The term "Executive Information System" was first coined in 1982 by Rockart and Treacy and is used to describe a flexible application that provides support needed for high level decisions to be made by executives of a company. It usually provides easy access to a wide range of up to date information, relevant to the strategic goals of the company on a simple graphical user interface. It is deliberately made simple to operate due to a perceived lack of advanced information technology skills in high-level management. The data for an EIS normally comes from a wide range of sources such as production systems, financial systems, sales systems and stock systems. It is important that data is kept online to make sure that multiple users accessing the data will be accessing exactly the same data and therefore ensuring that all decisions are based on the same up to date information.
To explain briefly the different ways of implementing EIS, there are four main methods used, firstly using a text based software such as Microsoft Word to compile a simple but labour intensive report, with this method the set up will be relatively cost free and simple but will require more effort for the user and to up date it.
The second is using a database for example Microsoft Excel, once again this method will be fairly labour intensive to update but less time and resource will be needed to set up the application.
The next step up is called Graphics base' where visual media, such as time series charts, scatter diagrams, maps or comparison-oriented graphs, are used to present the data for ease of interpretation by the executives. This type of system is fairly easy to set up using a standard database program.
The final step in an EIS would be a Model base', which would be more expensive to set up and implement but would require less input to update, in this case the EIS models contain statistical analysis alongside financial or other quantitative analysis.
I have chosen to focus on the use of EIS within in the automotive sector due to the wide range of activities that it encompasses, this will make the use of an EIS more important as an executive will need a wide range of data available to in order to make properly informed decisions. The industry its self is a global one with intense levels of competition; it is dominated by a few main companies as barriers to entry are high. Recently there is a trend for mergers and acquisitions in an attempt to become more competitive, however some small-scale marques still exist to serve niche markets.
Impacts of EIS
I am going to discuss impacts that EIS would have upon a manufacturer in the motor industry, these are by no means exhaustive but ones that I think are key to the workings of EIS and should be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to implement this technology.
The first impact I'd like to highlight is the ease that an executive can access all the information that he needs, in order to make a properly informed decision. EIS will mean that a user will only have to look at one source for all the information needed covering a wide range of business areas. This will mean that the user will save time switching from source to source and will gain a greater understanding of the information, as it is in a common and easy to interoperate format. All of this will mean that the strategy decisions made by the management team will be of a higher standard and hopefully this will gain the company an advantage in the market place....