An organized approach to the study of the information needs of an organization's management at every level in making operational, tactical, and strategic decisions. Its objective is to design and implement procedures, processes, and routines that provide suitably detailed reports in an accurate, consistent, and timely manner.
In a management information system, modern, computerized systems continuously gather relevant data, both from inside and outside an organization. This data is then processed, integrated, and stored in a centralized database (or data warehouse) where it is constantly updated and made available to all who have the authority to access it, in a form that suits their purpose. businessdictionary.com
MIS (Management Information Systems) is the hardware and software systems within an enterprise that provide the information that management needs to run an enterprise.
The MIS department was originally the whole of information technology. From the 1960s to the early 1980s, practitioners and business schools referred to MIS rather than IT. In the early days, enterprise computing's main role was to help the CEO and CFO with information systems management for a few key run-the-business tasks, such as order entry, accounting and budgeting. No enterprise applications existed; programmers painstakingly wrote code to carry out these functions, usually on a mainframe. These systems were business-critical, meaning that a business would fail if it had to go back to manual accounting. If MIS failed, the business was in danger. The CFO oversaw MIS, ensuring that the developers and administrators delivered what accounting needed.
In the 1980s, with the advent of personal computers that ran spreadsheets, the scope of computing's responsibilities began to change. Personal spreadsheets took business-critical processes out of the domain of upper management; MIS needed to service a wider range of users, deploying external as well as internal software programs. The name of the department changed to reflect this new set of internal customers, becoming Information Systems (IS). The MIS department became one, still-vital part of the overall IS department.
This was first published in November 2014
Contributor(s): Wayne Kernochan, Garrick Moore