In the conceptual design, the feasibility of meeting the management objectives for the MIS is assessed and a broad picture of the system is analyzed. It involves the following steps:
1) Define problem:
The first step in conceptual design is to clearly understand and define the problem to be solved. The information needs of the organization are to be identified and understood in this step, which can be determined by understanding the mission, objectives and operating plans for the business.
2) Set system objectives:
System objectives should be stated in quantitative terms. For example, ‘pay salary to 100 percent employees by the last day of the month’.
3) Identify constraints:
System constraints may be classified into two categories:
a) External constraints
These are external to the organization. For example constraints imposed by the customers, the government and the suppliers.
b) Internal constraints
These are imposed from within the organization. For example, non-cooperation and lack of support from top management, resource constraints like manpower, time and money etc.
4) Determine information needs:
For determination of information needs, users should specify:
a) What they want out of an information system and
b) Items of information that are needed to achieve the predetermined objectives.
5) Determine information sources:
Sources of information may be classified as given below:
a) Internal and external records:
The internal records may be in written form like files, inputs and outputs, correspondence, reports etc., whereas external records may include trade publications, government statistics, etc.
b) Managers and operating personnel:
User-managers and operating staff may be an important source. However, gathering data from the source involves interviewing the managers and operating personnel, which requires proper planning and skill.
6) Develop various designs:
More than one alternative conceptual designs are to be developed which are compared to select the optimum one, which:
a) Meets the requirements of the users/organizations and
b) Is cost effective
Various criteria can be adopted as a basis for evaluating the designs such as economic, performance, operational etc.
7) Documentation of the conceptual design:
The documentation involves:
a) Overall system flow
b) System inputs
c) System outputs, and
d) Other documentations like activity sheet and system description, etc.
8) Report preparation:
The report prepared should mention the problem, objectives and an overall view of the system. Justifications for selecting the alternatives and many more.