Differences Between Management Information System vs. IT

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 2 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

People may consider information systems and information technology synonymous, which can bring some confusion. Information technology is an element of information systems. Learning to compare management information system vs. IT systems can help you distinguish between them and choose a career path. In this article, we define management information systems and IT systems, assess their benefits, discuss their similarities and explore their fundamental differences.

Management information system vs. IT

You can distinguish between management information system vs. IT system if you understand their definitions, similarities and differences. Management information systems have a broader scope than IT systems. IT can be a part of a management information system. These are their definitions:

What is a management information system?

A management information system is a field focusing on gathering and managing data to help an organisation with its decisions. It can comprise hardware, software and human inputs to help collect information processing in an organisation. MIS data can help the organisation improve the data analysis and report generation processes. Management information can also help sort and store the data in a uniform and accessible manner. Businesses can also rely on MIS to monitor changes in productivity over time, real-time results, provide data to react to current needs or answer various questions.
Some of the career options include:

  • management information systems manager

  • network administrator

  • systems analyst

  • business analyst

  • web developer

  • business intelligence analyst

  • systems developer

  • business application developer

  • technical support specialist

Related: What Is a System Administrator? (With Definition and Skills)

What is IT?

IT stands for information technology. It integrates telecommunications equipment with computers to store, retrieve and manipulate data. You can also define it as the process of studying, designing, applying, developing, implementing, supporting or managing computer-based information systems. Information technology can make an information system more user friendly and affordable. IT covers computer technology, including hardware, software or networking. A degree in information technology also covers legal issues, including operating system concepts, Internet security and scripting languages. Some of the career choices of someone with an information technology degree include:

  • computer forensic analyst

  • software developers

  • information technology consultant

  • computer network architect

  • information technology business analyst

Related: What Does an Information Technologist Do? Roles and Skills

Benefits of using a management information system

Here are some benefits a company can realise from using management information systems:

Facilitates coordination

A MIS can provide information a company can plan, monitor and control. Information systems can facilitate better coordination between departments through efficient communication and interaction. Managers can also use MIS to determine the tasks and delegate them accordingly.

Improves data accuracy

Companies can use MIS as a tool that can help them get accurate data. The data can help make administrative tasks more efficient. Integrating Internet technology such as cloud storage can enable the company to retrieve data in real-time.

Related: Examples of Data Mining Applications and Selection Criteria

Reduces operational costs

MIS can help minimise human error. The productivity of the company and its personnel increases when there are minimal errors. Such conditions can minimise operational costs through waste, defective products or replacing products.

Benefits of IT to a company

Here are some benefits of information technology to a company:

Improves communication

Communication can contribute to the success of a company's operations. IT can help a company improve their internal and external communication. For example, stakeholders can collaborate virtually using video conference platforms. Staff can work remotely, and it can become more efficient to collaborate with local and international customers and suppliers.

Related: What Is Interpersonal Communication, and Why Is It Important?

Stores and safeguards valuable information

Information technology can make information management easier and safer. Companies can store, share or backup data. They can also depend on IT to manage and secure sensitive information like financial data.

Cuts cost and eliminates waste

IT can help cut costs on operations and managerial processes even if the company may consider it expensive during implementation. A company can achieve more with less input and preserve quality and value. For example, companies can choose to use online training courses, making the onboarding process easier.

Enhances a company's competitive advantage

IT can help a company improve its competitive advantage by facilitating knowledge transfer and strategic thinking. The company can get the tools necessary to evaluate the market and execute strategies. For example, the company may leverage subscription databases and social networks to gather, interpret and transfer data.

Similarities between MIS and IT

Besides both MIS and IT fields covering computers and computer systems, they have plenty of similarities:

  • Studies: Students in both degree programmes study cyber security web design, digital media, computer programming and computer interfaces. Both MIS and IT degrees prepare you to implement and manage information and computer networks in various industries.

  • Skills: Professionals in both fields may often rely on their analytical and communication skills.

  • Business decisions: MIS and IT focus on strategically implementing information technologies to inform and influence business decisions and strategy. They also relate to the business strategy in their unique ways, such as MIS focusing on information applications, while IT concentrates on technology.

  • Practical use: Both fields also practise risk management with policies that cover ethical compliance, privacy protection, security and use of technology.

Differences between management information system vs. IT

MIS and IT have key differences in their curriculum and career that can help you distinguish them. These are some ways MIS and IT differ:

Definitions

Information systems are infrastructure, processes and policies that focus on data collection, storage, analysis and reporting. An information system can include hardware, software and human input. It may also have non-technological elements, such as physical meetings, to address various issues. Technology can make information systems more efficient. Information technology is a subsystem of management information systems that focuses on sourcing, implementing, maintaining and upgrading the technology elements of the system. Businesses can use it to facilitate faster communication, protect business records and manage electronic data storage. Computing technology, including hardware, software or networking, can be a part of IT.

Coursework

MIS and IT are two different degrees that have different coursework. The MIS coursework can combine information systems and business study. On the business side, graduates can learn about finance, marketing, business law and management. The information systems aspect of the MIS coursework can cover topics like database design, cyber security and programming. Students studying for an IT degree learn more about computers and their networks. The curriculum covers web design, data storage, data communication, e-commerce and creating and maintaining computer networks.

Salary and career outlook

Someone with a degree in management information systems can work in large organisations requiring complex information systems. You can find work in corporations, banks and large financial institutions with a degree in MIS. IT graduates can apply their computer expertise to a wide range of industries. They can work in small or large organisations if they use computer technology. The earnings of MIS and IT specialists are also different. They usually vary with the exact position and company. The national average salary for a management information systems manager is $6,632 per month.

IT specialists can fulfil various roles that have different average incomes. For example, the national average salary for IT support is $3,229 per month. The national average salary for an information technology manager is $7,520 per month.

Scope of operations

Management information systems and IT jobs can have different scopes of operations. MIS specialists view the organisation's operations broader than IT specialists. They manage the functionality of networks and computers. You can also influence production processes, marketing efficiency and product performance. MIS specialists can rely on the guidance of IT specialists to make decisions. IT specialists mainly focus on network and computer systems. They can ensure that these elements of a business work safely and efficiently. IT specialists can develop MIS teams the programs to analyse data and test models that can influence business decisions and goal outcomes.

Businesses may also require IT specialists to engage software updates, replace outdated hardware or troubleshoot problems of user technology.

Main components

MIS and IT systems have different core components. Each has four major components. The major components in MIS include people, structure or processes, tasks and technology. IT systems' key components include hardware, software, network and data.

Purpose

Each field serves a different purpose within a company. The main purpose of MIS is to convert raw data to useful information that can help with decision-making in a business. Businesses can use IT systems and professionals to help employees fulfil their duties effectively and efficiently. For example, it can be easier to set up a communication network within a business to make engagements and the flow of information faster and more efficient.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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