News & Press: InSider

The Future of Management Information Systems / Information Technology Management

Thursday, June 6, 2013  
Lise Urbaczewski,
VP, AIS Student Chapters
Faculty Lecturer

University of Michigan-Dearborn

This is a summary of the presentation by Lise Urbaczewski at the AIS Student Chapter Leadership Conference, April 19, 2013 in Bentonville, AR.

Earlier we heard from Doug Vogel, President of AIS, discuss international opportunities that exist for our MIS students. Munir Mandviwalla,Temple, followed with a summary of the IS career outlook, looking at data that is currently being collected to quantify salaries, jobs, and roles that our students are pursuing. These beg the question of what students pursuing MIS degrees have to look forward to when they graduate and in their career development.

Repeatedly throughout our conference, we have heard the need for LEADERS. Our keynote speaker, Fumbi Chima, Vice President of International Integrations for Walmart, emphasized this, in addition to the alumni panel that spoke earlier in the conference. Leaders need to innovate. We must ask what and why. Our focus must be on people. And on doing the right things. We must develop. Inspire trust. And always challenge the status quo. Don’t tell what could be done, rather act.

What types of jobs will there be for MIS / ITM majors? MIS majors are routinely put into just about every category out there – somewhat known as the jack of all trades where the opportunities represent a huge salad bar with every option out there. So where do they fit? Not really ‘technology’ and not library science, rather somewhere in between.

According to TechRepublic, The future of IT will be reduced to three kinds of jobs: consultants, project managers, and developers. Our jack-of-all-trades are our systems and business analysts who are at the center of all communications. Communication. Perhaps the most important key trait for all MIS grads. IS professionals provide a bridge between the organization, technology, and the customer. The systems analyst is always asking questions and communicating, providing this bridge. And when viewpoints differ, must come to resolution and clarity on how to remedy.

MIS grads will need to solve problems more effectively through abstraction. They will do this through Computational Thinking. Critical Thinking + Technology = Computational Thinking. Computational Thinking represents away of solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior and applying technology to understand the world.

Solving problems has taken on an entirely new perspective with the use of analytics. We can and are able to predict outcomes before diving in. Analytics will guide decision-making, by predicting, forecasting, and optimizing via the use of statistical analysis. This is quite more pervasive due to bigger data, better computers,and wider familiarity. Let me paint a picture of how some of these are already in use today.Living in Southeast Michigan, it only seems appropriate to use a car as my example. I borrow this example from Eric Siegel (1). First, in order to open the car door, we have incorporated anti-theft devices that use biometrics to determine your identity. Assuming you have successfully gained access to your vehicle, for your vehicle, for your entertainment, Pandora chooses music it thinks you will like. In traffic, our navigation system suggests alternate routes and bases speed on hills in order to optimize the fuel economy. Breakfast? An en-route system suggests restaurants based on your daily food preferences. Socially,your social techretary offers to read you select Facebook feeds, voicemails, and that it has already filtered predicting your likes. Actually driving the car, we have now incorporated collision avoidance systems that vibrate when it senses you are distracted or there is an obstacle (e.g. a dog or child) that may be in the way. Predictive analytics has not conquered itself. But we can confidently predict more prediction. Every few months another big story about predictive analytics rolls off the presses. We're sure to see the opportunities continue to grow and surprise.

Another area where MIS students will always be needed will be in innovation. As the individual that bridges the gap between business and technology, MIS grads will be applying the latest technologies to solve the world’s problems. Global opportunities exist. Innovation allows us to take global that much further with the use of exciting technologies, especially those in the healthcare arena. For example robotic surgery utilizing the"doc at a distance”. No longer does the practicing physician need to be located on-site to make the diagnosis or perform the surgery. Experts in their field can be practicing remotely from anywhere around the world. Talk about competition! And near to my heart, having recently had knee surgery due to lack of cartilage, is 3D bio printing of human organs, including heart valves, knee cartilage, and just recently bionic ears. An exciting time awaits for those of us to learn more ways to apply these technologies and bridge that gap between what our businesses need and what options may exist to solve our business problems.

We used to define value as he who has the most data wins. But that isn’t necessarily true. For example, visualize a room full of file cabinets. Drawers that are full of data. How much value is there? Can we solve problems? Answer questions? We have the data, but it may be difficult to access. We need to make this data meaningful. We need information. It isn’t the storage of the data that is valuable, rather it is the retrieving it; being able to access it in an accurate and efficient manner that makes it meaningful. We are now entering an era where information isn’t enough. Being able to retrieve past information.Information combined with more information becomes knowledge and with that, as we discussed with analytics is what is valuable today.


AIS Student Chapters are providing a means of preparing MIS students by providing traditional efforts: workshops, mock-interviews, webinars; by providing future-oriented efforts, e.g. consulting teams and training; and by providing a means for students to challenge themselves via problem-solving through competitions. AIS is the premier professional association for individuals and organizations who lead the research, teaching, practice, and study of information systems worldwide. AIS provides our students with the latest research in the field of MIS, thereby providing our students with the step-ahead in being the leaders in their field. By being the leader, AIS is creating our future leaders. All of this may appear overwhelming to our current students: competition from not just your classmates, but rather from around the globe; truly defining who we are in MIS and where we can contribute; and lastly, having the courage to take that step into uncharted waters. Challenging the status quo. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes. "You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

(1). Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die (February2013) by Eric Siegel. Copyright (c) 2013 by EricSiegel.

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