Creating Strategic Value through Executive Information Systems: an Exploratory Study


  • Elmarie Papageorgiou
  • Herman de Bruyn


competitive advantage, executive information system, information technology, performance, strategic value, sustainability


Over the past few years, information technology has grown so rapidly that businesses had to adjust very quickly to keep abreast of fast growing technologies and international trends. An increasing number of South African companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) have implemented Executive Information Systems (EISs) that have resulted in the widespread use of computers in companies. Users of EISs need systems that provide them with access to diverse types of information in order to take decisions, to solve problems and to compete with competitors. This article discusses whether South African companies create strategic value through the use of EISs. The strategic value of the business is explained as an advantage to improve businesses’ performances firstly, by gains in profitability and financial strength and secondly, gains in the businesses’ competitive strength and market standing. Executives and top management need to be aware of the opportunities available to them by using information technology as a business tool to analyse their businesses’ performance and competitiveness. This study is an exploratory study and the research method is quantitative of nature. A structured questionnaire was designed and was sent to 334 listed JSE companies in order to investigate the existence of an EIS, the gathering, selecting and use of information in companies in order to make decisions and to solve problems. Many businesses have chosen EIS technology to provide relevant and accurate information to top management and executives. Currently the EIS provides information that is only available to executives and top management, but the need exists to expand EISs to other users in the business. The research questions investigated in this study are to establish what EISs offer to fulfil the needs of users and to determine the impact on creating strategic value within the business in order to keep pace with on‑going changes in technology. In addressing these problems the existence of EISs was investigated to debate, express, and understand the role and use of an EIS and resulted in creating strategic value for businesses. The value of the study explains the vital importance of executives influence towards the adoption, commitment and use of EISs at strategic management levels, creating and adding strategic value in companies. The findings of the study add to the current understanding and awareness of EISs in listed JSE companies and therefore create an environment in which the business can enhance sustainability and strategic competitiveness. Responses were favourable since respondents requested a report on the outcome of the results as they expressed an interest in the underlying motivation of the study and how their company compares with their competitors in the industry. Conclusions drawn from the results are that EISs need to incorporate all the unmet needs of users in order for EISs to add strategic value and to be used as effective business tools in companies.



1 Jan 2010