This case study is made to analyze the application of management information systems in selected organization; this study will evaluate that how the management information system is implemented, how this implementation is performing the key roles which are required to be performed by any information system. These key roles are providing information in various departments, facilitating decision making in all tears of management and serve as means of managing business efficiently.
To study above mentioned functions of MIS author have selected Mobilink Infinity, which is a data and internet division of Mobilink GSM, largest telecom organization in Pakistan. Being a technology driven organization Mobilink Infinity is dependent upon their information system for not only providing their customers with quality and timely services but also for their decision making on all management level, in below case author will analyze the working model of their information system, how it helps in making better decisions and how this system can be improved for future needs, author will also analyze the impotence and need for a good information system in modern day business organizations.
Company IntroductionI want to do this! What’s This?
Mobilink Infinity is a subsidiary of Mobilink GSM which is largest telecom operator in Pakistan, being a data and Internet wing of Mobilink GSM this wing provides data and Internet services to corporate and residential users in Pakistan, it products ranges from IPLC, DPLC, VSAT, ADSL, Web Hosting, Co-location, Dark Fiber to WiMAX for both organizations and home users, backed by Orascom Telecom which one of top ten telecom companies in the world it has regional presence in more than 5 courtiers, integration of Mobilink GSM and Mobilink Infinity is continuation of managementââ‚¬â„¢s vision of providing total communication solutions to Pakistan.
Role and Types of Information Systems
In any organization which is operating in modern day business environment information systems have vital and critical roles to play, they are the key drivers in making timely and effective decisions making and help management to better understand and improve their business process and serve the customers better, in other words we can say that management information systems, if designed and used properly, can bring company an added advantage by facilitating decision making and can serve as competitive advantage which is the desire of every organization.
Here we see various roles that management information systems play in any organization. First role is supporting business processes, the most common example of such role is inventory management, order delivery management and supply chain management system, such systems helps in making day to day business processes and transaction more efficient and empowers employees to serve the customers in more effective way.
Other role of information system is to support decision making, that is one of the most important role that information systems plays, in day to day business processes employees at different levels need to make decisions regarding their service provisioning and at the top level managers need to make their decision that are strategically important for future business, a good, well managed and effectively designed information system supports decision making at every level of business whether it is at middle level of management regarding regular business transactions or it is related to future decision making which is strategically important; information systems are always helpful in providing the right information to management.
Other role of information systems in modern day organization is to provide the sustainable competitive advantage, in any industry information systems can be a source of competitive advantage in two ways, one is recording and then re-producing the information about customers, their buying behaviors, product preferences with respect to their demographics, this information further can be used to improve product, presenting right product to right customers, and relationship marketing. On the other hand same information can be used my management to make right changes and decision related to business and bring their product one step ahead of competition.
There are four main types of information systems at the top tier of organization there is Executive Support System that provides the strategic information to top management, on the next level there is Decision Support System that also provides information to middle management related to their business area and middle level decision making, at the same level there is Management Information System that gives internal and external customer and employee information to users, and at the fundamental tier of management there is Transaction Support System that is designed to support day to days business operations and facilitate employees to serve their customers better.
Managing Hardware and Software
Information system are consist of several components, these are people resources, hardware and software components, and data and network resources, each of this component has its own importance and way of management, and there are several issues that need to be taken care of while managing any information system in organizations.
If we talk about hardware and software resources then we see that hardware components of any information system should be decided and designed while keeping the future needs of information, same is the case of software component parts of the system; these parts are usually designed keeping current needs of the organization and then after some time when information needs changes or expansion is required then organizations has to face problems.
Same rules apply on data and network components of the system, networks are also be designed by keeping the same future needs of the organization, and data management systems should also be made while keeping the information needs of all management levels in mind, as every management level has different information needs, data management system should be flexible and empowered enough to cater to all types of information need.
MIS as Strategic Weapon
There has been era where business information systems have not been of that importance and these system where designed to help in giving day to day transaction support, however with the change in business environment, business dynamics are also changing and now right information at right time is vital and critical for strategic management of business, since the importance of correct information on different dimensions is getting increasing day by day, so is increasing the importance of information systems, we shall see how information systems if strategically deployed and intelligently used can become strategic weapon.
There are many ways in which information systems can be used strategically, looking at front end of the business these application can help customers by facilitating their interaction with organization, enhancing their experience while doing business with company and this not applies to B2C model but this can be used with same effectiveness on B2B model of business, by deploying intelligent information systems organization can get customer feedback, analyze it and then this information can be used to improve business processes and developing a strong business relation with customers, putting all this together can be used to gain competitive advantage.
Similarly these systems can increase internal efficiency of organization, better inventory management, just in time delivery of raw material and continuous learning by the data collected by these information system are just few examples of where a well integrated information system can help organization to improve their business processes and reduce costs, and be a source of experience learning, the concept of knowledge management is just a continuation of this concept, this way in modern organizations, information system can strategically be used as weapons.
MIS Transforming Business Models
MIS used to be the one molded with the business models, now with the transformation of business needs and usefulness of information systems, now it has been observed that management information systems are in power of transforming business models, common example of this e-commerce, ERP systems.
Information systems are changing the ways business is done, introduction of electronic presence and enterprise resource planning is revolutionizing the way modern organizations operate, such advancements and their influential relevance with strategic management of business is the key factor that is making top management to transform the business by keeping information systems as a main driver of their business, their ability to provide strategically important and useful information is dominant enough to make executives get their business models molded the way modern information systems requires.
Management Information System at Mobilink Infinity
The information system at Mobilink Infinity is used by most of the employees, these users rages from sales team, collection team, marketing team, accounts team, finance team, inventory and procurement team. There are different rights that are given to different employees depending upon their designations, executive level and team leader have rights that are necessary for doing business processes, and managers have more right to view collective and individual information, same is the case with departmental heads and top management who can see all the information and retrieve report in various formats and specifications, this helps them to understand individual and collective performance on different parameters and review the performance of employees.
These are hardware resources that are deployed in information systems
Inbox Intel Core2Due Processing Systems
There are various kinds of software that are used in Mobilink Infinity MIS, one the kind is which are used as machine running software these include Microsoft Windows & Office, Antivirus system and other are application that are designed for needs of different departments depending upon the nature of business they are handling. These applications include Tracer system, Econnect system, CRM system, Infinity Analysis portal and Octopus .
Mobilink Infinity has their own network system and they use Local Area Network, Wide Area Network and Virtual Private Network that helps the management to do their work from remote locations without being present in the office.
Mobilink Infinity has their own database management system that is done via dedicated servers and application which are located in head offices in Egypt.
Uses of Information Systems in Mobilink Infinity
As there are different tear of management and different departments are working in Mobilink Infinity that is why there are different kinds of uses of these systems, executive level employees need this system to perform their day to day tasks and run business operations, keep an eye on their own performance and targets, since MIS system is directly linked with performance management system there, that is why managers need this system to analyze and communicated the team wise and individual performance and they also see some special cases and situation through these systems, top management also need these systems to make strategic decisions and see revenue, product and performance trends.
So Mobilink Infinity has different systems in place that cater to the need of different departments and at different employee level, these system are independent of each other there is no linkage of systems, for example financial management system is different from client service management, and employee have only access to the systems related to their job, however top management can view the information from each system and retrieve reports on different parameters.
In below lines we author has discussed various roles and systems that are being used in Mobilink infinity, these systems are independent but are strategically used in collective.
Decision Support System
Decision support system at Mobilink Infinity has been specially designed for top management to use and help them in making strategically important decisions, this system is a collective of all the systems working in Mobilink Infinity, this system provides top managers with the specially designed reports with are flexible in their parameters and provide valuable information on nationwide, region wise, product wise sales , sales trends, product growth, market share, revenue growth and financial health of the organization, such information helps management to decide upon the future steps to be taken, this application is updated every year with the feedback of the management so that future needs of information can be handled.
Executive Support Systems
Executive support system at Mobilink Infinity has been designed to facilitate the middle tier of the management, these systems are related to different department and are independent of each other, these systems are also called Infinity Analysis Portals that are connected with databases of each department and each manager or departmental head can retrieve reports on various parameters.
Every department has their own database and analysis portals, where managers assign their team with monthly, quarterly and bi-annually targets or objectives, and then via these portals managers can also asses the performance of their teams, these assessments can be done individually and then group wise, manager who are managing team or department which have nationwide operation can see the reports on geographical and chronological parameters as well, such reports involve good amount of data handling and are also need real time processing.
Office Automation System
This system is designed to make employees more productive same their time and increase their efficiency, this system connect every employee with core department of the organization, such are HR, Procurement and Administration, by using this system, employees, without indulging in lengthy processes, can contact these department and get their things done, for example if some employee wants to go on official travel he/she can put request in this system and this system will forwards tasks to each relevant department and arrangements will be made accordingly, this system has been successful so far in making organizational routine operations more smooth and time saving.
Transaction Processing System
These systems are designed to handle the core business of the organization and mainly related to consumer side of business, these systems are billing information system, invoice management systems, collection control systems, inventory management system and procurement system.
Management Information System
This system gets its inputs from the above mentioned system and them processes it and present the useful information in form of reports, this data is used by supervisors and team leaders for their reports.
Recommendations for Mobilink Infinity MIS
Mobilink Infinity is market leader in providing Internet and data services in Pakistan, one of the reason of their success is efficient information systems that are in place to facilitate the business processes and help management to make timely and quick decisions, here in the organization different teams are using different kinds of information systems which are independent of each other, these system have different names like for business transactions and customer contact, there is are ISs called Tracer and CRM, for financial purposes they use Octopus & Bond, and for executive and middle management level information needs they have Infinity Analysis Portals. After studying the business processes, their needs of information and information systems in place, author has made few recommendations based on his ideas of improving the information systems and future needs of the organization.
Recommendation 1-Intergration of Consumer Information Systems
One of the core processes that are done on continuous bases and on large amount, is fulfilling the orders placed by customers, these task are done by using two applications, one is Tracer and other is CRM, Tracer is responsible for generating different tasks for different departments like payment collections and installation and CRM is used to provide updated status on their orders and handle their queries and problems, as mentioned earlier, these applications are independent and are not related to each other and used by two different teams.
Here comes the problem, if tracer is down or not working them CRM guys cannot have information, and since information and status of order is entered manually then there is a high chance of customers not getting the required updated information and if information is manually then here are also the chances of errors.
To avoid such errors it has been recommended that consumer related information systems should be integrated so that times, cost and errors caused by manual integration can be avoided and organization can save their resources and can serve the customer better.
Recommendation 2-Intergration of Financial Systems
The financial information system should also be integrated with consumer systems, since Octopus is handling the payments made by corporate and residential clients these payment status are manual updated in CRM and Tracer, this process causes two kinds of problems, one is the manual entries for updating of records causes human error and there has been cases where customer has to suffer because non-payments suspends the services and such incidents cause customer dissatisfaction and a bad word of mouth and cause company cost in terms of time and image.
The other problem caused by this process is related to time and resource costs that redundancy of entries and data cost the company in terms of resource time and allocation of two teams for entering the same information. To avoid such situations organization should integrate this part of financial system with consumer related systems so that customer suffering and organization cost can be saved, since company is expanding its business and growth in number of customers, the probability of such incidents is high, so such integration is highly recommended.
Recommendation 3-Decentralization of Database
Infinityââ‚¬â„¢s main data base is located in Egypt, where the other Orascom Telecom ventures also have the databases at the same location, now having operations in Pakistan and database in Egypt is cause of certain inefficiencies that are source of customer sufferings.
If database is down in head office then operations in Pakistan get disturbed and applications fail to respond to queries, more over the holidays systems in Egypt is different from Pakistan and there has been cases where support related to databases were required and support staff was on leave because of the vacation in Egypt, having database on remote locations and not been able to give support is major cause that customer suffer and timely information is not available to management.
It have been suggested that company should have their database located in Pakistan so that timely support can be given if required. Same is the case with the application development and application support, since these two tools are also developed in the head offices and support is also provided from the same location, this cause in delays in business operations and information needs. Cases have been reported where delays were caused because of the errors in applications and there support from the host country. To avoid such situations in future it has been suggested that databases and their application development and support should be located in Pakistan.
Recommendation 4-Redefining User Rights
Companyââ‚¬â„¢s businesses are growing and so is their customer base and operational complexities, but the user right in every information systems were defined long ago and there is no modification and up gradation, with the growth of business the nature of information rights required by the users are changing, now every user demands for cross sectional viewing of information and if such information is not present in their information system then this cause delays in business operations and employees are unable to serve the customer in efficient way.
For elaborate this we shall take the example of financial information system and CRM, CRM is suppose to update the customers regarding their account status, but employee dealing with CRM is unable to view the payments status either by their CRM application or the financial information application, what they have to do is to manually get the information from the concerned department and this practice causes delays in serving customers which is either visiting their service center or are on call.
Since there in not integration in the information systems, such processes are causing delays, pace of growth in customers requires the company needs to study the entire systems and redefine the rights required by the users, now the employees dealing with customer should be able to view at least the basic information regarding the customer account on different dimensions. This will be vital in improving the customer service level at hence increase the customer satisfaction and eventually leads to competitive advantage.
Author has, in this assignment, review the theoretical knowledge on managing information systems and have looked on that how information systems can affect the strategic management of business and improve the decision making, further the information systems of selected organization have also been studied and their functional usage by different management levels were also studied, moving forward author has also made some suggestions that can improve the effectiveness of information system deployed by the organization not only now but in future also.
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