Cloud computing has proven itself as a paradigm for delivering on-demand resources, data, and software. While the world is justly applauding the courageous and altruistic efforts of the COVID warriors, cloud computing seems to be an under-celebrated star that has ensured successful remote operations for enterprises across the business spectrum. The cloud has transfigured the way information is accessed and shared, both intracompany and intercompany. The already surging popularity of the cloud has skyrocketed in 2020 and is estimated to continue in the foreseeable future.
As per LinkedIn, cloud computing is one of the most coveted hard skills today. 50 percent of jobs in 2019 required a superior understanding of the cloud.
Information aka data is the most vital facet of the modern business world and management information system is the backbone of an enterprise. It is a system that organizations use for decision-making, controlling, coordinating, analyzing, and visualizing their information. With cloud computing, information systems are becoming more agile as a result of which organizations are achieving more efficiency. Let us understand the impact of cloud computing on the management information system with the help of the following questions:
What is cloud computing in the Management Information System?
A management information system is a tool that helps organizations measure their growth in comparison with their actual goals. It is a computerized database comprising hardware and software that collects data from multiple sources, analyses it, and produces reports that help in informed decision-making. It provides managers and decision-makers with information related to sales, marketing, human resource, manufacturing, supply chain, and inventories etcetera. A successful information system is indispensable for an organization to attain its long term plans.
Implementation of management information systems is a costly affair for any organization as it involves the installation and maintenance of sizable IT infrastructure. The hardware consists of expensive storage devices to store all the gathered information, while the compatible software system helps in the coordination and analysis of the stored data. Cloud computing has transformed the age-old, high-priced management information system by replacing the hardware storage devices with virtual, on-demand cloud storage that can store huge information and is easily accessible through any internet-connected device from any geographical location. The computer applications which were required to be installed in the computer systems have also been supplanted by enhanced cloud-based applications that require no installation and can be accessed easily, at will.
What is the impact of cloud computing?
The impact of cloud computing, just like on any other business aspect, is huge on the management information system too. The MIS is implemented for making an organization more profitable and efficient and cloud computing makes the MIS cost-effective and superior, helping it become more beneficial for an enterprise. Following are some of the advantages of cloud computing, particularly in the management information system:
1) Affordable infrastructure – The cost of management and maintenance of an IT infrastructure is huge for an enterprise. Moreover, it requires skilled IT engineers to minimize downtime and ensure the health and security of the system. The cloud offers economic virtual storage for organizations to store as much information as they wish without having the need to install large, expensive hardware storage devices. With no hardware to buy and maintain, businesses can save considerable amounts of capital that can be invested elsewhere. Organizations can choose any of the private, public, or hybrid cloud as per their requirement and pay only for the storage they use.
2) Information on the go – With ever-increasing customer demands, contemporary businesses need to be on their toes, applying new strategies and making precise decisions quickly. The cloud has turned out to be a game-changer in this respect, providing on-demand access to all the enterprise information from anywhere in the world, eliminating the need for physical presence. Whether you are at home or enjoying a holiday or commuting to or from the office, you can access all the information you need through an internet-connected device. The concept of cloud computing has made the information, analysis reports, and datasheets available to you on the go. It has turned your smartphone into a virtual office, ensuring your entire information system is at your disposal, helping you take timely decisions necessary for your business growth.
3) Scalability – To ensure smooth functioning of business, it is very important for a company to scale up or down quickly, as and when required, both the operations and storage requirements. While a traditional management information system would require the purchase and installation of hardware equipment to meet the upgrade, a cloud-based information system requires a mere request to the cloud service provider, and the rest is taken care of. The service provider upgrades your cloud storage system or application within no time, ensuring smooth scalability and saving a lot of your time and effort.
4) Improved Integration and Collaboration – An effective management information system often requires a business to collaborate with third-party applications or businesses. A latest analytical application offered by some other business may prove helpful for your company for drawing meaningful conclusions from your information and may help you serve your customers in a better way. If not for cloud, such collaboration or integration would require the third-party applications to be installed on your systems having the data and would also require their IT persons’ physical access to your systems to draw the desired conclusion from the data. The cloud eliminates all such transactions and ensures all the benefits of such collaboration without a single person moving one tiny bit from their geographical position.
With these and other such benefits, cloud computing has proved to be a boon for the modern management information system which has a vital role in the growth of an organization.
What are the major issues with cloud computing?
Cloud computing has revamped businesses, making them more agile and efficient than ever. But, there is another side of the coin too. For all the benefits the cloud offers, there are few challenges too. Some of the major issues that cloud users need to be aware of are:
1) Security – Security is one of the biggest issues that is looming over the cloud ever since it came into being. Various threats challenge the safety and security of user data. Cyberattacks and data leaks have become very common these days, posing great threats to the cloud service providers to safeguard the clients’ exclusive information. Some of the most common causes of cyberattacks and account hijackings are Insecure APIs, weak firewalls and passwords, among others.
RightScale’s State of the Cloud Report, 2018 revealed that around 77% of the survey respondents termed security to be the biggest issue with the cloud.
2) Service Provider Dependency – Individual users and enterprises rely on third-party cloud service providers for ensuring hassle-free services. An organization needs to identify an authorized cloud service vendor having the capability to meet their business requirements as well as the security standards. The cloud host can access, modify, or even erase your important data, both deliberately or accidentally.
3) Lack of Expertise and Knowledge – With the popularity of the cloud surging ahead, cloud technologies are also advancing rapidly. It becomes extremely important for companies to train their employees with the right skill set, that too regularly, in order to keep pace with the technology and to choose the right cloud solutions for them. Lack of knowledge or expertise may prove disastrous for an organization moving to the cloud.
While cloud computing does face various challenges, they are in no way a deal-breaker for an enterprise thinking of migrating to the cloud. Choosing the right cloud service vendor and taking correct, proactive measures can help businesses resolve existing issues and enjoy the benefits of the cloud.
How does cloud computing change management?
Cloud computing has provided some of the imperative tools to managers, making it easier for them to manage their business. They can connect with employees as and when required and share every project related information without delay. The virtualization, scalability, and easy collaboration that the cloud offers help management turn their business more productive, profitable, and efficient. It is astonishing to see how cloud computing is changing management for the better.
Both cloud computing and management information systems create great opportunities for businesses to grow at a magnificent pace. While the management information system holds key to the overall business performance, cloud computing makes MIS cost-effective and provides tools that help it achieve maximum efficiency.