Literature Review About Management Information Systems Management Essay
In this chapter all of the concepts, theories and methods that are related with the management Information system such as system, information system and MIS will be discussed. The concept of educational management system is also well presented. In other sections the concept of EMIS will be considered in the world by especially focusing this concept in Pakistan will be discussed. In final sections of this chapter EMIS of COMSTAS institutes of information technology will be discussed. This data will be then act as guideline to analyze the empirical findings of primary data.
2.1 Management Information system
There have been numerous kinds of systems that have been developed over the past several years. These information systems had helped to fulfill the needs and requirements of decision making not only at managerial but also at the operational level. Every organization develops its own management information system (MIS) which is totally dependent on the personal needs of the organizations. Management information system developed for one organization is useless for other organizations with different requirements (Cassidy and Cresswell, 1997). In the management information system, not only the system itself is important but to get the maximum advantages from the system it is important that the human intelligence, perception and judgment must be powerful and strong enough to get combined with the system information (Thierauf 1984). This combination will provide managers with the unique and valuable tool for the information management in any company (Cassidy and Cresswell, 1997).
2.1.1 What is a system?
The system is capable of converting the collected data from the routine user and machine interactions in to the effective information which later on is used by the decision makers to make efficient decisions. In the management information system, the most important entity is system itself which is set of defined and interrelated components which are generally described as all of the direct or indirect complex components or elements that are related in a casual network. Within any particular time period, all of these complex components are related in more or less stable way with at least some other components (Thierauf 1984). So a well developed and interactive system is one which provides best and useful information to the managers at all levels.
2.1.2 Information system?
The best system is one that provides useful information and user interaction at all levels. An information system is a collection of activities, procedures, methods, technology and peoples that are organized to get the valuable related data and information. This system must also be able to store this information until it is required by the user. It should be capable of data processing and responding to its end user by providing the answers to all set of queries. Information systems should best interacts and communicates with the end user In order to provide the accurate required information (Knight & Silk, 1990).
2.1.3 Management Information System
The information system which is composed of formalized procedures that can provide all of the relevant appropriate information at all levels to all of the managers is called management information system (MIS). This system uses all of the internal and external resources to provide data and information to the end users which enable them to take timely decisions that are effective from the directing, planning and controlling point of view. As a whole this is an efficient system that can provide all of the required information to the management at all levels at appropriate times. Management information system is basically an affective combination of human and technology resources that results in data storage, collection, and communication, data retrieval and usage. In managerial operations and business planning, these MIS systems play a vital role in business success (Lucey, 1989).
In literature, there are several definitions of the management information systems (Lucey, 1989, Thierauf, 1984). The system is capable of converting the collected data from the routine user and machine interactions in to the effective information which later on is used by the decision makers to make efficient decisions. The specialized systems that are being used for decision making for the management at all levels are generally known as management information systems (Thierauf, 1984). Information systems are of significant importance in any type of organization, generally, it is really impossible for any organization to operate without any sort of information system. These information systems are developed by focusing the needs and requirements of the particular organization which are unique for every other organization.
In the early 1960’s, the importance of system designers and administrators gained much importance and attention. In an organization, at the administrative level, management information systems are composed up of the human and machine combination that are used to fulfill the information demands at these levels. In very large organizations, these MIS are also a combination of many interrelated sub systems which are sharing the same resources for data and processing. While discussing the concept of MIS in an organization, this activity is considered just as a part of all of the other ongoing activities. This MIS activity is important because it equips the top management with all of the information about the lower management and maintains a continuous flow of information throughout the organization. MIS system also facilitates the owners of the organizations with the general information about the organization. The main advantage of MIS system in an organization is to maintain appropriate information flow that can be achieved by dividing organizations in to different sub systems with some integrated and unique functions. This function integration of the sub system must be much efficient to make the whole organization as an affective MIS system. By adopting this approach, as soon as all of the needs of the sub systems are achieved, all of the needs of the organization are achieved.
In literature, there are many characteristics discussed for an effective MIS system (Cassidy and Creswell, 1997). Some of them are listed below:
MIS system should be composed of integrated sub systems with the ability of forward and backward looking systems.
MIS system should be capable of planning and controlling the clearly defined business activities.
MIS system should be capable of generating the reports that can help the management at all level in planning and controlling all of their current and expected business activities.
MIS system should be able to retrieve the information about the operations control at appropriate time and should allow the transactional data processing.
For the timely response, MIS system should have the batch processing as well as interactive operational modes.
In order to store the data that is being frequently accessed, MIS system should use all of the data protection procedures that can assure to authorize user in more protective way.
In order to extract the relative information quickly, MIS system should have appropriate data storage medium like random or direct access storage.
In order to generate the meaningful and affective output for the ongoing control operations, MIS system should enable the standard and custom made model that must have the storage medium for the online data.
2.2 Educational Management Information System
The revolution in the information and communication technologies (ICTs) has greatly influenced the life style of whole world. Over the past several years, ICT infrastructure is considered as a symbol for a country’s development. In every way of life, there is a vital role of these Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by all means to improve the quality, standardizing the different stakeholders’ role and imparting the operating procedures (Ed Crowley, 2003).
ICTs has a proven role in the field of medical, business, industry, entertainment, communications but now these technologies has emerging efficient role in education field. In developing countries, especially like Pakistan education sector is one of the core areas that require more attention for the country’s rapid development. The goal of every educational institute is to provide the quality education to all of its students. In these institutes management at all level continuous strives to achieve this aimed goal. Universities are hiring highly qualified professors and equipping their scientific laboratories with latest equipments, adding new technologies and books to their libraries. In these educational institutes the concept of digital libraries is also introduced, in classrooms multimedia projects are installed. The concept of distant learning, different tutorials like web and disk based as well as the concept of audio and visual data to aid lectures is introduced in these institutes. In short, ICTs have played a major significant role for knowledge dissemination among various groups in these educational institutes.
In order to get the maximum benefits of the available facilities of hardware and software, it is not enough to just connecting the laboratories with the internet facility but there is lot more in to this. This type of human attitude towards the computer resources propose that there is always a need for some educational intervention to get the possible benefits. The better usage of information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be attained by pedagogic intercessions (Jorge Ferreira Franco et all, 2006). As the issues raises, it starts creating interesting opportunities for the individuals and organizations for improving the individuals’ understandability and skills. From the educational point of view, it is believed that when the individuals’ discernment is challenged and they receive any sort of intellectual or practical support then their productive and creative talents are used which can also be enhanced (Jorge Ferreira Franco et all, 2006).
In all this competitive ICTs equipped educational institutes there is much more than the quality education that is expected by the students. Students need quality service in all of the required information that is required by them. In order to present their day to day problems, students needs environment that can facilitate them in every way. Different higher educational institutes are continuously striving to achieve this target. For example when a student require his transcripts after courses finalization then it can take more than a month time when there is conventional system installed in educational institutes. It can take more time because of the limited number of acting staff members that are dealing with the results and transcripts issuing process. There are many other daily issues that can arise every day and this limited number of staff will not be able to prompt instantaneously to all of the students. In order to handle such hectic routine universities used to employee more employees but as its known that increasing manpower can never solve the problem so another solution is required that can cope up with all such issues. There are many activities that can not be handled with simple processing applications and they are also much time consuming but these are simple processes like admission, registration, conduction of examination, keeping track of the employees and students and managing both employees and students accounts (Marlon Pierce et all, 2002). In order to manage thousands of its students and employees the best effective way is to use the information and communication technologies in more efficient way.
Educational management system (EMIS) is an example of such an information system that has been developed over past several years to get the maximum benefits from the human and machine interaction to generate the appropriate information. This concept of EMIS has been imported from the business world which represents a system for information processing for educational management. This system is not developed to replace the statistics based system and this system itself is not a statistical system. This system has been developed to handle all data types which may be statistical in nature. An authoritative professional is required to train this data as reliable, verified, authoritative and professionally trained. This authority must be professional and independent entity that must be acceptable by all of the other users in an organization. When an information system is being developed then it is very much necessary to get the exact and reliable statistics before this system get applied to any sort of management. Information systems are always designed to process valid data into information not the garbage data. In educational management systems, these information systems should address both of the management and statistics in more efficient way and should produce information in an affective format.
In literature, there are many definitions and descriptions about the EMIS systems as its being developed over the past several years (EPRD, 1997). Educational management system is a formalized collection of the operational procedures, processes and mutual agreement that are integrated in such a way that it can produce useful information and data for the educational institutes and all of related entities like teachers, students and other management at all levels. All of the data relevant to the concerned entities is aggregated, collected and organized, managed and processed which is then disseminated across the organization and is used by the concerned authorities and management at all levels to take the beneficial decisions for the educational institutes (EPRD, 1997). EMIS contains all of the relevant information that is required by the educational managers at all levels to support all of their activities.
EMIS systems always responds to the consumers for the affective information and serves the needs of end users, therefore it can be said that these information systems are serving on the basis of demand response methodology. In order to get the maximum benefits out of this information system it is very much necessary that the process chain of information management and in the transaction between the end users’ demand of information and the system response of information delivery, all of the statistics must be updated and reviewed properly. If this whole chain of information management is not properly maintained then there will be no meaningful information from the data aggregation and processing. The system integration is also much important in EMIS to get the best possible outcome from the system because if there will be any problem with the system integration it will results in irrelevant information delivery that will make whole EMIS as an irrelevant system.
In order to work these EMIS systems up to dated, it is necessary to conduct clients’ surveys. These surveys will help the educational institutes to cope up with all of the newly raised requirements and then it will give up dated response to its consumers. These surveys will also help to figure out the needs of producers and will generate a user friendly and interpretable services and products accordingly. Educational institutes should also create general awareness among the users about the advantages of these EMIS systems that can provide information for decision making.
In order to avoid a total system loss, it is very much important that these EMIS systems should be self sustainable and they must have a back up even if master system will fail to fulfill the requirements of all of its end users. At the very earlier stage of system development it is important to train the individual entities but at the later stage of capacity building this training is not of much importance.
EMIS systems have been employed in many different countries as a big success and there these systems have provided support services and capacity building to the distributed as well as the decentralized statistical functions. There are many specialized functions needed for the EMIS development such as setting the standards, development of application software, quality control, providing technical assistance and training services as well as coordinating annual statistics production. System integration is an important step in EMIS development because all of the loose parts will be combined efficiently can develop an affective system output. Quality control is also of much significance because it can assure quality checks at all levels.
In educational institutes, an effective and efficient information management system that should help management at all level for planning, policy making, and management can be developed by adopting common data collection instruments, by developing data processing software and by adopting all of the procedures for quality control and assurance. Such a developed system can assure the effective performance of all of the statistical functions in the institutes. The processes of data collections its entry and verification are all very close to the source. This data is then transmitted as an electronic copy all around the institute. At every level of management, this data is analyzed on the basis of the users’ requirements which ensure the minimization of inconsistency and task duplications. Such a system also ensures the quality, reliability, data validity and effectiveness as well as the end users’ satisfaction at all levels.
2.3 EMIS in World
As discussed above that the concept of educational management information system (EMIS) has been adopted by many developed and developing countries over the past several years. In some of the countries, this technique has failed because of ignoring many important entities and critical procedures that were necessary to adopt in order to ensure its success. In these countries, these EMIS were not big success because they forgot that adopting a new technical name, obtaining funds and grants and improper system adaptation never ensure the adaptation of new technology.
In developing countries there are some trends listed for increasing the demand for EMIS (Chapman, 1990). They are:
Explosive growth of Educational System
This is the foremost and important trend that pressurized the developing countries to make them adopt EMIS systems. This trend will reflect the growth of population which afterward will show the increased rate of participation. It also puts the pressure on the teaching materials and on the stipulation of the qualified teachers and staff. This explosive growth subsequently limited the development of the educational resources and caused the decline in education quality in these developing countries (Chapman & Mahlck, 1993).
Increased Complexity of Educational System
As the educational system has grown explosively in the developing countries, it also results in its complexity. Educational ministry has pursued multiple objective so many different and new course works has been under taken so that education quality can be improved.
Increased Financial Pressure
Many governments are experiencing the increased financial pressure so they need to adopt those resource allocation procedures that are efficient in longer run.
In order to attract international funding agencies in the area of education, it is necessary to provide them with the quantitative data that must show the success and progress of the educational projects. These agencies are pressurizing the developing countries so that they can also justify their own accountability. In developing countries, they are financing only when they get accurate statistics and data that can evaluate their funded projects so they require strict accountability.
Low Cost Information Technology
As technology is advancing so it is available at very low cost. In these developing countries, large data amount is being handled by using the low cost advanced information technology.
All around the world, there are policies of different organizations to improve the educational systems. UNESCO is also one of the organizations that has strategic objectives in the field of education with their clear policy of improving the quality of education. This policy includes the agenda of improving educational quality through diversification of methods and content, diffusion, experimentation promotion, dialogue, by adopting best practices, innovation and by information sharing. Information and technology advancement has put the pressure all around the globe to adopt these ICTs in their educational system and tech them to the students. This learning of advanced ICTs is very important to cope up with the challenges of 21st century. UNESCO, in its World educational report discussed some of the fundamental implications that ICTs have for the conventional learning and teaching (UNESCO World Education Report, 1998). In order to meet all of the requirements that are must for the integration of these ICTs in the conventional systems there are some frameworks proposed in different publications (UNESCO World Education Report, 2002). These are fundamental requirements that are identified as the important strategies for the teacher education, for managing the change process in learning, for managing change process in adopting and integration of these ICTs. Technology has become a catalyst that is transforming the learning and whole education systems (UNESCO World Education Report, 1998).
Different multimedia projects have been employed that are using the information visualization techniques and are beneficial for the citizens of the far distant countries. In this way, students from the distant countries are also learning new technologies. These multimedia applications are also installed in schools so that students can learn new technologies at the very basic school level. This helped the school community to explore both the real and virtual technologies within the context information and by using the interactive visualized systems (John P. Dougherty et all, 2002).
In terms of information technology (IT), there have been substantial discussions for the preparation of the workforce that can work globally. In developing countries, still there are limited resources along with the limited number of professionals that can make best use of this IT so the promise to increase the productivity in educational system by the use of IT is still on hold. In order to succeed at any level of life, it is now a must to incorporate these IT in their careers so that the rapid change of the world can be handled (John P. Dougherty et all, 2002).
All around the world, these EMIS started as a result of the individual research projects or as an innovative idea that has been initiated by academic individuals by taking risks that result in the development of the web based initiatives which were not a complete system. On the other hand, there are now many complete systems that are well planned, institutionally comprehensive and systematically integrated (JC Taylor, 2001). For example, at the University of Southern Queensland, where there is history of distant learning for almost 25years, there the transformation to the IT environment was a natural step. The organization itself as a whole adopted this new move rather than by just adopting by some individuals. They adopted the web based information and communications technologies at universities and reflect on element of the corporate mission statement i.e. “To be a leader in flexible learning and the use of information and communications technologies” (JC Taylor, 2001).
The word portal has gained much attention in past several years which means door entrance or gate (Winston Dictionar, 2009). In higher educational systems, it is difficult and risky but is necessary to develop a portal so that the educational system can compete and realize the importance of ICTs. In this way, universities and colleges can get a very clear idea about the benefits of investing on to the enterprise systems, data warehouses and in other information services. By developing their own portals, educational institutes can integrate services, information and other infrastructure so that uniform information will flow all around the institute. It’s a big challenge to incorporate higher education and technology, same is the case with portal strategy but the result is always beneficial to the organization.
2.4 EMIS in Pakistan
EMIS is not a new field of study, but as we see that now it is receiving more importance around the globe. But in Pakistan in past few decades EMIS research encircle Basic & Primary education System but my research on EMIS in HE of Pakistan is completely new area of research for Pakistan. Also the Educational Organizations are learning new methods of enhancing the efficiency of their organizations, individually and as a whole as a group.
In Pakistan, many reforms have been made after the establishment of the Higher Education Commission (HEC). These reforms target the improvement of the quality of the education as well as to generate more resources for the growth of education in the higher education in the country. In Pakistan, the most recent trend is to improve the processes and resources in the universities. In these days, Engineering and Technology programs has created a big hype so majority of the students are taking admission in these areas. Higher Education Commission (HEC) as well as Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) has set certain critera that universities need to fulfill before offering admissions to students in these areas. This critera required the availability of manpower, certain infrastructure, highly qualified staff, well equipped labs, and quality education process. In order to produce highly qualified and trained staff, HEC is offering certain scholarship and funding schemes so that more qualified manpower can be produced.
2.5 COMSATAS Institutes of Technology
2.5.1 EMIS in COMSATAS Institutes of Technology
In order to standardize the universities much attention is driven to the adaptation of new technologies as well as towards the infrastructure development and improvement of the operating procedures. The criteria of HEC for the higher education institutions is very strict and is based on resource counting, collection of performance data and collection of all of the corresponding ratios which are in bottom up manners until the final reports are generated. This evaluation criterion demands the individual assessment system for each department in the university so that independent and quality information can be elaborated. This whole process will result in enhancing the quality of different operating procedures and processes that are being exercised in the institute and will results in enhancing the university ranking.
There are many ways by which this feedback loop can be achieved in the higher educational institutions. It is possible that certain reports and indicators may be widely available all around the campus as soon as they are generated so that effective data is readily available. At various decision making points, the key personnel can take immediate corrective action when required by just keeping a sharp eye on these reports. This is significant in a way that it will increase the awareness in the whole academic community. Whenever administration decides for any required change then all of the standard measures can be taken. The possible measure that can increase the reliability of the feedback loop is to make sure that all of the relevant elements in the institutional information system are readily available. By adopting this technique, all of the entities will be permanently connected and consulted the information all around the institute.
Other measure that can be adopted is that all of the old practice that are being performed at different departments can be refined. This process of refinement needs the experience that has already accumulated and it can also take into account the suggestions by all of its users or the involved entities.
The intention for the development of the EMIS for COMSATS IIT was to refine most of the activities that were being performed at various levels in different departments of the university. This refinement will be done by taking in mind all of the accumulated users’ suggestions and from the experience of the all of the involved entities. In this EMIS, a new service layer has been added that corresponds to the extraction of all of the related derived information. This information is particularly designed to support university management at several levels.
2.5.2 COMSATS University Online System (CU-Online)
In order to get the advantage of the maximum possible ICT utilization, COMSATS IIT, Pakistan has developed an automated educational management system which is commonly known as CU-Online (Iqbal Saadat et all, 2000). This system has been developed to create an integrated educational system. This system aims to maintain all of the information related to the students, facilitate the employees to access all of the resources related to the curriculum that can help them in lesson planning, examination conduction, results reporting and managing all of the other students and teachers accounts. This system has the capability to report and analyze different data and information for the individual users and collective users that can help them at all levels to get a broader picture of the whole educational institute and system. This system has been developed with the intention to provide user connectivity everywhere all times as a pure web based application. It provides academic, transactional and administrative access to all its users which results in development of the collaborative campus. In CU-Online system there are four main components that constitute its environment (Iqbal Saadat et all, 2000). They are:
Management, faculty, staff
In this EMIS system, there are various stakeholders like faculty, parents and students and management and staff. Faculty needs this system to plan their lessons and curriculum, for progress report and class assessment. This is a tool by which faculty can communication with parents and students. It also reports the progress towards student’s goals. This EMIS enables the parents and students to keep a check of the progress reports, work assignments. They can also check their work assignments and progress towards their graduation requirements. Management and staff use this system to achieve all of the staff and student information (Iqbal Saadat et all, 2000). This system has modules for admission, student information system, library, human resource management, course portal, inventory and hardware monitoring and for fee and accounts.
In COMSATS IIT, the introduction of ICTs not only automates all of the departments but also facilitates all of the involved entities in the university. Students are getting quality education and they are required many facilitations in different aspects. In order to earn good name to university, management is required to adopt quality procedure and must assure quality at all level of management. While in a university, students can come across many different procedures and problems so this system must facilitate them in every aspect so that they can only concentrate on their studies. Similarly staff and faculty members must avoid all of the cumbersome procedures and must only perform their required duties (Iqbal Saadat et all, 2000). All of such facilities must reach to the users with ease on their desktops.