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What Is a Management Information System?

Information has always been central to analysis and decision-making in effective business management. In the age of big data, the right information can be used to boost productivity, growth and efficiency in operations. But this information must be easily accessible and usable in real time to have value. Management information systems (MIS) make this possible. Advancements like automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are seeing integration into MIS, making it more impactful than ever before.

Yet an advanced management information system is only as effective as the professionals drawing from it to make decisions and optimize operations. These professionals need advanced skills and knowledge derived from various disciplines. Responding to the need for MIS-focused management expertise, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) offers an online MBA program with an MIS Specialization.

What Is the History of Management Information Systems?

Information management is any way of recording information in a retrievable, analyzable format. The ledgers of old or punch-card data management systems are examples. The modern concept of MIS evolved from these early systems, advancing in data storage, retrieval and analysis potential as the technologies advanced.

The capabilities of MIS continued to expand with the advent of the internet and its development along with exponential improvements in data collection, storage and analysis software and hardware. Advancements in automation, AI and machine learning are spurring the development of even more powerful MIS. Plus, the proliferation of big data, analytics and other cloud-based services have helped increase the relative affordability of and access to MIS for smaller businesses and organizations. Thus, MIS are now incorporated into business management operations of all sizes across most every industry.

How Are Management Information Systems Defined?

An MIS is a system of storing, organizing and analyzing information to provide users with analysis in a usable format. In the context of today’s technology, Business Dictionary states:

“In a management information system, modern, computerized systems continuously gather relevant data, both from inside and outside an organization. This data is then processed, integrated, and stored in a centralized database (or data warehouse) where it is constantly updated and made available to all who have the authority to access it, in a form that suits their purpose.”

What Are Management Information Systems Meant to Accomplish?

The purpose of MIS is to provide management with usable information, distilled from vast subsets of data. The information falls into four categories: descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive.

MIS provide such information through reports in various formats depending on the user and purpose. MIS also provide on-demand reports for specific queries, as well as real-time reports for monitoring ongoing processes. In addition, the integration of AI and machine learning allows advanced MIS to accomplish much more without human input or query, such as automatically detecting and reporting anomalies and predicting potential outcomes according to precedent and forecasts.

It is important to note that many different information systems designed for specific uses are considered MIS, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and Sales Force Automation (SFA) systems. Modern technological advancements allow MIS to share data more fluidly across systems or effectively integrate disparate systems, supporting cross-function collaboration in organizations and providing more comprehensive, usable insight for management.

How Can Earning an MBA Focused on MIS Help Individuals in This Field?

Integrating, implementing and maintaining advanced MIS within management structures and departmental operations can be an extremely complex process. Beyond the technical aspects, information systems managers help translate the vast capabilities and information provided by MIS into formats and terminology that other managers and employees can understand. They are tasked with integrating data literacy into company-wide culture and skill sets.

In this regard, leadership and management skills like communication and cultural competency are just as important as technical skills for MIS professionals. SIUE’s comprehensive MBA in MIS online degree program is designed to help students develop mastery of the technical, organizational and interpersonal aspects of information systems management roles. This integrated study and advanced MBA credential can help professionals pursue information systems management careers.

Given the widespread applicability of MIS across industries, well-educated experts in this area are in high demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for computer and information systems managers is much faster than the average for all occupations. BLS lists the median annual salary for this job category as $142,530 (May 2019 data).

The demand for qualified MIS management professionals along with advances in the use of information systems makes studying and pursuing a career in this field both lucrative and engaging.

Learn more about SIUE’s online MBA program with a Management Information Systems Specialization.


Chron: Definition of Management Information Systems

Forbes: How AI Can Make Your Systems Management Software Smarter

Inc.: Management Information Systems

Information Age: 3 Trends That Will Impact Information Management Systems

SmartSheet: Management Information Systems in Business, in Academia, and in the Future

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Computer and Information Systems Managers

Your Article Library: Management Information System (Definition and Objectives)

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