Good management information is critical to the success of any organisation. Without proper information, the organisation will starve and management will steer it towards its own destruction. Although management usually receives a constant flow of information every day, it does not necessarily serve its purpose. The information could be useful and contribute to good decision making. It could also be wrong, which could contribute to poor decisions and failure. Finally it could be available but inappropriate to the management of the organisation. Computer systems produce most of the management information in organisations. There are a variety of types of computer equipment and applications that could make a significant contribution to improve the quality of the information produced in an organisation. Improving the quality of the information could enhance the decisions and actions of management and therefore improve the results of the organisation. The objective of this study is to develop a framework for enabling managers to understand the attributes of quality information, and to identify appropriate computer equipment and applications to enhance the quality of information. The hypothesis is as follows: "Quality information is that information that can have a decisive impact on the decisions and action of the decision maker. It is feasible to identify the attributes of quality information. This research clarifies the main and supportive attributes of quality information. Computer equipment and applications, collectively known as computer tools, used and managed in an organisation contribute to enhance or impair quality information. These tools, and the role they can play to produce quality information, will be explained in this study. " To support the hypothesis the study is conducted in three phases. Phase 1 will establish the attributes of quality information. It commences by considering the historical development of computers and information. It explores the different driving forces that produced the technology of today and tomorrow. It then explores the nature and characteristics of information to develop an appreciation for the complexity and intricacies of information. This phase concludes by identifying the attributes of quality information: relevancy, accuracy, timeliness and comprehensibility. Phase 2 will assess the contribution of computer tools to produce quality information. The contribution that the computer equipment and applications make to enhance the attributes of quality information is described and evaluated. Computer tools are defined, and a method of assessing their contribution to enhance quality is designed and applied. The phase concludes with a summary of the contribution that the tools could make to enhance specific information components. The final phase produces a framework to evaluate the production of quality information. With a clear understanding on the one hand of the attributes of quality information, and, on the other hand of the contribution that different computer equipment and applications can make to improve the quality of information, a framework is developed to help managers to identify appropriate technology to improve the information on which they base their decisions. This framework could be used by information managers to improve the effectiveness of management's actions and decisions. The results of the study, it is submitted, support the stated hypothesis and add benefit to the practical application of information management.
Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2009.