Developing a Management Information System
by RICHARD C. RAUPP Consultant, Management Advisory Services, Chicago Office
Presented before the Data Processing Association, Ak-Sar-Ben Chapter, Omaha — November 1968
THE THEME your organization will pursue this year, I understand, is Management Information Systems. Your program committee is to be commended on its choice, for there is much to be said about MIS. More important, many companies are considering Management Information
Systems. If they wish to succeed in implementing MIS, however, some attention should be given to lessons already learned by others.
Some of the general concepts of a management information system— those relating to hardware and software—have previously been presented before your organization, I am told. My comments will therefore be systems-oriented. First to be discussed will be the definition of information
requirements; second, the design of the total system; and third, the implementation. These are the steps we consider the major ones in developing
a management information system. Note that the definition of information requirements precedes and is a separate step from systems design. Under the topic of implementation, we will devote our attention to the implementation plan and project management and to building the data base.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Many data processing terms vary in meaning at the whim of the user. Management Information System is one of these. Therefore let us spend a moment defining it.
The type of Management Information System we shall be discussing could be defined as a system designed to produce timely and concise information to the various levels of management—information that each manager requires in order to plan and control the activities for which he is held responsible. Notice that MIS is requirements- or user-oriented. It also encompasses the entire company and all levels of management.
There is another term we should define in contrast to MIS. The term is integrated data processing. Integrated data processing is merely