An executive information system (EIS) is a centralized electronic resource, composed of different kinds of software and hardware, from which executives can draw data from a variety of areas relevant to an organization. This can include information about finance, marketing, sales, and industry statistics. It is a way to organize the knowledge base of a company as it is relevant to top-level decision making. This allows executives to consistently update their understanding of operations in order to perform tasks such as making daily decisions, troubleshooting problems, and strategizing for the future.
A typical executive information system will consist of a dashboard with several options. The executive can access different databases and compile reports according to his or her information needs. This can produce written data or visual aids such as graphs and charts which can be printed or exported electronically. Many systems are able to accommodate information in different file formats, which tends to make them flexible and easy to customize.
The executive information system can be the end destination for an executive, or it can be the catalyst for further investigation. It can be used to provide information for large-scale meetings or smaller strategy sessions. An executive may also use the information as a quick reference and even access it from a portable device while away from the office. These systems are meant to offer easy access for executives who are not necessarily tech-savvy. While they are intended primarily for top-level employees, executive information systems can often be useful, and are frequently made available, to employees from other levels of an organization.
Often executive information systems can be programmed to offer the user only the most relevant information. They can hide data that is less commonly accessed and gear the system so that an executive can quickly find answers without navigating a lot of unnecessary information. Some systems may also have tools that can help to manage the information accessed by aiding in the decision-making process.
The executive information system is a less complex version of another knowledge management tool known as the decision support system (DSS). This system is less specialized and is meant to provide a larger picture of an organization. It is primarily meant to make the process of decision making more thorough and efficient. The system can also be used to track daily activity and train personnel on various aspects of the company.