Facebook is one of the most profitable businesses in the world, and its entire existence depends on the use of information technology and information systems.
Other successful companies such as Google, Amazon, eBay, and Financial Institutions- most of their success is due to technology.
This tutorial will look at the roles of MIS in the organization and how an organization can take advantage of MIS to gain competitive advantage.
Definition of data and information and characteristics of good information
Data refers to raw basic facts i.e. price of a product, the number of products purchased, etc. that haven’t yet been processed.
For example, a price of $6 and a quantity of 10 do not convey any meaning to a customer at a point of sale till. Information should be processed data that conveys meaning to the recipient.
For example, multiplying $6 by 10 gives us $60, which is the total bill that the customer should pay.
Good information should be timely and available when it is needed.
The following are the characteristics of good information.
- Accurate – information must be free from errors and mistakes. This is achieved by following strict set standards for processing data into information. For example, adding $6 + 10 would give us inaccurate information. Accurate information for our example is multiplying $6 by 10.
- Complete – all the information needed to make a good decision must be available. Nothing should be missing. If TAX is an application to the computation of the total amount that the customer should pay then, it should be included as well. Leaving it out can mislead the customer to think they should pay $60 only when in actual fact, they must pay tax as well.
- Cost Effective – the cost of obtaining information must not exceed the benefit of the information in monetary terms.
- User-focused – the information must be presented in such a way that it should address the information requirements of the target user. For example, operational managers required very detailed information, and this should be considered when presenting information to operational managers. The same information would not be appropriate for senior managers because they would have to process it again. To them, it would be data and not information.
- Relevant – the information must be relevant to the recipient. The information must be directly related to the problem that the intended recipient is facing. If the ICT department wants to buy a new server, information that talks about a 35% discount on laptops would not be relevant in such a scenario.
- Authoritative – the information must come from a reliable source. Let’s say you have a bank account and you would like to transfer money to another bank account that uses a different currency