MIS as a Decision support System

MIS cannot be viewed as a record keeping or filing activity. Nor is it limited to a data bank service. While record keeping and data bank service are certainly parts of the MIS, conceptually the latter is a much broader entity. It has the role of making marketing management more efficient. It is in unique position to aid marketing decision making and control. In fact, the modern trend is to view MIS basically as a marketing decision support system. It provides the right information back up to marketing managers. A mere data bank service cannot render this support.

It is also essential that the MIS be compatible with the culture and level of Sophistication of the organization. There is a close interrelationship between marketing operations; marketing control system and marketing communications of a firm. The nature of this relationship varies from firm to firm and the MIS must be compatible with and reflect this relationship Moreover, the MIS must be intelligible to and operable by the people in the organization There is no purpose in organizing a highly sophisticated and advanced MIS, if it is not intelligible to or useable by the people concerned.

MIS should also be economical. The value cost position of the information must be positive. MIS should know:

*What type of information is required?
*By whom?
*For what purpose?
*When do they need it?
*Why that particular information?
*What is the real worth of the information?
*What is the cost involved in making available the particular piece of information?

The information can be secured by different competing information designs. The information derived from each design has an associated value and cost. A comparison of these costs and values must be made and the best choice made. The MIS must ensure that the cost of the information never exceeds its value.

Characteristics of Good Marketing Information:

* Relevance to decision making
* Clarity
* Completeness
* Confidentiality
* Precision
* Cost reasonableness
* Reliability (from genuine sources)
* Accuracy
* Timeliness
* Objectivity (unbiased)
* Authenticity
* Strategic value.

The MIS must include the judgment factor. It must have the ability to decide whether a particular piece of information is essential or not. To do this, the MIS must the nature and variety of information required by different departments and the roles of these departments in the total marketing system. MIS must be in a position to evaluate the various demands for information from the various executives and to moderate and temper those demands that appear unreasonable. MIS should carefully assess all the information needs; separate the real needs from the imagined ones; find out an economic method/design to gather and process the information. This is what is implied by selectivity of MIS. Selectivity should also reflect in the information finally passed on to the user and the pattern in which it is furnished. Too much information should not be supplied; at the same time, all significant information must be provided. The MIS should also let all user departments know as to what information is available, from which sources it has been gathered, and what it costs to gather and process the information.

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