by Dinesh Thakur

A management information system has the following characteristics:

1). System approach:

The information system follows a System’s approach. The system’s approach implies a wholistic approach to the study of the system and its performance to achieve the objective for which it has been formed.

2). Management oriented:

For designing of MIS top-down approach should be followed. Top-down approach suggests that the system development starts from the determination of the management needs and overall business objectives. Management oriented characteristic of MIS also implies that the management actively directs the system development efforts.

3). Need based:

MIS design and development should be as per the information needs of managers at different levels that are strategic planning level, management control level and operational control level.

1)      Exception based:

MIS should be developed on the exception based reporting principle, which means an abnormal situation, that is the maximum, minimum or expected values vary beyond the limits. In such cases there should be exception reporting to the decision-maker at the required level.

2)      Future oriented:

Besides exception based reporting, MIS should also look at the future. In other words MIS should not merely provide past or historical information, rather it should provide information on the basis of projections based on which actions may be initiated.

3)      Integrated:

Integration is significant because of its ability to produce more meaningful information. For example, in order to develop an effective production scheduling system, it is necessary to balance such factors as: set-up costs, work force, overtime rates, production capacity, inventory level, capital requirements and customer services. Integration means taking a comprehensive view of the subsystems that operate within the company.

4)      Common data flows:

Because of the integration concept of MIS, there is an opportunity to avoid duplication and redundancy in data gathering, storage and dissemination. System designers are aware that a few key source documents account for much of the information flow. For example, customer’s orders are the basis for billing the customer for the goods ordered, setting up accounts receivables, initiating production activity, sales analysis, sales forecasting etc.