Types of management information systems


Management information systems are essential for the modern day organizations to make decisions based on facts that are analysed in an intelligent way, thus using information technology to have a competitive edge.

There are different types of management information systems at different levels of an organization :

  1. Transaction processing system (TPS) - for operational level of the organization e.g. cash counters , ATMs , EFTPOS , Scanners etc.
  2. Management information system (MIS) - for middle level managers.
  3. Decision support systems (DSS) - for middle level managers with added analytical function e.g. model-driven ( voyage estimation , data-driven (customer buying behaviour-Tesco card)
  4. Executive support system (ESS) - for top level management to aid decision making with input from the TPS, MIS & financial data.

There are also other information systems that span the enterprise & are known as Enterprise applications/systems. These are of 4 types :

  • Enterprise systems (E.S.)
  • Supply chain management system (S.C.M.S.)
  • Customer relationship management system (C.R.M.S.)
  • Knowledge management system (K.M.S.)



Dell is one of the leading global manufacturer of personal computers, peripherals & software. It is based in Round Rock, Texas , USA . It was founded by Dell in 1984 who was a school dropout.


Traditionally, Dell has sold all its products — whether to end-use consumers or to corporate customers — using a direct-sales model via the Internet and the telephone-network. Dell maintains a negative cash conversion cycle (CCC) through use of this model: in other words, Dell Inc. receives payment for the products before it has to pay for the materials. Dell also practices just-in-time (JIT) inventory-management, profiting from its attendant benefits. Dell's JIT approach utilizes the "pull" system by building computers only after customers place orders and by requesting materials from suppliers as needed. In this way Dell mirrors Toyota by following Toyota Way Principle #3 ("Use 'pull' systems to avoid overproduction").

Since the days of the original dominance of telephone-ordering, the Internet has significantly enhanced Dell's business model, making it easier for customers and potential customers to contact Dell directly. This model also has enabled Dell to provide very customizable systems at an affordable rate, since Dell's manufacturing arm builds specifically for each customer.

Other computer-manufacturers, including Gateway and Hewlett-Packard, have attempted to adapt similar business-models, but due to timing and/or retail-channel pressures they have not achieved the same results as Dell.


The information processing tools used by dell are :

  • Computers
  • Internet
  • Maps
  • Spreadsheets
  • Models
  • Databases

The tools used at different levels of management of Dell are:


The tool used by Dell for information processing at operational level is maps.

Maps can determine which country or place would the information be acquired from. It can also analyse the demographics of the relevant area , analyse sales & gather information. Maps can be in the form of charts for critical analysis.

Thus the information gathered by the use of maps can help in strategy for operational level.

Since Dell sell its products directly to customers generally via internet thus different forms of payment on internet can be considered as the platforms of Dell transaction processing system (automated transaction support)


The tool used by Dell for information processing at the tactical level is the databases.

The databases can be used to analyse the information from operational level & thus evaluate the strengths & weaknesses of the organization.

This helps in planning for economical productivity & improving sales.


At the strategic level the tool used by Dell is the internet & the databases.

The market trends & strategies of other companies can be known via the internet whereas databases help in analysis of both the internal environment & the external environment. Thus helping the organization to formulate its strategy.


The inventory control system of Dell is a big reason for its success.

Dell's strategy is to keep the inventory levels as low as possible, due to the high pace of technological advancements resulting in computer related hardware & software becoming obsolete at a rapid pace.

Hence Dell takes orders from customers knowing exactly what the customer wants & then using its supply chain to get the components & assemble them & thus doesn't need to keep much inventory as the products are made to order rather than ready made.

Thus it avoids having inventory that goes obsolete or outdated.


Dell benefits a lot by the use of management information systems. It analyses the sales, the consumer buying trends, the internal environment, the operational environment & the external environment using the information processed by the information systems. Thus Dell makes intelligent well informed decisions based on its information systems technology.

Dell can further explore the opportunities in the M-commerce & E-commerce zones since it has to have direct contact with customers. Since it delivers goods to customers directly the model-driven decision support system (DSS) of Dell should be of highest quality.

Dell also uses cloud computing provided by Salesforce.com which I will discuss later in the cloud computing section.


An organization like Dell that is on of the top 50 fortune companies, should have state-of-the-art security facilities, physically & virtually for its IT infrastructure (hardware / software).

The security threats include :

  • Hackers / Crackers
  • Combined assault by Hackers
  • Identity theft
  • Viruses
  • Spyware / Adware
  • Burglars
  • Thieves
  • Terrorists

The security features should include :

Physical security :

  • Armed Security personnel
  • Security control centre
  • CCTV cameras
  • Motion detectors
  • Alarm systems
  • Watchdogs

Virtual security :

  • Firewall
  • Norton Anti-Virus / Anti Spy-ware / anti Mal-ware
  • Norton Enterprise package
  • Norton Incident Response & Management services
  • Norton Endpoint Security
  • Norton endpoint threat monitoring
  • Norton Messaging Security
  • Norton Web security
  • Norton Net Backup
  • Norton Online Backup
  • Identity theft protection


Cloud computing is a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet. These services are broadly divided into three categories: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). The name cloud computing was inspired by the cloud symbol that's often used to represent the Internet in flow charts and diagrams.

A cloud service has three distinct characteristics that differentiate it from traditional hosting.

  • It is sold on demand, typically by the minute or the hour;
  • It is elastic -- a user can have as much or as little of a service as they want at any given time;
  • The service is fully managed by the provider (the consumer needs nothing but a personal computer and Internet access).

Significant innovations in virtualization and distributed computing, as well as improved access to high-speed Internet and a weak economy, have accelerated interest in cloud computing.

A cloud can be private or public.

A public cloud sells services to anyone on the Internet. (Currently, Amazon Web Services is the largest public cloud provider.)

A private cloud is a proprietary network or a data centre that supplies hosted services to a limited number of people. (Salesforce.com)

When a service provider uses public cloud resources to create their private cloud, the result is called a virtual private cloud.

Private or public, the goal of cloud computing is to provide easy, scalable access to computing resources and IT services.


  • Very economical as compared to investment in the whole IT infrastructure, for e.g. we rent electricity, imagine if we had to install power generation units ourselves domestically.
  • Pay as you use or monthly subscription depending on subscribers preference.
  • Up-gradation carried out by the service provider thus no fear of having outdated equipment
  • Less staff (IT professionals ) required in the organization thus saving costs.
  • Security improved due to continuous up-gradation by the service provider.


  • Organizations especially the bigger ones have trade secrets to protect thus can't totally share their data with the cloud computing service provider. The solution could be to keep important data within organization's databases & share the trivial & less important data with the service provider.
  • If the service providers' employees are working as spies for the rival organization then there would be a big problem because the organization can keep a check on its own employees but how to check the employees of a cloud computing service provider.
  • Back-up is important because if the service provider goes down there would be severe problems if the organization is totally relying on the cloud.
  • Service maybe slow at times if the cloud is super saturated.


Thus Dell can use the cloud computing service for specific limited purposes & infact it does.

SALESFORCE.COM is the cloud computing service provider that Dell uses. Dell harnesses the power of Salesforce CRM ( customer relationship management ) & Force.com platform to drive innovation & success.

'Cloud computing makes global scale a lot easier. For example, Salesforce CRM Partner Networks helps us work more closely with our partners and keeps us from unintentionally competing with each other. Over $200 million in deals submitted by partners have been approved and all serviced using Salesforce.com's partner relationship management tool. And with Salesforce Ideas, the best ideas bubble to the top. We're able to gather all our customer feedback in one place and use the robust management tools to track and implement the ideas.' ( Dell )

  • Dell selected Salesforce CRM for its ease of use, flexibility, and the ability to deploy worldwide. The company rolled out Salesforce CRM to 4,000 users in 12 weeks in the United States with help from Salesforce.com Consulting. This is now 15,000 users over 18 months globally.
  • Dell leverages Salesforce.com Premier Support for 24x7 technical support. The global Salesforce.com Premier Support team is leveraged by Dell internal support help desk which is the company's first point of technical contact for supporting its complex implementation.
  • With help from Salesforce.com Premier Support, Dell leveraged Force.com Builder to map its business process and build an application for tracking technology partnerships in less than 4 weeks. The application allows a team of 75 technology evaluators track, manage, and report on evaluations.
  • Using Apex Email Services, Dell allows venture capital firms and others to submit new evaluation submissions via a simple email form.
  • Workflow and analytics enable users and executives to easily generate reports to quickly identify, track, and manage key evaluations in real time.


  • With the Force.com platform and Force.com Apex Code, the Dell CTO team can quickly adapt the technology partner evaluation application to track key technology trends.
  • Ideas bubble up through IdeaStorm, allowing the company to identify pain-points and hone in on areas that need improvement and enhancement.
  • Customer feedback on IdeaStorm led the company to build select consumer notebooks and desktops pre-installed with the Linux platform. Dell also decided to continue offering Windows XP as a pre-installed operating system option in response to customer requests.
  • Dell leverages the wisdom of crowds to evaluate and prioritize customer feedback.
  • Dell customers and enthusiasts have a chance to be a part of the product development process—to tell the company what they want to see in future releases.
  • Executive-level confidence drives home the message that IdeaStorm is an important way to engage customers and broaden innovation.
  • EmployeeStorm breaks down the silos natural in corporate life and increases collaboration—allowing, for example, tech support employees in Asia to communicate and share ideas with sales reps in Round Rock, Texas.
  • Idea storm also engages employees at every level to comment on their area of expertise and to participate in the discussion.
  • Dell is experiencing more than a thousand partner registrations a month via Salesforce CRM Partner Networks. Average turnaround time is reduced to just 36 hours.
  • Over $200 million in deals submitted by partners have been approved and serviced using Salesforce CRM.
  • Dell's partner community applauds Salesforce CRM's simplicity and ease of use.
  • Looking ahead, Dell is considering an extension to its implementation through Salesforce CRM Partner Networks for integrated CRM and PRM with help from Salesforce.com Consulting. Dell's new global deal registration program would use Salesforce CRM Partner Networks to push leads to partners and to manage channel conflict. Dell would be able to create custom-branded portals for its 44,000 partners.


Hence the future may belong to cloud computing with organizations cutting down on their expenditures on the IT infrastructure & giving birth to another global sector of cloud computing IT service providers.



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  • Tech target , 2009 , Cloud computing , Online , accessed on 17-12-2009 , available from , http://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid201_gci1287881,00.html
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