Having a working system to manage information is tantamount to success for companies. Everything from financial data to customer tracking, payroll and project development must be organized and easily assessable. A management information system plays a vital role in any organization. When needed data cannot be located, chaos ensues and companies lose time, resources and sustainability.
Managers and corporate executives need to retrieve data continuously to make projections and plan budgets and operations. By utilizing a single storage place to manage information, leaders can rapidly access large amounts of data and make more accurate decisions. By integrating financial, marketing, employee and production information in one central database, executives can determine how internal and external decisions will affect the entire company. Expect a learning curve for the first year as managers and employees get accustomed to entering data in the new system. Executives may require training to read the results and to learn how to tap into the resources they never had in the past.
Look for a management information system that will serve your company best. When deciding on a new software program to fulfill this role, consider the costs versus the savings. A management information system should have a high return on investment and should not create an additional cost burden on the company. Accurate planning, forecasting, reporting and evaluating should save the company from making poor decisions, losing time accumulating data and relying on numerous employees and departments to report their numbers on a timely basis. When all the information is located in one place and projects move more efficiently, the system should more than pay for itself.
Work with a software developer to build a management information system that is flexible and does not overload your teams with unnecessary information. Invest in a consultant to help define your core requirements that include information for strategic planning and project management. To be useful and successful, a management information system should focus on company products and services, customers, operating costs, marketing opportunities and the company's exposure to risk. Take into account all the pieces of a new system, including additional hardware you may need to purchase and the skill level of employees and subsequent training that may be needed. Consider outsourcing the software maintenance to save costs. Expect to wait at least 4 to 6 months for a system to be completed when getting bids from various vendors.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."