Management information systems (MIS) can refer to individual information systems, an organizational department and a field of study. MIS addresses organizational information management needs, supports effective decision-making and solves complex problems in all instances and applications. Organizations rely on MIS and related information technology (IT) systems more than ever in today’s data-driven business environment.
What Is MIS?
As noted above, MIS can have different meanings according to the application. Smartsheet explains that “management information systems (or information management systems) are tools used to support processes, operations, intelligence, and IT. MIS tools move data and manage information.” Numerous information systems have evolved from the early stages of MIS and its applications.
MIS can also refer to a functional area of an organization. In this context, TechTarget defines MIS as “the department controlling hardware and software systems used for business-critical decision-making within an enterprise.” But, generally, many functions of MIS as an organizational department have been absorbed into the broader scope of information systems and IT management and operations.
In all applications of the concept, MIS is concerned with storing, organizing and analyzing information to automate and improve organizational processes. As a result, MIS connects business users with the knowledge to make effective decisions and optimize operations.
What Is Involved in MIS as a Field of Study?
Contemporary study of MIS is wide-ranging, encompassing the many information systems, tools and organizational functions that intersect with information management. MIS study involves every aspect of the lifecycle and use of information, from data collection and storage to analysis and translation into usable insight for decision-makers.
The online Master of Science (MS) in MIS degree program from Lamar University reflects this comprehensive approach to the field of study. Coursework focuses on dedicated information systems used for processes like:
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Supply chain management (SCM)
- Sales force management
- Database management
- Project management
Lamar’s MS in MIS program emphasizes enterprise resource planning (ERP) software systems. Such systems aim to integrate the information management systems of all core business processes.
This focus can streamline and ensure consistency of data management across an organization. ERP systems can also improve controlled, secure access to data and seamless collaboration between departments, especially given vast advancements in cloud-based enterprise solutions.
But, again, modern MIS applications focus on turning data into actionable insight. Hence, students in Lamar’s MIS online program study how to use business analytics and business intelligence (BI) tools to inform data-driven decision-making. This highlights how the study of MIS centers around developing information systems management expertise and learning how to apply it to solve real-world business problems.
What Kinds of Business Problems Can MIS Help Solve?
With the expertise gained from this study, MIS graduates are prepared to tackle all types of business problems. With knowledge of both enterprise systems and function-specific information systems, MIS graduates can apply their data-driven problem-solving skills across industries, sectors and business processes.
For instance, businesses are currently struggling with supply chain disruptions. Through integrating SCM, project management and other systems into a comprehensive ERP system, MIS experts can facilitate the cross-departmental collaboration needed to overcome supply chain challenges. MIS professionals further help decision-makers use analytics and BI tools to drill down into data in order to identify and remediate supply chain inefficiencies and problems.
In the marketing arena, analytics tools help professionals conduct market research, analyze trends, identify audiences and design data-informed, targeted campaigns. BI and analytics tools draw from MIS to provide ongoing, timely data on marketing strategy performance, helping marketers improve strategy to optimize marketing campaigns.
Moreover, eCommerce has blurred the line between marketing, sales and customer relationship management. Providing excellent customer service throughout these processes relies on accurate, shared data, seamless customer handoffs in overlapping virtual spaces and integrated information systems. With expertise in CRM, sales force management and ERP systems, MIS professionals play a central role in implementing and managing integrated, customer-centric eCommerce systems.
Scaling a business can also present numerous challenges. One aspect of this is selecting the right information management solutions to meet a growing organization’s present and projected needs. MIS professionals guide this selection, integrating in-house systems, cloud-based services and enterprise-level systems according to forecasted growth and organizational change.
Plus, software solutions grounded in MIS provide the real-time insight needed for organizational agility. Business decision-makers rely on these tools for up-to-date information and reports on internal and external business conditions. Predictive and prescriptive analytics help business users understand what is likely to happen and what they should do about it, which informs how leaders anticipate, respond and proactively adapt to changing conditions.
MIS and the many intersecting systems and analytics tools involved with information management form the foundation of data-driven business models. Through the comprehensive study of these systems and their applications, MIS professionals can help find solutions to modern organization’s complex business problems.
If you are not ready to pursue your master’s degree, learn more about Lamar University’s online Bachelor of Business Administration in MIS online program.