Simply stated, a Management Information System is a system that supports the process of decision making. It facilitates managers to take informed decisions.
Nowadays the term Management Information Systems sounds a bit old fashioned. Companies rather speak of Business Intelligence systems.
The Gartner coined term, Business Intelligence, is about gathering knowledge about one's business, and would go one step further than simply processing information. A BI-system enables a user to grow a more profound knowlegde of his or her business leading to better decisions. All this based on the system's ability to process loads of data and showing the resulting information in several formats on different levels of aggregation.
A nice and simple definition of information is the following one:
Data that are meaningful or useful to the recipient
Source: Management Information Systems, Davis en Olson, 1985
According to this definition:
Remarks 1 and 2 are about the type of data, while 3 and 4 refer to form and distribution. Different formats of presentation at the right time in the right place can far more easily be obtained in this era of fast internet and fancy graphical tools compared to only ten years ago.
Management information is information tailored to a manager's needs, allowing him or her to steer processes within his or her responsibility areas. Stated differently, management information is information that supports decision-making leading to informed decisions.
A Management Information System can be defined as follows:
An Information System to consolidate and translate data from underlying business registration systems in a sensible way leading to useful management information.
15 to 20 years ago a Management Information System (MIS) was considered a type of information system, nowadays a MIS is only one of the distinctive Business Intelligence systems that are out there. At least, according to Laudon and Laudon:
MIS primarily serve the functions of planning, controlling, and decision making at the management level.
Source: Management Information Systems, Laudon & Laudon, ninth edition, 2006
A Business Intelligence system encompasses far more, these writers claim:
Business intelligence provides firms with the capability to amass information, develop knowledge about operations, and change decision-making behavior to achieve profitability and other business goals.
According to below mentioned article a good Business Intelligence system can help a company surge from recession.
“Business intelligence is designed to support the decision making process,” says Schwenk [senior analyst at Ovum's software division]. “Properly used and implemented it can help companies weather the economic storm.”
According to the same article this senior analyst notes an interesting development. Business intelligence tools are no longer the exclusive domain of managers and key decision makers, rather they are being widely dispersed throughout entire organisations more than before. The analyst adds that in call centres, for instance, this has led to an improvement in customer service as more information means fewer questions and faster responses.
This site contains own material as well as text and image quotations.