Lets take the operational guy. We take the example of a network management person in a telecom company. When he sees a problem, what would help him is how a similar problem was solved in the past. If the system can understand the symptom of this problem and suggest possible solution based on past data then the problem could be solved much faster. At a minimum, the system should be able to give him a list of problems faced by a similar component and the solution provided to solve that problem. Such a system would decrease the system downtime and also increase customer satisfaction.
The next person we can consider is someone from middle management. We take an example of a regional sales head of an automobile company. His job role could be achieving sales target for his region. He would need real time information about the sales of each office in his region. He would also need to set targets for each region based on the demand. He would need the forecasted demand for each of the locations and based on this forecast he would launch an effective sales campaign.
However, The person who probably needs information the most is the CEO/CIO/CFO/CTO of the company. He does not care about the numbers at the last level but he does care about a summary into which he can drill down. It is very important the he get a holistic view of the organization but also get the ability to ‘look into’ the system at a very fine level if the need arises. The system should assist him in arriving at decisions. For example , questions such as starting a new product line or diversifying into a new area, requires not only an understanding of the new product but also the understanding of the capability of one’s own company.
To summarize, access to information is necessary for everybody in the organization and an investment into a decision support or reporting system can be justified if implemented smartly. Next, we would look into the details of the implementation.