The primary purpose of a management information system, or MIS, is to assist managers in making strategic, tactical and operational decisions in an efficient and productive manner. It provides managers with essential information that is gathered from a variety of sources, pooled into a single database and compiled in a readable format.
A management information system consists of a set of systems and processes that distributes information to managers. This tool is used to make reports and comprehensive overviews that help managers conduct performance reviews and make a wide range of decisions, such as an in-depth analysis of operational concerns. It provides internal reports that are presented in an easily understandable format. Information collected by a MIS are either financial or operational depending on the needs of management.
A MIS is generally capable of collecting any type of information required by managers. It views financial data, such as daily expenses and revenues, and attributes these data to respective departments. Personnel are able to manage outgoing shipments and incoming deliveries from any location connected to the MIS.
Front-line employees also use MIS to perform their jobs more effectively. For example, employees consult a MIS to view statistics related to their department or check on the status of particular inventory items. Furthermore, management information systems facilitate communication and collaboration by allowing employees to share documents and important information.
Most management information systems rely on technology to collect and compile data. Some companies use standard systems, while others develop unique systems that suit their specific operations.