MIS and the Role of Database in an Organization

Management and organizations facing constantly changing problems, diverse managerial styles, and ever present information needs offer a challenging context for developing computer based information systems. MIS uses computer technology to provide information and decision support to managers, helping them becomes more effective. Developments in the young computer industry are changing corporate management style.




Computer technology, including DBMS’s, is the motivating and enabling basis for the rapidly expanding field of MIS. A management information system is an integrated, user machine system for providing information to support operations, management, analysis, and decision making functions in an organization. The system utilizes computer hardware and software, manual procedures, models for analysis, planning, control and decision making and a data base.

Managers at all levels use similar data. Operating managers require data which is timely, precise, detailed, internal and historical. Upper level managers need data which is aggregated, external as well as internal, future oriented as well as historical and covering a longer span time. An effective MIS cannot be built without viable data management tools. Such tools were not generally available previously. Moreover, most organizations did not effectively use DBMS technology until two decades before. An important key to a successful MIS is the effective management of an organization’s data resources.

Role of the Database in an Organization:

An organization is traditionally viewed as a three level pyramid-operational activities at the bottom, management planning and control activities in the middle and strategic planning and policy making in top management. The corporate database contains data relating to the organization, its operations, its plan and its environment.

State of Database Management In Organizations:

The needs of organizations and management are changeable, diverse and often ill-defined, yet they must be met. Added to these are outside pressures from federal taxing authorities, federal securities agencies and legislators making privacy laws. Both internal and external forces demand that organizations exercise control over their data resources.

Decisions and actions in the organization are based upon the image contained in the corporate database. Managerial decisions direct the actions at the operational level and produce plans and expectations which are formally captured and stored in the corporate database. Transactions record actual results of organizational activities and environmental changes and update the database to maintain a current image.

People in the organization query the database for information to conduct the daily operations. Middle management receives reports comparing actual results to previously recorded plans and expectations. The corporate database provides data for modeling and forecasting which support top management needs. The corporate database supports all levels of an organization and is vital for operations, decision making and the management process.

While management seeks to control data resources, computer applications grow. When a corporation achieves comprehensive support of its operations, for instance, computer applications begin to penetrate into higher management levels. With comprehensive database support of operations, an MIS can mature as a tool for planning, control and decision making. Earlier, in the development of an MIS, an organization must appoint a DBA to manage its data resources.

While an organization’s move toward the database approach can be hastened by the acquisition of a DBMS, the latter is not necessary. Most commercially available DBMS’s fall substantially short of ideal capabilities, making their acquisition an interim measure - a move to help the organization learn how to operate in a managed data environment. In seeking DBMS capability, building one’s own system is unrealistic except for large organizations with special needs, such as a very large database or large volumes of known transactions requiring rapid online response.

Data is a vital resource in an organization and must be managed. The organizational database is an essential component in a management information system. Of the four components of a data processing system, attention to data has lagged behind the development of machines and programming technology. Taking a database approach requires an organization to focus on data as a valued resource. Data is separate from programs and application systems which use it.


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