What is Management Information Systems?

Management Information Systems (MIS) is the study of people, technology, organizations and the relationships among them. MIS professionals help firms realize maximum benefit from investment in personnel, equipment, and business processes. MIS is a people-oriented field with an emphasis on service through technology. MIS refers broadly to a computer-based system that provides managers with the tools for organizing, evaluating and efficiently running their departments. In order to provide past, present and prediction information, an MIS can include software that helps in decision making, data resources such as databases, the hardware resources of a system, decision support systems, people management and project management applications, and any computerized processes that enable the department to run efficiently.

Businesses use information systems at all levels of operation to collect, process and store data. Management aggregates and disseminates this data in the form of information needed to carry out the daily operations of business. Everyone who works in business, from someone who pays the bills to the person who makes employment decisions, uses information systems. A car dealership could use a computer database to keep track of which products sell best. A retail store might use a computer-based information system to sell products over the Internet. In fact, many (if not most) businesses concentrate on the alignment of MIS with business goals to achieve competitive advantage over other businesses.

MIS professionals create information systems for data management (i.e., storing, searching and analyzing data). In addition, they manage various information systems to meet the needs of managers, staff and customers. By working collaboratively with various members of their work group, as well as with their customers and clients, MIS professionals are able to play a key role in areas such as information security, integration and exchange. As an MIS major, you will learn to design, implement and use business information systems in innovative ways to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of your company.

A common misconception that MIS only concerns programming. However, programming is just a small part of the MIS curriculum. While programming concepts represent some of the founding concepts and information systems development, implementation and use, many jobs in MIS do not utilize programming at all. A large portion of the MIS degree focuses on data analysis, teamwork, leadership, project management, customer service and underlying business theories. These aspects of the degree are what set the MIS professional apart from a computer science specialist.

  • Do you enjoy working with people?
  • Would you enjoy the chance to work on global problems with people from all over the world?
  • Do you enjoy analyzing and solving problems?
  • Do you want to create innovative, cutting-edge technology solutions?
  • Do you want to learn how to make businesses more efficient, effective and competitive?

Then you should consider as your major the field that is experiencing a critical shortage of professionally trained individuals. A field where demand is skyrocketing with projected growth rates of 38 percent – the fastest of any business discipline.

MIS professionals make business better

Below are some frequently asked questions regarding careers in MIS. This information will help you learn more about a career in MIS and to better understand the opportunities such a career may have in store for you.

What kinds of people pursue MIS degrees?

The profiles of MIS professionals are varied, but in general, such individuals possess many of the following traits:

  • good problem solving skills
  • ability to effectively manage time and resources
  • a clear vision of “the big picture” as well as the “small details”
  • a desire to work closely with other people
  • excellent communication skills
  • ability to think strategically about technology
  • a desire to take responsibility for developing and implementing their own ideas

What are typical career options for MIS professionals?

  • IT Consultant
  • Web Developer
  • Information Systems Manager
  • Business Intelligence Analyst
  • Network Administrator
  • Business Application Developer
  • Systems Analyst
  • Technical Support Specialist
  • Business Analyst
  • Systems Developer

Types and Terminology

The terms Management Information System (MIS), information system, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and information technology management are often confused. Information systems and MIS are broader categories that include ERP. Information technology management concerns the operation and organization of information technology resources independent of their purpose.
Most management information systems specialize in particular commercial and industrial sectors, aspects of the enterprise, or management substructure.

  • Management information systems (MIS), produce fixed, regularly scheduled reports based on data extracted and summarized from the firm’s underlying transaction processing systems to middle and operational level managers to identify and inform structured and semi-structured decision problems.
  • Decision Support Systems (DSS) are computer program applications used by middle and higher management to compile information from a wide range of sources to support problem solving and decision making.DSS is majorly used for semi-structured and unstructured decision problems.
  • Executive Information Systems (EIS) is a reporting tool that provides quick access to summarized reports coming from all company levels and departments such as accounting, human resources and operations.
  • Marketing Information Systems (MIS) are Management Information Systems designed specifically for managing the marketing aspects of the business.
  • Office Automation Systems (OAS) support communication and productivity in the enterprise by automating work flow and eliminating bottlenecks. OAS may be implemented at any and all levels of management.
  • School Information Management Systems (SIMS) cover school administration,and often including teaching and learning materials.
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) facilitates the flow of information between all business functions inside the boundaries of the organization and manage the connections to outside stakeholders.

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