Management Information Systems (Encyclopedia of Business and Finance)
Before one can explain management information systems, the terms systems, information, and management must briefly be defined. A system is a combination or arrangement of parts to form an integrated whole. A system includes an orderly arrangement according to some common principles or rules. A system is a plan or method of doing something.
The study of systems is not new. The Egyptian architects who built the pyramids relied on a system of measurements for construction of the pyramids. Phoenician astronomers studied the system of the stars and predicted future star positions. The development of a set of standards and procedures, or even a theory of the universe, is as old as history itself. People have always sought to find relationships for what is seen or heard or thought about.
A system is a scientific method of inquiry, that is, observation, the formulation of an idea, the testing of that idea, and the application of the results. The scientific method of problem solving is systems analysis in its broadest sense. Data are facts and figures. However, data have no value until they are compiled into a system and can provide information for decision making.
Information is what is used in the act of informing or the state of being informed. Information includes knowledge acquired by some means. In the 1960s and 70s, it became necessary to formalize an educational approach to systems for business so that individuals and work groups and businesses who crossed boundaries in the various operations of business could have appropriate information. Technical developments in computers and data processing and new theories of systems analysis made it possible to computerize systems. Much of this computerization of systems was an out growth of basic research by the federal government.
Management is usually defined as planning, organizing, directing, and controlling the business operation. This definition, which evolved from the work of Henri Fayol in the early 1900s, defines what a manager does, but it is probably more appropriate to define what management is rather than what management does. Management is the process of allocating an organization's inputs, including human and economic resources, by planning, organizing, directing, and controlling for the purpose of producing goods or services desired by customers so that organizational objectives are accomplished. If management has knowledge of the planning, organizing, directing, and controlling of the business, its decisions can be made on the basis of facts, and decisions are more accurate and timely as a result.
Management information systems are those systems that allow managers to make decisions for the successful operation of businesses. Management information systems consist of computer resources, people, and procedures used in the modern business enterprise. The term MIS stands for management information systems. MIS also refers to the organization that develops and maintains most or all of the computer systems in the enterprise so that managers can make decisions. The goal of the MIS organization is to deliver information systems to the various levels of corporate managers. MIS professionals create and support the computer system throughout the company. Trained and educated to work with corporate computer systems, these professionals are responsible in some way for nearly all of the computers, from the largest mainframe to the desktop and portable PCs.
Management information systems do not have to be computerized, but with today's large, multinational corporations, computerization is a must for a business to be successful. However, management information systems began with simple manual systems such as customer databases on index cards. As early as 1642, the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal invented the first mechanical adding machine so that figures could be added to provide information. Almost two hundred years later, Charles Babbage, a professor of mathematics at Cambridge University in England, wanted to make a machine that would compute mathematical tables. He attempted to build a computing machine during the 1880s. He failed because his ideas were beyond his technical capabilities, not because the idea was flawed. Babbage is often called the father of the computer. With the advent of the computer, management information systems became automated.
In the late 1890s, because of the efforts of Herman Hollerith, who created a punch-card system to tabulate the data for the 1890 census, it was possible to begin to provide data-processing equipment. The punch card developed by Hollerith was later used to form a company to provide data-processing equipment. This company evolved into International Business Machines (IBM). Mainframe computers were used for management information systems from the
1940s, 50s, 60s, and up until the 1970s. In the 1970s, personal computers were first built by hobbyists. Then Apple computer developed one of the first practical personal computers. In the early 1980s, IBM developed its PC, and since then, the personal computer industry has mush roomed. Almost every management information system revolves around some kind of computer hardware and software.
Management information systems are be coming more important, and MIS personnel are more visible than in the 1960s and 1970s, when they were hidden away from the rest of the company and performed tasks behind closed doors. So remote were some MIS personnel from the operations of the business that they did not even know what products their companies made. This has changed because the need for an effective management information system is of primary concern to the business organization. Managers use MIS operations for all phases of management, including planning, organizing, directing, and controlling.
THE MIS JOB TODAY
MIS personnel must be technically qualified to work with computer hardware, software, and computer information systems. Currently, colleges and universities cannot produce enough MIS personnel for business needs, and job opportunities are great. MIS managers, once they have risen through their technical ranks of their organization to become managers, must remember that they are no longer doing the technical work. They must cross over from being technicians to become managers. Their job changes from being technicians to being systems managers who manage other people's technical work. They must see themselves as needing to solve the business problems of the user, and not just of the data-processing department.
MIS managers are in charge of the systems development operations for their firm. Systems development requires four stages when developing a system for any phase of the organization:
Phase I is systems planning. The systems team must investigate the initial problem by determining what the problem is and developing a feasibility study for management to review.
Phase II identifies the requirements for the systems. It includes the systems analysis, the user requirements, necessary hardware and software, and a conceptional design for the system. Top management then reviews the systems analysis and design.
Phase III involves the development of the systems. This involves developing technical support and technical specifications, reviewing users' procedures control, designing the system, testing the system, and providing user training for the system. At this time, management again reviews and decides on whether to implement the system.
Phase IV is the implementation of the system. The new system is converted from the old system, and the new system is implemented and then refined. There must then be ongoing maintenance and reevaluation of the system to see if it continues to meet the needs of the business.
TYPES OF SYSTEMS
Management information systems can be used as a support to managers to provide a competitive advantage. The system must support the goals of the organization. Most organizations are structured along functional lines, and the typical systems are identified as follows:
Accounting management information systems: All accounting reports are shared by all levels of accounting managers.
Financial management information systems: The financial management information system provides financial information to all financial managers within an organization including the chief financial officer. The chief financial officer analyzes historical and current financial activity, projects future financial needs, and monitors and controls the use of funds over time using the information developed by the MIS department.
Manufacturing management information systems: More than any functional area, operations have been impacted by great advances in technology. As a result, manufacturing operations have changed. For instance, inventories are provided just in time so that great amounts of money are not spent for warehousing huge inventories. In some instances, raw materials are even processed on railroad cars waiting to be sent directly to the factory. Thus there is no need for warehousing.
Marketing management information systems: A marketing management information system supports managerial activity in the area of product development, distribution, pricing decisions, promotional effectiveness, and sales forecasting. More than any other functional area, marketing systems rely on external sources of data. These sources include competition and customers, for example.
Human resources management information systems: Human resources management information systems are concerned with activities related to workers, managers, and other individuals employed by the organization. Because the personnel function relates to all other areas in business, the human resources management information system plays a valuable role in ensuring organizational success. Activities performed by the human resources management information systems include, work-force analysis and planning, hiring, training, and job assignments.
The above are examples of the major management information systems. There may be other management information systems if the company is identified by different functional areas.
Rochester, Jack B. (1996). "Tools for Knowledge Workers." I Using Computers in Information. Indianapolis, IN: Que Education and Training.
Stair, Ralph M. (1996). Principles of Information Systems and Managerial Approach, 2nd ed. Cincinnati, OH: Boyd & Fraser.
Management Information Systems (Encyclopedia of Management)
All businesses share one common asset, regardless of the type of business. It does not matter if they manufacture goods or provide services. It is a vital part of any business entity, whether a sole proprietorship or a multinational corporation. That common asset is information.
Information enables us to determine the need to create new products and services. Information tells us to move into new markets or to withdraw from other markets. Without information, the goods do not get made, the orders are not placed, the materials are not procured, the shipments are not delivered, the customers are not billed, and the business cannot survive.
But information has far lesser impact when presented as raw data. In order to maximize the value of information, it must be captured, analyzed, quantified, compiled, manipulated, made accessible, and shared. In order to accomplish those tasks, an information system (IS) must be designed, developed, administered, and maintained.
An information system is a computer system that provides management and other personnel within an organization with up-to-date information regarding the organization's performance; for example, current inventory and sales. It usually is linked to a computer network, which is created by joining different computers together in order to share data and resources. It is designed to capture, transmit, store, retrieve, manipulate, and or display information used in one or more business processes. These systems output information in a form that is useable at all levels of the organization: strategic, tactical, and operational.
Systems that are specifically geared toward serving general, predictable management functions are sometimes called management information systems (MIS). A good example of an MIS report is the information that goes into an annual report created for the stockholders of a corporation (a scheduled report). The administration of an information system is typically the province of the MIS or information technology (IT) department within an organization.
Some applications have infringed on the familiar MIS landscape. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and executive information systems (EIS) both provide packaged modules and programs that perform the same functions as traditional MIS, but with greater functionality, flexibility, and integration capabilities.
The original computerized information systems were based on mainframes. "Mainframe" is a term originally referring to the cabinet containing the central processor unit or "main frame" of a room-filling computer. After the emergence of smaller mini-computer designs in the early 1970s, the traditional large machines were described as "mainframe computers," or simply mainframes. The term carries the connotation of a machine designed for batch rather than interactive use, though possibly with an interactive time-sharing operating system retrofitted onto it.
It has been conventional wisdom in most of the business community since the late 1980s that the mainframe architectural tradition is essentially dead, having been swamped by huge advances in integrated circuit design technology and low-cost personal computing. Despite this, mainframe sales in the United States enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence in the 1990s, as prices came down and as large organizations found they needed high-power computing resources more than ever. Supporters claim that mainframes still house 90 percent of the data major businesses rely on for mission-critical applications, attributing this to their superior performance, reliability, scalability, and security compared to microprocessors.
The Internet has opened up further developments in information systems and the exchange of information via web-based e-mail, intranets, and extranets. These technologies allow for much faster data and information exchange and greater access for more users. Web-casting and videoconferencing allow for real-time information exchanges. Mobile computing technologies accessed by handheld devices, such as multi-functional mobile phones, personal digital assistants, and podcasting (via iPods), are offering further modes of communication.
INFORMATION SYSTEM DESIGN AND ADMINISTRATION
The design of an information system is based on various factors. Cost is a major consideration, but there certainly are others to be taken into account, such as the number of users; the modularity of the system, or the ease with which new components can be integrated into the system, and the ease with which outdated or failed components can be replaced; the amount of information to be processed; the type of information to be processed; the computing power required to meet the varied needs of the organization; the anticipated functional life of the system and/or components; the ease of use for the people who will be using the system; and the requirements and compatibility of the applications that are to be run on the system.
There are different ways to construct an information system, based upon organizational requirements, both in the function aspect and the financial sense. Of course, the company needs to take into consideration that hardware that is purchased and assembled into a network will become outdated rather quickly. It is almost axiomatic that the technologies used in information systems steadily increase in power and versatility on a rapid time scale. Perhaps the trickiest part of designing an information system from a hardware standpoint is straddling the fine line between too much and not enough, while keeping an eye on the requirements that the future may impose.
Applying foresight when designing a system can bring substantial rewards in the future, when system components are easy to repair, replace, remove, or update without having to bring the whole information system to its knees. When an information system is rendered inaccessible or inoperative, the system is considered to be "down."
A primary function of the maintaining an information system is to minimize downtime, or hopefully, to eradicate downtime altogether. The costs created by a department, facility, organization, or workforce being idled by an inoperative system can become staggering in a short amount of time. The inconvenience to customers can cost the firm even more if sales are lost as a result, in addition to any added costs the customers might incur.
Another vital consideration regarding the design and creation of an information system is to determine which users have access to which information. The system should be configured to grant access to the different partitions of data and information by granting user-level permissions for access. A common method of administering system access rights is to create unique profiles for each user, with the appropriate user-level permissions that provide proper clearances.
Individual passwords can be used to delineate each user and their level of access rights, as well as identify the tasks performed by each user. Data regarding the performance of any user unit, whether individual, departmental, or organizational can also be collected, measured, and assessed through the user identification process.
The OSI seven-layer model attempts to provide a way of partitioning any computer network into independent modules from the lowest (physical/hardware) layer to the highest (application/program) layer. Many different specifications can exist at each of these layers.
A crucial aspect of administering information systems is maintaining communication between the IS staff, who have a technical perspective on situations, and the system users, who usually communicate their concerns or needs in more prosaic terminology. Getting the two sides to negotiate the language barriers can be difficult, but the burden of translation should fall upon the IS staff. A little patience and understanding can go a long way toward avoiding frustration on the part of both parties.
There is more to maintaining an information system than applying technical knowledge to hardware or software. IS professionals have to bridge the gap between technical issues and practicality for the users. The information system should also have a centralized body that functions to provide information, assistance, and services to the users of the system. These services will typically include telephone and electronic mail "help desk" type services for users, as well as direct contact between the users and IS personnel.
INFORMATION SYSTEM FUNCTIONS
DOCUMENT AND RECORD MANAGEMENT.
Document and record management may well be the most crucial aspect of any information system. Some examples of types of information maintained in these systems would be accounting, financial, manufacturing, marketing, and human resources. An information system can serve as a library. When properly collected, organized, and indexed in accordance with the requirements of the organization, its stored data becomes accessible to those who need the information.
The location and retrieval of archived information can be a direct and logical process, if careful planning is employed during the design of the system. Creating an outline of how the information should be organized and indexed can be a very valuable tool during the design phase of a system. A critical feature of any information system should be the ability to not only access and retrieve data, but also to keep the archived information as current as possible.
Collaborative tools can consist of software or hardware, and serve as a base for the sharing of data and information, both internally and externally. These tools allow the exchange of information between users, as well as the sharing of resources. As previously mentioned, real-time communication is also a possible function that can be enabled through the use of collaborative tools.
Data mining, or the process of analyzing empirical data, allows for the extrapolation of information. The extrapolated results are then used in forecasting and defining trends.
Query tools allow the users to find the information needed to perform any specific function. The inability to easily create and execute functional queries is a common weak link in many information systems. A significant cause of that inability, as noted earlier, can be the communication difficulties between a management information systems department and the system users.
Another critical issue toward ensuring successful navigation of the varied information levels and partitions is the compatibility factor between knowledge bases. For maximum effectiveness, the system administrator should ascertain that the varied collection, retrieval, and analysis levels of the system either operate on a common platform, or can export the data to a common platform. Although much the same as query tools in principle, intelligent agents allow the customization of the information flow through sorting and filtering to suit the individual needs of the users. The primary difference between query tools and intelligent agents is that query tools allow the sorting and filtering processes to be employed to the specifications of management and the system administrators, and intelligent agents allow the information flow to be defined in accord with the needs of the user.
Managers should keep in mind the following advice in order to get the most out of an information system:
- Use the available hardware and software technologies to support the business. If the information system does not support quality and productivity, then it is misused.
- Use the available technologies to create and facilitate the flow of communication within your organization and, if feasible, outside of it as well. Collaboration and flexibility are the key advantages offered for all involved parties. Make the most of those advantages.
- Determine if any strategic advantages are to be gained by use of your information system, such as in the areas of order placement, shipment tracking, order fulfillment, market forecasting, just-in-time supply, or regular inventory. If you can gain any sort of advantage by virtue of the use of your information system, use it.
- Use the quantification opportunities presented by your information system to measure, analyze, and benchmark the performances of an individual, department, division, plant, or entire organization.
An information system is more than hardware or software. The most integral and important components of the system are the people who design it, maintain it, and use it. While the overall system must meet various needs in terms of power and performance, it must also be usable for the organization's personnel. If the operation of day-to-day tasks is too daunting for the workforce, then even the most humble of aspirations for the system will go unrealized.
A company will likely have a staff entrusted with the overall operation and maintenance of the system and that staff will be able to make the system perform in the manner expected of it. Pairing the information systems department with a training department can create a synergistic solution to the quandary of how to get non-technical staff to perform technical tasks. Oft times, the individuals staffing an information systems department will be as technical in their orientation as the operative staff is non-technical in theirs. This creates a language barrier between the two factions, but the communication level between them may be the most important exchange of information within the organization. Nomenclature out of context becomes little more than insular buzzwords.
If a company does not have a formal training department, the presence of staff members with a natural inclination to demonstrate and teach could mitigate a potentially disastrous situation. Management should find those employees who are most likely to adapt to the system and its operation. They should be taught how the system works and what it is supposed to do. Then they can share their knowledge with their fellow workers. There may not be a better way to bridge the natural chasm between the IS department and non-technical personnel. When the process of communicating information flows smoothly and can be used for enhancing and refining business operations, the organization and its customers will all profit.
Caldelli, A., and M.L. Parmigiani. "Management Information System: A Tool for Corporate Sustainability." Journal of Business Ethics 55, no.2 (December 2004): 15971.
Denton, D.K. "Focus on Data Context, Not Content." Communications News 40, no. 12 (December 2003): 50.
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Lawrence, F.B., D.F. Jennings, and B.E. Reynolds. ERP in Distribution. Mason, OH: Thomson/South-Western, 2005.
Pawlowski, S. D. and D. Robey. "Bridging User Organizations: Knowledge Brokering and the Work of Information Technology Professionals." MIS Quarterly 28, no. 4 (December 2004): 64572.
Zehir, C. and H. Keskin. "A Field Research on the Effects of MIS on Organizational Restructuring." Journal of American Academy of Business 3 (September 2003): 27079.
Management Information Systems (MIS) (Encyclopedia of Small Business)
According to Kenneth C. Laudon and Jane Price Laudon in their book Management Information Systems: A Contemporary Perspective, an information system is "a set of procedures that collects (or retrieves), processes, stores, and disseminates information to support decision making and control." In most cases, information systems are formal, computerbased systems that play an integral role in organizations. Although information systems are computerbased, it is important to note that any old computer or software program is not necessarily an information system. "Electronic computers and related software programs are the technical foundation, the tools and materials, of modern information systems, " Laudon and Laudon wrote. "Understanding information systems, however, requires one to understand the problems they are designed to solve, the architectural and design solutions, and the organizational processes that lead to these solutions."
Though it is sometimes applied to all types of information systems used in businesses, the term "management information systems, " or MIS, actually describes specific systems that "provide managers with reports and, in some cases, on-line access to the organization's current performance and historical records, " Laudon and Laudon noted. "MIS primarily serve the functions of planning, controlling, and decision making at the management level." MIS are one of a number of different types of information systems that can serve the needs of different levels in an organization. For example, information systems might be developed to support upper management in planning the company's strategic direction or to help manufacturing in controlling a plant's operations. Some of the other types of information systems include: transaction processing systems, which simply record the routine transactions needed to conduct business, like payroll, shipping, or sales orders; and office automation systems, which are intended to increase the productivity of office workers and include such systems as word processing, electronic mail, and digital filing. Ideally, the various types of information systems in an organization are interconnected to allow for information sharing.
The development of effective information systems holds a number of challenges for small businesses. "Despite, or perhaps because of, the rapid development of computer technology, there is nothing easy or mechanical about building workable information systems, " Laudon and Laudon stated. "Building, operating, and maintaining information systems are challenging for a number of reasons." For example, some information cannot be captured and put into a system. Computers often cannot be programmed to take into account competitor responses to marketing tactics or changes in economic conditions, among other things. In addition, the value of information erodes over time, and rapid changes in technology can make systems become obsolete very quickly. Finally, many companies find systems development to be problematic because the services of skilled programmers are at a premium.
Despite the challenges inherent in systems development, however, MIS also offer businesses a number of advantages. "Today, leading companies and organizations are using information technology as a competitive tool to develop new products and services, forge new relationships with suppliers, edge out competitors, and radically change their internal operations and organizations, " Laudon and Laudon explained. For example, using MIS strategically can help a company to become a market innovator. By providing a unique product or service to meet the needs of customers, a company can raise the cost of market entry for potential competitors and thus gain a competitive advantage. Another strategic use of MIS involves forging electronic linkages to customers and suppliers. This can help companies to lock in business and increase switching costs. Finally, it is possible to use MIS to change the overall basis of competition in an industry. For example, in an industry characterized by price wars, a business with a new means of processing customer data may be able to create unique product features that change the basis of competition to differentiation.
The impetus to develop a new information system can grow out of end-user demands, the availability of new technology, or management strategy. A variety of tools exist for analyzing a company's information needs and designing systems to support them. The basic process of systems development involves defining the project, creating a model of the current system, deriving a model for the new system, measuring the costs and benefits of all alternatives, selecting the best option, designing the new system, completing the specific programming functions, installing and testing the new system, and completing a post-implementation audit.
Information systems designers, whether internal to the company or part of an outside firm, are generally responsible for assuring the technical quality of the new system and the ease of the user interface. They also oversee the process of system design and implementation, assess the impact of the new system on the organization, and develop ways to protect the system from abuse after it is installed. But it is the responsibility of small business owners and managers to plan what systems to implement and to ensure that the underlying data are accurate and useful. "The organization must develop a technique for ensuring that the most important systems are attended to first, that unnecessary systems are not built, and that end users have a full and meaningful role in determining which new systems will be built and how, " according to Laudon and Laudon.
Knowledge management (KM) is a relatively new form of MIS that expands the concept to include information systems that provide decision-making tools and data to people at all levels of a company. The idea behind KM is to facilitate the sharing of information within a company in order to eliminate redundant work and improve decision-making. KM becomes particularly important as a small business grows. When there are only a few employees, they can remain in constant contact with one another and share knowledge directly. But as the number of employees increases and they are divided into teams or functional units, it becomes more difficult to keep the lines of communication open and encourage the sharing of ideas.
Knowledge management is a way of using technology to facilitate the process of collaboration across an organization. A small business might begin sharing information between groups of employees by creating a best-practices database or designing an electronic company directory indicating who holds what knowledge. Larger companies, as David Coleman wrote in Computer Reseller News, can implement KM systems through targeted pilot projects or through a broader strategy involving the firm's technical infrastructure. Many companies have installed intranetsr enterprise-wide computer networks with databases all employees can accesss a form of KM. A number of software programs exist to facilitate KM efforts. Some of the leaders in the field include Lotus Notes, Microsoft Exchange Server, and a variety of systems based on XML.
Coleman, David. "Taking the Best Approach to Knowledge." Computer Reseller News. June 1, 1998.
Laudon, Kenneth C., and Jane Price Laudon. Management Information Systems: A Contemporary Perspective. 2nd ed. New York: Macmillan, 1991.
Schwartz, Jeffrey. "Collaborationore Hype Than Reality; True Knowledge Management Remains the Province of an Intrepid Few Organizations." Internet Week. October 25, 1999.
Management Information Systems (Encyclopedia of Business)
Although management information systems (MISs) vary considerably in scope and function, they are all software applications used to support basic business management activities, such as reporting, planning, and controlling. More broadly, the MIS label is also applied to the computer systems that run this software, but strictly speaking an MIS is considered software rather than hardware. In addition, some corporate information technology (IT) departments are named MIS, and the term may also be used to describe the overall management of IT resources. For purposes of this discussion, though, MIS will refer only to software systems.
MISs have existed since the 1960s, when mainframe computers began making significant inroads in automating information-based activities at large corporations. Historically, they represent roughly the second generation of business software applications, an intermediate step between the very basic, large transaction-centered systems of the 1950s and early 1960s and the more specialized software tools that started taking root in the 1970s, such as word processing and decision support systems. The first MISs, however, often weren't particularly useful because of equipment shortcomings, a lack of computer literacy among the intended users, and poor planning for which functions the MIS would best serve. As computers continued to grow cheaper and the software more user friendly, MISs gained wider acceptance in the 1970s.
The diversity of software suites and applications that followed, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s, substantially blurred many of the distinctions between MISs and other types of management support applications, particularly as MISs began delivering data nearly in real time. Today, systems that serve in traditional MIS-like roles may or may not be known as MISs; indeed, very few new software packages are called MISs.
DEFINING FEATURES AND COMPONENTS
Nonetheless, MISs are still widely used and have a few distinguishing characteristics. First, they are generally used to generate routine reports for functional areas of a business, e.g., payroll statistics, financial reports, or sales reports. As such, they are mostly intended to be used by middle managers rather than entry-level staff or senior management. Finally, most MISs are linked with one or more additional business systems, such as transaction processing systems (TPSs) or executive information systems (EISs). Often this integration is achieved through networking, enabling the MIS to pull data from diverse systems such as the corporate accounting system, the human resources system, and so on.
MISs are no longer the exclusive domain of mainframes, although these powerful computers are still used effectively to house many corporate MISs. Often minicomputers, also known as midrange systems, run MISs instead, and even workstations and desktop PCs are capable of running small MISs.
The core of any MIS is a database management system (DBMS) and a series of data reporting, retrieval, and manipulation tools. Some of these tools are standardized for common or routine actions, such as generating monthly sales reports. Often these tools also allow output to be customized for special analyses. Examples of standard MIS output might include historical reports, short-term forecasts, and exception reports. Exception reports, related to the managerial philosophy of "management by exception," are triggered when some predefined unusual or problematic event occurs, such as an uncommonly large transaction, extremely high or low sales volume, or a statistical discrepancy that suggests a data error or an unexplained use of resources. Exception reports are intended to alert managers to circumstances that are either much better or much worse than normal. Custom reports may be completely user-defined, in which the user chooses which information to see and how it should be displayed, or they may be fairly standard reports executed in special ways, such as tallying weekly or daily sales rather than an end-of-the month summary.
RECENT TRENDS OVERSHADOW MIS
As information technology has grown more powerful and ubiquitous in business settings, the role of the traditional MIS has been obscured by newer software applications. For example, since the mid-1990s a suite of various applications known collectively as enterprise resource planning (ERP) software has taken a dominant position among large corporations' critical business applications. These packages, which typically come in functional modules such as an accounting module, a human resources module, and a manufacturing supply chain module, serve many of the functions that a traditional MIS would, and they tend to be more flexible, integrated, and user-friendly than legacy MISs. While early implementations of ERP suites were largely cross-functional databases with minimal high-level management tools, later upgrades have added decision support and data manipulation tools to facilitate a wide range of management-levelnd even executive-levelnalyses.
Another trend supplanting conventional MISs since the 1980s has been the adoption of executive information systems (EISs) and other high-level decision support systems. EISs are designed for top executives to glean important information from all major business systems (finance, inventory, payroll, and so on), process it in very sophisticated ways, and possibly even integrate it with outside data such as competitive intelligence or industry statistical norms. By providing such highly refined control over strategic information, EISs have diminished the importance of the more routine kinds of analyses available from an MIS.
Laudon, Kenneth C., and Jane Price Laudon. Management Information Systems: New Approaches to Organization and Technology. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1998.
Turban, Efraim, Ephraim McLean, and James Wetherbe. Information Technology for Management: Making Connections for Strategic Advantage. 2nd ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1999.