In writing about MIS and the data bases that support them there is the danger of creating the impression that such systems can be utopian, able to support all the information demands of an organisation. We would like to encourage a more balanced approach. If the earlier chapters presented a utopian view of data bases, read in isolation this chapter would present too pessimistic a view. It is to be hoped that as a whole a balanced picture is presented. Apart from the drawback of costs, in that you can only get what you pay for, there are also limitations inherent in the nature of the data itself. In this book the design of an information model is seen as an essential step in the creation of a MIS, which is itself a model of the organisation. In this chapter the inherent limitations of such models are examined. The nature of data, the source of information, is discussed and its limitations are made explicit. The first part of this chapter draws heavily on a paper by Crowe and Jones . Data bases must influence the organisations that use them. Apart from the obvious positive advantage of better information, there is perhaps the danger that they may impose too rigid a system on an organisation. Finally in this chapter the size of the organisation to be served by the MIS is discussed. This is a critical question from all points of view, cost, technical and implementation.
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- The Nature of Data
D. E. Avison
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