Executive Support Systems (ESS) are information systems at the strategic level of an organization designed to address the problem of unstructured decision-making through the use of advanced graphics and communications.
a. List four types of technological change that have allowed more effective ESS to be developed, indicating how each of these changes contributed to solving the earlier problems of the ESS?
b. In what ways is building executive support systems different from building traditional MIS systems?
c. What are the benefits of ESS? How do they enhance managerial decision making?
a) Technological changes that allowed the development of more effective ESS include: –
i. Networks developed allow data to be gathered together from various computers and locations.
ii. New approaches to storing and accessing data made the sharing of data on desktops a reality.
iii. Desktop computers and work stations having enough power to be able to analyse data rapidly and in graphic format.
iv. New interfaces such as the mouse, graphic user interfaces and touch screens and Help facilities have made systems use more intuitive without the need for technical computing education.
b) Building an ESS is different in a number of ways from building traditional MIS. ESS as are built through prototyping rather than traditional structured methods because executives needs change so rapidly. Once the executive user is involved, development must be very rapid to satisfy him/her, far more so than with an MIS systems. Finally, at first ESS will be given far greater support per executive user than with traditional MIS systems in order to be able to iron out wrinkles rapidly enough to prevent failure of the project.
c. Benefits of the ESS are not easily measured. However the following is a suggested list:
i. ESS flexibility allows executives to shape the problems as they need, using the system as an extension of their own thinking.
ii. ESS offer the executive the ability to analyze, compare, and highlight trends freeing up the executive, for more creative decision making.
iii. ESS allows the ―sharing of mental models‖ between executives in planning/brain-storming meetings in a highly graphical way.