Business Technology: Management Information Systems (MIS)

Management information systems (MIS) are a tool for managers to utilize various forms of information, which in turn, enhances the organization's profits.

In today's continually evolving, technology-based environment, the objectives of company managers must be adapted to keep up with the changing times. Management information systems (MIS) are therefore a premier tool for managers to utilize various forms of information that can be converted into knowledge, which in turn (and in theory), enhances the organization's profitability. MIS's have become an essential tool in nearly all organizations; no management structure is complete without a system for retrieving, organizing and storing information as a means of making management related decisions. The problem, however is that the information available about management information systems essentially becomes obsolete almost as fast as it is published because the innovations in technology are accelerating at such a swift rate. With new information being accessed daily via the Internet, managers need to develop the skills required to efficiently manage such vast amounts of information. For the most part, businesses have readily embraced the Internet and its unprecedented ability to break communications barriers with speed, interactivity and innovation, but many still lack the appropriate training to interpret such vast amounts of information effectively.

MIS's can often be inefficient and therefore can sometimes be an inadequate means of processing vital information. This is because information frequently needs to be reorganized and coordinated from a variety of sources such as reports, Internet documents and inner-office memos. Often, these sources do not completely concur, which creates additional confusion. Thus in order to generate the analytical tools managers need for strategic and effective decision-making, managers must convert the MIS into a more efficient method for which to gather, receive and store information.

While modern organizations tend to be converting to more basic and simple infrastructures, management information systems have become increasingly complex. Ultimately, MIS's facilitate in the acquisition and organization of critical information by attempting to balance two divergent demands. These demands heighten the pressure on MIS's in that continuous advances in technology continue to provide new opportunities and increasingly diverse information. Thus the pressure on managers to make appropriate decisions regarding MIS is also heightened.

One of the primary reasons a company's MIS must be properly designed and managed is because it encourages new insights, increased knowledge and augmented sharing of information. In a perfect world, the flow of information between the provider and the user would be exceedingly smooth. It would also generate the free flow of comments, assessments and predictions that would create a stronger connection between the sharers of the information. Some managers assert that in order for information to flow smoothly enough for a company to exist almost solely in Cyberspace, there is one more dam that must be torn down; the lack of information sharing that occurs between organizations. The process of this information sharing works best when it is appropriately matched to the work habits of the staff. Business activities, people, and information are all intrinsically intertwined. Therefore when one element changes, the other two are influenced as well.

There are no signs that the pace of change in today's business world shows any signs of slowing. Coping with the effects of change is a constant challenge as organizations strive to remain competitive in a fast-paced global environment. Add to the mix the implementation of new human resources business processes and systems, and the result is a plethora of confused managers who don't know how to deal with the dynamic transformations and mass amounts of new information they are forced to deal with on a daily basis.

Far from being a "scientific formula", the interaction between MIS's and decision-making depends largely on the intuition and sensitivity of senior managers and their level of commitment to the organization's success. Management information systems can allow management decisions to be flexible and adaptable, which means an organization's assets can be focused to meet customers' needs by providing solutions to common problems.

© High Speed Ventures 2011