Management information system (MIS) refers in broader terms to a computer based system that offers managers the tools to organize, evaluate and efficiently manage different departments within an organization. To enable the provision of past, present and prediction information, a MIS can include software that eases decision-making, data resources, hardware resource, decision support system, people management tools, project management tools and any other computerized process that enables the department to run efficiently.
Computer-Based Information System (CBIS) is an information system that uses computer technology to perform some or all of its intended tasks. Such a system can include as little as a personal computer and software (Al-Shakkah & Osman, 2011). This kind of a system consists of the following components
The term hardware refers to machinery. This includes the computer itself, which is often referred to as the central processing unit (CPU), and all of its support equipments such as input and output devices, storage devices and communications devices.
The term software refers to computer programs and the manuals that support them. Computer programs are machine-readable instructions inform of codes that direct the circuitry within the hardware parts of the CBIS to function in ways that produce useful information from data. Programs are generally stored on some input / output medium-often a disk or tape.
Data are facts that are used by program to produce useful information. Like programs, data is normally stored in machine-readable form on disk or tape until the computer needs them.
Procedures are the policies that govern the operation of a computer system. “Procedures are to people what software is to hardware” is a common analogy used to illustrate the role of procedures in a CBIS.
These include the end users and the information system (IS) specialists. The end users can be can be engineers, sales people, clerks or managers. The IS specialists include the people who develop, operate and maintain the system. They include system analysts, testers, programmers, operators and other personnel.
CBIS has several advantages including fast retrieval, large storage, different display options available, data does not have to be in a set order, data management is easier and data easily exchanged between applications and over networks. However, this does not mean that they are more superior to human beings in all aspects.
A computer operates under the procedures programmed by a human being. If the programmer makes a mistake when coding the instructions, the computer will not realize the mistake. It will just operate under the given procedures (Al-Shakkah & Osman, 2011). A human being on the other hand operates under the set procedures but can very fast identify a mistake through intelligence. A human being thinks but a computer does not. For human beings, everything is a learning process. We learn and improve on our ideas with time. For a computer, it has to rely on a human being to makes changes on the coded procedures for it to do something differently.
To possess value, the presence of free will is important. Free will is the ability to set our own objectives and make our own decisions, bringing with it the responsibility to deal with their consequences. Human beings make decisions and deal with the consequences of such decisions. A computer does not have a free will (Al-Shakkah & Osman, 2011). The programmer who also faces any consequences from the computer determines its decision-making capability. In simple terms, the computer itself is a decision from a human being.
The human values can never be installed in a computer. A computer may be fast but it operates under the instructions of a human being. It cannot think for itself making it inferior to human beings.
The systems development life cycle (SDLC) is a conceptual model used in project management used in describing the stages involved in developing an information system, from an initial feasibility study through maintenance of the completed application. To develop the best experience of a gated community, one needs to develop an information system that will continuously collect information from residents of the community.
The first stage will be the planning stage. The type of information needed from the community is determined with the guide of the community. The community as the clients must provide information about what they really want. An estimate of the required resources in terms of costs and personnel is prepared (Avison, 1997). All this information is then analyzed to determine whether there is a viable alternative. In the absence of an alternative, the project plan is presented to the community for approval.
Next, the information system is designed. This is the architectural part of the system design. The flow of data processing is developed into charts, and the project team determines the most logical design and structure for data flow and storage. In addition, the design must be compatible with the community’s digital facilities. With the design ready, the system will then be setup. It is only logical to set the systems at the gate. Every community member uses the gates and will have access to the system. Before rolling out the system, it will first be tested to see if it meets the set objective and any changes made accordingly (Avison, 1997). Lastly, the system will be fully rolled out and customer experiences will be collected and analysed as per the requirements of the community. The system will be closely monitored to improve on any issues.
Supermarkets are large and complex business systems, which depend on efficient management of information. Some of the main data related tasks done in a supermarket, include;
The Stock Control Department is responsible for taking delivery, disposing unsold stock, monitoring stock levels and providing management reports. All these tasks require data control. Disposing an item means, it has expired. The system has to recognize and generate a list of expired items (Fiordelisi, 2002). In addition, as customers purchase items, the system must update the available stock. This is done by use of bar codes and scanners. All this information should be maintained efficiently for smooth control.
The finance department pays suppliers, accepts payments from customers, manages all customer accounts and prepares financial reports. To determine what has been done and what needs to be done, a lot of data processing is required. The information system does the processing and generates results (Fiordelisi, 2002).
The sales department record cash sales, account sales, makes deliveries and sales reporting. All this requires data control to ensure there is efficiency in the supermarket and for accurate reporting. A lot of recording in to the system is involved in this department.
All the departments in a supermarket are related meaning another department uses the data from one department. If on e department makes a mistake in its data control, any other departments relying on that data are bound to make a mistake. Strict data control measures are thus required in big supermarkets.
Al-Shakkah, M. S., & Osman, W. R. S. (2011). Computer Based Information System Functions for Decision Makers in Organizations. International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security, 9(10), 22.
Avison, D. (1997). The information systems development life cycle: A first course in information systems. London: McGraw-Hill Companies
Fiordelisi, L. (2002). “Computerized shopping cart with storage and distribution system, for supermarket use.” U.S. Patent No. 6,435,407. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
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