A management information system (MIS), or information management system, is particularly critical to businesses that work in conjunction with other businesses, so the two must share information with, or transfer information to, each other. In addition, businesses with more than one department or unit can use the MIS to compile information in one central location, thereby preventing information loss. An MIS has four key features.
Organizations use an MIS to store data. The MIS stores the information in one of two database systems. The first kind of database, the relational database, stores input from users, then relates that information to other information throughout the system. The database subsequently puts that information into graphs or charts so users can compare data. The second kind of database, the hierarchical database, stores data in the order that it was received, but provides no comparison tables for the user.
While the MIS serves to store data, it also uses that data to generate reports. Users of the system determine the types of reports, with specific templates available in the system for various types of reporting. When prompted by the user, the system compiles the report required, inserting data into the template, then printing the report for the business.
Accessibility and Integration
The MIS functions with open access. Open access means that the primary MIS can be connected to, or integrated with, other systems within the business, enabling changes to data from different sources and from multiple locations. This function provides two important outcomes. Organizations can update the system to provide information in conjunction with policies and regulations, and the system can be maintained without needing professional service personnel.
An important feature of an MIS is that businesses can purchase a small version of a system and then, over time, add to it as finances allow. Businesses can add increased data capabilities, as well as system features, to the initial system as the business grows, eliminating the need for the business owner to purchase an entirely new system every few years.