Management Information Systems (MIS) are an essential to modern organizations. These systems use computer-based tools and software to collect, process, store, and distribute company data that helps managers and other stakeholders use to make informed decisions.
As you seek to learn more about the field and whether it’s the right fit for you, let’s explore what information systems management is, who uses management information systems, what systems thinking is, how management information systems enable business communications, and examples of management information systems within organizations.
What Is Management Information Systems?
Management information systems, according to TechTarget, use computer-based tools and software to collect, process, store, and distribute data that is crucial to the decision-making processes of managers and other organizational stakeholders.
MIS is a subset of Information Technology (IT) and focuses on the strategic use of technology to help organizations achieve their goals and objectives. The main goal of information systems management is to provide managers with the information they need to make informed decisions.
Who Uses Management Information Systems?
In addition to managers, management information systems are used by a variety of people within an organization, including operational staff, marketing, finance, human resources, IT, external stakeholders, and anyone else who needs accurate and timely data to make informed decisions.
- MIS is used by operational staff who are responsible for carrying out day-to-day activities of the organization and need access to the data collected by MIS to ensure they’re carrying out their duties effectively. Further, Study.com shares examples of the types of professionals who use MIS, including those in IT, managers and executives, external stakeholders, and others.
- The finance department uses MIS to identify patterns and trends in organizational data to make recommendations for process improvements and optimizations
- Marketing uses MIS to track customer behavior, preferences, and purchases to improve marketing strategies and campaigns.
- Financial analysts use MIS to analyze financial data, develop forecasts, and create financial reports.
- Human resources uses MIS to manage employee data, track employee performance, and identify areas for employee development and training.
- IT professionals are also heavy users of MIS as they are responsible for maintaining the hardware and software systems that support MIS and ensuring the data collected is accurate, secure, and available to authorized personnel. IT professionals use MIS to monitor system performance, identify issues, and troubleshoot problems.
- MIS is also used by external stakeholders such as suppliers, customers, and partners. For example, suppliers may use MIS to track inventory levels, production schedules, and delivery timelines to ensure they can meet the needs of their customers. Customers may use MIS to place orders, track shipments, and view account information. Partners may use MIS to share data, collaborate with the organization on joint projects, and coordinate activities.
By providing accurate and timely data, MIS helps enable these professionals to make informed decisions, improve organizational processes, and deliver better results.
What is Systems Thinking?
For the full scoop on systems thinking, we turned to The Systems Thinker. Systems thinking is an approach to problem-solving that involves looking at the entire system rather than just the individual components. It involves understanding how different components of a system interact with one another and how they affect the overall performance of the system. In the context of management information systems, systems thinking is essential because it allows managers to understand how different aspects of their organization interact with one another and how changes in one area of the organization can affect other areas.
How Do Management Information Systems Enable Business Communications?
Management information systems enable business communications by providing a centralized platform for the storage and sharing of information. TechFunnel explains that MIS allows managers and other organizational stakeholders to access the same information, which helps to eliminate communication barriers and ensure everyone is working with the same data. This, in turn, helps ensure decisions are made based on accurate and up-to-date information, which can lead to better outcomes for the organization. If you have ever needed a “single source of truth” for data within your company, this is precisely where management information systems come into play.
What Are Some Examples of Management Information Systems?
There are several examples of management information systems that are used in modern organizations, per Shopify, a tech- and MIS-enabled leader. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) comes to mind first. CRM software is used to manage interactions with customers and help improve customer satisfaction and retention. Another example is Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, which is used to manage financial resources, human resources, and inventory. Supply chain management (SCM) software is used to manage the flow of goods and services from suppliers to customers and is another example of MIS.
What Are the Main Types of Management Information Systems?
- Transaction Processing Systems (TPS): TPS are the most basic type of MIS. They are responsible for processing the day-to-day transactions of a company, such as sales, purchases, and inventory changes. TPS provide managers with accurate and timely information about these transactions, which enables them to make informed decisions.
- Management Information Systems (MIS): MIS are used by middle managers to collect, process, and report information about an organization’s operations. They are used to generate reports on sales, inventory, and other key metrics that are used to make decisions.
- Decision Support Systems (DSS): DSS are designed to support the decision-making process of managers. They are used to analyze data and provide insights that help managers make informed decisions. DSS use data mining, machine learning, and other analytical techniques to provide insights into an organization’s operations.
- Executive Information Systems (EIS): EIS are designed for senior executives. They provide a summary of an organization’s operations, including financial data, sales data, and other key metrics. EIS enable executives to quickly identify trends and make strategic decisions.
What Education Do You Need to Pursue a Career in Management Information Systems?
To pursue a career in MIS, such as in a role as a computer and information systems manager, you will typically need a bachelor’s degree in information systems, computer science, or a related field, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Some employers may require a master’s degree in a related field.
Additionally, it is essential to have a strong understanding of business processes and operations. Many MIS positions require the ability to understand how an organization operates and how technology can be used to support its operations. You might benefit by taking courses in business management and operations, in addition to technical courses in programming, database management, and network administration, to name a few.
It is also important to have experience working with information systems, which can be gained through internships or other work experience.
What Jobs Are There in Management Information Systems?
There are many jobs available in MIS, especially as more organizations seek to bring technology in-house. O*Net Online gathers the following MIS roles, together with insights on what the daily responsibilities of the jobs entail. If you want to enter the dynamic world of MIS, you may be interested in some of the below options:
- Application development director: Per Salary.com, an application development director is responsible for managing a team of software developers who design, develop, and maintain software applications. They ensure the development team meets project deadlines, aligns to quality standards, and develops applications that meet business needs. The director may also work with other departments to identify software solutions that support the organization’s goals.
- Computing services director: A computing services director is responsible for managing the IT infrastructure of an organization, based on information provided by Zippia. They oversee the implementation and maintenance of hardware, software, and network systems. The director is also responsible for ensuring the IT infrastructure is secure, and data is backed up regularly.
- Data processing manager: According to the Society of Human Resource Management, a data processing manager oversees the processing of data within an organization. They ensure data is entered accurately, processed in a timely manner, and stored securely. The manager is responsible for developing and implementing procedures for data processing and ensuring they are followed.
- Information Systems (IS) director: An IS director oversees the development, implementation, and maintenance of an organization’s information systems, says Learn.org. They ensure information systems are secure, reliable, and meet the needs of the organization. The director may also be responsible for developing and implementing policies and procedures related to information systems.
- IS manager: An IS manager is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of an organization’s information systems, cites the BLS. They ensure systems are working properly, are secure, and meet the needs of the organization. The manager may also be responsible for supervising staff and ensuring they are properly trained.
- IT director: An IT director is responsible for managing the IT department of an organization. They oversee the implementation and maintenance of hardware, software, and network systems. The director is also responsible, says TechTarget, for ensuring the IT department meets the needs of the organization.
- IT manager: BetterTeam provides an apt and helpful explanation of what we commonly call an IT manager. An IT manager is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the IT department. They ensure that systems are working properly, are secure, and meet the needs of the organization. The manager may also be responsible for supervising staff and ensuring that they are properly trained.
- MIS director: An MIS director is responsible for overseeing the development, implementation, and maintenance of an organization’s MIS, according to career site Glassdoor. They ensure information systems are secure, reliable, and meet the needs of the organization. The director may also be responsible for developing and implementing policies and procedures related to MIS.
- Technical services manager: A technical services manager, per Payscale, is responsible for managing the technical support staff of an organization. They ensure technical support staff are properly trained and provide timely and effective support to end-users. The manager may also be responsible for developing and implementing policies and procedures related to technical support.
- Computer and information research scientists: Computer and information research scientists conduct research to solve complex problems in computing, reports the BLS. They design new computer technologies, develop new algorithms, and improve existing technologies. They may work for universities, government agencies, or private companies.
- Business intelligence analysts: Based on information from O*Net Online, business intelligence analysts are responsible for analyzing data to support decision-making within an organization. They collect and analyze data from various sources and use that data to identify trends and patterns. They then present their findings to executives and other stakeholders to support decision-making.
What Is the Career Outlook?
The career outlook for MIS professionals is not just positive, but incredibly positive. In 2021, there were 509,100 jobs with the title of computer and information systems manager. The BLS projects that employment in computer and information technology occupations will grow 16% through 2031, which is significantly faster than the average for all occupations. The BLS also notes that job prospects will be best for those with a strong background in IT and business operations.
What Skills Do You Need to Be Successful?
To be successful in MIS, you need to have a combination of technical and soft skills, asserts Compu Info Skills. Technical skills include programming, database management, and network administration. Soft skills include communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking. The following chart differentiates between hard and soft skills, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
Summary of Management Information Systems Skills
The table summarizes essential MIS skills, which include technical skills, communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
With this basis of understanding, and specifically the differentiation between hard and soft skills, let’s look at a few more critical skills some computer systems managers gain before entering the world of management information systems:
- Problem-solving and analytical skills: As a computer systems manager, you’ll be responsible for identifying, analyzing, and solving complex technical problems that may arise in the system, per TechFunnel. To do this effectively, you must possess excellent problem-solving and analytical skills. You will need to assess the root cause of issues, evaluate alternative solutions, and make sound decisions to resolve the problems.
- Communication and interpersonal skills: Communication and interpersonal skills are essential for a computer systems manager as you will be required to communicate with various stakeholders within the organization, such as IT staff, management, and end-users. You will need to effectively communicate complex technical information in a clear and concise manner, and have the ability to listen actively to feedback and concerns from others.
- Cool demeanor and ability to work under pressure: In a fast-paced and dynamic work environment, you must maintain a cool demeanor and work effectively under pressure. As a computer systems manager, you may need to handle unexpected technical issues, deadlines, and other unforeseen challenges, and will need to remain calm and composed.
- Attentiveness to detail: As a computer systems manager, you must possess a strong attention to detail to ensure the accuracy and quality of work. You must be able to identify and correct errors, and ensure projects are completed to the highest standards.
- Ability to work on a team: Computer systems managers must have the ability to work effectively as part of a team. You must be able to collaborate with IT staff, management, and other stakeholders to achieve common goals and objectives.
- Time management and organization: Effective time management and organizational skills are essential for a computer systems manager to ensure that projects are completed on-time and within budget. You must be able to prioritize tasks, manage multiple projects simultaneously, and maintain accurate records.
- Management and leadership skills: As a computer systems manager, you must have strong management and leadership skills to manage and motivate your team effectively. You must be able to delegate tasks, provide constructive feedback, and ensure that the team is working toward common goals and objectives.
- Imagination and creative thinking: Creativity and imagination are essential for a computer systems manager to innovate and develop new solutions to complex technical problems. You must be able to think outside the box and develop new approaches to overcome challenges.
- Recollection (verbal and logical): Strong verbal and logical recollection skills are essential for a computer systems manager to retain and recall technical information. You must be able to accurately remember technical details and use them to make sound decisions and solve problems effectively.
- Focus on results: As a computer systems manager, you must maintain a strong focus on achieving results, set clear goals and objectives for your team, monitor progress, and take action to ensure projects are completed successfully.
- Strong personal motivation for developing new knowledge: In the ever-changing world of technology, it is essential for a computer systems manager to have a strong personal motivation for developing new knowledge and keeping up-to-date with the latest developments. You must be committed to ongoing learning and professional development to remain current and effective in your role.
Overview: What Are Management Information Systems?
In conclusion, management information systems play a critical role in the success of modern organizations. MIS provide managers with the necessary information they need to make informed decisions, and they enable organizations to operate more efficiently and effectively. MIS is used by a variety of people within an organization, including managers, marketing, and operational staff.
Systems thinking is essential in the context of MIS because it allows managers to understand how different aspects of their organization interact with one another. Finally, there are several examples of management information systems, including CRM, ERP, and SCM software, which are used by organizations to manage various aspects of their operations.
To pursue a career in MIS, you need a combination of technical and soft skills, as well as practical experience working with information systems. The career outlook for MIS professionals is positive, with strong job growth projected in the coming years. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in MIS, focus on developing your technical and soft skills, gain practical experience, stay current with technology, and network with professionals in the field.