, the formulation of an idea, the testing of that idea, and the application of the results. The scientific method of problem solving is systems analysis in its broadest sense. Data are facts and figures. However, data have no value until they are compiled into a system and can provide information for decision making.
Information is what is used in the act of informing or the state of being informed. Information includes knowledge acquired by some means. In the 1960s and 70s, it became necessary to formalize an educational approach to systems for business so that individuals and work groups and businesses who crossed boundaries in the various operations of business could have appropriate information. Technical developments in computers and data processing and new theories of systems analysis made it possible to computerize systems. Much of this computerization of systems was an out growth of basic research by the federal government. Management is usually defined as planning, organizing, directing, and controlling the business operation. This definition, which evolved from the work of Henri Fayol in the early 1900s, defines what a manager does, but it is probably more appropriate to define what management is rather than what management does. Management is the process of allocating an organization's inputs, including human and economic resources, by planning, organizing, directing, and controlling for the purpose of producing goods or services desired by customers so that organizational objectives are accomplished. If management has knowledge of the planning, organizing, directing, and controlling of the business, its decisions can be made on the basis of facts, and decisions are more accurate and timely as a result. Management information systems are those systems that allow managers to make decisions for the successful operation of businesses. Management information systems consist of computer resources, people, and procedures used in the modern business enterprise. The term MIS stands for management information systems. MIS also refers to the organization that develops and maintains most or all of the computer systems in the enterprise so that managers can make decisions. The goal of the MIS organization is to deliver information systems to the various levels of corporate managers. MIS professionals create and support the computer system throughout the company. Trained and educated to work with corporate computer systems, these professionals are responsible in some way for nearly all of the computers, from the largest mainframe to the desktop and portable PCs. Background Management information systems do not have to be computerized, but with today's large, multinational corporations, computerization is a must for a business to be successful. However, management information systems began with simple manual systems such as customer databases on index cards. As early as 1642, the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal invented the first mechanical adding machine so that figures could be added to provide information. Almost two hundred years later, Charles Babbage, a professor of mathematics at Cambridge University in England, wanted to make a machine that would compute mathematical tables. He attempted to build a computing machine during the 1880s. He failed because his ideas were beyond his technical capabilities, not because the idea was flawed. Babbage is often called the father of the computer. With the advent of the computer, management information systems became automated. In the late 1890s, because of the efforts of Herman Hollerith, who created a punch-card system to tabulate the data for the 1890 census, it was possible to begin to provide data-processing equipment. The punch card developed by Hollerith was later used to form a company to provide data-processing equipment. This company evolved into International Business Machines (IBM). Mainframe computers were used for management information systems from the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and up until the 1970s. In the 1970s, personal computers were first built by hobbyists. Then Apple computer developed one of the first practical personal computers. In the early 1980s, IBM developed its PC, and since then, the personal computer industry has mush roomed. Almost every management information system revolves around some kind of computer hardware and software. Management information systems are be coming more important, and MIS personnel are more visible than in the 1960s and 1970s, when they were hidden away from the rest of the company and performed tasks behind closed doors. So remote were some MIS personnel from the operations of the business that they did not even know what products their companies made. This has changed because the need for an effective management information system is of primary concern to the business organization. Managers use MIS operations for all phases of management, including planning, organizing, directing, and controlling.
The MIS Job Today
MIS personnel must be technically qualified to work with computer hardware, software, and computer information systems. Currently, colleges and universities cannot produce enough MIS personnel for business needs, and job opportunities are great. MIS managers, once they have risen through their technical ranks of their organization to become managers, must remember that they are no longer doing the technical work. They must cross over from being technicians to become managers. Their job changes from being technicians to being systems managers who manage other people's technical work. They must see themselves as needing to solve the business problems of the user, and not just of the data-processing department. MIS managers are in charge of the systems development operations for their firm. Systems development requires four stages when developing a system for any phase of the organization:
Phase I is systems planning. The systems team must investigate the initial problem by determining what the problem is and developing a feasibility study for management to review.
Phase II identifies the requirements for the systems. It includes the systems analysis, the user requirements, necessary hardware and software, and a conceptional design for the system. Top management then reviews the systems analysis and design.
Phase III involves the development of the systems. This involves developing technical support and technical specifications, reviewing users' procedures control, designing the system, testing the system, and providing user training for the system. At this time, management again reviews and decides on whether to implement the system.
Phase IV is the implementation of the system. The new system is converted from the old system, and the new system is implemented and then refined. There must then be ongoing maintenance and reevaluation of the system to see if it continues to meet the needs of the business.
Types of Systems
Management information systems can be used as a support to managers to provide a competitive advantage. The system must support the goals of the organization. Most organizations are structured along functional lines, and the typical systems are identified as follows:
Accounting management information systems: All accounting reports are shared by all levels of accounting managers.
Financial management information systems: The financial management information system provides financial information to all financial managers within an organization including the chief financial officer. The chief financial officer analyzes historical and current financial activity, projects future financial needs, and monitors and controls the use of funds over time using the information developed by the MIS department.
• Manufacturing management information systems: More than any functional area, operations have been impacted by great advances in technology. As a result, manufacturing operations have changed. For instance, inventories are provided just in time so that great amounts of money are not spent for warehousing huge inventories.
In some instances, raw materials are even processed on railroad cars waiting to be sent directly to the factory. Thus there is no need for warehousing.
Marketing management information systems: A marketing management information system supports managerial activity in the area of product development, distribution, pricing decisions, promotional effectiveness, and sales forecasting. More than any other functional area, marketing systems relies on external sources of data. These sources include competition and customers, for example.
Human resources management information systems: Human resources management information systems are concerned with activities related to workers, managers, and other individuals employed by the organization. Because the personnel function relates to all other areas in business, the human resources management information system plays a valuable role in ensuring organizational success. Activities performed by the human resources management information systems include, work-force analysis and planning, hiring, training, and job assignments. The above are examples of the major management information systems. There may be other management information systems if the company is identified by different functional areas The Management Information Systems (MIS) program is designed to provide students with a strong educational foundation preparing them as information system (IS) professionals. MIS consists of a specially designed curriculum which emphasizes conceptual, analytical, technical and interpersonal skills. The MIS program provides comprehensive training in the application, use, and management of information systems preparing students to provide effective information services and support. Management Information System (MIS.) is basically concerned with processing data into information. This is then communicated to the various departments in an organization for appropriate decision-making. Data Information Communication Decisions Data collection involves the use of Information Technology (IT) comprising: computers and telecommunications networks (E-Mail, Voice Mail, Internet, telephone, etc.) Computers are important for more quantitative, than qualitative, data collection, storage and retrieval, Special features are speed and accuracy, and storage of large amount of data.