My IT Director is keen on implementing an Executive Information System (EIS) for the management to use. I suppose EIS in certain ways is similar to data warehousing. There are already many operational applications running in the company. I have two questions:
- To get the project initiated, we need to convince the management to sponsor the project. How do I go about doing it?
- How do I go about learning business processes and building business models that are suitable for EIS use?
First Question: To get the project initiated, we need to convince the management to sponsor the project. How do I go about doing it?
- Executive Information Systems are functional applications that provide direct online access to relevant information in a useful and navigable format. EIS applications deliver information from the data warehouse environment to the business community. The data warehouse contains the information of particular interest to the business. The information is accurate and is captured on a timely basis. The EIS serves that data up in an easy-to-understand format via an easy-to-use interface. Recently EIS applications are taking on the form of Executive Dashboards and Balanced Score Cards.
- You need to work with your business community to identify and define a business problem. Determine how the problem can be addressed via the implementation of a data warehouse and EIS application. Focus on the benefit to be obtained by providing timely delivery of accurate data. If you solve the business problem, what are the benefits to the business? Reduced expenses, increased sales volume, increased customer retention, improved employee relations? Pick a problem that you know you can solve in 90 days or less.
Second Question: How do I go about learning business processes and building business models that are suitable for EIS use?
- Modeling the enterprise can be effectively done via a program of facilitated workshops. These workshops follow a rigid agenda and combine group facilitation techniques with process and data modeling disciplines. I have found the FAST group facilitation approach, IDEF0 process modeling and the Information Engineering data modeling disciplines to work well when facilitating a group of business process owners to define their business model. Seek training in Group Facilitation techniques, IDEF0 Process Modeling disciplines and Information Engineering Data Modeling disciplines.
- When modeling the business for purposes of defining the requirements for an EIS implementation, first get a solid functional view of the enterprise processes and data defined. The data model forms the enterprise-wide data model upon which the data warehouse is designed. The process model provides an enterprise-wide functional view of how the information in the data model is created and used throughout the company's functional lifecycle. Add a step to your business modeling workshops to drill into each department's critical success factors and key performance indicators. This will provide a roadmap to those data elements from the enterprise data model that are essential components of your EIS applications.
This was first published in July 2001