Management information systems encompass all the computer systems and networks that organizations use to track their operations. Over the years, the scope of MIS has expanded beyond just referring to accounting applications, and it now covers the full range of business intelligence applications and can also include the hardware that runs them and the staff that keeps them working. While MIS has common benefits, it also has common problems.

MIS Culture

On their faces, management information systems are all about business. They collect and process information in a way that should help the companies that use them to better manage their resources and create growth. However, underneath the surface, MIS systems are based on science -- computer science, to be exact. Business, on the other hand, is frequently based on the judgment and intuition of its leaders, even if those leaders use data and science to guide their decision-making. This can cause a cultural disconnect.

Scaling MIS

Very large MIS infrastructures can handle varying organizational sizes relatively easily, since the difference between a very large business and an extremely large one is relatively minimal, all things considered. At the other end of the extreme, systems that run on a single computer for a very small business can also serve those organizations well with tools that are easy to use. The challenges come in the middle, where an organization is changing in size and scope and might outgrow its MIS software.

Integrating MIS

The power of management information systems also carries the challenge of getting an organization's workers to buy into them. The customer relationship management programs that many companies use to help manage their sales forces are an excellent example of this. CRM software allows companies to maiintain extensive databases of information on every customer and prospect. However, to take advantage of them, customer service and sales representatives must report their activities within the software, and managers must be able to use that data. Frequently, the process breaks down.


For management information systems to work, they need skilled staff. At the high level, MIS requires business professionals who understand how to use technology to drive business goals. Keeping the system running and safe from intruders takes server administrators, network engineers, security experts and help desk personnel. While some areas of information technology have an adequate labor pool, others are prone to worker shortages, making it challenging, expensive or both to find skilled workers to keep management information systems working.