Management Information Systems (MIS) is a very generic term for a host tools used to manage business, in fact Business Information Systems (BIS) is a close synonym. Once upon a time these were colloquially referred to as intranets (which was a partial misnomer) because they tended to live on servers hosted right at your office building. But these days companies of all size are abandoning local server architecture in favor of cloud solutions such as Salesforce. In fact it was Salesforce that legitimized cloud solutions in the enterprise space, and has sparked a far more social and collaborative way of doing business.
Salesforce is the most popular CRM (Customer Relationship Management software) in the cloud, and it is the defacto way to bring your sales team into this decade. They call themselves software as a service, since you pay by month and not upfront, but more recently they have developed into a platform as a service. They have their own app store (called the Salesforce App Exchange) which includes many types of Business Information Systems beyond CRM. For example:
- ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) – logistics and assets organization and optimization
- TMS (Talent Management System) – your HR Director will spend their time in this system both considering candidates for employment, then tracking them long after
- KMS (Knowledge Management System) – this would include internal wikis, knowledge bases, best practices, standard operation procedure (SOP), and any other type of knowledge that is important to your business
There are a variety of options for these and other types of business information system, there is almost no end to them. But we focus specifically on those available in the cloud (that is in web browsers and apps with internet driven data), and try to keep the number of different logins you need under control. To that end almost everything we do is built on either Google Apps or Salesforce.
Both Google Apps for Business and the Salesforce App Exchange offer a wide variety of options, and most serious cloud information systems connect to one or both. In fact they even integrate quite well with each other. Salesforce also lets you build your own apps on their platform, and in fact they argue that anything in your business you track in a spreadsheet, could probably be handled better by a database on the Force.com platform.
Managing your business information in the information age is a task worth careful consideration as there is a Pandora’s Box of repercussions. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming, to the contrary it can make your business more powerful yet simple then ever before possible. A unified database allows real time reporting across your information, the cloud allows for universal access and unprecedented collaboration.