Business — Banking — Management — Marketing & Sales

Characteristics of successful EIS implementation

Category: Information Systems

Find an Appropriate ‘Executive Champion’

EIS projects that succeed do so because at least one member of the senior management team agrees to ‘champion’ the project. The executive champion need not fully understand the technical issues but must be a person who works closely with the senior management team and understands their needs, work styles and current methods of obtaining organisational information. The champion’s commitment must include a willingness to set aside time for reviewing prototypes and implementation plans, influencing and coaching other members of the senior management team and suggesting modifications and enhancements to the system.

Deliver a Simple Prototype Quickly

Executives judge a new EIS on the basis of how easy it is to use and how relevant is the information in the system to the current strategic issues in the organisation. As a result, the best EIS projects begin as a simple prototype, delivered quickly, that provides data about at least one critical issue. If the information delivered is worth the hassle of learning the system, a flurry of requirements will soon be generated by executives who like what they see and want more. These requests are the best way to plan an EIS that truly supports the organisation and are more valuable than months of planning by a consultant or analyst.

One caveat concerning the simple prototype approach is that executive requests will quickly scatter to questions of curiosity rather than strategy in an organisation where strategic direction and objectives are not clearly defined. A number of methods are available to support executives in defining business objectives and linking them to performance monitors in an EIS. These are discussed further in the section on EIS and Organisational Objectives below.

Involve Your Information Systems Department

In some organizations, the motivation for an EIS project arises in the business units independent of the traditional information systems (IS) organisation. Consultants may be called in or managers and analysts in the business units may take start the project without consulting or involving IS. This is a serious mistake. Executive Information Systems rely entirely on the information contained in the systems created and maintained by this department. IS professionals know best what information is available in an organization’s systems and how to get it. They must be involved in the team. Involvement in such a project can also be beneficial to IS by giving them a more strategic perspective on how their work influences the organisation.

Communicate & Train to Overcome Resistance

A final characteristic of successful EIS implementation is that of communication. Executive Information Systems have the potential to drastically alter the prevailing patterns of organisational communication and thus will often be met with resistance. Some of this resistance is simply a matter of a lack of knowledge. Training on how to use statistics and performance measures can help. However, resistance can also be rooted in fear, insecurity and cynicism. These attitudes can only be influenced by a strong and vocal executive champion who consistently reinforces the purpose of the system and directs the attention of the executive group away from unproductive and punitive behaviors.

« ||| »

Tagged as:

Comments are closed.