Dr Henk Greeff – Executive Chair, OPTRON (Pty) Ltd
Management information is the result of the process whereby technology or manually driven captured data is delivered across the value chain of an organisation to produce manual and/ or automated reports. The reports can be in different formats, to different levels of managers and leaders to enable proactive decision making based on historic, current and future trends, derived from the interpretation of the information.
One of the most common challenges is how to migrate from operational silo reporting to integrated enterprise wide (across the value chain) management information solution. Such integrated enterprise management information systems (EMIS) should be linked to the business strategy and its chosen value drivers. This statement assumes leaders are definitively clear on their business strategy, the underpinning value drivers across the value chain, in take an integrated perspective on the information and the interdependencies at play.
The underlying premise of this article is the fundamental truth that, as the human body cannot survive without blood being the carrier of oxygen, so is it equally unlikely that businesses and companies can survive without accurate, accessible and relevant management information (MI).
The diagram below depicts the levels of MI reporting and the value add to happen along the path of data conversion
The migration to a higher level of value unlocking and driving better and faster decisions can only occur through integrated management information, inclusive of:
It is also factually one of the most contemporary developments in the world of business to optimise MI solutions to migrate from clinical data to intelligent knowledge in many dimensions inclusive of 3D modelling and the concept of digital twins within the frame of artificial intelligence.
Despite all the progress made with world class MI solutions there are a myriad of examples where leaders and managers disregard MI with sometimes disastrous consequences. Some recent examples include a hurricane disaster in the USA, as well as recent major airline disasters, and corporate collapses in south Africa in the financial services and retail related industries.
There are obvious many reasons for the occurrence of this “disregarded phenomena’ but the common denominator was that sufficient information was available for management and leaders to react to at least soften the blow and or to prevent the occurrence thereof:
The fundamental question is why leaders and managers chose to disregard MI? Some of the reasons for this are related to what is called “cognitive” and “social biases”. Some of these are highlighted below.
There are many well-documented biases, but these are among the most dangerous in the strategy room1.
Some practical ways in which the avoidance of MY can be addressed include:
A global company tackled bias head on. They started a cultural-change program early in their strategy journey, to address the need for a different management mind-set in light of an increasingly uncertain future. A big component of that was mindfulness—becoming aware of not only individual cognitive patterns, but also the likely ones of the people you work with. It was equally important to start to create an atmosphere in which people are comfortable with a certain degree of conflict, where there is an obligation to dissent. This had to be pushed forward and safeguarded, because as soon as hierarchy prevails, it can be easily discouraged.
It is very easy for business leaders to be swept up in the excitement and opportunities created by some quite incredible advances in technologies. Through our own work with client systems it has however become quite evident that for technology to deliver on its promise, a much wider systemic perspective needs to be taken on enterprise evolution. To this end, the thinking framework adopted is the Business Value ModelÔ as shown in the following diagram.
The essential aspects of this framework are that any and all forms of technology should not be viewed from an Organisation Capacity perspective only, but that:
As human beings we are all victim of cognitive and social biases working against the effective and efficient leveraging of MI. The following table summarises some of the “antidotes”.
|Corporate politics||Objective assessment|
|Ego and self-interest||Purpose beyond the self|
|Blind loyalty||Informed authenticity|
|Unconscious biases||Conscious mindfulness|
|Legacy of the past dictates||Potential of the future pull|
If you are interested in a conversation about this topics, please contact
Dr Henk Greeff (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1. Chris Bradley. January 18, 2018. How biases, politics and egos trump good strategy.
2. McKinsey Quarterly. May 2017. A case study in combating bias.
4. Martin .January 2017.Mangement Information Systems (MIS) Definition and how it works.
5. German Lopez. August 2015 .Hurricane Katrina, in 7 essential facts.
6. Darryl Campbell: March 2019.Redline: The many human errors that brought down the Boeing 737 Max.
7. Peter Barron Stark .2015.Why good leaders make bad decisions.
8. Andrew Campbell.Jo whitehead and Sidney Finkelstein .Harvard business review .2009.Why Good Leaders
Make Bad Decisions