Describe the main pre-requisites of a Management Information System, which make it an effective tool. Explain the major constraints in operating it.

A Management Information System ICT Revision Questions and Answers

Pre-requisites of an MIS: The following are pre-requisites of an effective MIS:
(i) Database: It is a super file which consolidates data records formerly stored in many data files. The data in database is organized in such a way that access to the data is improved and redundancy is reduced. Normally, the database is subdivided into major information sub-sets needed to run. The database should be user-oriented, capable of being used as a common data source, available to authorized persons only and should be controlled a separate authority such as DBMS. Such a database is capable of meeting information requirements of its executives, which is necessary for planning, organizing and controlling the operations of the business.

(ii) Qualified System and Management Staff: MIS should be manned qualified officers. These officers who are experts in the field should understand clearly the views of their fellow officers. The organizational management base should comprise of two categories of officers (i) System and Computer experts and (ii) Management experts. Management experts should clearly understand the concepts and operations of a computer. Their whole hearted support and cooperation will help in making MIS an effective one.
(iii) Support of Top Management: An MIS becomes effective only if it receives the full support of top management. To gain the support of top management, the officer should place before them all the supporting facts and state clearly the benefits which will accrue from it to the concerned. This step will certainly enlighten the management and will change their attitude towards MIS.
(iv) Control and Maintenance of MIS: Control of the MIS means the operation of the system as it was designed to operate. Sometimes users develop their own procedures or shortcut methods to use the system, which reduces its effectiveness. To check such habits of users, the management at each level in the organization should devise checks for the information system control.
Maintenance is closely related to control. There are times when the need for improvements to the system will be discovered. Formal methods for changing and documenting changes must be provided.
(v) Evaluation of MIS: An effective MIS should be capable of meeting the information requirements of its executives in future as well. The capability can be maintained evaluating the MIS and taking appropriate timely action. The evaluation of MIS should take into account the following points:
• Examining the flexibility to cope with future requirements;
• Ascertaining the view of the users and designers about the capabilities and deficiencies of the system ; and
• Guiding the appropriate authority about the steps to be taken to maintain effectiveness of MIS.
Constraints in operating MIS:
Major constraints which come in the way of operating an information system are:
• Non-availability of experts, who can diagnose the objectives of the organization and provide a desired direction for installing a system.
• Experts usually face the problem of selecting the sub-system of MIS to be installed and operated upon.
• Due to varied objectives of business concerns, the approach adopted experts for designing and implementing MIS is a non-standardized one.
• Non-availability of cooperation from staff in fact is a crucial problem. It should be handled tactfully. Educating the staff organizing lectures, showing films, training on system and utility of the system may solve this problem.

• There is high turnover of experts in MIS. Turnover in fact arises due to several factors like pay, promotion chances, future prospects, behavior of top ranking managers etc.

• Difficulty in quantifying the benefits of MIS, so that it is easily comparable with cost.

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