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Executive Information System | Definition, Characteristics, Advantages & Disadvantages

Executive Information System

What is Executive Information System/Executive Support System ?

An information system designed to cater the specific needs of executives is known as Executive Information System (EIS). It is also known Executive Support System (ESS).

EIS is commonly considered as a specific form of Decision Support Systems (DSS) as it helps in the information gathering and decision-making process of senior executives in a company and meeting the strategic goals of the organisation. This is ensured by easy access of internal as well as external data.

Executive Information System is an association of many features of Management Information System (MIS) and DSS. It was first developed to meet the requirement of the top management for strategic information. This provided the management team with instant and easy access to information about a company's Critical Success Factors (CSF) which are important for attaining a company's strategic goals.

Definitions of Executive Information System

According to Meall :
"EIS is a resource tool; a system that delivers rapid access to the selected key information executives need for their decision making. User should need no IT or keyboarding skills. Access is more likely to be via icons and a mouse or a touch screen, than a keyboard. Data is presented with the help of color and graphics, in a form which is highly structured and easy to understand".

According to Matthews and Shoe Bridge :
"Executive Information System (EIS) is 1 computer-based information delivery and communication system designed to support the needs of top executives".

Characteristics of Executive Information System (EIS)

The Executive support system characteristics are explain below :

1) Drill-Down Capabilities : 
This helps the executive to get the details from particular information, e.g., drop in corporate sales in a particular region. In systems that use graphical user interface, hypertext-style connections are used for information gathering. In menu-driven systems, sub-menus are used to access the detailed information at each level.

2) Designed with Management's Critical Success Factors In Mind : 
Each company has its own critical aspects to achieve the organisational objectives. These aspects can be at the individual, departmental and organisational level.

3) Status Access, Trend Analysis and Exception Reporting : 
This permits executives to get the recent data on any key variable. Trend analysis supports the executive to study data over a given timeline. Hence, timing and significance of information are too crucial. Permission to highlight deviations from the established norm in the organisation is allowed in case of exception reporting, which also include reason of deviation.

4) Personalized Analysis : 
Built-in functions are used to examine problematic situations in EIS. With the help of these functions, executives become capable to specify the data required for the analysis and the format type (in which results are displayed) of results.

5) Navigation of Information : 
This allows access of large amounts of data in a very short time span with accurate results. Forward and backward path access, skipping screens while accessing a selected part of the system are the examples of it.

6) Presents Graphical, Tabular and/or Textual Information : 
Terminal presentation of gathered information to executive users may be in various formats like textual formats, tabular and/or graphical.

Advantages of Executive Information System (EIS)

Importance of executive support system are explain below :

  • Executive Support System or Executive Information System can be easily used by upper level executives for decision-making, as extensive computer knowledge is not required for this.
  • It has trends analysis capability.
  • Enhances the manager's leadership skills. 
  • Helps in better personal thinking and decision making.
  • It involves strategic control flexibility. 
  • Leads to healthy competition in the market place.
  • Existing information can be easily accessed. 
  • Acts as an instrument of change.
  • An executive time horizon is increased. 
  • Leads to a better reporting system.
  • Helps executives to get a better mental model of business.
  • Assists in consensus building and communication.
  • Adds to the efficiency, timeliness, and accuracy of office automation.
  • Considerably reduces time taken for finding and integrating information. 
  • Organisation's performance can be recognized early. 
  • Detailed scrutiny of critical success factors.
  • Provides better understanding of enterprise operations.
  • Increases productivity by helping time and team coordination. 
  • Capacity and quality of communication is increased.

Disadvantages of Executive Information System

  • Its functions are limited, as it cannot perform complex calculations.
  • It is difficult to quantify the advantages and justify its implementation.
  • Information overload is encountered by executives.
  • Systems are prone to become slow, large and hard to manage.
  • Keeping recent data is tough. 
  • Leads to less reliable and insecure data.
  • Huge cost of implementation encountered by small scale organisations.

Difference between Executive Information System (EIS) and Decision Support System (DSS) 

The table shows the comparison between the EIS and DSS


Executive Information System

Decision Support Systems



Accessing of Status, drill down.

Analysis for decision support.

Typical Users

Senior administrators.

Professionals, Analysts, managers.





Performance evaluation, environmental scanning, identification of problems and opportunities.

They are applicable in different areas where managerial decisions are made.

Decision Support

Supports indirectly high-level and unstructured decisions and policies.

Supports semi-structured and non-programmed decision-making, ad-hoc decisions etc.

Type of Information


News items. customers information, Information supporting particular situations, competitors, and the external environment: scheduled and demand reports on internal operations.

Information supporting particular situations.

Principal Use


EIS is used for tracking and controlling as well as identification of opportunity.

DSS are mainly used for planning, organising, staffing, and controlling.

Adaptability to Individual Users


Custom-made to the decision-making style of each individual executive, offers several alternatives of outputs.

Permits individual judgments, what-if capabilit es some choice of dialog style.



Graphics are necessarily used for EIS

It is the main part of many DSS.

User Friendliness

User-Friendliness is necessary for EIS.

If no intermediaries are used, then user-friendliness is must for DSS.

Processing of Information

Tracks critical data and information, filters and compresses information.

EIS generates questions and answers worked out by using the DSS and gives back to the EIS.

Supporting Detailed Information

Immediate access the supporting details of any summary.

This can be programmed into the DSS but generally not happens.

Model Base

Limited built-in functions.

Model base is core of the DSS.



The vendors or IS specialists generally DSS is constructed by users. constructs the EIS.

DSS is constructed by users.



RISC Workstations, Mainframe, Web, LANs or distributed system.

RISC workstations, Mainframe, LANs, or distributed systems.

Nature of Software Packages

Easy access to multiple databases.


Large computational capabilities, modelling languages and simulation, application and DSS generators.

Nature of Information


Shows the pre-generated information about the past and present, generates new information about the past, present, and future.

Generates new information about the past, present. and future.


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