For information to be useful to the decision maker, it must have certain characteristics and meet certain criteria. Some of the characteristics of good information are as follows: completeness, timeliness, accuracy, clarity and concise, relevance, trustworthiness, cost-effective and accessibility. These are explained in more detail below.
Characteristics Of Good Information
Completeness: An effective Management Information System, MIS present all the most relevant and useful information for a particular decision. It should contain all the facts that are necessary for the decision maker to satisfactorily solve the problem at hand using such information. Nothing important should be left out. Although information cannot always be complete, every reasonable effort should be made to obtain it.
Timeliness: Information must be delivered at the right time and the right place to the right person. Premature information can become obsolete or be forgotten by the time it is actually needed. Similarly, some crucial decisions can be delayed because proper and necessary information is not available in time, resulting in missed opportunities.
Accuracy: A key measure of the effectiveness of an I.S. is the accuracy of its information. Accurate information helps businesses make the correct decisions. If a sales department sent inaccurate sales figures to the finance department this might result in incorrect profit and/or tax calculations for the company that would put them in danger.
Clarity and concise: Information should be to the point and just enough. It must be understood by the receiver so that he will interpret it correctly. Information that is used for a business purpose needs to be understandable by the end user. He must be able to decode any abbreviations, shorthand notations or any other acronyms contained in the information.
Relevance: Relevant information is information that is directly related to your business need. The information a manager receives from an MIS has to relate to the decisions the manager has to make. For example, if a manager wants a summary the sales figures for the last 6 months, then the information that has the right level of detail might show the overall sales figures for each month and the grand total added together.
Trustworthiness: The information should be counted on to be trustworthy. Obtaining information for a business purpose means that you must obtain it from a reliable and trust worthy source.
Cost-effective: The information is not desirable if the solution costs more than the problem. The cost of gathering data and processing it into information must be weighed against the benefits derived from using such information.
Accessibility: Accessible information is information that is stored in a way that it can be easily accessed at any time. Information may be useless if it is not readily accessible in the desired form, when it is needed.
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