Business managers rely on accurate information to strategize, plan and make decisions, and they draw that information from a wealth of raw, unstructured data. Professionals must then collect, clean, store, organize and analyze this data to extract useful information. Then, they must translate the data analysis into accessible, understandable forms so that business users can get the information they need when they need it.
Information systems and technologies are central to these and other information management processes. Specifically, management information systems (MIS) help business users access information readily to support business activities. Business managers must understand how to use these systems to meet their organization’s needs in today’s data-driven business world. Therefore, examining information systems is a core part of modern business management studies.
The online Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Management Information Systems program from Lamar University includes courses focused on subjects like MIS and business technologies. Coursework on business analysis, strategy and decision-making further help students understand how to apply information systems knowledge to managerial practices. Through these integrated studies, students can learn how to use information systems to achieve positive business outcomes.
What Are Management Information Systems?
According to Tech Funnel, “A management information system offers the data that business executives need to understand how exactly their business is performing.” MIS is a subset of information systems, focused on business operations and processes.
Yet, MIS tools existed before the proliferation of modern, advanced information technology (IT) and the myriad information systems businesses use. Smartsheet explains that MIS tools, from any era, are simply tools that “move data and manage information.”
In modern use, MIS is often an overarching information management system that incorporates data, devices, management methods and even the people involved. As Investopedia puts it, an MIS is an information management “infrastructure” used to help businesses “make decisions and coordinate and analyze information.”
In addition to conceiving MIS as a system or tool used in business information management, MIS is also a field of academic study. In this academic sense, MIS is the study of computers and technology in the business environment and their roles in organizational strategy and operations. Lamar University’s courses on business technologies and MIS explore these roles and the relationship between information systems and organizations.
How Can Such Systems Help Improve Company Performance?
There is clearly overlap between IT, MIS and related information systems. However, the purpose of all interconnected information systems and technologies is to leverage data and information to improve processes, decision-making, strategy and planning.
To start, advanced technologies and information systems can perform increasingly complex tasks surrounding information management. This includes automating an array of mundane, routine, repetitive tasks. Such process automation can reduce human errors and improve speed and efficiency, freeing up employees’ time to focus on human-centric responsibilities, increasing job satisfaction and productivity.
MIS can create scheduled or on-demand reports detailing everything from sales figures to supply chain costs to employee productivity measures to financial projections. Advanced, AI-driven software can analyze vast datasets in near real-time to identify and alert management of inefficiencies, cybersecurity threats and market trends. Business intelligence (BI) systems help managers understand what data means regarding a business’s performance, strengths and weaknesses.
In combination with predictive and prescriptive analytics software, these systems offer decision-makers evidence-based insights into solutions to improve company performance. All this helps organizations accomplish goals like optimizing operations, identifying opportunities for competitive advantage, mitigating disruption and growing a business overall.
How Are Information Systems Integrated in Business Information Management?
Specialized MIS and software tools have evolved to provide targeted information management for specific business functions. These specialized MIS are powerful tools for their intended business processes. Common examples include BI systems, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, Supply Chain Management (SCM) systems and Sales Force Automation (SFA) systems.
However, modern business is inherently cross-functional. Completing a single project can rely on intensive collaboration between marketing, customer service, research and development and supply chain management. The wealth of data processed across specialized information systems can lead to conflicting information, errors and miscommunications across departments.
Accordingly, software solutions like enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems have become essential to a business’ information ecosystem. Students in Lamar University’s BBA degree specifically explore SAP’s ERP software. SAP’s widely used software solutions can integrate and manage enterprise-wide data and information flow between previously disparate and siloed information systems. This consolidation allows for consistent, aggregated data and information management across business functions.
MIS, like BI systems, can pull synthesized information from the various, ERP-connected systems to develop reports, analysis and projections. This versatility means management and collaborators can base their decisions on consistent, cross-functional and timely information drawn from informative datasets.
Clearly, business management, technology and information systems are inextricably tied together. Therefore, understanding these systems and how they facilitate both everyday organizational processes and transformative decision-making is key to success as a modern-day business manager.