Tag Archives: Management Information System (MIS)

Selecting the Right MIS Cloud Model

Building a database in the cloud for the MIS is the easy part. Building an MIS application that draws inputs from cloud database is the difficult part. Your cloud service provider can help you or baulk your efforts in this direction. But before you look to your cloud service to provide you with the tools you need for designing and delivering a flawless MIS application to your employees, suppliers and customers, you need to get your expectations from the cloud MIS right.

The first question you should ask yourself: What is the kind of performance you expect from a cloud based MIS? Examine all the alternates available to you and arrive at your definition of optimum model for your organisation. Does the current application meet all the MIS objectives? Do you need to review? Re-engineer? Which alternate is the best fit? The answer to these questions will clarify and focus your thoughts on anticipated performance of the MIS.

Next you need to check on cost-effectiveness of the alternate cloud deployments. A cost-benefit analysis of each alternate model may come in useful in determining whether the cloud based MIS model will work for you. Even rough estimates of the costs of different components of the alternate MIS models will do to start with. Include costs of equipments; operations costs; manpower costs, maintenance costs and any other direct or indirect costs that is incurred in keeping the particular cloud MIS operational.

Third, have a deep look at the operational basis of all the MIS alternate models you have developed. Assess the strong and weak points of every alternate MIS application model you have with respect to the cloud database you will be using. Examine the quality of the database; the quality of the data, the ability of the database to withstand pressures of peak loads in processing and storage and anticipated preparedness to process ad hoc demands and handle de-duplication processes. This will give you clarity on what MIS application model will work with the cloud database and what will not.

Finally, examine the technical basis of the alternatives. Does the technology meet the requirements of storage, processing, communication, output and so on? Is the technology really available? If available, is it of the quality/ configuration expected? Will the acquisition of technology bust the budget? Is it too sophisticated for the staff to handle? The answer to these questions will put you on a firm footing with regard to what hardware/software you can and cannot use and the kind of training that may be required by your employees to use the MIS.

Conceptualising Cloud Based MIS

Conceptual design of an MIS is the output of an interactive, highly focused discussion between the business managers and IT professionals. It is a high level definition of the MIS objectives, guiding policies and constraints with reasoned consideration of viable inputs, storage, outputs, communication protocols and business processes for generation of alternate MIS designs and the selection of the best fit design for the organisation.

Input for MIS may be received from external sources or internal sources. For instance, a steel manufacturing company may receive inputs on market price of iron ore; cost of transportation etc from external sources. They may have information about iron ore smelting, cleaning and processing times from internal sources. They may have some intellectual property—a formula for extracting the iron from the iron ore cost effectively. The business managers and the IT professionals will have to decide how they will integrate the information received from these different sources and how they will communicate the re-ordered information with employees at different levels of the organisation.

If the organisation has a number of branches scattered across geographical regions, the MIS design will have to give a serious consideration to whether the data should be centralised or distributed. Both kinds of databases have their advantages and disadvantages will have data retrieval impact. The time to access; the speed of access; latency issues etc will determine how the organisation wants to make its data available to its employees. The volume of information available or generated by the system will impact capacity planning and have a role to play in the kind of scalability of system the organisation wishes to deploy. The sequential or relational nature of the information will further determine how the information is organised and made available.

Organisations may process information in batches or record by record. Combination approaches are also not uncommon. The use of sophisticated modelling techniques in information processing may require the use of complex applications such as CAD/CAM and these applications may have to be re-configured; re-engineered for cloud deployment. Simpler applications such as word processing may be deployed with public licensing or shared licensing systems.

Ultimately, the test of the system is in the output. The system design must ensure that the system will be capable of delivering the right kind of output to the right level of employee in time at the right frequency. The output may be visual or verbal. It may be direct or routed through the senior management.

It is important to get the conceptual level of MIS design for the cloud right. It is the basis on which the detailing for the cloud is built.

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