Management Information Systems analysis and design are traditionally looked at in two ways: (1) system or problem orientation and (2) information, database or holistic design perspective. In the system orientation, we focus on a specific problem to be solved. The database is handled as a means of solving a specific problem. In the database orientation, we focus on the design of the data format and files. The systems are considered to be appendages to the database. In most cases, we approach system design with a problem orientation. Databases are most either in existence or are created specifically for the solution of a problem. However, the issues of database design should be included in all system development programs.

For large systems, a full scale database design program is often undertaken. This can be a major undertaking for corporations with the design of a corporate or enterprise-wide database system. The total system consists of all elements for obtaining of data and implementing actions. The system consists of automated and manual elements. The parts that are of concern in systems design concentrate on the collection of data through the dissemination of reports. The focus is naturally on the automated elements. However, control and concern for the manual operations need to be included in the planning activity.

The output of the planning process should be a document, outlining: (1) the present situation, (2) the system related issues, (3) strategic alternatives, and (4) the type of systems that are needed.


Identifying the underlying problem and defining an appropriate solution is the key to developing an useful system. The system requirements follow from the definition of the problem.

[Gause, D. C. & G. M. Weinberg, Exploring Requirements, Quality Before Design, Dorset House Publishing (1989)]

1.1 Finding the Opportunity

The process of identifying problems worth solving or opportunities worth exploiting is not simple. The underlying problems are often supported by the personality of the management. Most problems are systematic dealing with the structure of the organization as well as the need for specific tasks.

1.1.1 Problems and Symptoms

Stated problems are often symptoms of underlying issues that need to be explored. Satisfying the symptoms may or may not solve the problem or serve the organization. Information, itself, has no value. Only the use of it does. Solving symptoms often leads to providing information that goes nowhere. Root Causes

We wish to solve the underlying problem or need, not merely the symptom. A key tool for searching for the underlying or root cause of problems is asking "Why". The Japanese Quality people have developed the concept of the "Five Why's". This gives the analyst license to ask five sequential Why's. The process often ends with the identification of underlying problems which are more fundamental.

1.1.2 Bottom Line Value

Alternative one can try to exploit opportunities based on value to the organization. A simple way of viewing value is in terms of its "bottom line". Simply meant: "Getting more for less and keeping it". Realizable Profits= Revenues - Costs - Losses Due to Poor Decisions

  • Getting More: Revenues = Value Enhancement, "quality"
  • For Less: Cost Reduction = Improved Productivity
  • and Keeping It:

Improved Decisions = Decision Support

1.2 Productivity

Productivity is the ratio of results to the input of resources. Improved productivity is a key objective for information process development. It is hoped that increase automation and systems development will lead to increase productivity or reduced costs. Many of the systems development projects are undertaken with the purpose of increased productivity. There has been controversy regarding the growth or lack of growth in productivity with the introduction of personal computers.

A lack of growth in service productivity has been noted recently:

"Organizational productivity ...... is the missing return on investment after more than a decade of heavy spending on information technology. During the 1980's, companies spent almost a trillion dollars on new information technology, but productivity in the services sector actually declined." - Jim Manzi- CEO, Lotus Development Corp.

1.2.1 Measures of Productivity

The growth productivity or its decrease depends on how it is measured. Productivity can be measured in several ways depending on the output being considered and the input of resources being used. The choice of measurement depends on the objective of the evaluation. Functional Productivity

Functional productivity measures the resources required to produce support an activity in the organization. Management for example can be considered a function; its functional productivity might be the number of managers required to run manufacturing. The aggregate of functional productivity makes up the national productivity statistics. It shows the collective resources required to produce collective output.

In some areas, such as in publishing, small computers have driven a huge improvement in functional productivity. Most large improvement in productivity has been in area recognized as production or manufacturing. Office and service activities have shown little change in functional activity. However, the number, type and the nature of tasks being required for these functions have also changed. Use of Economic Resources

Another problem in looking at productivity is the use of the technology. Cheaper economic resources tend to be used greater that expensive ones. Therefore, the more productive the resource the more it is used. For example, if it is cheap to generate reports, more reports will be generated. Functionally, this would mean that more reports would be generated that otherwise. The net effect would be that report writing, though as a task is more productive, is less productive in terms of the total function.

If communications becomes easier to use, it will be used more frequently and the overall cost of communications will increase. If we calculate the productivity of the communications function, it may appear to be decrease with higher costs for the function. Task Productivity

Task productivity focuses on the specific activities that need to be performed. Since these tasks change with changes in capability it can be measured either historically, comparing the present cost of doing the present work compared to past costs, or based on projecting the present tasks into the future. Forward Calculations

The forward calculations asks how much do we improve costs of the known tasks using the new technology. This is generally the standard justification for new technology. It assumes that the activities that are done will be done cheaper. Unfortunately, this is possible only if the gains in productivity are allowed to be captured. If the task change, then the net effect will be different. Backward Calculations

The backward calculation is intended to document value of utilizing new technology. It asks how much is being saved by using the present technology to do the present task as compared with doing those tasks without that technology. For example, what have we saved by doing artist quality charts today on personal computers compared with producing them manually. This clearly would show a large improvement in productivity. However, those tasks would likely not be performed if the technology did not exist. Here the backward calculated task productivity would be very high while the forward calculation would show no improvement. Simply, those charts would not have been produced in artist quality without that technology.

1.2.2 Sources of Productivity

Productivity can improve only when it is allowed to. Either the output is allowed to increase with given resources or the resources must be allowed to decline. If both are frozen then there can not be any change in actual productivity.

It is useful to accept a production or manufacturing attitude toward tasks in order to improve productivity. If the task is viewed as an art it is viewed as a series of unique outputs. The idea of productivity is then useless, since it is meaningless to compare output with resources. Only if we think of the output as an economic "commodity" is the idea of productivity meaningful. Economies of Scale

An major historical source of improved productivity is in economies of scale. Increasing the quantity of an item produced generally decreased its unit cost. Similarly, the more experience one has doing a task the less it generally costs to do it. Both scale and experience requires the opportunity to do the tasks or producing items a large number of times. Centralization

Centralization of tasks is the principal means of generating the scale. Because personal computers can disperse capabilities to do tasks, they have tended to simulate decentralization. This has reduced, rather than increased the opportunities for improved productivity. Specialization

Along with centralization, specialization of skills also generates opportunities for productivity improvement. Only with the devotion of the required resources and the opportunity to practice can the skills of personnel gain the experience to improve productivity. Unfortunately, the trend toward personal computers has also tended away from specialization. Process Standardization

Experience can be gain in a task if that task is repeated. If each time task is different, experience will be minimal. Furthermore, we can not improve a process unless it is maintained. Only standardized processes can be maintained. Process Description

Formal standardization is often useful in developing and assuring a productive process. The process is usually described by logic or flow diagrams showing each task component and interrelationship to other components. Task Components

Tasks can be divided into infinitely small sub-tasks and components. Taylor and Gilberth in the early part of this century considered tasks down to the worker movements. This level is usually far beyond the useful limit in information systems. For systems development we usually consider task components as consisting of the storage and processing of data. This would include data entry, checking, and the generation of parts of reports. Simplification

A major source of productivity improvement is through process simplification. Processes often tend to be overly complicated. Grouping processes, specialization, centralization, and streamlining often result in far simpler processes that are more productive. Automation

Automation has been, and still is the hope for improved productivity. By having the computer do tasks that were manual, it is hoped that the overall costs will decline. Value in Scale

Automation generally decreases the incremental costs of producing things whether they be machines or reports. However, setup costs are often more expensive than producing one item manually (or in a non-automated fashion). Below is an example of producing reports in a traditional and automated fashion. Note that the initial automated report costs is greater than through manual production. The advantage comes from producing multiple items. Tools

To implement automation, the appropriate tools are needed. In the office environment it means: advanced word processing, spreadsheets, data base systems, and graphics packages. Unfortunately, the growth of these tools have been slow in recent years. Most of the new facilities have been target to ease of use not automation. Skills

It is insufficient to merely have the tools; they must be used. In most organizations, the tools are far more available than personnel who know how to use them. Increased Use

With the decreased incremental cost of production, it becomes economically attractive to produce reports for the marginal user. Below is the same example of automated report writing with a "demand curve". This demand curve represents the value to the organization of incremental reports. Note that for the manual approach only a couple of reports should be generated while with automation a half dozen are produced. In this case, the total cost for producing two reports manually or producing six reports in an automated process are the same. No net cost saving would be generated for the organization producing the reports. The organization should gain "value" with more reports, however. The problem is that there may be no net report generation bottom line cost reduction.

1.2.3 Organizational Change

As we have seen above, productivity improvements can take place only when the organization allows it. Organizational change and productivity improvement go hand in hand. Technology by itself can only gain limited improvement. "Politics"

To implement organizational change, we first need to know that the real situation, not merely the apparent or formal structure. The term "office politics" is often used to describe the internal positioning of organizations. Each component reasonably tries to gain some control of its destiny. This is usually based on self-interest. Change generates loss of control and often fear. Simply knowing what is best for the overall organization is no guarantee that it will come to pass. Objectives

Know where you want to go! Before proposing a change in an organization, consider the implications and consequences. Often resistance to change comes from reasonable concerns. Getting There

Organizations are made of people. By changing the organization, we need to change what people do, think, and behave. This involves a type of broad based "conditioning". It should be noted that successful change comes with the support of the people involved. Recognition

To implement change, that change needs to be recognized. Since the change involves behavior, appropriate behavior needs to be rewarded and inappropriate behavior discouraged. The system of change needs to focus on the recognition and rewards. Support

In order for the change to stick, the organization must buy in. This buy-in has to be throughout the organization and in particular with management. Often top management must be brought on board to allow the change to take root. Without upper level sponsorship the change is likely not to be recognized and will soon disappear.

1.3 Value

Perceived value is obtained anytime that someone is willing to exchange funds for more services or products. Improved graphics, faster response, colored documents, prettier reports all are examples of value. However, the bottom line value is usually associated with improving revenue.

1.3.1 Delivering Value

Value in this context focuses on that which can return revenue, benefit or share. It is insufficient for prettier presentations to be desired by the presenter, they must be able to return value in terms of sales or faster decisions. Quantifying Value

The evaluation of perceived value is easiest to make at the user level. The user either buys into the technology or he does not. We usually can not evaluate the value to the organization as a whole and have to take the user as the "best" approximation. Fortunately, for the computing industry, the users often control sufficient funds to acquire the technology. The measure of real "bottom-line" impact is usually elusive.

1.3.2 Performance

The performance is often used as a surrogate for value. We often use the term "quality" to describe performance. Performance and technical merit are discussed in the technology evaluation section of these notes. Unfortunately, this is confusing since "Quality" has a somewhat different definition. Performance is usually monotonic, more is almost always considered better than less. We have seen a "cult of performance" within the MIS community. However, performance is usually associated with the technology not with the application and almost never tied to revenue enhancement.

1.3.3 The Performance Paradigm

As in the case of pursuing productivity, there is a perception that pursuing, value requires organizational "imperatives." This is the performance paradigm. These "imperatives" should not be viewed as inherently true. In fact, they tend to conflict with those suggested by productivity and Total Quality approaches. Decentralization

Decentralization is assumed to allow the organization to get closer to the customer and thereby provide superior value. This implies distributed and networked computing. Empowerment

Empowering people gives the authority to act for the interest of the customers. MIS professionals should have the power to run their operation as independently as possible. Utilizing Tools

Our people should be trained to adequately utilize they tools. Customize

All systems should be customize to meet the needs of our people and customers. Value Performance

Performance and "quality" is of value in all things. Prettier reports and better than less pretty reports. Competitive Position

The driving force for performance is competition. If we do not perform to the highest level possible, the competition will. Our measure of performance is the competition.

1.3.4 Value vs Productivity

It should be noted that these imperatives are very different than those for productivity where scale and process standardization is critical. The performance paradigm drives against standardization and focuses only on Better.

1.4 A Total Quality Paradigm

Quality is defined as: Consistently meeting or exceeding reasonable customers' expectations. By exceeding customers' expectations, the developer raises those expectations to a level for which few potential competitors can match. This gives competitive advantage. It should be the system developer's goal to exceed client expectations, if only for self interest.

[W. E. Deming, Out of the Crisis, MIT, Center for Advanced Engineering, (1986)]

This discussion of Total Quality management is presented both as a source of value for development MIS systems and as description of the development process. The methodology of Total Quality management offers an useful path for developing systems.

1.4.1 Quality vs Performance

There are two important differences between pursuing Quality and Performance:
  • Quality focuses on consistency not merely excellence;
  • Quality is driven by what the customer may expect rather than technology or competition.

These two differences make Quality a process oriented approach and one aligned to continuous improvement. In this regard pursuing Quality is similar to pursuing productivity. It too is a process driven goal.

1.4.2 Customer Expectations

To meet or exceed expectations, the developer must understand them. While the developer may act as an expert on systems and even on the specific application, the ultimate source of systems requirements is the client. It is his satisfaction that is key both in terms of the final system and in the implementation of the project.

In most cases, a number of individuals will be involved in the project. Since it is almost impossible to fully assess the involvement of each one, they should all be considered customers. Each one's expectations should be sought and noted.

1.4.3 Client Satisfaction

Clients are often reluctant to identify issues that represent low levels of dissatisfaction, particularly, if they involve interpersonal relations. Unfortunately, these instances of dissatisfaction can accumulate, resulting in an overall perception of dissatisfaction. It is vitally important that even small instances of dissatisfaction be identified and corrected. Close liaison and trust is necessary to facilitate this. Customer Expectations

Quality focuses on customer expectations. However, these expectations must have a future orientation. We need to design products and system and conduct business in such a way as to exceed future customer expectations. We face a "moving boundary problem". Good efforts today will lead to rising customer expectations. Our plans must focus on not merely today's expectations but those that will be met in the future.

1.4.4 Problem Resolution

While it is a goal of quality management to eliminate sources of dissatisfaction, they will still occur. It is a further goal of quality management to establish a mechanism resolving these problems when they do happen. Problems need to be rapidly recognized, not denied, and resolved to the satisfaction of the client where possible. When resolution is not feasible with the available resources, an impartial written statement of the facts of the problem should be issued to the client. Often seemingly unresolvable problems are merely misunderstandings. A clear written explanation of the situation will often clear up the problem.

1.4.5 Cost, Quality, and Timing

The design of applications systems projects rest on the specifications of the function, the quality, the timing, and the cost. Conventional wisdom dictates that of the three elements of value: cost, quality and timing, at most, only two are independent. If two are specified, which is usually, quality and timing, the costs are set. Costs are usually measured by man-power. If costs are set, then either the quality, as measured by expectations must be constrained or the timing changed, or both.

1.4.6 Structuring the Process

Customer satisfaction should be designed into the process for developing the system as well as the system itself. Design implies a structured process. The process that is described must be consistent with the process as it exists or will exist. A fictitious process, no matter how well designed is useless. Standardized Processes

Customer satisfaction is not a one shot deal. In order to assure satisfaction the process has to be standardized. Flexible processes allow for identified steps and activities to be undertaken in similar fashions. Only when these steps are understood can we identify what causes customer dissatisfaction and correct it. Measuring Performance

We need to track performance in order to improve. What can not be measured can not be improved. Performance, however, must reflect what the customers and clients want, rather than what is easy to measure. Customer satisfaction should be the basis for selection of measurements. Measurement Precision

Precision of a measure is the degree that differences can be distinguished. The higher the precision of the measure the greater is the ability to ascertain process variation, if the measure is accurate and reliable. High precision costs. Choose the level of precision that will meet the needs for the process. Measurement Accuracy/ Validation

A measurement may be precise but irrelevant to the issue of interest. Measurements should reflect the process that we wish to measure. The validity of the measure reflects the correspondence between the measure and the phenomena. For example if we wish to measure roughness of a surface the measure increase with the nature of the surface rather than any other artifact. Measurement Reliability

Reliability is how well the measure can be repeated. If widely different estimates are obtained for a measure under identical conditions and samples that the measure will not reflect the real situation. Quality

The quality of the measurement is the combination of the precision, accuracy and reliability. We can think of the quality as an overall confidence of the measure to show meaningful differences in the process. Processes under Control

There is variability in all things. A process is under control, when its variations are within "expected" levels. Alternatively, we can view a process as being under control when process procedural inconsistencies do not dominate the variability of the results. Statistical Control

A process is in statistical control when the variability remains within a statistically expected range of behavior. We assume that the variability of an measure has a known distribution. From this distribution we can determine a range of "expected" performance (Control Limits). A process is considered in statistical control as long as the measure remain within these Control Limits.
[ Kume, Hitoshi, Statistical Methods for Quality Improvement, AOTS, (1985)] Systems Orientation

Control of a process is a systems concept. It refers to the totality of the system rather than a single step. A process is either in control or not.

1.4.7 Continuous Improvement

A Total Quality orientation rest on continuous improvement. This means implementing procedures to identify sources for improvement and taking appropriate action. Management by Policy

Management by policy focuses on standardized processes and policies. Management is to establish sets of processes and systems that are self governing. Continuous improvement is obtained by modifying those policies rather than solving the individual issue. Group Participation

It is the aim of management by policy to require the people who are involved in the process to improve it. It is a group participation process. Management's function is to provide the means and encouragement of change rather than to direct it. [Scholtes, Peter R., The Team Handbook, Joiner Associates Inc., Madison WI (1989)] Root Causes

The underlying principle for continuous improvement is the existence of root causes for problems. It is critical to differentiate between activities that strive to correct a single problem from that which address the root cause. Drs. Juran and Demings have express concern over merely modifying a process to correct small variations. Such activities tend to cause more problems that solutions. Plan-Do-Check-Act

A simple Total Quality development procedure centers around four steps [Discussed in The Team Handbook and in The Memory Jogger Plus+]:
  1. Plan changes (Plan);
  2. Try them (Do)
  3. Measure the results (Check); and
  4. Institute the change (Act). Quality Process Tools

There are many additional management and planning tools that have been integrated into the Total Quality management procedures. These are intended to help in the structuring and creative issues required to identify root causes and select appropriate corrections and improvements.
[Brassard, Michael, The Memory Jogger Plus+ tm; GOAL/QPC 1989, Methuen, MA (1989)]

1.5 Better Decisions

Improved decisions is another justification for Management Information Systems development. By improved or better decisions we mean:

  • Better consistent results;
  • Faster decision process; and
  • Improved implementation.

These are obtained by presenting more and better information in a manner that the decision process can utilize.

1.5.1 Decision Making

Information can impact decision making only through its process. If a decision process can not utilize information, no information or systems designed to deliver that information will help. The nature of the decision making process determine what information and in what form will be useful. Needs/ Objectives

Decision making process perform a number of functions. The solution of the specific problem is only one. Most organizations have implicit decision making objectives and needs. These are part of the organizational culture. Goal Orientation

Some organizations are strongly goal oriented. The decision process is tightly targeted to the solution of a specific problem. Other organizations have a broader orientation. Decisions are viewed as part of a larger problem resolution process. The Total Quality Management continuous improvement process adopts the broader view approach. However, most organizations have a mix of goal orientations. Risk Adversion

Almost all organizations and management tend to avoid risk. Because people in management tend to be highly risk adverse, most decision making processes are design to reduce personal risk.

Beyond personal risk, there is inherent risk in any decision. The amount of acceptable risk and its nature is dictated by the organizational culture. In some organizations poor results can be critical. These organizations are very conservative in their action and in their decision processes. Other organizations are greater risk takers and this too is reflected in their decision processes. The non-risk aversion decision process is sometime referred to as "Ready Fire Aim" organizations. Styles

Styles of decision also differ among organizations. Style characterizes both individuals and the group interactions. To some extent the objectives set the styles of the decision process. Personal Decision Making

Much of the field of consumer and industrial buyer behavior has dealt with personal decision making . Individual style and approaches can be critical to organizational decision making. In this discussion we will consider only the preferences for the amount and type of information.

[Engel, J. F., R. D. Blackwell, P. W. Miniard, Consumer Behavior, 5th edition, Dryden Press (1986) - Relatively non-scholarly reference.] Hierarchical

The organization affects the nature of decision making. Highly hierarchical and authoritarian organizations have distinctly different decision processes than participative organizations. There is a full range of styles between these extremes. Most organizations practice a number of such style depending on the nature of the decision and where in the organization the decision is being made.

It should be noted that the informal rather than the formal organizational structure tends to dominate the real decision process. Often the only way to understand the informal structure is to track decision through the organization. Consensus Building

Often a number of individuals and organizations are needed to implement a decision. In these cases, a major function of the decision making process is to build consensus in such a way to facilitate the implementation of the decision. In many cases the decision will go through any number of iterations without noticable change in order to get participation in the process. The search and use of information in these cases is part of this consensus building process. Analytical Thinking

Organizations differ in the amount and type of analyses they can use in decision making. Some organizations are not comfortable with any analysis while other are enamored with analysis that it can freeze up the decision process, "Paralysis by Analysis". One could refer to these as low SAT organizations. However, that reflects a strong analytical bias which may not be reflected in good decision making. Personal Information Processing

Formal training of people dictate the types and amount of information that they wish to handle in decision making. Accountants, for example, prefer tables of numerical information, while engineers prefer graphs and sales people prefer either text descriptions or pie and bar charts. The same information can be prepared in any of these formats. However, some will be more acceptable than others depending of the background of the decision makers. The Process

The decision making process traditionally is divided in steps more or less reflecting the results of cognitive research. These steps after the problem is identified are (1) information gathering, (2) problem and acceptable solution formulation and (3) testing and confirming the decision. Information Gathering

After the problem is identified, information is gathered. This includes opinions as well as "facts". Formulation

Based on "available" information, feasible solutions are formulated. In general, this consists of a preferred solution and a number of possible solutions. The possible solution may be real or just for discussion purposes. In any event, a preliminary decision is found. Confirming the Decision

Subsequent to the formulation of a preferred solution, a process to confirm that decision is undertaken. The purpose of the confirmation is often: (1) risk reduction and (2) building consensus. At some point, the decision is implemented either by direct action or by default. However, the confirmation process usually continues in the form of tracking of the results.

1.5.2 Information in Decisions

There are three activity stages in most organizational decisions: (1) concurrent with the decision, (2) confirmation, and (3) tracking. Information enters the decision process in all three stages. In many cases these stages are not clear delineated. Concurrent Information

Information that is available at the time of initial formation of the solution or decision is concurrent information. Triggering

Some information existed that initiated the decision in the first place. This is triggering information. It is critical to the decision process and exists in same time and place as the decision. Wisdom

General knowledge in the minds of decision makers is referred to as "wisdom". It consists of the sum total of experiences and information compiled by the decision makers. This information is also concurrent with the decision. Available Information

In addition, readily available information can be retrieved for the decision making process. The amount of information available depends on (1) the time-frame, (2) existence of information, and (3) the accessability of that information. We make a distinction between existence and accessability in that information may be generally available in an organization, but access may be so difficult that for all pretense and purpose is can not be obtained within the desired time frame. Confirming

These three types of information: (1) triggering, (2) wisdom, and (3) concurrently available information, makes up the basis for the initial decision and should be viewed as most important in the decision making process. After the initial decision, significantly more information will be needed to change the decision than that required to formulate it.

Confirming information supports, clarifies and in most cases modifies decisions. Most information that is brought to bear onto problems is confirmational rather than concurrent. Tracking

At some point, the decision can not be readily changed. The solution is implemented. Information obtained after this point is used to track the results.

It should be noted that confirmational and tracking information can become either triggering or concurrent information of another decision. Information may serve multiple functions. Our definition here reflects only a single decision process. Gaining Wisdom

Wisdom is among the strongest information influencers in decision making. It is derived from experience and past information. It is useful to trace the evolution of data to wisdom as a transformation and assimulation process. Data to Information

Data is usually defined as raw information. Conversely, information is processed data. The process is done in such a way that it becomes potentially useful. Data is transformed to information is using external tools, such as statistics, graphs, pictures, diagrams. Information to Knowledge

Knowledge is interrelated information. When we can categorize and correlate information so it allows us to predict or "understand" phenomena we establish a knowledge about it. Knowledge is partially external in that it can be taught rather than experienced. Knowledge to Wisdom

When knowledge is generalized to cover not only the specific area from which it came but other areas we have gained wisdom. Unlike data, information and to some extent knowledge, wisdom is subjective. It exists only within an individual or through individuals the organization.

Wisdom may enter the organization as doctrine. In this case, it had been accepted by a sufficient group (or sufficiently powerful group) to be taught as given truth. Care has to be taken to assure that these cultural doctrines due well for the organization and do not act to blind side decision making. A major function of MIS is to provide sufficient concurrent data to reduce this risk. The ability of data to progress from raw information to wisdom depends on the form that the data takes. The information needs to conform to the thought processes or metaphores that the decision maker uses.

1.5.3 Value of Information

Not all information has the same value. The value of information in a decision process is related to when it arrives, its perceived importance and its perceived validity. Timing

As previously noted, when information arrives can greatly effect its value. Concurrent information has more impact than confirmational, which as more impact on the decision than tracking information.

However, it should be noted that information that becomes a part of the wisdom set and even enter as cultural doctrine can have even greater impact that just concurrent information. "Data Quality"

Perceived data quality effects its impact. Data that is perceived as unreliable or not on target will be rejected by those that do not like its message. Specificity

Available information normally does not read directly on the decision being considered. We tend to use surrogate data to infer information about the decision. How close that information is to target will effect its perceived quality. Validity/ Reliability

The validity of data differs widely. The data may not reflect the phenomena that we are interested in. Information can be considered unreliable, by which we mean that other measurements of the same phenomena will produce different and contradictory results. Acceptability

Even if the information is on target and reliable it may be not acceptable to the decision makers. The Message

If the message is not what the decision makers wants to get, they may find it difficult to believe. Information contrary to a decision, is often most valuable since it could prevent a mistake. However, the way it is packaged is critical for its acceptance. The delivery is also a problem to prevent the Bearer of Bad Tidings from being symbolically killed. In organizations this can result in denigration of the value of subsequent information from that source. The Media (Form)

The media or form of the information can also effect the willing of the organization to accept it. As previously noted the background and disposition of the decision makers can greatly effect what is acceptable and which is not. In many cases, it is useful to present the same in multiple formats. Unfortunately, this has the tendency to overly weigh a specific piece of information since it may appear as multiple sources. Care needs to be taken to prevent this.