Management Information Systems vs. Information Technology: Understanding the Difference


Management Information Systems – MIS vs. Information Technology – IT: An Overview

Management information system – MIS refers to a large infrastructure used by a business or corporation, whereas information technology – IT is one component of that infrastructure that is used for collecting and transmitting data. A management information system helps a business make decisions and coordinate and analyze information. Information Technology supports and facilitates the employment of that system.

For example, IT could be a particular interface that helps users input data into a corporate MIS operation. However, that isn’t to say that the scope of IT is narrow. In some ways, IT is a broader field than MIS. The particular goals of a particular IT application can fit neatly into a larger MIS framework; however, the reverse is not necessarily true.

Management Information System

In terms of business decision-making, an information system – IS is a set of data, computing devices and management methods that support routine company operations. A management information system – MIS is a specific subset of IS.

A management information system, as used by a company or institution, might be a computerized system consisting of hardware and software that serves as the backbone of information for the company. Specifically, the computerized database may house all the company’s financial information and organize it in such a way that it can be accessed to generate reports on operations at different levels of the company.

An analysis of MIS data could reveal how to better utilize internal and external information. It might help a business better implement a new social media strategy or better organize employee benefits. It might instead highlight that a company’s use of IT is outdated or poorly applied.

Much like IT professionals, MIS specialists tend to spend a lot of time troubleshooting, adjusting software or supporting less technologically savvy associates.

Information Technology

By definition, information technology – IT is the technology that involves the development, maintenance and use of computer systems, software, and networks for the processing and distribution of data.

Put more simply, the most encompassing interpretation of information technology would be anything related to computers or computing technology. This includes hardware, software, networking, and internet interactions.

A company with an excellent IT framework or one that employs excellent IT technicians finds it easier to build, adjust and deploy a management information system.

Even though IT can (and must) be directed towards specific ends, the general scope of IT is unfocused outside of computing processes. Conversely, MIS begins with a focused purpose; it addresses the needs of business management. IT supports and informs the methods of reaching MIS objectives.

Key Takeaways

  • A management information system – MIS is a large structure that exists to support management and assist it in making informed and strategic decisions.
  • Information technology, or IT, is one component of that infrastructure that is used for collecting and transmitting data. IT is typically related to computers or computing technology.
  • IT supports and informs the methods of reaching MIS goals and objectives.

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