Career Path

Bright prospects for MIS

Management Information System
Tammy Tsui
MIS Manager
Pacific Textiles Ltd.

As today's businesses become more technology-driven, there will be greater opportunities and a variety of paths for information technology (IT) professionals to take -- and to move ahead, says Tammy Tsui, MIS Manager of Pacific Textiles Limited, one of the major players in textile industry in Hong Kong.

"The opportunities open to them are in areas of hardware and software development, telecommunications, IT projects such as enterprise resources planning (ERP), systems security and others. One can specialize in more than one of these fields," says Ms Tsui.

"IT people tend to be rather self-centered. For example, they use a lot of jargon which only they can understand. They should help make IT more user-friendly, as it is the duty of MIS to integrate different business needs and to achieve synergy through technology."

Instead of being a general technician, new graduates should specialize, she says, because specialization brings higher returns. "A university graduate with specialist IT qualifications, for instance, will be paid 15-30% more than practitioners with only general IT knowledge."

When carrying out projects, teamwork and knowledge-sharing are very important for increasing productivity. "I encourage everyone in MIS (Management Information System) to take part in different IT projects so that everyone can learn and contribute to the projects."

She believes Pacific Textiles Limited is far-sighted by having invested heavily in IT projects over the years.

Communication & management skills

"Besides technical knowledge and vision, IT people must also be able to help staff better understand their company's operations, and to establish a channel of communication between top management and department heads," Ms Tsui says.

"In the area of e-commerce, IT people need to get more involved in the company's co-operation with its external partners and to help enhance the efficiency of its operations."

Not just about technology

As the job is not just about technology, people aspiring to a career in MIS should get training according to their own needs. Ms Tsui herself is trained in a number of areas -- She received an Advanced Certificate in IT and a Bachelor degree in International Trade in Australia, and has a Graduate Diploma in Supply Chain & Logistics Leadership from the University of Hong Kong. She is currently studying for a Master degree in e-Commerce.

She got in touch with IT applications more than ten years ago when she was employed by a US-based multinational corporation as its Product Manager for the Asia Pacific region.

But IT was never her main responsibility until she joined Pacific Textiles Limited four years ago, where her main job was to set up an ERP system. She found it to be not only a technical, but also a communication and management, challenge.

China Opportunities

According to Ms Tsui, IT departments have become strategic company units, playing a pivotal role in driving business growth. This is increasingly evident in the wake of China's accession to the WTO. "Companies in Hong Kong and China, regardless of their size, are facing global competition as a result of the opening up of the China market. They need to be better equipped to meet tough competition. IT is a tool that can help them maintain their competitive edge."

Figures for reference only   K='000

Taken from Career Times 08 March 2002, p. 28
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