Management Information System : An Overview

As we discussed in last lectures about System, System Analysis and Design and System Analysis Tools. Now our topic of discussion is Information Systems. Lets Start

Management Information System deals with the systems which produce information for the management at different levels for their proper functioning. Although it is not absolutely essential for MIS, yet it is the computer which has made a reality of the fundamental concepts of MIS. Its assets are speed, accuracy, consistency and the ability to handle large volumes of data. It however lacks judgement for which the human beings can complement it. The general term system, is more specifically applicable to the information systems, are going to be of our main interest. Thus the term MIS may be defined as an integrated man-machine system in producing information to support the operations, management planning & control and decision making functions in an organisation.

Man and machine are thus complimentary to each other and the question really is to what extent computers should be employed. Before we begin the detailed discussion on the various factors to be analysed for the design of a detailed MIS, it will be worthwhile to have a look at the computer technology as it has changed over the last few years which has affected the very design of MIS.

DATA Vs.  INFORMATION

The word data is the plural of datum, which means fact. Data, then, are facts, the raw material of information. Data are represented by symbols, but they are not information except in a limited sense. As used in data processing, information is data arranged in an order and form useful to the people who receive it. However, information is relevant knowledge, produced as the output of data processing operations and acquired by people to enhance understanding and to achieve specific purpose. Figure illustrate the differences between data and information.

Data Vs. Information

           Data (Input)                                         Information (After Processing)

INFORMATION

Information is one of the most vital tools for the management. Modern industrial society is faced with Information Explosion. Information has been regarded as an important resource since companies spend major chunk of their costs towards collecting, processing and transmitting the information to various levels of management for their proper.

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System Analyst and Analysis Tools

SYSTEM ANALYST

As per our discussion in last lecture that each system has certain interacting elements. These elements interact with each other in a certain way so as to produce the required output from the given inputs. As we are dealing with man-made systems, so it is man who decides about what should be the inputs for a particular system and in what way different elements should react with each other to produce the desired output. This particular man who analyse (new and existing) and design or redesign the system is called System Analyst. The concept of systems would impose upon the System Analyst to look at the system as a whole.

The primary task of the system analyst is to analyse and design a system which is absolutely new or make a existing system more effective by modifications or by substantial redesign.

The system involved could be economic, political, social institution such as business houses, government agencies, colleges and universities and usually a computer could be considered as an aid for improving the systems operation.

System analyst may be responsible for system analysis, detail design of the computer system and outlining system specification.

The system analyst has two primary objectives

  • Assessment objective
  • Assistance objective

Assessment objective : A system analyst has to observe, understand and evaluate the interactions which routinely occurs as a part of the Job under investigation.

Herein the analyst has to know.

  • What is being done ?
  • Who is doing it ?
  • Why is it being done ?
  • How is it being done ?
  • What are major problems in doing it ?

After the completion of assessment objective, the system analyst offers specific suggestions for improving the efficiency of Job under consideration. He does so by providing assistance.

Assistance Objective : A system analyst is to provide alternative solutions to make the existing system more efficient. For this job, he seeks the help of the computer. At such times he acts like a communication-link between technology and user. Analyst now finds out other ways to deal with the existing problem and also checks the benefits and liabilities associated with these alternative approaches.

Better assessment of problems will provide better assistance, and probably the presence of other kinds of assistance gives the analyst a broader perspective for the assessment.

A system analyst must have good communication with all the people affected. Communication skill of system analyst should be sharp as he depends on others for both information and co-operation. System analyst in facts is an agent of change.

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System Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

INTRODUCTION

To develop a systems, such as Management Information System (MIS), A General Business System, we need to carry out a detailed systems analysis and design activity. For this purpose, we shall have an overview of various stages in this process.

System development follows an iterative process that recycles through each stage and almost all stages overlap each other. This is also termed as the System Life Cycle.

SYSTEMS  ANALYSIS AND DESIGN PROCESS

The complete process of systems analysis and design may be considered as consisting of  following phases

  • Recognition of problem (Initial Investigation)
    • What is the problem or opportunity?
  • Feasibility study
    • What are the user’s needs?
    • What are the benefits?
    • How can the problem be redefined?
  • System analysis
    • What must be done to solve the problem?
    • What are the facts?
  • System design
    • How must the problem be solved?
    • What is system flow?
  • System testing
    • How ready are programs for test?
  • Implementation
    • What is the actual operation?
  • Maintenance
    • Should the system be modified?

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System Analysis and Design – I

THE SYSTEM CONCEPT

The term “system” is used in many different ways. Everyone is familiar with such expressions as “Professor Rajneesh has an impossible grading system”. or  “Deepak has a great system for managing friends.” But for computer users, a system is a group of parts that are integrated for the purpose of achieving some objective. The following three characteristics are key:

  1. A group of parts. A system has more then one element. A steering wheel is not a system, but it’s a vital part of a familiar system called an automobile.
  2. Integrated parts. A logical relationship must exist between the parts of a system. Mechanical and electronic system, such as washing machines and video games, have many components that work together.
  3. A common purpose of achieving some objective. The system is designed to accomplish one or more goals. All system elements should be tied together and controlled so that the system goal is achieved.

Since a computer is a group of integrated parts that have the common purpose of performing the operations called for in the program being executed, it qualifies as a system.

DEFINITION

The term system is derived from the Greek word systema, which means an organized relationship among functioning units or components. A system exists because it is designed to achieve one or more objectives.  A system is an orderly  grouping of interdependent components linked together according to a plan to achieve a specific objective.  The word component may refer to physical parts, managerial steps or a subsystem in a multi-level structure.

In our daily life,  the word “System”  comes across many a times but seldom the word is understood in its fullest sense. Almost every one of us have heard about Systems such as Education System, Economic System, Office System, Solar System. But what do they imply in the real sense is a  main question.

Systems could be man-made such as education system, office systems etc., or a natural system such as solar system.

We would be dealing with man-made systems. These man-made systems have certain inputs which are processed and the result is certain outputs.

Figure 1 : System

In education system, the main input is new students where they undergo the process of education and the output is a educated student.

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