Using Mission-Specific MIS Infrastructures

Using Mission-Specific MIS Infrastructures

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0164-2.ch004
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Abstract

This chapter focuses on something that has unfortunately drawn little attention in the past, but is expected to garner more and more interest in the years to follow, namely mission-specific Management Information Systems and the underlying Management Information System infrastructures. Managerial/organizational information needs and the role of Management Information Systems in business organizations have been studied from one side only: formalizing the functions and defining typologies of operations. This (wrong) approach still dominates the field despite the fact that such type of MIS covers only less than 5 or 10 per cent of the interactions and communications amongst the employees and the management of a commercial business or an organization. This chapter examines two example cases related with the building of a conceptual framework for the study of research ecosystems and the measuring of government innovation within the countries of the European Union.
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Introduction

Who says that a Management Information System needs to be built for ever, as an infrastructure that will help a business during its entire lifetime?

In case you are planning to go for a travel in someplace you have never visited before, you start by building your MIS – of course few people would call this an MIS but the bottom line is still the same:

  • You prepare your budget given the days you will spend and the activities you will need to support

  • You make some projections about the money you may need for shopping or for any emergencies

  • You organize spending types in different clusters of activities or in different buckets of expenses

  • Etc.

Whatever model you follow you stick to some methods that have either been used by you before (e.g. in some other travel you did) or for some other occasion. What is the problem with such a type of a mission-specific MIS? People like to think of system as ever-lasting constellations that will exhibit a residual value far higher than the cost that has been invested for their establishment. So, in case they need to spend even a little for something that is not (regarded as) value-creating, they think that this is a waste of money and resources and tend to assign a low priority to this task.

So, why should the planning of a 10 day travel to Peru or an extended weekend in Paris consume same or even more time from our side for its planning? Why (for God’s sake!) should we spend time to set the goals of such a trip and discuss this with our spouse and our children? We do this at work – why should we do this in our personal life with our own people?

Actually those who agree to the above, fail to see that such an evolutionary process takes place even in the most autocratic environments: people like dialogue – even if they fail to admit it. We are built with an inherent tendency to follow interactive processes and methodic approaches. What seems to be an ad hoc method, if examined closer, may seem like a very well-organised and accurately governed process. The only point is that what we tend to call an ad hoc process is a process that has never been deployed as such in the past, though it has been planned, designed and implemented with great care.

We have learned to see that the goal of every corporate and business endeavor, especially in social networking, can never be exclusively to sell something. People like content, people like dialogue. No one likes people pawning things at them. Providing a story that can be digested on Twitter is a fun thing to do, and people do enjoy it. That’s the metric that should matter. If it’s always just a numbers game, a profits game no one will ever be satisfied.

So in case someone’s business is poetry, then for sure she or he needs to operate a Management Information System for governing both what s(he) publishes but also the – most important – back-office operations like the production of poems, the research into new types of poems and new styles of poetry, the study of words, etc. This might not seem like a conventional MIS which for sure it is not, but it still is an MIS.

The aim of this book is to provide understanding of information needs of management information technology used by various organizational subsystems, and how modern Information Technology can be utilized for gaining true value and some real quantifiable advantages (Not what marketing people usually call competitive advantage: for sure to have a tail like all dogs may in some circumstances become a competitive advantage. While, for some other equally important reasons to not have a tail like all humans do not have, offers equally important competitive advantages.)

Managerial/organizational information needs and the role of Management Information Systems in business organizations has been studied from one side only: formalizing the functions and defining typologies of operations. This (wrong) approach still dominates the field despite the fact that such type of MIS covers only less than 5 or 10 per cent of the interactions and communications amongst the employees and the management of a commercial business or an organization.

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