Explain in your own words the main components / features of an Management Information System and how it supports these functional areas
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Explain in your own words the main components / features of an MIS and how it supports these functional areas MIS is a system that supports the users by giving predetermined answers, based on input query. This information is usually summarised from an information system. A good example is a store recording the weekly sales by product type and day of the week, possibly even the time of the day that they get more sales. It might not sound useful to know what time a product is sold, but it can actually help the manager that sets up a weekly rota for its staff. It also helps the store to know what to sell at certain times of the year, for example it might not be a good idea to sell t-shirts in 'bulk' if the country is going through a cold spell. There are many advantages for using MIS, the main ones being very easy to use, and it is usually a quick process. It is used mainly by senior management staff. In order for a MIS to be used, it needs to meet certain standards. This controls the effectiveness of the system.
On the other hand, graphical output is usually the best for seeing the big picture, presenting the proper information to the management team and understanding trends. There is a common way of using both types of outputs, for example using the graphical side to identify areas of interest and focus on the details, and using the textual format to see the lowest level of detail. The output must be presented depending on the user's needs. A good example is a manager in a supermarket; he would mainly want to see sales by product or product group, and the store manager have a specific interest in what is happening in their own store. A regional manager would want to see what's happening across all stores in their region, because it is a massive part of their job, so the rule is that the default output for the user should be the one that they are interested in. Control and feedback loops: These two loops are what happen in the organization, as a result of the output from an information system. This will have an effect, direct or not, on future inputs to the information system. An automated example is a data feed of actually sales data to a computerised stock control system.
In a large organization, it is common to be used in a server, either shared or dedicated. They also have Internet/Intranet available, should it be needed by its users. In a smaller business, it may run on the sales or finance director's PC. Software: A Management Information System can be built easier that most people think, with standard software, although it is advisable to be built with specialized software, which is already pre-configured with most of the standard software features. The MIS can be configured by describing its structure and the database, where the origin of the data is, how to summarise it and what standard queries will be needed. The cost varies a lot; the cheapest option offers a limited amount of functions for one PC, whereas the most expensive provides high-tech performance for a massive amount of users, and also vast amounts of data. Telecommunications: There is the possibility of an MIS being used over the Internet, but this has serious security implications. Most of MIS are delivered through an Intranet of a company, within its firewall, for protection over competitive business and others looking to obtain valuable management information. This information can help a business progress in many ways. Sometimes business have to use a dedicated telecommunications network in order to have the best security possible.
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