Effective applications of microcomputer-based management information and decision support systems for small and medium sized enterprises
Firstly, this thesis reviews the literature on the application of microcomputer-based Management Information Systems (MISs) and Decision Support Systems (DSS) to Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs). It is found that the hardware platform today is already sufficient for SMEs. However, information regarding successful implementation of MISs for SMEs is scarce and largely fragmented. DSS requires more focused and dedicated use of information to support managerial decision making. Unfortunately, the development of DSSs for SMEs is even more backward. Yet, there is an emerging need for SMEs today because business operations have become more sophisticated under intensified competition. With this scenario in mind, the author undertook intensive questionnaire and case surveys to find out the current development and trends for the effective applications of MISs and DSSs. In 1987, the author was awarded the Oshikawa Fellowship by Asian Productivity Organisation in Tokyo and started the present research. 446 completed questionnaire survey sheets from U.K. and Hang Kong have been received and analysed. 67 SMEs and related organisations in 6 developing/developed countries were also visited. This forms the knowledge for the development of expert systems (ES) for effective applications of MIS. The approach for DSS is based on a carefully selected business game which has most of the common business decision parameters. Intensive experiment with over 100 subjects was conducted in running the game, with an average time contribution of about 20 hours/person. The findings are again consolidated and structured into an ES. Longitudinal research was conducted in 5 representative SMEs. With the use of action learning and participation of the researcher, more in-depth firsthand information were obtained and analysed. These form part of the input to the ES as well. Both ES have been validated and further improved. The experimenters find these as keys to develop MIS/DSS for SMEs. A marketing plan is suggested to launch these two products so that they can become more easily available. Finally, recommendations are made on the effective use of the ES and for further development.