Companies produce vast quantities of information in the course of doing business. According to researchers at the University of California, San Diego, companies worldwide processed 9.57 zettabytes of information in 2008. This equates to 3 terabytes of information per worker per year. Management information systems (MIS) are computer-based processes that extract, summarize and report on relevant data to enable managers in functional departments to use corporate information to make accurate and reliable decisions.
In the 1960s, computer technology enabled companies to automate processes previously carried out by hand. Early computers had limited functionality and standalone capability, and simply processed data. During the 1970s and 1980s, advances in technology led to computers becoming interconnected with increased processing capability. Computers were able to store, analyze and report on larger volumes of complex data. With this increase in computer capability, MIS became an integral part of corporate information processing and operational decision-making.
MIS is the procedural structure that ensures managers receive relevant information to carry out routine decision-making. MIS gather, store and process information to produce regular reports. Examples of routine MIS reports include daily reports on employees who are absent without authorization; actual monthly costs compared against budgeted monthly costs; quarterly sales achieved compared against the sales target for the period; and forecasts of raw material usage using predictions based on past usage.
Objectives of MIS
The key objectives of MIS are the efficient processing of company information and the production of meaningful reports to enable managers to make sound business decisions. To fulfill these objectives, MIS gather, store and analyze corporate data. MIS produce reports in a format that makes corporate data meaningful for managers and provides a solid foundation on which they can base their routine operational and functional decisions. Middle managers are the main users of MIS within an organization as they are the key decision-makers at an operational and functional level.
MIS continue to evolve to meet the changing business environment. Employees and customers store and exchange information in an increasing variety of ways, including email and web-based communication tools. Companies want to make the best use of all the data available to them. The technology underpinning information systems is becoming more complex to cope with increasing volumes and complexity of corporate data. In addition, many organizations have a requirement for real-time data to respond more rapidly to changing business needs. MIS can make real-time data available at a glance via dashboard displays, which enable managers to make immediate decisions based on up-to-date performance metrics.
- University of California, San Diego; How Much Information? 2010; James E. Short, et al.; January 2011
- "Strategic Planning for Information Systems"; John Ward, et al.; 1990
- "Journal of Information Technology Management"; Information Systems Objectives: Effects of Experience, Position Level, and Education on Developers; Dane K. Peterson, et al.; 2000
- "MIS Quarterly Executive"; Vigilant Information Systems for Managing Enterprises in Dynamic Supply Chains: Real-time Dashboards at Western Digital; Robert Houghton, et al.; March 2004
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