What Is an MIS Report?
Pretend you are the manager of a medium-sized company’s customer service department. Your staff takes phone calls and emails from over 300 customers every day. For the most part, they do a very good job, but recently, customers have started to complain that it takes too long to get their questions answered. Upper management at your company is concerned about this and wants to know what they can do to fix the problem. But before they make a decision, they need you to give them more information. How will you do this?
This is where MIS reports come in. MIS stands for management information system. Business managers at all levels of an organization, from assistant managers to executives, rely on reports generated from these systems to help them evaluate their business’ daily activities or problems that arise, make decisions, and track progress. MIS system reporting is used by businesses of all sizes and in every industry.
Who Uses MIS Reports?
MIS systems automatically collect data from various areas within a business. These systems are capable of producing daily reports that can be sent to key members throughout the organization. Most MIS systems can also generate on-demand reports. On-demand MIS reports allow managers and other users of the system to generate an MIS report whenever they need it.
Many large businesses have specialized MIS departments, whose only job is to gather business information and create MIS reports. Some of these businesses use sophisticated computing technology and software to gather information. However, the method of collecting information does not have to be that complex. Smaller businesses often use simple software programs and spreadsheets for their MIS reporting needs.
There can be as many types of MIS reports as there are divisions within a business. For example, information about sales revenue and business expenses would be useful in MIS reports for finance and accounting managers. Warehouse managers would benefit from MIS reports about product inventory and shipping information. Total sales from the past year could go into an MIS report for marketing and sales managers.
Type of Information in an MIS Report
In our pretend manager example, you’ve been asked to present information about your department’s customer service calls. An MIS report for this would likely contain data such as:
- The number of calls your staff takes
- The number of emails that come in each day
- The average amount of time it takes to answer a phone call or email
- The number of questions that your staff answers correctly vs. the number that are incorrect
To make this information most useful, you also need to ensure that it meets the following criteria:
- Relevant – MIS reports need to be specific to the business area they address. This is important because a report that includes unnecessary information might be ignored.
- Timely – Managers need to know what’s happening now or in the recent past in order to make decisions about the future. Be careful not to include information that is old. An example of timely information for your report might be customer phone calls and emails going back 12 months from the current date.
- Accurate – It’s critical that numbers add up and that dates and times are correct. Managers and others who rely on MIS reports can’t make sound decisions with information that is wrong. Financial information is often required to be accurate to the dollar. In other cases, it may be OK to round off numbers.
- Structured – Information in an MIS report can be complicated. Making that information easy to follow helps management understand what the report is saying. Try to break long passages of information into more readable blocks or chunks and give these chunks meaningful headings.