Management Information Systems in Decision-Making

Introduction

A management information system (herein referred to as MIS) can be conceptualized as a system or process used by managers and other stakeholders in the organization to make decisions. The system provides these stakeholders with information that they need to come up with these decisions. At the end of the day, management information systems can be viewed as tools used to effectively run and manage organizations.

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Lee (2001) is of the view that management information systems are indispensable to the contemporary organization. This is given the fact that the organization derives various benefits from them. This includes maintaining a competitive advantage in the market among others.

It is important to note that the management information system is not merely the machines and devices installed and used by the organization in day to day activities. Rather, it extends to include people, business processes, and the various relationships found in a modern-day organization. In this paper, the author is going to discuss several questions pertaining to management information systems in today’s organization.

Ethical, Social and Political Issues raised by Management Information Systems

According to Kepner and Tregoe (2005), information systems have ethical, social, and political implications both to the organizations and to those who use them. Ethical implications come in when employees are able to access all the information within their organization. This being the case, unethical employees may use this information against their employer by revealing it to the competitors. This is just one ethical issue in information systems; there are many others.

Socially, information systems change the way people interact with the organization. Interactions become less personal, as people prefer to communicate through e-mails and such other technological means (Hayes and Onkar 2003). The manager does not need to call meetings anymore to brainstorm; they can hold video conferences online. Politically, information systems affect power distribution in the organization. For example, access to the information contained in the system depends on the employee’s level of seniority. Senior managers can access far more information than junior employees (Cibora 2002).

Information systems should be part of business processes. This is given the fact that they make it easier for the managers to run the organization effectively (Hayes and Onkar 2003). This is by availing accurate information at the right time to the managers.

What is an Information System and how does it Work?

As earlier stated, information systems are systems and processes that avail the information needed by managers and other stakeholders to them at the right time. The system is composed of Decision Support Systems, computers, individuals, and other business processes. The idea behind an information system is to provide information that is needed to run the organization effectively by making effective decisions (Dostal 2007).

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The management component of the system includes the managers and the staff. Organizational components include the level of sophistication of the system and how it is controlled. Technological components include machines such as computers that are used. Information systems play a very important role in the organization. They help the managers to come up with effective decisions to run the organization (Kepner and Tregoe 2005).

How Do Systems Serve the Various Levels of Management?

As earlier stated, information systems serve the various levels of management in a business by availing accurate information at the right time. Managers at various levels are able to access the information that they require, given their security clearance, to make decisions necessary at their level of management (O’Brien 2009). Information systems are an important tool for the management of a business or organization. This is given the fact that they enable the making of effective decisions to manage the organization.

Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Competitive advantage can be conceptualized as the advantage a business holds over the competitors (Dostal 2007). It is what gives the business an edge over the competitors in the market. Sustainable competitive advantage, just as the name implies, is the ability of the organization to maintain a competitive advantage in the market. Many people feel that there is no such thing as a sustainable competitive advantage. But I disagree; sustainable competitive advantage does exist. It can exist if the firm is able to maintain an edge over the competitors through the efficient use of technology and resources at their disposal.

Organizations and Software Service Providers

There has been debate around the technology world as stakeholders question whether organizations should use software service providers for all their software needs. It is my opinion that they should. This is given the fact that a specialized software service provider is able to provide high-quality software to the organization than if the organization developed the software internally. This is because the software provider enjoys an economy of scale among other things.

Also, by outsourcing the provision of software services, the organization is able to concentrate on its core business, giving it a sustainable competitive advantage. Several factors should be taken into consideration when making this decision. At the management level, the organization should consider whether the managers and other members of staff have the experience to use or come up with software. Technologically, the organization should try to decipher whether the technological infrastructure in existence can accommodate the new technology envisaged. At the organizational level, the management should put into consideration whether the structure of the organization and the control of the technology in the organization can accommodate the change.

Participatory Approach in Selection of a Database Management System and Database Design

Efforts should be made to involve the end-users at every stage during the selection of a database management system and a database system. This is given the fact that when they are involved, the end-users will provide vital feedback at each and every stage. This feedback ensures that the system meets the needs of the organization. Also, the involvement of the end-users ensures that they are not alienated from the end product (Kotler and Keller 2006). This is important in ensuring that they embrace and own the system.

Smart Phones and the Future

A smartphone can be seen as an advanced form of mobile telephony in contemporary society. A smartphone combines the features of both the mobile phone and a computer. Using a smartphone, a person is able to do more than just call and send messages. Many have argued that smartphones will become the single most important digital device we own within the next few years. But I beg to differ. I do not agree with these arguments.

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This is given the fact that recent history has indicated that the technological world develops at a very fast pace. What is considered as smart technology today is likely to be taken as an obsolete technology tomorrow (Agarwal and Lucast 2005). For example, the same people would have argued a few years ago that computers will be the most important piece of technology we would own today. But this has been surpassed by the smartphone and other technological innovations. Against such a backdrop, it is safe to assume that smartphones becoming the most important digital device in human life within the next few years is not guaranteed (Lee 2001).

This is considering the fact that technological innovations are geared towards addressing various needs in society. The smartphone may be seen as effectively addressing a certain need in society today. This is for example the need to have access to a computer everywhere and on the person. However, a few years from now, this need may have changed to something totally new. This will make smartphones irrelevant and obsolete. As such, they will not be as important as they are today.

Security, Technology, and Business

It has been argued that security is not simply a technological issue. Rather, it is a business issue. In light of the recent developments in business and technology, this statement is very true. Security is no longer about erecting firewalls that are aimed at averting hackers (Laudon 2002). It goes beyond this to encompass a lot more in the business world. For example, an organization may safeguard its information to maintain a competitive advantage over the rivals in the market. The information is used by the management to make decisions that ensure the efficient running of the business. This being the case, the relationship between security and business becomes clearer.

Supply Chain Management and Management of Information

It is argued that supply chain management is less about managing the physical movement of goods within and without the organization. Rather, supply chain management is more about managing information. This statement is made clearer when one considers the importance of information to the organization. The information has evolved to become an economic commodity to the organization, and as such, needs to be managed more effectively than before (Abbadi 2010).

Supply chain management, for example, has incorporated technology in most of the operations within the last few years. Supply chain managers no longer see the need to physically come into contact with the goods under their care. Rather, the movement of the goods can be controlled virtually by the use of information systems such as computers. At the end of the day, the manager deals more with information in the information system than they do with the physical goods.

The Internet and Corporations

Contrary to popular belief, the internet may not make corporations obsolete. However, the corporations will need to change their business models to accommodate the technology. I totally agree with these sentiments. This is given the pivotal role that the corporation plays in the business world today. Businesses still need corporations to support the expansion of the processes and management of the resources.

However, it is very important for corporations to ensure that the business models they are using can accommodate technological innovations. This is given that technology complements the role that the corporation plays in the business world today. This being the case, a corporation that fails to incorporate the internet and other technological innovations may find it tough to survive in contemporary society’s competitive market.

Knowledge Management, Technology, and Business Process

Knowledge has become one of the most important commodities to the firms and businesses of today. This being the case, several technological innovations have been made to enhance the efficient management of this knowledge. This is for example where management information systems come in. the system is used to manage the knowledge that exists for the organization in form of information.

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However, it is important to note that as much as technology might have become central to knowledge management it is more of a business process than technology. Knowledge management has become an integral part of the overall management of the organization. It is considered one of the business processes, just like the management of employees and other resources. This has seen the proliferation of departments devoted to the management of knowledge and information in the organization.

Conclusion

This paper has revealed that the management information system has become an indispensable feature of the modern-day organization or business entity. The paper has also revealed that the management information system is a multi-faceted phenomenon in the business world. It affects and covers the conduction of many business processes in the organization. The paper addressed the issue of the management information system by discussing various questions revolving around the issue. Each of the eleven questions addressed a specific area of management information system.

References

Abbadi, MW. 2010. Management information systems and its effects in decision making. Web.

Agarwal, R., and Lucast, H. 2005. The information systems identity crisis: Focusing on high- visibility and high-impact research, MIS Quarterly, 29(3): 381-398.

Cibora, C. 2002. The labyrinths of information: Challenging the wisdom of systems. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Dostal, J. 2007. School information systems (Skolni informacni systemy). Olomouc, EU: Votobia.

Hayes, H., and Onkar, S. 2003. A decade of experience with a common first year program for computer science, information systems and information technology majors. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, 18(3): 217–227.

Kepner, CH., and Tregoe, BB. 2005. The rational manager: A systematic approach to problem solving and decision making. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Kotler, P., and Keller, KL. 2006. marketing management. London: Pearson Education.

Laudon, KC. 2002. Management information systems: managing the digital firm. London: Pearson Education.

Lee, AS. 2001. management information system and organisational culture. MIS Quarterly, 25(1): 3-7.

O’Brien, J. 2009. Management information systems: managing information technology in the internetworked enterprise. Boston: Irwin McGraw-Hill.

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