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Functions of the Management Information System

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									                    Functions of Information
                            Systems


                    Databases & Information Systems
                        Lachlan M. MacKinnon



Databases & Information Systems - F29IF2         Lachlan M. MacKinnon
        What           do we mean by Information Systems?
              “Information  is data that have been put into a
               useful and meaningful context and
               communicated to a recipient who uses it to
               make decisions. Information involves the
               communication and reception of intelligence or
               knowledge.” (Burch & Grudnitski 1989)
              “An information system (IS) is a formalized
               computer information system that can collect,
               store, process and report data from various
               sources to provide the information necessary
               for managerial decision making.”(Hicks 1993)

Databases & Information Systems - F29IF2             Lachlan M. MacKinnon
        Definitions   and descriptions of information
            systems almost all define them in terms of
            computer technology.
              However,  we need to divorce the concept of
               information systems from its technological
               manifestation.
              Information systems are concerned with a much
               broader domain of interest than purely
               computerised application of information
               technology.
              Information systems incorporates information


Databases & Information Systems - F29IF2           Lachlan M. MacKinnon
              technology,   but is also concerned with
               information and organisational activities.
              Since it is concerned with activities which are
               defined as being relevant to different fields of
               knowledge, information systems can be seen as
               an interdisciplinary subject. However, all that
               this means in practice is that the information
               systems professional should not be hidebound
               into addressing issues from a single disciplinary
               perspective.




Databases & Information Systems - F29IF2              Lachlan M. MacKinnon
        Information                  Systems Functions :
              We  have identified that information systems is
               an interdisciplinary subject that must be seen as
               more than just computerised information
               collection, storage, processing and distribution.
               However, in order to justify this argument, we
               must also identify what other functions
               information systems perform.
              We can identify 5 functions of information
               systems (Jayaratna 1994), including the
               information processing function described
               earlier.

Databases & Information Systems - F29IF2                    Lachlan M. MacKinnon
                  1. Information Processing and Usability Function




Databases & Information Systems - F29IF2                    Lachlan M. MacKinnon
              2.      Educating & Learning Function
                   –   Systems should provide learning opportunities for
                       inexperienced and naive users.
                   –   Enabling users to make best use of systems
                       incorporates the effectiveness of the decision-
                       making process based on the information provided.
                   –   Continuous examination and modification of models
                       and decisions is necessary where users have to
                       operate in a dynamic environment.
                   –   Expecting users to abandon the status quo in favour
                       of a new and potentially threatening system is
                       unrealistic without transition information and
                       support (change management).


Databases & Information Systems - F29IF2                       Lachlan M. MacKinnon
Databases & Information Systems - F29IF2   Lachlan M. MacKinnon
                   3. Information Systems Development Function
                                  (Methodologies)




Databases & Information Systems - F29IF2                  Lachlan M. MacKinnon
              4. Management & Control Function
              The Management & Control Function is
               concerned with maintaining efficient and
               effective performance of the first 3 functions,
               and also providing performance information for
               the Information Strategic Function.
              The breakdown of of tasks identified as
               belonging to the Management & Control
               Function can be shown by using the other
               Information Systems Functions as headings :
                   – So the Management and Control Function is



Databases & Information Systems - F29IF2                   Lachlan M. MacKinnon
                      concerned with the following activities, relative to
                      the :
                         • Information Processing & Usability Function :
                             – acquisition of new hardware and software (including
                               upgrades and amendments/extensions)
                             – budget management
                             – cost analysis
                             – guidelines and policies (both statutory & permissive)
                             – supplier and service contracts
                             – task prioritisation
                             – quality control, safety standards and service
                               performance
                             – communication and procedural controls for client and
                               user requests , complaints, revisions and amendments



Databases & Information Systems - F29IF2                               Lachlan M. MacKinnon
                               – target-setting and monitoring (i.e. MTBF, MTTR,
                                 down-time, lead-time, production targets)
                               – user management

                         • User Education and Learning Function :
                            – provision for user training/retraining
                            – budgetary control
                            – co-ordination of training effort with requirements of
                               other Information System functions
                            – timetabling
                            – promotion/promulgation of guidelines, standards,
                               policies and controls
                            – user awareness of competitive products, new
                               technology and models




Databases & Information Systems - F29IF2                                Lachlan M. MacKinnon
                         • Information Systems Development Function :
                             – Project Management
                             – Policy on performance and delivery targets
                             – Decisions on standardisation, controls, constraints
                             – amendment/upgrade to systems on basis of user
                               feedback, competitive factors, new
                               methods/technologies, etc.




Databases & Information Systems - F29IF2                                 Lachlan M. MacKinnon
             5. Strategy & Planning Function

                   – As we have already identified, the Management and
                     Control Function provides performance data to the
                     Information Strategic Function, which in turn
                     provides the Management and Control Function
                     with the strategy by which the system evolves. The
                     relationship is that the Management and Control
                     Function is informed by strategy developed by the
                     Information Strategic Function in relation to the
                     following activities :
                               – The Manager
                               – Budgeting



Databases & Information Systems - F29IF2                     Lachlan M. MacKinnon
                               –   Time Constraints
                               –   Production Planning
                               –   Auditing
                               –   Quality Assurance
                               –   Law
                               –   Market Factors
                               –   Competitive Products
                               –   Capital
                               –   Available Manpower
                               –   Skills Distribution
                               –   Technology
                               –   Location
                               –   Infrastructure
                               –   Economic Trends
                               –   Management Techniques

Databases & Information Systems - F29IF2                   Lachlan M. MacKinnon
                         • From this list we can see that the Information Strategic
                           Function provides the following necessary facilities for the
                           Information Systems Functional Model :
                             – Supports corporate strategy
                             – Executive Information Support
                             – Comparison of strategic position with marketplace
                               and broader markets
                             – Aid in development of existing market/product-base
                               and lateral movement
                             – Aid in deriving corporate strategy
                             – Altering balance of power with suppliers,
                               competitors, etc
                             – Identification of new marketplaces, products,
                               approaches, etc.
                         • “An information system is strategic if it changes an
                           organisations products or service or the way it competes

Databases & Information Systems - F29IF2                                 Lachlan M. MacKinnon
                            in its industry.” (Wainwright et al, 1991)


              Our consideration of the Information Systems
              Functional Model leads to the conclusion that
              the discipline of Information Systems is an
              interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary subject.
              We can identify five specific areas of study :
                   – 1. Information Technology
                   – 2. Information Systems Functions
                   – 3. Organisational Studies
                   – 4. Social Implications of Information Systems
                   – 5. Systems Integration


Databases & Information Systems - F29IF2                                 Lachlan M. MacKinnon
Databases & Information Systems - F29IF2   Lachlan M. MacKinnon

								
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