Management Information System (MIS) is a network established to timely obtain useful internal and external information to make a decision in an organization. The network consists of people, data, processes, interfaces, and technology that interact with each other to store information and timely extract information for the management to make decision to improve day-to-day operations, solve problem, and to develop strategies. This may be both manual and computer- based system. This covers proper management nd use of resources for effective and timely achievement of the organizational objectives. Modern MIS are mostly based on computer systems. The main characteristics of an effective MIS can be outlined as:
a) The system should be management-oriented. That is, it has to be designed keeping in mind the management needs and overall organizational objectives.
b) It should be management directed. The MIS development should actively involve the managers and incorporate their inputs and directions. Since MIS is intended for managers, the development of MIS without involvement of managers can become out of touch.
c) The system should be integrated. That is, all the operational and functional modules of the system should be closely tied together to make a single integrated entity. This integration generally means incorporation of all the functional requirements of the organization into a single operational system entity.
d) It should have common data flows for input, processing and output so that there is no need to input, process or output same set of data separately.
e) Since MIS is intended to help in proper management and decision making, a serious planning phase should precede the actual development/acquisition of the system.
f) The system should be integrated but should also be subdivided into different subsystems or modules to be used/handled different functional sub-entities in the organization.
g) It should have a centralized, common database or information repository so that everyone using the system gets the same information.
h) It is better to have MIS fully computerized though it is possible to have MIS without computers. However, nowadays, an MIS without computerization can barely be imagined.
Information needs of top level management and middle level management are different in many respects since the role of top level managers‘ role is different from the middle level managers‘ role. Main differences between the information needs of top level management and middle level management are: