Getting What You Paid for with an MIS

Some time ago you purchased an expensive management information system (MIS) program to manage your company’s information, but somehow most of its components are gathering dust. How’s that working for you?

One of the most interesting parts of my job is getting to speak and work with business owners and managers—all over the country—about the systems they use to run their companies. I’m no longer surprised, however, when I hear that the $60,000 MIS program a company bought months, even years, ago has been only partially implemented—the cause of much of its ongoing operational problems.

I guess you could call me a nerd, but it makes my day to help other companies become smooth operations with peaceful environments, where owners and employees come out of the chaos and begin to thrive using the power of systems.

As you probably know, many of these MIS (e.g., EFI PrintSmith and Logic, Hagen, EPMS, etc.) can be very pricey. It makes sense then, that a company would want to get the most out of that investment.

Yet, I’ve discovered that, for instance, MIS scheduling modules are rarely implemented. After trying them awhile, most companies revert back to their old ways of doing things (Excel spread sheets, schedule boards and other homegrown scheduling methods). Why is that?

Scheduling can be a very complicated system, due to its many variables, and many companies just give up, blaming it on the software.

On the other hand, companies that know the power of good systems will persevere and overcome the resistance they receive from certain employees who seem unwilling to embrace any challenges. The reason, I’ve discovered, is that with good systems in place, workers are necessarily accountable for their job performance and output. Without systems, it’s easy for a less diligent worker to hide in the chaos, and to place blame and point fingers at others when mistakes happen.

Philip Beyer, founder/president of Beyer Printing and Ebiz Products LLC in Nashville, TN, is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant, author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business," and an InterTech Award recipient for the design and development of System100™ business process management software. Philip speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses.
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