Executive information systems (EIS) are designed to serve the needs of executive users in strategic planning and decision- making. Sometimes the terms “executive information systems” and “executive support systems” are used interchangeably (Turban, McLean, & Wetherber, 1999). Definitions of EIS are varied but all identify the need for information that support decisions about the organization. EIS can be defined as “a computerized system that provides executives with easy access to internal and external information that is relevant to their critical success factors” (Watson, Houdeshel, & Rainer, 1997). This article is organized as follows: The background to EIS implementation is given. EIS research studies undertaken in South Africa are then described. Some future EIS trends are then suggested.
Eis Research Undertaken In South Africa
A review of previously conducted EIS research at universities in South Africa is undertaken. From this collection, the nature of EIS research for each study is discussed. South African databases were searched for research literature (essays, technical reports, thesis, dissertations, etc) with the keywords “Executive Information Systems” in the title. Nine successful “hits” were found. Those research articles are reflected in chronological publication sequence in Table 1.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Executives: Corporate knowledge workers responsible for corporate strategic management activities.
Information Systems (IS): A combination of technology, people and processes to capture, transmit, store, retrieve, manipulate and display information.
Critical Success Factors (CSF): Those key areas of activity in which favorable results are absolutely necessary for a particular manager to reach his or her goals.
World Wide Web (“the Web”): An information space consisting of hyperlinked documents published on the Internet.
Data Cube: In a multidimensional database, data can be viewed and analyzed from different views or perspectives, known as business decisions. These dimensions form a cube.
Data Warehouse: A repository of subject-oriented historical data that is organized to be accessible in a form readily acceptable for analytical processing activities.
Web-Based Technology: A technology that did not exist prior to the World Wide Web (“the Web”) and utilizes core Internet and Web technologies as the platform on which the solution operates.
Executive Information System: A computerized system that provides executives with easy access to internal and external information that is relevant to their critical success factors.