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Business Report on Executive Support Systems Essay

Executive Support System (ESS) serves in a very strategic level of an organization. They look into the issues that are not planned for in the society and try to get workable solutions. They are required to judge and appraise and then decide on the approaches into the solutions because there usually is no agreed-upon-procedure to do those things. ESS makes a widespread computing and interactions environment relatively than providing any fixed application or specific capability.

ESS is intended to slot in data about exterior dealings such as new tax laws or competitors, but they also draw summarized information from internal MIS and DSS. They sieve, condense, and track serious data, emphasizing the diminution of time and effort required to obtain information useful to executives (Yang, E. & Gregor, P. 2002).

The ESS is usually designed to deal with general computing and communication issues of an organization. Their decisions are supposed to be so dynamic such that they have to carter for future changes.

Introduction 

An Executive Support System (ESS) is computer software that facilitates the organization of data or pieces of information into useful summarized reports. It is planned to make smooth the growth of, and support the information and decision making needs of an organization. Through the organization of data by this system, the company’s internal and external reports become easily accessible hence quicken the process of meeting of the company’s goals.

There are different kinds of systems because there are different interests, specialties and levels in any given organization. This is the reason there are different types of diagrams of Executive support systems. However, no single system can provide all the information an organization needs. Due to this, there are different diagrams too.

How ESS fits the IS framework

The figure below shows the position of the Executive Support System I an organization and the way it fits in the organization’s Information System:

For proper functioning of the ESS, it should fit within the Information System framework. It handles information at the strategic planning level of an organization. It is purposefully designed to handle the process of making decisions that are in no pre-set routine by use of graphics that are advanced integrated with other forms of communication.

At management level, the ESS is connected to management information systems (MIS) together with DSS (Decision Support Systems). It is at this level where information system for an organization integrates complicated models for data and information analysis with data and information for the purpose of supporting the process of making non- routine decisions involved in ESS (José, L. and Antonio, L. 2003).

Lughi, M, Loreti, P, David, F (2002) argue that at the knowledge level, two systems namely Office Systems (OS) and Knowledge Work Systems (KWS) are useful (pp.65-66). They assist workers in generating and integrating newly acquired business ideas and knowledge in the company. They both serve the organizational need of knowledge this level according to the systems framework illustrated above. The difference between the two is that systems Knowledge Work assists employees who work at the knowledge level of the business while office systems assist employees who have the responsibility of handling the company data, despite recording extensive use a by knowledge employees.

Their major tasks include creation of new knowledge and information useful for running the company. KWS such as designing engineering works or scientific innovations contribute very much in the process of creating new knowledge and ensures that new technological ideas and expertise are successfully integrated in to the business processes of the company.

On the other hand, data workers have less formal duties, posses advanced educational qualifications such as post graduate degrees and they characteristically process data rather than creating data or information by themselves. They are for example company secretaries, accountants and book custodians, organizing file-keepers, managers whose key assignments are to utilize, alter, manipulate or disseminate information

Infrastructure for Executive Support Systems

Due to the advancement in technology, many businesses have computers. Majority of them use integrated application packages like Microsoft Office to do their record keeping. The use of Ms Access and MS Excel spreadsheets is the most common. Many of them are ignorant of the fact that these packages come with heavy programming language. This is referred to as Visual Basic for Application-VBA. It has a programming interface that is akin to that of Visual Basic. VBA offers greater chances in relation to being able to interact with the specific function of  a specific cell in a spreadsheet, but is quite inefficient because it lacks the ability to work with other applications for example in forms used to take in data (Salmeron, L. 2002).

Most senior managers have very little experience with complicated computer-based information systems. This is the reason why the web interface is the best for them because it is designed for ESS. It is an easy to use graphic interface.

The Input Processing and Output Activity

The activities that provide the information to an organization are Input, Processing and Output. Input entails of acquirement of the unrefined data, which is transformed into more meaningful information by ‘Processing’. The processed data now referred to as information is at this point accessed by the users and is called output.

Interdependencies of TPS, MIS, DSS, and ESS

The various systems described cannot work out well on their own means. They have great interdependencies upon one another. These interdependencies can be illustrated using the model shown below. Usually, data that is useful to other systems comes from the TPS. Essentially, the system levels that are below ESS supply it with data and information while systems that are below ESS may interchange information and data to one another.

Systems that are, meant to serve different areas may permit exchange of information as well. For instance the sales department and manufacturing department may exchange information or data contained in an order because the manufacturing section needs to know what kind of goods the clients need in the market, a duty which is essentially done by the sales department (Jose, L 2002).

From the illustration above, it is evident that the different kinds of systems in a business organization depend on one another directly or indirectly. Information comes mainly from the transactional processing systems and is relied to other systems directly or indirectly. The reliance of information from one system by another, which in absence would lead to no business, has made it a necessity to integrate the operations of the various business systems in most organizations.

The rationale for this measure is to allow free flow on critical information from its entry point to all parts of the organization. However, it should be noted that the process of integration demands use of money and is perceived as an expense from business point of view. It also consumes a lot of time and is simply a complex process. It is therefore advisable to the directors and managers of various departments at Bristol Communications Company to carry out some cost-benefit analysis of an integration process. This is meant to assist in establishing whether there is acute need for integrating systems in the company.

For an ESS to succeed or fail depends on the implementation process. The introduction the ESS in an organization is the implementation process. Implementation is administered both technologically and I terms of users (Michael, S 2007 pp. 44-67).

During implementation, it might be necessary that the prototype be changed so that the structure fits the needs of that particular organization. In the changing of the prototype, new hardware may be acquired so that it can be fully installed to serve its purpose well.

Automation procedures are strictly followed and the data for the suitability of the system double checked. This follows the designing of the ESS in readiness for use. After the system is designed, there is need to train those who are intended to use the system (Lim and Heinrichs 2005).

Three are those complications that arise during the development of a particular system. These sometimes do affect the success of the system while in use. In addition, the success of the system might be jeopardized by the position of the workers. The need for them to be informed as far as the use of the system is concerned might just be a difficult problem that can cause regressive ness in the success of the system (Pomerol and Adam 2002).

The implementation of the system should be free from any political influence. There is need for the system to be supported wholly especially during usage and it should be protected from any external influence that can make the process a failure (Heinrichs, J. 2005).

Human beings are usually stiff to change and they might want to stick to their old system instead of embracing the new system. This also needs careful handling.

During the development of the system, it should be completely separated from the business process. Any examination of the progress of the system should be assessed independently

Value of an ess to organization in connection to information surplus decision                       

An executive support system (ESS) also known as the executive information system (EIS) is a management tool that has been designed to address the needs of senior managers in an organization especially with respect to the process of making decisions. This tool works best at the strategic level of management. Since there is no clearly outlined procedure of reaching at a solution for any given problem even at top management level, the use of executive support system for a company assists the managers in making informed decisions that may require proper personal judgment, evaluation as well as an insight of the issue before a decision is arrived at.

Basically, ESS creates an environment that will permit general computing and relay of information instead of offering applications that are fixed or those which are of specific capability. By use of ESS, the mangers shall also be in a position to get summaries of information and data that is being used by the lower level systems such as the management information systems (MIS) and Decision support systems (DSS). The system shall allow the management filter, summarize or compress and track critical information/ data, thus being able to reduce the amount of time and energy they would otherwise use to obtain information that is useful to company executives (Michael, 2007).

One striking features of ESS is the advanced software that are employed. By use of the system, executives in Bristol Comm. Corporation would be able to use the information understanding aids that are part of the package. This includes the ability to plot graphs based on the available data instantly for use during a boardroom session or senior executives meeting (Yang and Gregor 2002).

One difference between ESS and other information systems is that, ESS is primarily designed not to solve particular problems but to provide general solutions to computing and passing information in the cases where array of problems occur. Most decision support systems are highly specific to the problems they are designed to solve, which is mainly analytical, while ESS rarely uses analytical models. In general, this for Bristol Communications Corporation is meant to help the supervision in identifying a number of issues.

The functionality of ESS can be likened to an airplane’s cockpit. The key indicators in this cockpit are monitored constantly. Once an indicator, for instance, elevation moves to unacceptable range, signals are sent to the pilot so that he may take a corrective measure. While hundreds of indicators are monitored constantly, majority are invisible until the time when they move to unacceptable range, thus posing a possible problem. Only few indicators such as the height above ground surface, elevation from horizontal, speed and direction are perceived as key determinants of smooth flight.

Hence key pointers are what the pilot should consider his business to monitor. Similarly, ESS should provide for each supervisor or decision-making to exercise control or watch over a few number key indicators that are critical to his department and to the company’s business generally and ensure that they are literally “on course”. However, it is true that there are several more indicators of ‘in course’ but they only become visible whenever they go beyond the acceptable levels within the business operations (Michael, 2007 p. 90).

Disadvantages of an ESS

Udo, A. and Erwin, G. (2003) put it that even thought the ESS construction block charges are falling, the maintenance cost and the cost to put one in place is the one that is expensive(pp78-79). ESS development projects are just as good as risks. It is very difficult to hear of a failure, but that does not mean that there are no failures. The fact that evaluation of the benefits that the systems bring forth is difficult, assessment of success is also difficult.

A survey that was carried out among seventy-three executives supported the observation that the success of ESS may be contingent upon the type of executive learning they bring about. According to the research, the perceptions of competitive performance resulting from ESS use are strongly related to mental-model building but there is no connection competition and mental-model maintenance. In other words, ESS encourages executive learning. A model of the relationship among the ESS, learning and performance is nurtured. This model processes mental-model maintenance whereby, new information fits into existing mental models and confirms them; and the mental-model building whereby, mental models are changed to accommodate new information

REFERENCES

Lughi, M, Loreti, P, David, F (2002) Communications through Virtual Technologies: Complex Lecture on Networking, Springer, New York, York Inc.

Waraporn, J, O’Donnell, P and Arnott, D. (2008) Executive Information Systems in an Emerging Economy: Decision Support Systems, vol. 42n.4p. 2078-2084.

Jose, L (2002) Results from an evolutionary lesson, periodical of Systems and Software, v.64 n.2, p.111-114.

Thomas W, George K, George E (2004) The use of computer-based information systems by German managers to support decision making: Information and Management, v.41 n.6, p.763-779.

Salmeron, L.(2002) EIS evolution in large Spanish businesses, Information and Management, v.40 n.1, p.41-50.

Lim, S. Heinrichs, J. (2005) Structure for managerial knowledge formation and tactical use of information: Research Articles, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, v.56 n.6, p.620-629.

Frédéric, J, Adam F. (2002) Crucial factors in the progress of administrative systems: leveraging the dashboard approach, Decision making support systems: Hershey, Idea Group Publishing, PA.

José, L, and Antonio, L. (2003) A justification check of an edition of the DeLone and McLean’s model in the Spanish EIS field, Critical reflections on information systems: a systemic approach, Idea Group Hershey, PA, Publishing.

Yang, E & Gregor, P (2002) The connection between information and communication technologies adoption and management, Information and Management, v.39 n.8, p.659-675.

Udo, A. and Erwin, G. (2003) E-commerce and executive information systems: a managerial perspective, The economic and social impacts of e-commerce, Hershey PA, Idea Group Publishing.

Pomerol, J and Adam, F. (2002) From human decision making to DMSS architecture, Decision making support systems, London, London Publishers

Michael, S. (2007) Can information technology enable profitable diversification? An empirical examination, Journal of Engineering and Technology Management

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