MIS Development Process - Management Information systems

What is Development Process? In what way it is helpful?

In MIS, the information is identified as an important resource like capital and time. A systemic planning is required in order to manage the resource well. Hence, it calls upon the management to plan for and control it, so that the information which is identified becomes a crucial resource for the system.

  • The management information system needs good planning.
  • This system should deal with the management information and not with data processing alone.
  • It should provide full support for the management planning, decision-making and action.
  • It should provide support to the changing needs in the environment of business management.

Major challenges in MIS implementation are:

  • Quantity, content and context of information - how much information and exactly what should it describe.
  • Nature of analysis and presentation – information must be comprehensive information.
  • Availability of information - frequency, contemporariness, on-demand or routine, periodic or occasional, one-time info or repetitive in nature and so on.
  • Accuracy of information.
  • Reliability of information.
  • Providing Security and Authentication of the system.

Planning for MIS

MIS design and development process has to address the following issues successfully:
  • There should be smooth and effective communication between the developers and users of the system.
  • There should be good synchronization in understanding the management, processes and IT among the users as well as the developers.
  • The managers need to understand the information needs from different functional areas and need to form a single integrated system by combining these information needs.
  • Creating a unified MIS covering the entire organization will lead to a more economical, faster and more integrated system; however it will increase in design complexity manifold.
  • The MIS need to interact with the complex environment comprising all other sub-systems in the overall information system of the organization. So, it is extremely necessary and essential to understand and describe the requirements of MIS in the context of the organization.
  • It should be in constant touch with changes that has occurring in environment, changing demands of the customers and growing competition.
  • It should utilize fast developing in IT capabilities in the best possible ways.
  • To install advanced IT-based systems it is very costly and a lot of time is required to install, so frequent and major modifications is not possible for such IT-based systems.
  • It should take care of not only the users i.e., the managers but also other stakeholders like employees, customers and suppliers.

Once the organizational planning stage is over, the designer of the system should take the following strategic decisions for the achievement of MIS goals and objectives:

  • Development Strategy: Example - an online, real-time batch.
  • System Development Strategy: Designer selects an approach to system development like operational verses functional, accounting verses analysis.
  • Resources for the Development: Designer has to select resources. Resources can be in-house verses external, customized or use of package.
  • Manpower Composition: The staffs should have analysts, and programmers.

Information system planning essentially involves:

  • Identification of the stage of information system in the organization.
  • Identification of the application of organizational IS.
  • Evolution of each of this application based on the established evolution criteria.
  • Establishing a priority ranking for these applications.
  • Determining the optimum architecture of IS for serving the top priority applications.

Information System Requirements

The following diagram illustrates a brief sketch of the process of information requirement analysis:
The following are the three methodologies that can be adopted to determine the requirements in developing a management information system for any organization:
  • Business Systems Planning (BSP) - this methodology is developed by IBM.
    • It identifies the IS priorities of the organization and focuses on the way data is maintained in the system.
    • It uses data architecture supporting multiple applications.
    • It describes data classes using different matrices to establish relationships among the organization, its processes and data requirements.
  • Critical Success Factor (CSF) - this methodology is developed by John Rockart of MIT.
    • It identifies the key business goals and objectives that are set and strategies of each manager as well as that of the business.
    • Next, it looks for the critical success factors underlying these goals.
    • Measure of CSF effectiveness becomes an input for defining the information system requirements.
  • End/Means (E/M) analysis - this methodology is developed by Wetherbe and Davis at the University of Minnesota.
    • It determines the effectiveness criteria for outputs and efficiency criteria for the processes producing the outputs.
    • At first it identifies the outputs or services provided by the business processes.
    • Then it describes the necessary factors that use to make these outputs effective for the user.
    • Finally, it selects the information needed to evaluate the effectiveness of outputs

Information System Analysis and Design

System analysis and design follows the typical System/Software Design Life Cycle (SDLC) as discussed in the previous chapter. It generally passes through the following phases:
  • Problem Definition
  • Feasibility Study
  • Systems Analysis
  • System Design
  • Detailed System Design
  • Implementation
  • Maintenance
In the analysis phase, the following techniques are commonly used:
  • Data flow diagrams (DFD)
  • Logic Modeling
  • Data Modeling
  • Rapid Application Development (RAD)
  • Object Oriented Analysis (OOA)

Technology for Information Systems

The technology requirement for an information system can be categorized as:
  • Devices
  • Data center systems - It is the data systems of environment that provides processing, storage, networking, management and the distribution of data within an enterprise.
  • Enterprise software - These are software system like ERP, SCM, Human Resource Management, etc. that fulfill the needs and objectives of the organizations.
  • IT services - It refers to the implementation and management of quality IT services by creating IT service providers through people, process and information technology. It often includes various process improvement frameworks and methodologies like six sigma, TQM, and so on.
  • Telecom services

System Test Planning and Execution

The system should be fully tested for errors before being fully operational.
The test plan should include for each test:
  • Purpose
  • Definition
  • test inputs
  • detailed specification of test procedure
  • details of expected outputs
Each sub-system and all their components should be tested according to their various test procedures and data to ensure that each component is working as it is to be intended.
The users must take part in testing to find out any errors that occur as well as get the feedback.

System Operation

Before the system is in operation, the following issues should be taken care of:
  • Data security, backup and recovery;
  • Systems control;
  • Testing of the system to ensure that it works bug-free in all expected business situations;
  • The hardware and software that is used should be able to deliver the expected processing;
  • The capacity of the system and expected response time should be maintained;
  • The system should be well documented including;
    • A user guide for inexperienced users,
    • A user reference or operations manual for advanced users,
    • A system reference manual describing system structures and architecture.
Once the system is fully operational, then it should be maintained such a way that it works throughout its life to resolve any problems or difficulties arise in operation and slight modifications might be done to overcome such situations.

Factors for Success and Failure

MIS development projects are highly-risk, highly-return projects. Following could be stated as critical and complex factors for success and failure in MIS development:
  • It should cater to a specific, well-perceived business.
  • The top management should accept and totally convinced, and willing to such system. Ideally there should be a patron or a sponsor for the system in the top management.
  • All the users, managers and other employees form an integral part of the development, implementation, and use of the system.
  • There should be an operational prototype of the system released as soon as possible, to create interest among the users.
  • Good support staff should be maintained with necessary technical, business, and interpersonal skills.
  • The system should be simple, easy to understand without having much complexity. It adding up of an entity is not required unless and until there is a use and user both for it.
  • It should be easy to use and navigate with high response time.
  • The implementation process should follow a definite goal and time.
  • All the users including the top management should give proper training, in order to have a good knowledge of the content and function of the system, and can use it exclusively for various managerial activities such as reporting, budgeting, controlling, planning, monitoring, etc.
  • It must generate useful outputs to be used by all managers.
  • The system should be well coordinated into the management processes of planning, decision-making, and monitoring.

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