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.