What is MIS?

MIS is the use of information technology, people, and business processes to record, store and process data to produce information that decision makers can use to make day to day decisions.

MIS is the acronym for Management Information Systems. In a nutshell, MIS is a collection of systems, hardware, procedures and people that all work together to process, store, and produce information that is useful to the organization.

The need for MIS

The following are some of the justifications for having an MIS system

  • Decision makers need information to make effective decisions.Management Information Systems (MIS) make this possible.
  • MIS systems facilitate communication within and outside the organization– employees within the organization are able to easily access the required information for the day to day operations. Facilitates such as Short Message Service (SMS) & Email make it possible to communicate with customers and suppliers from within the MIS system that an organization is using.
  • Record keeping– management information systems record all business transactions of an organization and provide a reference point for the transactions.

Components of MIS

The major components of a typical management information system are;

  1. People– people who use the information system
  2. Data– the data that the information system records
  3. Business Procedures– procedures put in place on how to record, store and analyze data
  4. Hardware– these include servers, workstations, networking equipment, printers, etc.
  5. Software– these are programs used to handle the data. These include programs such as spreadsheet programs, database software, etc.

Types of Information Systems

The type of information system that a user uses depends on their level in an organization. The following diagram shows the three major levels of users in an organization and the type of information system that they use.

Transaction Processing Systems (TPS)

This type of information system is used to record the day to day transactions of a business. An example of a Transaction Processing System is a Point of Sale (POS) system. A POS system is used to record the daily sales.

Management Information Systems (MIS)

Management Information Systems are used to guide tactic managers to make semi-structured decisions. The output from the transaction processing system is used as input to the MIS system.

Decision Support Systems (DSS)

Decision support systems are used by top level managers to make semi-structured decisions. The output from the Management Information System is used as input to the decision support system.DSS systems also get data input from external sources such as current market forces, competition, etc.

Manual Information Systems VS Computerized Information Systems (MIS)

Data is the bloodstream of any business entity. Everyone in an organization needs information to make decisions. An information system is an organized way of recording, storing data, and retrieving information.

Manual Information System

A manual information system does not use any computerized devices. The recording, storing and retrieving of data is done manually by the people, who are responsible for the information system.

The following are the major components of a manual information system

  • People –people are the recipients of information system
  • Business Procedures –these are measures put in place that define the rules for processing data, storing it, analyzing it and producing information
  • Data –these are the recorded day to day transactions
  • Filing system –this is an organized way of storing information
  • Reports –the reports are generated after manually analyzing the data from the filing system and compiling it.

Strategic Planning for Management Information Systems

Management ScienceThis paper deals with strategic planning for management information systems. Specifically, those variables of the strategic plan which impact on the success or failure of MIS are identified, and propositions are formulated relating states of the variables to system conditions. The variables concerned are the system development strategy, the purpose of MIS, the priority scheme, functions assigned the system, goals, definitions of requirements and documentation of the strategic plan.

Two factors predominate in determining the appropriateness of strategic plans for MIS explicitness (the degree to which the process is conscious, formal and documented) and situational fit (the degree to which the MIS is compatible with the specific organization and its members). It is concluded that there is no one optimal, strategic plan for MIS. Each organization must develop that strategy which best fits its particular situation.



The design of a management information system may seem to management to be an expensive project, the cost of getting the MIS on line satisfactorily may often be comparable to that of its design, and the implementation has been accomplished when the outputs of the MIS are continuously utilized by decision makers.

Once the design has been completed, there are four basic methods for implementing the MIS.
These are
1. Install the system in a new operation or organization.
2. Cut off the old system and install the new
This produces a time gap during which no system is in operation. Practically, installation requires one or two days for small companies or small systems.
3. Cut over by segments
This method is also referred as” phasing in” the new system. Small parts or subsystems are substituted for the old. In the case of upgrading old systems, this may be a very desirable method.
4. Operate in parallel and cut over.
The new system is installed and operated in parallel with the current system until it has been checked out, then only the current system is cut out. This method is expensive because of personal and related costs. Its big advantages are that the system is fairly well debugged when it becomes the essential information system.

Plan the implementation

The three main phases in implementation take place in series.
These are

1. The initial installation
2. The test of the system as a whole
3. The evaluation, maintenance and control of the system.

Many implementation activities should be undertaken in parallel to reduce implementation time. Training of personnel and preparation of software may be in parallel with each other and with other implementation activities.

The first step in the implementation procedure is to plan the implementation. Some analyst includes the planning of the implementation with the design of the system, the planning and the action to implement the plan should be bound closely together. Planning is the first step of management, not the last. The MIS design and the urgent need for the system at the time the design is completed will weigh heavily on the plan for implementation.

Implementation Tasks

The major implementation tasks consists of-

1. Planning the implementation activities
2. Acquiring and laying out facilities and offices
3. Organizing the personnel for implementation
4. Developing procedures for installation and testing
5. Developing the training program for operating personnel.
6. Completing the system’s software
7. Acquiring required hardware
8. Generating files
9. Designing forms
10. Testing the entire system
11. Completing cutover to the new system
12. Documenting the system
13. Evaluating the MIS
14. Providing system maintenance(debugging and improving)

. Planning the implementation activities

Establish Relationships among tasks

For small projects, the order of performance may simply be described in text form. A Gantt chart or network diagram makes visualization of the plan and schedule much clearer.

For large projects, many concurrent and sequential activities are interrelated so that a network diagram must be employed in any good plan.
Establish a Schedule
it is prepared by having the system designers estimate the times between the events in the program network. The critical path (longest time through the network) can be calculated. After specifying the starting date, the end date is established.

Cost Schedule to Tasks and Time

The cost for completing each task required to complete is established as part of the plan; then the rate of expenditures should be budgeted.

Reporting and control of the work in progress may be obtained by weekly meetings. The financial personnel must make certain that report formats allow them to show cost and technical progress relationship as well as cost and time.

2. Acquiring and laying out facilities and offices

For the installation of a new system to replace a current one may require a major revision of facilities as well as completely new office, computer room etc.

The MIS project manager must prepare rough layouts and estimates of particular floor areas that feel to be needed. The manager then prepares cost estimates.

Space planning must be done by the space to be occupied by people, the space occupied by equipment and the movement of people and equipment in the work progress. A large investment in good working conditions will repay its cost many times.

3. Organizing the personnel for implementation

As the implementation tasks have been defined, management usually assigns a project manager to guide the implementation.

The purpose of the MIS is to increase the amount and quality of their contributions, the system is their system.

Top management must make the middle managers for their involvement in implementation, besides these, systems specialists, computer programmer; top management should make sure that each people who will operate the system should have active parts in the implementation.

4. Developing procedures for installation and testing
After organizing the personnel for implementation the next task is to develop or prepare the procedures for implementation. As the project leader has the network plan for proceeding with the implementation, this leader calls the key people in the project to prepare more detailed procedures for system installation.

Procedures for evaluating and selecting hardware must be spelled out. Procedures for phasing in parts of the MIS or operating the MIS in parallel must be developed.

The major part of implementing the MIS is the testing of each segment of total system as it is installed.

5. Developing the training program for operating personnel

A program is developed keeping in mind to impress management and support. After developing the program, it is necessary to train operating personnel in their new duties. They must have a thorough understanding of what the new MIS is like and what it is supposed to do. They must learn how it will operate. They are faced with many changes in their work and have to obtain acceptance of changes.

As there are various levels of personnel and these people will be working with only a small part of the MIS, the seminars should be designed to provide them with an understanding of the complete system.

6. Completing the system’s software

As the software is developed internally or under contract, in both cases, the software development must take in mind the nature of the hardware required.
As the system designers and programmers provide the flow diagrams and the block diagrams during the detailed design state. Some modification may be required, as the implementation stage progresses.

7. Acquiring required hardware

This acquisition is usually the limiting factor in getting am MIS implementation. These tasks should be started during the design stage.

The decision is to be needed, whether to buy or lease the hardware. Capital expenditure analysis is only one of many factors involved in this decision. Others are prestige, usage etc.

In the implementation stage, the actual data must be obtained and recorded for the initial



The system concept becomes even more useful by including two additional components: feedback and control. A system with feedback and control components is sometimes called a cybernetic system, that is, a self-monitoring, self-regulating system.

  • Feedback is data about the performance of a system. For example, data about sales performance is feedback to a sales manager.
  • Control involves monitoring and evaluating feedback to determine whether a system is moving toward the achievement  of its goal. The control function then makes necessary adjustment to a system’s input and processing components to ensure that it produces proper output. For example, a sales manager exercises control when he or she reassigns salespersons to new sales territories after evaluating feedback about their sales performance.

Components of an Information System. An information system depends on the resources of people (end-user and IS Specialist), hardware (machines and media), software (programs and procedures), data (data and knowledge bases), and networks (communications media and network support) to perform input, processing, output, storage, and control activities that convert data resources into information products.
Trend in Information System. Until the 1960s, the role of information system was simple: transaction processing, record-keeping, accounting and other electronic data processing (EDP) applications. Then another role was added, as the concept of MIS was conceived. This new role focused on providing managerial end users with predefined management reports that would give managers the information they needed for decision-making purposes.
By the 1970s, it was evident that the information products produced by such management information systems were not adequately meeting many of the decision-making needs of management. So the consept of decision support system (DSS) was born. The new role for information system was to provide managerial end users with ad hoc and interactive support of their decision-making processes. This support would betailored to the unique decision-making styles of managers as they confronted specific types of problem in the real world. Information system security refers to the way the system is defended against unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, perusal, inspection, recording or destruction.

There are two major aspects of information system security:

  • Security of the information technology used – securing the system from malicious cyber-attacks that tend to break into the system and to access critical private information or gain control of the internal systems.
  • Security of data – ensuring the integrity of data when critical issues, arise such as natural disasters, computer/server malfunction, physical theft etc. Generally an off-site backup of data is kept for such problems.

Guaranteeing effective information security has the following key aspects:

  1. Preventing the unauthorized individuals or systems from accessing the information.
  2. Maintaining and assuring the accuracy and consistency of data over its entire life-cycle.
  3. Ensuring that the computing systems, the security controls used to protect it and the communication channels used to access it, functioning correctly all the time, thus making information available in all situations.
  4. Ensuring that the data, transactions, communications or documents are genuine.
  5. Ensuring the integrity of a transaction by validating that both parties involved are genuine, by incorporating authentication features such as “digital signatures”.
  6. Ensuring that once a transaction takes place, none of the parties can deny it, either having received a transaction, or having sent a transaction. This is called ‘non-repudiation’.
  7. Safeguarding data and communications stored and shared in network systems.
Information Systems and Ethics

Information systems bring about immense social changes, threatening the existing distributions of power, money, rights, and obligations. It also raises new kinds of crimes, like cyber-crimes.

Following organizations promote ethical issues:

  1. The Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP)
  2. The Association of Computing Machinery (ACM)
  3. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
  4. Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR)
The ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct
  1. Strive to achieve the highest quality, effectiveness, and dignity in both the process and products of professional work.
  2. Acquire and maintain professional competence.
  3. Know and respect existing laws pertaining to professional work.
  4. Accept and provide appropriate professional review.
  5. Give comprehensive and thorough evaluations of computer systems and their impacts, including analysis and possible risks.
  6. Honor contracts, agreements, and assigned responsibilities.
  7. Improve public understanding of computing and its consequences.
  8. Access computing and communication resources only when authorized to do so