How to Develop a Management Information System

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Management information systems (MIS) provides company data needed by boards of directors, senior administrators and lower-level managers. MIS identifies strategic personnel and operational and financial accomplishments and shortfalls, monitors progress toward goals and assesses changes that might be needed. An effective management information system gathers, organizes, analyzes, evaluates, and communicates useful data in a timely manner to the people who require it. Information is the cornerstone of effective management, but data for management use must be carefully selected and appropriately presented to be effective.

Describe the areas of information and the items in each you will collect data for. Make a list of your company's departments, such as human resources, marketing, finance, including accounts payable and receivable, purchasing, sales, inventory, risk management, information technology, customer service and manufacturing. Select the data from each that managers need to know in order to make reasoned decisions. Present those data in ways that make them easy to understand and use. Use a variety charts, lists, spreadsheets, statistical comparisons and other formats for communicating the information.

Form a group of stakeholders, including policy makers, administrators, managers, and information technicians, to review and modify the form and substance of the items to be collected. Input from this group is critical because they help you determine what data will be collected, how they will be collected and by whom, how they will be presented and who will receive the information. They can also help you weed out data that is not needed.

Finalize a detailed operational plan that describes what you intend to collect, how, how often and by what means the data will be processed, secured from unauthorized intrusions and stored. Indicate what equipment and supplies the system requires and what personnel are necessary, including their training, maintenance and supervision requirements. Prepare a detailed budget and a schedule for getting the system operational. Obtain the needed approvals for your plan and budget.

Describe a plan to overcome the obstacles you are likely to face. Determine the level of cooperation you can expect from the system developers and users. Develop a plan for training the end-users.

Measure the efficiency of the information output. Determine the extent to which the users find the information helpful in decision-making and easy to use. Put in place a monitoring procedure to ensure the system's continuing effectiveness.


About the Author

Roy Sylvan has a Ph.D. in communication studies. He directed a large city department of aging, was COO of a consulting company and provided management training to companies and nonprofits. Writing for more than 40 years, Sylvan has authored articles in trade journals, magazines and blogs, and wrote a how-to book on starting a business.

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