Why read this book?
Everyone who wants a business career should know about management information systems (MIS).
Take Larry here. Larry is a sales rep for a farm equipment manufacturer. He works with dealers, arranges demonstrations at fairs, helps with warranty complaints, and does lots of other things.
Larry is reasonably happy being a sales rep, but there's too much traveling for him. He misses Reno 911
when he's on the road. He'd record them, but his ancient VCR baffles him. He'd rather avoid technology, if he could.
Larry would like to be a sales manager, or a product analyst. He'd travel less. If he were a sales manager, he'd direct other reps. No computers there, right? Well, not so fast.
Larry's company is using the Internet to change the way sales reps operate.
The company handles routine business by email, and give customers self-service information (like product manuals) on the Web. That way, their sales reps can spend more time one-on-one with important dealers. Their sales reps even have laptops that let them build custom harvester and tractor configurations onsite, and feed them right into the manufacturing plant!
Larry's boss is resisting these changes.
She says, "Farmers don't need machines to help them think." That's not the real reason she's resisting. The real reason is that she doesn't know much about using computers
. However, she's the boss, and thinks she can't admit not knowing.
Meanwhile, sales are slipping in tractors, plows, and pretty much everything except harvesters. It's just a matter of time before she's gone.
OK, so being a supervisor might not suit Larry. It looks there'll be computer stuff after all, and maybe a lot of it.
Hmmm…aha! There'll be an opening for a product analyst when Mavis retires next year. That might be a cool, and not much traveling. Everyone says Mavis is doing a great job. She's 64. Been with the firm for 30 years, before there were any computers in the company. Larry would be safe from computers there.
Well, not really. Product analysts try to predict what will sell over the next few years. Mavis uses data from sales, economic projections from the Feds, searches the Web and trade magazines for product trends, and looks at long-term weather forecasts. She uses software to keep track of it all.
Mavis is good with spreadsheets. She developed the best set of harvester forecasting spreadsheets in the industry. They take skill to use, because things change all the time, with new data sources, new economic measures, and so on. Mavis is always tinkering. The result? Her company regularly leads the industry in the harvester category.
Not at all. But you have to learn about MIS. If you don't, you're limiting your career options.
The less you know about computers, the fewer jobs will be available to you.
Let's talk to someone who has read this book. How about Brandon?
Yes, you. Tell us about yourself.
You read the book, right?
Did you want to read it?
What you do you think now?
And why is that?
Was it worth all that reading?