All Theses, Dissertations, and Capstone Projects

Defining User Requirements for Executive Information Systems

Chryselda T. Glaser, Fontbonne College


This study focused on the general direction a£ the computer technology, its use and impact on business. Every effort to make the presentation non technical dictates the approach taken. To provide better understanding of the data processing field, the paper is written from the perspective of lay people (non DPers). Key points are defined within the text. Note: the meaning presented in the text are interpretive, so do check the glossary. Other terms and abbreviations will be defined in the glossary. The meanings in the glossary are the accepted standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Any references to data processing (DP) and management information systems (MIS) will be used interchangeable, denoting a department or the DP field.

The thesis is organized in three parts, a historical perspective, modelling user requirements and concludes with design considerations. The first part reviews the past, present and future of the computer revolution in the context of computer uses and the developments of the information technology in business. Computers affect every aspects of our lives. These are only a few examples, electronic mail, computerized dating services, programmed trading (computerized stock trading on Wall Street). Trends discussed in the historical perspective are given from the stand point of the large corporations (computer users), and the major computer manufacturers who shaped the direction of computers and their uses. Some credit must also be given to the government agencies because they too were major players in the development of computer technologies. Federal agencies provided funding for some of the researches and developments done in this country.

Second part postulate the Executive Information System (EIS) user requirements which are the basis for harnessing information technology in business. here is to delve into defining and designing an The goal effective EIS model. Key issues include understanding the nature of the executive work and integrating of the business objectives with the information objectives. This understanding is a key factor to unlock the inherent problems in the definition of the user requirements. An effective model incorporates the business strategies (plans) and information needs into the EIS.

Third part attempts to translate the user requirements in designing the system. Design must take into account system objectives, benefits and risks, limitation of the design due to technical and/or organizational conflicts, Other considerations are policies and procedures to govern human/machine interfaces. Last but not least, alternative designs that may reduce the cost at the expense of limited benefits. Other designs may minimize the risk but substantially increase the cost of development. These and other factors must be evaluated in light of an organization's goals.