Organizations need timely and accurate information to use them on a regular basis in accomplishing their operations. Information flows should be managed properly to ensure flexibility of certain information processing activities as exchange, retrieval, documentation and quality of the information used in decision making within organizations. Researchers focus on managing the flow of information for strategic, tactical and operational purposes which support different managerial levels to take decisions based on accurate and timely data. Management treats information as strategic resource that is used in building organizational capabilities and creating competitive advantage according to the resource based view. Information integration includes inform sharing by exchanging information among individuals, groups and departments. Information sharing creates a two way communication between the upstream and the downstream, as the supplier and retailer exchange information concerning the demand preferences and sales. The shared information creates transparency and improves the supply chain responsiveness to market changes (Durugbo, 2014).
This report focuses on the process of managing information within organizations and it analyses the role of MIS, by describing its diversified applications that could be used by managers to fulfill different needs and to be utilized in planning the organizational strategy. This report consists of three parts, the first part sheds the light on the process of information management with relation to communication technology. The second part describes in details the MIS concerning its strategy, its benefits to the organization, MIS elements, the organizational memory as a part of MIS and it declares the MIS limitations. The third part focuses on the MIS applications with special focus on effective MIS and information systems outsourcing.
The world is transforming from the information and communications technology age to the age of the knowledge economy. Knowledge could be used to solve problems through the decision making process and strategies of decision making. Integrated information system assists in supporting managers with the information necessary to solve problems (Nonthakarn & Wuwongse, 2015).
In order to support organizational purposes, information should be gathered and processed. Organizational purposes could be developing new products, introducing new services to customers and creating competitive advantage. Information is also collected to fulfill the needs of a certain level of organization and a specific organizational department. The same information could also be used to serve different organizational purposes. The management may make major changes in the staff, structure and systems (Best, 2010).
According to Best (2010), information management concerns with the following issues:
Management of information flows and store
The information managers are supposed to do certain tasks according to Best (2010), as follows:
Developing automated methods related to the defined areas is still incomplete, and needs too much effort from R&D and high qualified employees within organizations. The current organizational design is getting old and needs to change and introduce new methods to meet the challenges of information management, especially in large organizations.
Managers who are interested in developing information systems to create competitive advantage need analysis to identify the required types of information systems that would create the strategic advantage to their organizations. A management information system (MIS) refers to set of systems that collect and integrate information from various sources to be represented in a readable format. MIS is used by managers to get the necessary information needed to take a decision in the form of reports retrieved from the system. Reports' level of details differs according to the managerial level that needs the information, they range from daily reports to top level management reports. Technology enables the creation of effective information systems that support the decision makers, the main goal of MIS is to enable managers to take the right decision efficiently. By gathering information from different sources in a unified database and producing logical formatted reports. MIS supports managers with all necessary information to enable them from taking informed decisions and performing in-depth analysis of different business issues. MIS can gather any type of required information, as employees' data and financial data, then information is directed to the group or department that needs it. MIS could be used in all organization's types including business, government, public sector and non-profit organizations.
MIS integrates information from different systems within the organization as the financial system, logistics systems, inventory systems and any other types of systems (Zare & Reza, 2013).
Information is used by management as data collection to be used in the decision making process, in which information is used as an input and also an output. Meaningful data are stored, amended, processed and submitted as reports that show the activities. Information is a strategic resource to the organization that requires knowledge management (Ucakturk & Villard, 2013).
The concept of information system strategy is not clearly defined, as the initial research concerning the strategy of information systems emerged in the mid-1970s. At this time information systems were not considered as a source of competitive advantage. Business strategy and IT strategy are recently combined to produce the concept of digital business strategy. MIS could be used to shape the business models. MIS models integrate customer experience, supply chains, products and services and business operations in one system. Leading organizations tend to create platforms of digital business and increase the digitization level of business in the coming years. The MIS strategy is mainly implemented to information systems that clearly define the organizational need for information necessary to develop the business strategy (Peppard, Galliers, & Thorogood, 2014).
Technology is witnessing rapid advancements, the emergence of cloud computing services help organizations to achieve strategic capability necessary to scale up its structure. Cloud computing provides self-service, rapid, virtualized resources, access networks and quality service (Bharadwaj, El Sawy, Pavlou, & Venkatraman, 2013)
Researchers argue that that investment projects in IS/IT face the challenges of uncertainty. The option theory application in IT investment projects is used in evaluating the growth options of the software and facilitating organizational agility (Chuan, Wu, & Wen, 2010).
MIS plays a vital role in the time of crisis, updating MIS on timely manner ensures that the right decision is taken. MIS could help organization in avoiding bad consequences as a result of major environmental change or a crisis. Taking essential actions helps the organization to survive. System operators can add functions to the MIS by creating relations with data mining technologies and cross referencing of information in systems outside the organization.
MIS can be used in comparing the practical decisions with strategic objectives, by this, it provides managers with the best fit of their decision to the organizational strategy (Amit & Meel, 2012)
The quality of information decides the quality of the decision built upon the provided information. Management has to clearly identify the current system before planning to use a certain MIS strategy. This process will ensure the implementation of the right MIS strategy, save cost and time, as there should be a link between the decision considered to be taken and the MIS to be used within the organization. MIS needs to be regularly updated to help managers take the decision based on timely information which assists in improving the organizational operations. Also, programming the system to be checked regularly guarantee that the system is efficiently functioning and free of errors. MIS acts as record keeping of confidential databases as well as invaluable information so that managers can use the backlog of information to make necessary decisions in the present (Nowduri, 2011).
The MIS consists of three elements according to Point (2014):
Accomplishment of objectives and alignment with organizational goals, needs management support. MIS success required sustainable management commitment in the implementation phase either middle or top management (Frimpon, 2012)
Organizational memory information system (OMIS) is an application system that stores historical activities and information, so that knowledge from the previous work could be transferred to the present. This function increases the level of effectiveness of the organization. The memory of the OMIS is designed to support the management objectives of doing business in any world country depending on the stored information on the projects the organization operates (Hamidi & Jusoff, 2009).
MIS operations in multitasks assist in increasing the efficiency, as several operations are being implemented at the same time. Multiple users are allowed to access MIS at the same time without any problems and with equal opportunity for all of them. These features increase the accountability and reliability of the MIS. MIS may fail to support decision making, in this case monitoring the system is desirable to make sure that system work properly and the decisions taken upon the retrieved reports are correct. Managers may tend to balance between human elements and MIS to ensure taking the right decision (Harsha & Manisha, 2015).
MIS could be expanded to contain various global data sources through the integration with global entities and to reflect different cultures by developing the role of MIS within the global countries. Developing global MIS requires communication and timely coordination initiatives through a global strategy. Research on global MIS is still limited and needs to be developed (Karanja & Zaveri, 2013).
Strategic information systems consist of four types of systems. The first type, is used in sharing information with customers and suppliers via an electronic system, the second type, is used to integrate information more effectively in the value adding process of the organization, the third type, enables the organization in producing and developing new products or customized product and services according to the consumers' needs, forth type, supports managers with information needed for the development and the implementation of the strategy (Sevrani, 2011).
MIS has a variety of applications that fulfill certain business needs. The DSS is an application that analyses the business data and represents it to the decision maker to help him in taking the appropriate decision effectively and efficiently. The management at top level uses the DSS to take important decisions, the management at the middle level uses DSS to take tactical decision and the management at the first line uses DSS in making operational decisions (Nowduri, 2011)
DSS concept is extended to enable many decision making groups to cooperate in using the DSS tools, this function is processed by using distributed decision making (DDM) tools. Then the group decision support systems (GDSS) were developed to facilitate information sharing among groups of people, which may take place at a meeting held for decision making. DDM is used in GDSSs incorporation and it allows communication between DSSs (Sasvari, 2012)
Organizations need effective systems in order to execute strategies, the advancement in technology enabled the development of information systems. Management tends to align strategic information systems with business goals, the misalignment results in problems in the phase of planning. The most effective IS is the system that is well embedded in the structure of the organization. IS is highly effective in monitoring and control processes. IS assists also in creating complementary knowledge systems. As process complexity increase, the challenge of executing strategic IS increase. Analytics and IS improves the relation between managerial decision making and the operational activities (Kumar & Sushil, 2015).
Organizations invest heavily in IS to create capabilities and achieve competitive advantages. There are factors that assist in developing IS process, including the expectations of the end user, communications among users and alternatives of development methods. Implementing IS within organizations is considered an organizational change process which needs to be managed. Changes might be disruptive and may lead to changes in the organizational goals. Implementing IS declares the process by which it will be used and accepted by employees. Employees may resist change for the fear of losing their positions as a result of automating work processes or they may feel afraid of using complex systems (Sooklal, Papadopoulos, & Ojiako, 2011).
The organization may outsource the IS to apply a full outsourced system or to use outsources certain functions. Outsourcing may be a solution to delegate the implementation problem and responsibility to vendors. Also, it may reduce the cost of developing IS and leaves a space to management to concentrate their efforts on the main tasks of business. The organization may lack the knowledge capabilities and it needs to acquire knowledge from the vendor and benefit from the complementary skills and rare expertise. Attracting new knowledge could help the organization develop its innovative capabilities (Al?Salti & Hackney, 2011)
This report focused on information management in organizations in the communications technology age to the age of the knowledge economy. As knowledge is a useful tool to help managers in problem solving through the decision making process. Also, there are some issues, information managers should consider to ensure the effectiveness of the information management process. MIS is the focus of this research, its description and benefits in assisting decision makers are analyzed. MIS is used by managers to get the necessary information needed to take a decision in the form of reports retrieved from the system. The level of details provided to managers differs according to their managerial level. Technology enabled the development of effective information systems that support the decision makers. MIS integrates information from various sources through its various applications as DSS and expert systems that fulfill. MIS strategy should be aligned to the organizational business strategy. MIS elements are also discussed to describe the system mechanism. The OMIS application system importance is also discussed as it stores historical activities and information. Outsourcing could benefit the organization to enhance its skills and could be complementary to the organizational MIS. MIS has limitations as its implementation within the organization may cause major organizational changes. The technological systems require human activities as monitoring and follow up to ensure the accuracy of information to ensure the accuracy of information delivered to decision makers.
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