This article throws light upon the three basic elements of the Management Information System (MIS). The elements are: 1. Content, Quantity and Source of Information 2. Flow Pattern of Information 3. Consistency and Co-Relationship of MIS with the Decision Areas.
Management Information System: Element # 1.
Content, Quantity and Source of Information:
Following characteristics of information and information system need to be considered and evaluated.
Does the information assist the decision-maker to make the appropriate decisions or to improve the quality of decisions, or in the choice of indicators and parameters from the aspect of controllability?
Whether the MIS feedback relates to very recent period and considers the current trend of environment in the business?
(a) Is the reporting of MIS regular and uniform in respect of routine financial and non-financial (i.e. operational) statistics?
(b) Historical data thrown by MIS may be uniform. But uniformity in the reporting of performance-cum-environment is neither possible nor desirable as these must essentially be tailored to the contextual requirements.
Evaluation should be made to assess the information overload as it has the effect of diluting the effectiveness of MIS report. Brief report will lead to interest in the manager for details.
Whether the MIS provides available information base adequately, or further processing and structuring of information are called for frequently.
Management Information System: Element # 2.
Flow Pattern of Information:
The organisation of information system needs to be carefully examined for evaluation of the control parameters and procedures along the following lines:
(i) System Organisation:
(a) In case of centralised information system, assessment should include: flow of data from various Units to the centre, accuracy of the source of data and the data themselves, care taken to sort out errors and distortions of data, system of information-updating from the units, transmission time and cost, type of data-processing equipment applied and cost-benefit considerations of centralisation scheme vis-a-vis the equipment used.
(b) In case of decentralised information system, assessment should be made as to the investment vis-a-vis the benefits derived, in addition-to the evaluation of the points indicated at (a) above.
(c) Whether a suitable mix of the systems of centralisation and decentralisation can achieve the MIS objectives and whether such action is cost-effective.
(ii) Data Collection and Management:
(a) How is the data collection system? To what extent data are filtered? What criteria are followed and adopted for avoiding duplication, excessiveness, redundancy and irrelevancy of data? Are the filtered data classified and indexed according to various sub-activities or sub-systems? Are the information formats suitable for restructuring of classified and aggregated data? Do they convey meaningful and useful information? Does the Management carry out detailed study and analysis as to the existing frequency and related decisions taking each set of information format, etc.
(b) Is the data management .system capable of giving appropriate service to information processing? Is the system rigid, or flexible enough to transform the same information so as to cater to the needs of varying nature? Is the system of data storage and updating pre-planned? Is the Systems Design free of any possible bottlenecks?
Management Information System: Element # 3.
Consistency and Co-Relationship of MIS with the Decision Areas:
The examination could be done on the following aspects:
(a) Is the ‘input-output analysis’ done in advance of information programming?
(b) Does the MIS provide a feedback so that the decisions may be re-affirmed or abandoned?
(c) Has the MIS been successful to control managerial planning; that is, to reduce or overcome the uncertainties?
(d) Is the MIS cost-effective especially under EDP environment? That means, whether the EDP equipment selection, software or hardware, etc., is justified in relation to the costs of programming, documentation and maintenance, etc.
(e) Whether the MIS could optimize the value of information and intelligence with reference to the external field of information and with respect to the application of advanced management techniques, like Linear programming, multiple correlation and regression techniques, and simulations, etc..