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Transcript of CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS - DiVA portal 326878/ Critical success factors - are those few

  • Working paper within the Information System Science’s project, ISV-WP-7.

    CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS

    A SURVEY

    Niclas Eberhagen

    Mansour Naseroladl

    Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science

    Växjö University

    Sweden

    May 1992

    Abstract

    Any manager within an organization has specific information needs due to his position,

    responsibilities, functions and goals, both those on which his performance is measured and

    those he has secretly stated to himself. The problem is how to define the information needs

    as to satisfy the manager in his goal attainment. In this report we have presented a survey of

    the critical success factors method that can help managers in defining their information

    needs. The aim of our study has been to put the focus on a method that takes into

    consideration the many types of information and goals, both the individual as well as the

    organizational, and that may function as an information analysis tool in an IS-planning

    process.

    Keywords: Critical Success Factors, Managerial information needs, Information system,

    Strategic IS-planning process.

  • 1

    Content

    1. Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 2

    1.1 Background ...................................................................................................................... 2

    1.2 Definitions of terms .......................................................................................................... 3

    2. Purpose and aims of the report ........................................................................................... 4

    3. Method ............................................................................................................................... 4

    4. Comparable approaches to the CSF method ...................................................................... 5

    4.1 By-product technique ....................................................................................................... 5

    4.2 Null approach ................................................................................................................... 5

    4.3 Key indicator system ........................................................................................................ 5

    4.4 Total study process ........................................................................................................... 5

    4.5 Comments on the methods ............................................................................................... 6

    5. The CSF method ................................................................................................................. 7

    5.1 Definition of the CSF ....................................................................................................... 7

    5.2 Varying CSFs depending on manager .............................................................................. 7

    5.3 Five sources of CSFs ........................................................................................................ 8

    5.4 Different classifications of CSFs ...................................................................................... 9

    5.5 Hierarchical nature of CSFs ............................................................................................. 9

    6. The case of Asea Brown Boveri ....................................................................................... 11

    7. The interview process ....................................................................................................... 14

    7.1 The interview .................................................................................................................. 14

    7.2 The analysis of the results .............................................................................................. 15

    7.3 The results from Asea Brown Boveri ............................................................................. 16

    8. The CSF method in the IS-Planning ................................................................................. 17

    8.1 The IS-Planning process ................................................................................................. 17

    8.2 The Strategic IS-Planning............................................................................................... 18

    8.3 Consistency and validity ................................................................................................ 20

    9. Final discussion and comments ........................................................................................ 21

    9.1 Critiques of the CSF method .......................................................................................... 21

    9.2 The CSF method in information analysis ....................................................................... 21

    9.3 The CSF method compared to the MBI method ............................................................ 22

    9.4 Experiences made during our study ............................................................................... 23

    10. References ...................................................................................................................... 24

  • 2

    1. Introduction

    We will in this report present a survey of the Critical Success Factors method, abbreviated as

    the CSF method, which in an appropriate way addresses the managerial information needs

    that is important to success. The following quotations illustrate the above stated.

    "Faced with an increasingly complex world, managers today are deciding that they need

    access to the information which is pertinent to their particular roles and responsibilities." (Bullen and Rockart, 1981, p.383)

    "The first thing about information systems that strikes me is that one gets too much

    information. The information explosion crosses and criss-crosses the managers’ desks with a

    great deal of data. Much of this is only partly digested and much of it is irrelevant...." (Rockart, 1979, p.82)

    "I think the problem with management information systems in the past in many companies

    has been that they are overwhelming as far as the executive is concerned. He has to go

    through realms of reports and try to determine for himself what are the most critical pieces of

    information contained in the reports so that he can take the necessary action and correct any

    problems that have arisen." (Rockart, 1979, p.82)

    The essence of these three above quotations implies that there is a problem of addressing

    managerial information needs specific to a manager. The fact that each manager has specific

    information needs should be clear but the lack of a good method in order to help him

    determine his needs is the most obvious fact.

    1.1 Background

    The requirement for defining appropriate managerial information needs in a clear and

    meaningful way was first approached by D. Ronald Daniel in 1961 in the management

    literature. Based on this concept Rockart (1979) outlined and developed a method that

    focuses on the individual manager and his current information needs hard as well as soft.

    Also taking into consideration that the needs vary from manager to manager and are time

    dependent. Later Bullen and Rockart (1981) took this method a step further by introducing a

    broadened definition of the method to be used as a MIS planning tool. They also provided a

    structured way of conducting an application of the method.

    One reason for writing this report is that we found in our studies the usefulness and the

    applicability of this method answer a lot of questions when it comes to determining what is

    important information to the manager.

    Another reason for delving into this kind of study is that it is a continuation of our previous

    studies and therefore is of profit to us when it comes to deepening our knowledge in the field

    of information systems.

  • 3

    1.2 Definitions of terms

    Before we delve into the realms of management and organization it is suitable to define the

    terms closely linked with the management of organizations:

    Critical success factors - are those few variables that affect a manager in achieving his goals

    for his current or future areas of activity. The method helps defining those variables and the

    information needed for every variable. Thus the manager gains a better understanding of his

    situation. For every goal a manager has there may be many CSFs affecting them.

    Strategy - "Strategy is the pattern of missions, objectives, policies, and significant resource

    utilization plans stated in such a way as to define what business the company is in and the

    kind of company it is or it is to be. A complete statement of strategy will define the product

    line, the markets and market segments for which products are to be designed, the channels

    through which these markets will be reached, the means by which the operation is to be

    financed, the profit objectives, the size of the organization, and the "image" to which it will

    pr