Characteristics and Advantages of the executive support system

An executive information system (EIS) is a decision support system (DSS) that organization’s top executive uses for timely decision-making. EIS is also known as Executive Support System (ESS). It is designed to support strategic decision-making by gathering information from various systems to create comprehensive summary data for executives. It can be a standalone system or a module in an ERP system.

ESS system is characterized by drill-down capabilities, customizable reports, timely reports, and summary reports for executives among others. It helps the top management to come up with a strategic growth path for the organization.

Characteristics of the Executive Support System (ESS)

  1. Real-time reporting: For the decision to be done at the right time the system should be able to present the required data at the right moment. EIS system should be able to present data in real time for prompt decision-making.
  2. Drill-down capabilities: the system should be able to allow the user to go deep and analyze why a certain situation happened. For example, if a summary graph shows a drop in sales the system show allows for a drill down on why and when it started.
  3. Customization and personalized: An ESS system should allow the user to customize the report that they want to generate and how. It should allow for report personalization.
  4. Present data summarized in graphics, tables, and text: Since the system is for the executive it should present information in a summarised manner. Information can be presented using graphs, charts, tables, text, images, or any other version that gives a summary overview.
  5. Data consolidation and aggregation: EIS system should have the capability to collect data from other systems and sources then consolidate it together and interpret it. The data can be collected from transaction processing systems, finance, human resource, sales, and marketing among other systems.

Components of Executive Information System (EIS)

The EIS like any other information management system is made up of four main components. These components include:

  1. Hardware: These are the physical devices that are used to process data. The hardware includes but is not limited to personal computers, server computers,
  2. Software: this is the application that is used to model data to give out reports. The software includes application software, data models, system software, and integration API among others.
  3. System user: these are the human resource that is involved in implementing and ensuring the system work as expected. Users include executives and the IT support team.
  4. Telecommunication: since data is stored in a server in a data center the system needs a means of connecting. Telecommunication comes in to create links between different system and locations that are involved in ensuring that system run. They include network routers, cabling, firewalls, etc.
  5. Data: EIS requires data from different sources for its operation. This becomes a major component since if we don’t have data then we cannot generate reports and summaries.

Advantages of executive information systems

  1. The system enables the top executive personnel to get real-time data that can be used for informed decision-making. The executive can use the system to detect new trends or patterns and make decisions for the betterment of the organization on time.
  2. The system improves the decision-making process. This is achieved by making decisions based on data that is consolidated from both internal and external sources.
  3. The executive support system allows the customization of reports to user needs and requirements. This makes the reports personalized and hence more user-friendly.
  4. The EIS automates the process of collecting, consolidating, and reporting data from different sources. This reduces the time and cost that would otherwise take to achieve the same without the system. Automation improves productivity and increases efficiency.

Disadvantages of Executive Information Systems (EIS)

  1. The cost of implementing is high, particularly for small organizations. It requires investment in infrastructure such as hardware, software, human resource, and data security among others.
  2. The system relies on data from other systems both internally and externally. This can bring about data compatibility issues when imported from one system to EIS. Data compatibility and integration issues can reduce the dependability of the reports generated by the system
  3. Just like any other system user of the system will need to be trained to ensure full adoption and utilization of the system.
  4. The organization should implement best practices when it comes to data security since the system deals with highly sensitive and organizations’ confidential data.
  5. When the system is not used with a focused objective it can overwhelm the user since it deals with a lot of data. The data can overload the user which can lead to focusing on irrelevant data hence reducing effectiveness.