MIS Development Process
In MIS, the information is recognized as major resource like capital and time. If this resource has to be managed well, it calls upon the management to plan for it and control it, so that the information becomes a vital resource for the system.
The management information system needs good planning.
This system should deal with the management information not with data processing alone.
It should provide support for the management planning, decision making and action.
It should provide support to the changing needs of business management.
Major challenges in MIS implementation are:
Quantity, content and context of information - how much information and exactly what should it describe
Nature of analysis and presentation - comprehensibility of information
Availability of information - frequency,contemporariness,on-demand or routine,periodic or occasional,one-time info or repetitive in nature and so on
Accuracy of information
Reliability of information
Security and Authentication of the system
Planning for MIS
MIS design and development process has to address the following issues successfully:
There should be effective communication between the developers and users of the system
There should be synchronization in understanding of management, processes and IT among the users as well as the developers
Understanding of the information needs of managers from different functional areas and combining these needs into a single integrated system
Creating a unified MIS covering the entire organization will lead to a more economical, faster and more integrated system, however it will increase in design complexity manifold
The MIS has to be interacting with the complex environment comprising all other sub-systems in the overall information system of the organization.So it is extremely necessary to understand and define the requirements of MIS in the context of the organization
It should keep pace with changes in environment,changing demands of the customers and growing competition
It should utilize fast developing in IT capabilities in the best possible way
Cost and time of installing such advanced IT-based systems is high, so there should not be a need for frequent and major modifications
It should take care of not only the users i.e., the managers but also other stakeholders like employees, customers and suppliers
Once the organizational planning stage is over, the designer of the system should take the following strategic decisions for the achievement of MIS goals and objectives:
Development Strategy: Ex. an online, batch, a real time.
System Development Strategy: Designer selects an approach to system development like operational verses functional, accounting verses analysis.
Resources for the Development: Designer has to select resources. Resources can be in-house verses external, customized or use of package.
Manpower Composition: The staff should have the staffs of an analyst, and programmer.
Information system planning essentially involves:
Identification of the stage of information system in the organization
Identification of the application of organizational IS.
Evolution of each of this application based on established evolution criteria.
Establishing a priority ranking for these application
Determining the optimum architecture of IS for serving the top priority applications.
Information System Requirements
The following diagram illustrates a brief sketch of the process of information requirement analysis:
The following three methodologies can be adopted to determine the requirements in developing a management information system for any organization:
Business Systems Planning (BSP) - this methodology is developed by IBM.
It identifies the IS priorities of the organization and focuses on the way data is maintained in the system.
It uses data architecture supporting multiple applications.
It defines data classes using different matrices to establish relationships among the organization, its processes and data requirements
Critical Success Factor (CSF) - this methodology is developed by John Rockart of MIT.
It identifies the key business goals and strategies of each manager as well as that of the business
Next it looks for the critical success factors underlying these goals
measure of CSF effectiveness becomes an input for defining information system requirements
End/Means (E/M) analysis - this methodology is developed by Wetherbe and Davis at the University of Minnesota.
It determines the effectiveness criteria for outputs and efficiency criteria for the processes generating the outputs
At first it identifies the outputs or services provided by the business processes
Then it describes the factors that make these outputs effective for the user
Finally it selects the information needed to evaluate the effectiveness of outputs
Information System Analysis & Design
System analysis and design follows the typical System/Software Design Life Cycle (SDLC) as discussed in the previous chapter.It generally passes through the following phases:
Detailed System Design
In the analysis phase, the following techniques are commonly used:
Data flow diagrams (DFD)
Rapid Application Development (RAD)
Object Oriented Analysis (OOA)
Technology for Information Systems
The technology requirement for an information system can be categorized as:
Data center systems - it is the environment that provides processing, storage, networking, management and the distribution of data within an enterprise
Enterprise software - these are software system like ERP, SCM, Human Resource Management etc. that fulfills the needs and objectives of the organizations
IT services - it refers to the implementation and management of quality IT services by IT service providers through people, process and information technology. It often includes various process improvement frameworks and methodologies like six sigma, TQM and so on
System Test Planning & Execution
The system should be fully tested for errors before being fully operational.
The test plan should include for each test:
detailed specification of test procedure
details of expected outputs
Each sub-system and all components of each sub-system should be tested using the various test procedures and data to ensure that each component is working as it is intended.
The testing must include the users of the system to identify errors as well as get the feedback.
Before the system is in operation, the following issues should be taken care of:
Data security, backup and recovery
Testing of the system to ensure that it works bug-free in all expected business situations
The hardware and software used should be able to deliver the expected processing
The system capacity and expected response time should be maintained
The system should be well documented including
A user guide for inexperienced users
A user reference or operations manual for advanced users
A system reference manual describing system structures and architecture
Once the system is fully operational, it should be maintained throughout its working life to resolve any glitches or difficulties faced in operation and minor modifications might be made to overcome such situations.
Factors for Success and Failure
MIS development projects are high-risk, high-return projects. Following could be stated as critical factors for success and failure in MIS development:
It should cater to a specific, well-perceived business
The top management should be completely convinced, able and willing to such a system. Ideally there should a patron or sponsor for the system in the top management.
All users including managers and other employees should be made an integral part of development, implementation and use of the system
There should be an operational prototype of the system released as soon as possible, to create interest among the users.
There should be good support staff with necessary technical, business, and interpersonal skills
The system should be simple, easy to understand without adding much complexity. It is best practice, not to add up an entity unless there is both a use and user for it.
It should be easy to use and navigate with high response time.
The implementation process should follow a definite goal and time
There should be proper training of all users including the top management, so that they have a good knowledge of the content and function of the system and can use it fully for various managerial activities like reporting, budgeting, controlling, planning, monitoring etc.
It should and must produce useful outputs to be used by all managers.
The system should be well integrated into the management processes of planning, decision-making, and monitoring.