*SIM Competition Paper:* The Executive Intelligence System as a Design Strategy
The failure of the MIS idea to achieve its ultimate goal of informing mangers rests in the single wrong assumption that the manager can define his information needs prior to the time for decision making. If the assumption were true, then management could be implemented by automata. Because it is not true, the conventional MIS maximum capability is to produce hackneyed status reports based upon technocrats’ perceptions of what the manager needs; its minimum capability is coughing up answers to irrelevant, unasked questions. This spectrum from impotence to mediocrity cannot be usefully extended to meet managements’ needs because the design strategy is wrong. A proper design strategy for providing managers with relevant information for choosing courses of action recognizes the principle of variety reduction, and that human beings have unique and peculiar ways of reducing variety in noisy information circumstances. Assuming that the distinguishing feature, beyond luck, of the successful executive vs. the controller, is creativity, including novel and non-structured uses of information, then any structured reporting system will fail to meet his needs. This article describes the design criteria for and the successful implementation of a system to support decision making in an information rich and volatile environment: the Independent Practice Association form of Health Maintenance Organization. Issues of cost and quality of medical care, the measurement of professional practice, the assumption of risk, etc., combine with an abundance of difficult data processing procedures to make this job a worthy challenge, and its successful implementation a model for complex organizations.
|F. Parker Fowler, Jr.
|information systems design, health information systems, executive intelligence system