The use of information technology to support decision making and problem solving continues to advance. A variety of systems for different kind of problems are the result of this progress. One type of these systems are the so called executive information systems (EIS). An EIS is defined as a computerised system that provides executives with easy access to internal and external information that is relevant to their critical success factors. The systems have permeated the enterprise to such an extent that EIS has come to stand for "everyones' information system". As a result of increasing volume and diversity of data and information reaching the desktop, though using an EIS, the data may not be processed into meaningful information and there is no time to navigate all data sources. The result is an information overload for the executives, managers and knowledge workers in the enterprise.
Current information systems provide virtually no way for executives, managers and knowledge workers to navigate through and discover the problems and opportunities buried within billions of numbers and words that are derived not only from their numbers, but more and more from "soft" or "qualitative" data originating from inside and outside the enterprise - rumours, speculation, press releases, market research, industry publications and government pronouncements are more and more taken into account. Especially with the background of the decreasing time-to-market of products, decision cycles are rapidly shrinking toward real time.
Focus of the project
The project will focus on the development of some possible solutions to meet the challenge of mastering the information overload and the creation of systems providing value-added service to their users. Therefore the following two approaches will be used:
- The integration of "hard" and "soft" management information into one EIS, with a special focus on the creation of a value-added information system by the estimation of the relevance of the information for the executives, managers and knowledge workers. Hence specific criteria (e.g. for the accuracy, correctness, confidence, precision) will be concentrated on, but also on the evaluation of existing information systems based on hypertext (e.g. KHS) to come to an individual user-orientated and therefore valued-added EIS.
- New Visualisation techniques for the presentation of management information and the development of intuitive user interfaces for EIS. Focus on the evaluation of highly interactive visualisation techniques for displaying and analysing spatial related management information. Elaboration of a "naturally" interactive information interface for EIS.
The vision is to have an EIS that is genuinely user-friendly interactive. Allowing the non-IT-specialists like the executives, managers or knowledge workers of the enterprise to customise it according to their preferences and to configure it so that they get the information dependent on their user profiles in a way they need them.
As a starting point we will use Internet technologies to present the information to the executives, managers and knowledge workers. We believe that in the future these people will have an Intranet/Internet-based EIS using a Web-Browser to get access to the management information.