Management Information System in Higher Education

Management Information System in Higher Education

Juha Kettunen (Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-587-2.ch427
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The communication and implementation of a strategic plan is typically based on various measures in educational institutions. The balanced scorecard approach has in the 1990s attained an important role worldwide in private and public sector organisations. Large organisations have different organisational levels, where it is useful to apply the balanced scorecard. This emphasises the need for the automation of the measuring system. The information is typically collected from various data sources. These characteristics underline the need to plan a management information system (MIS) to support the management process. Strategic management is bridge building between the perceived present situation and the desired future situation (West-Burnham, 1994; Wheale, 1991). Strategic management involves taking stock of the educational policy, local economy, and other factors in the organisation’s environment. It adapts the organisation to its environment but, on the other hand, tries to exert a positive effect on the development of its local community (Bush & Coleman, 2000; Kettunen, 2003; Middlewood & Lumby, 1998).
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The balanced scorecard approach translates the strategy into objectives and places them typically in four different perspectives:

  • Customer

  • Finance

  • Internal processes

  • Learning

Each objective placed in the perspectives is described by the measures, and their target values are typically set for several years. The management of an organisation sets the objectives, measures, and targets for the organisational units responsible. The MIS is planned to support the balanced scorecard approach.

When the balanced scorecard approach was introduced in 2002 at the TUAS, it was evident that utilising the new management tool properly would require a more sophisticated information system. The first difficulty was the ambiguity of measures in applying the balanced scorecard. The interpretability was high because the content and definitions of measures were ambiguous. This inhibits reliance on strategic management. The second difficulty was the manual maintenance, which required automation to be reliable and efficient. The data could not be directly transferred from the basic data sources. The use of measures combining data from several basic systems needed manual calculation, which was not reasonable in a large organisation.

Management in a knowledge intensive organisation applying the balanced scorecard requires organised and controlled information technology architecture. The data warehousing approach was selected to provide an integrated database. This integrates data derived from various data sources. It is an effective means of handling the large amounts of data needed in the management process. A management portal was planned to utilise the data warehouse, support the management process, and communicate the implementation of the strategy throughout the institution.

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