The Most Popular Types of Information Systems

Information Systems are crucial in today’s day and age. Without them, virtually no undertaking could manage their data, innovate and improve their functioning. Whatever your objectives, we have a one-stop shop of the most used Information Systems.

Knowledge Work System (KWS)

As the name suggests, this system is formulated to bring in information at a rapid pace and incorporate it into the business. KWS systems integrate external and internal information sources such as document retrieval. The data is compatible with varied types of databases, whether text-based, visual, or numerical.

For example, a common KWS used is Virtual Reality used in telemedicine and education, by providing real-time relay of auditory, visual, and experiential data. Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) represents information in graphic or visual forms like designs that can be modified. It has great use in architecture and industrial/electrical/manufacturing/ engineering.

Office Automation System (OAS)

This system enhances the efficiency and productivity of office employees, machines, and devices. It enables storing data in bulk and makes transfers and communication between departments easier, with minimal human error.

It automates processes like emails, sharing of voice, text documents, or other transactional information. These support functions can be for the clerical staff or management. Routine work makes clerical functions smoother and less complicated by reducing time and paper usage. Managerial staff can retrieve data in a simple, easy format, assisting in quicker routine decision-making when faced with procedural hurdles. Backup keeps information safe, and centralization reduces confusion.

Examples include, Indeed for HR & Recruitment functions, Dialpad for the front end, and ClickUp for delegation and workflow process monitoring and optimization.

Decision Support System (DSS)

These are some of the most advanced and sophisticated information systems. They filter vast quantities of data from both internal and external sources and summarize/simplify it to help senior managerial executives make smart decisions. The information is run through complex statistical/ mathematical/econometric models to create compact output like charts, tables, and composite figures. It allows managers to create “if-then” predictive scenarios to appraise/compare and find ways to adjust business performance. These systems are interactive, which means the stored data can be retrieved, manipulated, and deleted, to see any changes/possibilities which inform alternative courses of action.

DSS examples include financial dashboards to calculate projected revenue, applications for crop and inventory planning, GPS machines, and weather forecasting models.

Transaction Processing System (TPS)

A TPS is the most common of all the information systems forming the foundation on which many other information systems work. It makes the entry and retrieval of information hassle-free. It keeps records, receipts, orders, sales, and purchases- essentially all business transactions in a standardized format in a stable, structured database. It processes and updates large volumes of information in batches to ease understanding of the data and to offer a better consumer experience on the query side.

For example, a TPS in the airline sector would include bookings and cancellations. A TPS can also be a database of stock/inventory that gives supervisors insight into business performance and areas of improvement. Similarly, a payroll system is a TPS because it keeps track of employee salaries, bonuses, credits, etc. TPS makes daily, routine tasks are seamless. Most TPS’ will have a back-end of a Database Management System (DMS) and a user-friendly interface for the front end.

Management Information System (MIS)

MIS is very much like the DSS, except that it uses only internal sources from the TPS to help managers make decisions. The MIS produces management reports at fixed intervals, so progress can be supervised and issues can be tackled promptly. It helps them to create regular business plans based on findings, value-add with foresight, and regularly track profitability. This helps middle-level managers promote daily/weekly/monthly administrative efficiency. MIS is data analysis for optimal business activity and investment. It is also to monitor employee performance/ workforce productivity and take steps to keep it in sync with company needs, thus reducing operational costs.

Examples of MIS include Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), managing resource utilization and day-to-day departmental coordination, and Supply Chain Management (SCM) to integrate and streamline manufacturers, wholesalers/retailers, and consumers.

Executive Support System

An ESS has many similarities with an MIS or DSS. The difference is that ESS is used for proactive monitoring by top-level executives to assess and change market strategies, compare the company’s performance with competitors, and evaluate future trends by taking information from the MIS/DSS (internal) and external (national economic data, sector reports, etc.) It also provides a superior computation method and better display options since the decisions are critical and have higher stakes. DSS is used more for reactive decision-making by mid-management during problems or changes.

Examples of ESS include Bank Loan Management Systems that predict recovery rates, dependent on economy-wide and individual factors. Similar systems can be developed for industries like transportation, healthcare, etc.


The Expert Information System is not yet as popular as the others but has a lot of scopes. The Expert system is based on artificial intelligence. It aims to imitate human capabilities in problem-solving and analysis. It consists of a repository of data, searches, and compilation ability and an interface to display reasoned, logical results as answers to queries. The best examples are MYCIN and CaDet in the medical sector, which identify bacteria and earlystage cancer.


These information systems are not so much separate as much as they form a pyramid. The primary function systems like TPS and OAS are geared towards rule-driven, formulaic work. As we go higher on the pyramid, systems like DSS, MIS, and ESS are more analytical and focus on macro variables to form a holistic picture. The information categories move from primary and unstructured to semi-structured and tactical (short-to-medium term) and finally to more practical inferential statistical knowledge (long-term). The criticality of information, its impact on business, and its position in the hierarchy rise accordingly.