Management information systems (MIS) refer to the hardware and software specifically designed to support a project and to manage the disbursement of donor funds to community-based subprojects. Management Information Systems facilitate decision-making at all levels and improve decentralized operations while retaining data security and integrity. Much of the project-related data entry is done at the Branch Office level. Typically, the Managing Director, Unit Heads, Branch Managers and Project Officers use the system for monitoring, reporting, management and decision-making purposes.
The functions of an MIS can be summarized as:
Reporting and Analysis – The MIS allows for easy periodic reporting (monthly, quarterly, annually) as well as occasional specific reporting. The export of data to other programs (such as Excel and Access) allows users to further analyze data according to their specific requirements.
Targeting - A Global Information System (GIS) facilitates the assessment of social, demographic and other indicators related to poverty, and provides the project a means to prioritize applications to the poorest areas with the least access to service delivery. The GIS hosts information from various censuses and social surveys.
Monitoring, Management and Decision Making - The MIS assists management in tracking the subproject operations, identifying bottlenecks and measuring performance. It is also essential for evaluation and impact assessment.
Financial Management - The MIS allows comparison between allocations, commitments and disbursements and the budget, and can assist in forecasting financial requirements.
Procurement Management – The system monitors, and reports on, procurement and tenders processes. The MIS also maintains a data base of contractors, suppliers and consultants.
MIS in social funds are different from those in other project types, because social fund projects are demand-driven and require design flexibility. In addition, SF projects demand transparency, may employ a variety of procurement methods, and include multiple stakeholders. An efficient and effective MIS must be designed to accommodate and adapt to these different factors.