Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

1.15. Contribute to the quality of the management information system

ryanrori February 1, 2021

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All contact centre operations have the aim of providing excellent customer service.  After all, that is their reason for existing. A good quality program includes various factors such as a competent staff, relevant quality guidelines, a good feedback system, and consistency.

To manage the quality of what happens in a contact centre the following would occur often:

Essential for the success of any information management strategy is the existence of an appropriate ‘information culture’. An information culture can be defined as the values, attitudes and behaviours that influence the way employees at all levels in the organisation sense, collect, organise, process, communicate and use information. Developers have identified four common information cultures that exist in organisations today. They are:

  • functional culture – managers use information as a means of exercising influence or power over others;
  • sharing culture – managers and employees trust each other to use information (especially about problems and failures) to improve their performance;
  • enquiring culture – managers and employees search for better information to understand the future and ways of changing what they do to align themselves with future trends/directions;
  • discovery cultures – managers and employees are open to new insights about crisis and radical changes and seek ways to create competitive opportunities.

Each type of culture influences the way employees use information – their information behaviour – and reflects the importance that senior management attribute to the use of information in achieving success or avoiding failure. However, establishing an effective information culture can be a challenge. This point was captured succinctly when it was noted that ‘effective information management must begin by thinking about how people use information—not with how people use computerised systems. Changing a company’s information culture requires altering the basic behaviours, attitudes, values, management expectations and incentives that relate to information. ‘Changing the technology only reinforces the behaviours that already exist.’

Experts uses the word ‘politics’ when considering information management, as he believes that this term, perhaps more aptly than any other, captures what it is really about. He sees information management seeking to answer the same questions as those raised in politics. He notes that information management is the process by which those who set policy guide those who follow policy. ‘Where control over information changes the alignment of power, information politics appears. Whether that turns out to be constructive is something that must be resolved through information management. Who gets what data and who converts data into information? Who balances the competing interests of leaders and followers? Who benefits from the ownership of information?’ 

Experts have developed the concept of information orientation to represent a measure of how effectively a company manages and uses information. Their research indicates that IT practices, information management practices and information behaviours all must be strong and working together, if superior business performance is to be achieved. The researchers have developed a methodology to assess information orientation

In their research, Marchand and colleagues identified 15 specific competencies associated with effective information management and use. They were categorised under three headings:

  • information technology practices – a company’s capability effectively to manage information technology (IT) applications and infrastructure to support operations, business processes, innovation and managerial decision making (four competencies);
  • information management practices – a company’s capability to manage information effectively over the life cycle of information use, including sensing, collecting, organising, processing and maintaining information (five competencies);
  • information behaviours and values – a company’s capability to instil and promote behaviours and values in its people for effective use of information (six competencies).

The information orientation (IO) of a company measures its effectiveness in managing and using information. IO is calculated by measuring performance across these three categories.

Image from book

The management information system (MIS) is a computerised system of financial information organised and programmed in such a way that it produces regular reports on operations for every level of management in a company. It is usually also possible to obtain special reports from the system easily. The main purpose of the MIS is to give managers feedback about their own performance; top management can monitor the company as a whole. Information displayed by the MIS typically shows “actual” data over against “planned” results and results from a year before; thus it measures progress against goals. The MIS receives data from company units and functions. Some of the data are collected automatically from computer-linked check-out counters; others are keyed in at periodic intervals. Routine reports are pre-programmed and run at intervals or on demand while others are obtained using built-in query languages; display functions built into the system are used by managers to check on status at desk-side computers connected to the MIS by networks. Many sophisticated systems also monitor and display the performance of the company’s stock.