The Basic characteristics of an effective Management Information System are as follows:
The basic objective of MIS is to provide information support to the management in the organization for decision making. So an effective MIS should start its journey from appraisal of management needs, mission and goal of the business organization. It may be individual or collective goals of an organization. The MIS is such that it serves all the levels of management in an organization i.e. top, middle and lower level.
When MIS is management-oriented, it should be directed by the management because it is the management who tells their needs and requirements more effectively than anybody else. Manager should guide the MIS professionals not only at the stage of planning but also on development, review and implementation stages so that effective system should be the end product of the whole exercise in making an effective MIS.
It means a comprehensive or complete view of all the sub systems in the organization of a company. Development of information must be integrated so that all the operational and functional information sub systems should be worked together as a single entity. This integration is necessary because it leads to retrieval of more meaningful and useful information.
Common data flows:
The integration of different sub systems will lead to a common data flow which will further help in avoiding duplicity and redundancy in data collection, storage and processing. For example, the customer orders are the basis for many activities in an organization viz. billing, sales for cashing, etc. Data is collected by a system analyst from its original source only one time. Then he utilizes the data with minimum number of processing procedures and uses the information for production output documents and reports in small numbers and eliminates the undesirable data. This will lead to elimination of duplication that simplify the operations and produce an efficient information system.
The preparation of MIS is not a one or two day exercise. It usually takes 3 to 5 years and sometimes a much longer period. So the system expert has to keep 2 things in mind – one is that he has to keep future objectives as well as the firm’s information well in advance and also he has to keep in mind that his MIS will not be obsolete before it gets into action.
Sub System concept:
When a problem is seen in 2 sub parts, then the better solution to the problem is possible. Although MIS is viewed as a single entity but for its effective use, it should be broken down in small parts or subsystems so that more attention and insight is paid to each sub system. Priorities will be set and phase of implementation will be made easy. While making or breaking down the whole MIS into subsystems, it should be kept in mind that the subsystems should be easily manageable.
This is the basic feature of MIS to achieve the objective of using MIS in business organizations. It avoids duplication of files and storage which leads to reduction in costs. Common database means a “Super file or Master file” which consolidates and integrates data records formerly stored in many separate data files. The organization of the database allows it to be accessed by each subsystem and thus, eliminates the necessity of duplication in data storage, updating, deletion and protection.
MIS can be used without a computer. But the use of computers increases the effectiveness and the efficiency of the system. The queries can be handled more quickly and efficiently with the computerized MIS. The other benefits are accuracy, storage capacity and timely information.
An MIS should be flexible i.e. there should be room for further modification because the MIS takes much time in preparation and our environment is dynamic in nature. MIS should be such that it should be used independently by the end user so that they do not depend on the experts.
Information as a resource:
Information is the major ingredient of any MIS. So, an MIS should be treated as a resource and managed properly