The impact of information/decision support systems (I/DSS) in debt management : the Egyptian experience
The introduction of technology-based tools into developing countries is usually impeded by a number of potential problems. The problems become murkier when the context of the issue, such as external debt management, where technology is to be used, does not have a standard textbook of rules and procedures to follow. The principle problems encountered during the course of our research for this thesis hinged the issue of possible inapplicability of information technology (IT), especially information and decision support systems (I/DSS). This is also the case for other tools and techniques built and used by developed countries in the developing world. The great deal of difference in the context of use; content of the systems; and the attitudes of the parties involved in the process forms the basis for our argument. The research was intended to draw on the lessons learned by the Cabinet Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) during the introduction I/DSS for improving the decision making process in developing countries. Moreover, the research intended to tackle the issue of using I/DSS in a totally new context, other than for very structured purposes such as manufacturing and the like, and a challenging environment such as those in developing countries where difficulties of implementation and use are more in context, content and cultural issues than technological ones. The research would then show implications, identify problems and challenges and try to develop generalizations and recommendations. The research, since its initial phases, had to consider the forces of centralization versus decentralization and the organizational structure of decision making especially at the top level. Other issues such as I/DSS project planning and implementation; organizational dynamics and the research at the organizational level related to national policy; and technical information systems development were taken into consideration. This experience could be viewed as a documentation phase where the Egyptian Cabinet IDSC and the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) together hove built, implemented and sustained state-of-the-art I/DSS in the process of establishing a powerful Egyptian debt management office. The analysis of these experiences displays many lessons for the implementation of sophisticated systems under conditions of extreme difficulty. It offers insight into a number of problems that concern designers, implementors, users, and researchers in I/DSS use in managing development planning and socio-economic change especially in developing countries. It also delves into important aspects related to project planning and implementation, organizational dynamics and the effective use of accurate, timely and relevant information in development planning. We conclude this thesis with on analytical framework that gives detailed methods and guidelines for future implementation of similar programs in developing countries that might wish to benefit from the experience of the Cabinet of Egypt IDSC.