• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Copyright
 Foreword
 Acknowledgement
 Table of Contents
 Module 6: management information...
 Session 1: Management information...
 Session 2: MIS exercise
 Session 3: Computers as management...
 Session 4: Network techniques
 Session 5: PERT and CPM exerci...
 Back Cover














Group Title: Management of agricultural research : a training manual
Title: Management of agricultural research
ALL VOLUMES CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00084651/00007
 Material Information
Title: Management of agricultural research a training manual
Physical Description: 11 v. : ; 30 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Asopa, V. N
Beye, Gora
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Publisher: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Place of Publication: Rome
Publication Date: 1997
 Subjects
Subject: Agriculture -- Research -- Management -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Agricultural research managers -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Genre: international intergovernmental publication   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility: prepared by V.N. Asopa and G. Beye.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00084651
Volume ID: VID00007
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 39160428
lccn - 98210567
isbn - 9251040915 (module 1)

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Page i
    Copyright
        Page ii
    Foreword
        Page iii
    Acknowledgement
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Module 6: management information systems, computers, and network techniques
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Session 1: Management information systems
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Session guide
            Page 5
            Page 6
        Exhibits
            Page 7
            Page 8
            Page 9
            Page 10
            Page 11
            Page 12
            Page 13
            Page 14
            Page 15
            Page 16
            Page 17
            Page 18
            Page 19
            Page 20
            Page 21
            Page 22
            Page 23
            Page 24
            Page 25
            Page 26
            Page 27
            Page 28
        Reading note
            Page 29
            Page 30
            Page 31
            Page 32
            Page 33
            Page 34
            Page 35
            Page 36
            Page 37
            Page 38
    Session 2: MIS exercise
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Session guide
            Page 41
            Page 42
    Session 3: Computers as management tools
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Session guide
            Page 45
            Page 46
            Page 47
            Page 48
        Exhibits
            Page 49
            Page 50
            Page 51
            Page 52
            Page 53
            Page 54
            Page 55
            Page 56
            Page 57
            Page 58
            Page 59
            Page 60
        Reading note
            Page 61
            Page 62
            Page 63
            Page 64
            Page 65
            Page 66
            Page 67
            Page 68
            Page 69
            Page 70
            Page 71
            Page 72
            Page 73
            Page 74
            Page 75
            Page 76
            Page 77
            Page 78
            Page 79
            Page 80
            Page 81
            Page 82
    Session 4: Network techniques
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Session guide
            Page 85
            Page 86
            Page 87
            Page 88
        Exhibits
            Page 89
            Page 90
            Page 91
            Page 92
            Page 93
            Page 94
            Page 95
            Page 96
            Page 97
            Page 98
            Page 99
            Page 100
            Page 101
            Page 102
            Page 103
            Page 104
        Reading note
            Page 105
            Page 106
            Page 107
            Page 108
            Page 109
            Page 110
            Page 111
            Page 112
            Page 113
            Page 114
            Page 115
            Page 116
            Page 117
            Page 118
    Session 5: PERT and CPM exercises
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Session guide
            Page 121
            Page 122
        PERT and CPM exercises
            Page 123
            Page 124
            Page 125
            Page 126
            Page 127
            Page 128
            Page 129
            Page 130
            Page 131
            Page 132
            Page 133
            Page 134
            Page 135
    Back Cover
        Page 136
Full Text
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;i .Module

64


Food
and
Agriculture
Organization
of
the
United
Nations


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k.















































Prepared by
V.N. Asopa
Indian Institute of Management
and
G. Beye
Research and Technology Development Service
Research, Extension and Training Division, FAO
























FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
Rome, 1997






















































M-67
ISBN 92-5-104096-6








All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a
retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the
copyright owner. Applications for such permission, with a statement of the
purpose and extent of the reproduction, should be addressed to the Director,
Information Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale
delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.


FAO 1997


The designations employed and the presentation of material in this
publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever
on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or
area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its
frontiers or boundaries.











FOREWORD


There has been a tremendous development of agricultural research in developing countries
over the past few decades, during which time investment in agricultural research from both
national resources and international assistance has increased markedly. However, agricultural
research institutions are generally managed by veteran agricultural research workers promoted
for seniority rather than for management training and skills. Further, there are few courses
available on the management of agricultural research, and solutions and models used in the
developed world may not be appropriate for developing countries.
FAO has actively participated in strengthening the national agricultural research
systems of developing countries, and has stressed the importance of effective organization and
management for efficient research systems. The need for training in this area is great, and
resources particularly trained human resources are limited. FAO has therefore developed
a training programme on agricultural research management to support the training of trainers,
with the expectation of a multiplier effect, and to facilitate a common perception of the
structure and terminology of management, thus enhancing communication and understanding
among agricultural research managers in discussing management problems, solutions and
opportunities.
This training manual has been prepared as a basic reference resource for national
trainers, to help them structure and conduct their own courses on management at the institute
level. A separate manual will cover project and programme management. This manual is
based on the four structural functions of management: planning, organizing, monitoring and
controlling, and evaluating, each of which is covered in individual modules. Within each
module, the manual addresses pervasive management functions, including motivating,
leading, directing, priority setting, communicating and delegating, which are at all times a
concern to all managers. Topics such as leadership, motivation, human resources
management, policies and procedures are treated separately in individual sessions.
This manual as been designed for participatory learning through case studies, group
exercises, presentations by the participants and participatory lectures. Throughout the
manual, particular effort has been made to use the cases studied to capture the unique and
rich experience of developing country research managers in tackling policy, programme and
the day-to-day problems of managing research institutions and systems.
This publication is intended primarily for managers of agricultural research institutes
in developing countries and for higher education institutions interested in launching in-service
training courses on research management. However, it is hoped that agricultural research
managers everywhere will also find it useful. The manual provides a course structure with
contents that can be built upon and enriched. Users are therefore encouraged to send
suggestions for its improvement.



Louise O. Fresco
Director


Research, Extension and Training Division







iv Module 6 Management information systems, computers and network techniques


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS



The task of preparing a training manual on Agricultural Research Institute Management began
with the FAO Expert Consultation on Strategies for Research Management Training in
Africa, held at the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,
12-16 December 1983. Following the recommendations of the consultation, and on the basis
of the curriculum design adopted, FAO embarked upon the preparation of this manual. In
the process of its preparation, many agricultural research managers and management
specialists have contributed. Besides the two main consultants, namely Dr Ronald P. Black,
Denver Research Institute, University of Denver, USA, who prepared the first draft, and Dr
V.N. Asopa, Professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India, who
prepared the current version of the manual, the contribution of the following specialists in
various fields must be singled out: Ramesh Bhat, J. Casas, A.K. Jain, F.S. Kanwar,
V. Martinson, Gopal Naik, P. Nath, R.K. Patel, T.P. Rama Rao, S.K. Sharma,
E.S. Tayengco, and J.S. Woolston. FAO expresses its gratitude to them all.


Special thanks are due to the International Service for National Agricultural Research
(ISNAR), which has willingly made available its valuable experience and relevant materials
throughout the preparation of the manual.


FAO also thanks all those authors and publishers who have allowed the use of
copyright material from their publications, even though the courtesy is recognized in each
case.


This manual has been prepared under the responsibility of the Research Development
Centre, Research and Technology Development Division, FAO, with the guidance of:
Mohamed S. Zehni, former Director; and J.H. Monyo, E. Venezian and B. Miiller-Haye,
past Chiefs of the Research Development Centre. Scientific supervision was provided by
G. Beye, Senior Officer, now Chief, Research Technology Development Service.








Training manual for institute management


TABLE OF CONTENTS



The previous Modules were:

INTRODUCTORY MODULE
INTRODUCTION TO THE MANUAL AND ITS PURPOSE
Appendix 1 Management orientation and decision making
Appendix 2 Case method
Appendix 3 Summary of course contents
Appendix 4 Illustrative schedule for a workshop on agricultural research institute
management
Appendix 5 Management training
Appendix 6 Planning and management of short-duration, executive development
programmes

Module 1 INSTITUTIONAL AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH:
ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT
Session 1. MANAGEMENT: THOUGHT AND PROCESS
Session 2. OBJECTIVES AND ORGANIZATION OF AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH
Session 3. ORGANIZATION OF INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH
Session 4. ORGANIZATION OF NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SYSTEMS

Module 2 RESEARCH PLANNING
Session 1. PRINCIPLES OF RESEARCH PLANNING
Session 2. THE INSTITUTE-LEVEL PLANNING PROCESS
Session 3. SETTING GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Session 4. FROM OBJECTIVES TO AN OPERATIONAL PLAN
Session 5. PARTICIPATORY PLANNING EXERCISE
Session 6. CASE STUDY: PLANNING AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH IN MUGHAL
SULTANATE

Module 3 ORGANIZATIONAL PRINCIPLES AND DESIGN
Session 1. ORGANIZATIONAL THEORIES
Session 2. STRUCTURE OF AN ORGANIZATION
Session 3. ORGANIZATIONAL DESIGN AND CHANGE
Session 4. CASE STUDY: ESTABLISHMENT OF A DIRECTORATE OF RESEARCH AT
SORONNO UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE
Session 5. CASE STUDY: ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE AT SAMARU, NIGERIA

Module 4 LEADERSHIP, MOTIVATION, TEAM BUILDING AND
CONFLICT MANAGEMENT
Session 1. LEADERSHIP
Session 2. MOTIVATION
Session 3. TEAM BUILDING
Session 4. THE IRRI AGRICULTURAL EQUIPMENT PROGRAMME CASE STUDY: IRRI
MANAGEMENT COMPARES IRRI WITH DEVELOPING COUNTRY RESEARCH
INSTITUTES
Session 5. CONFLICT MANAGEMENT
Session 6. CONFLICT MANAGEMENT CASE STUDY: DR AGADIR







vi Module 6 Management information systems, computers and network techniques


Module 5 MANAGING HUMAN RESOURCES
Session 1. RECRUITING AND MAINTAINING STAFF IN THE RESEARCH ENVIRONMENT
Session 2. THE PROFESSIONAL STAFF
Session 3. HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT EXERCISE
Session 4. PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL
Session 5. PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL CASE STUDY: SUZENE KOPEC
Session 6. EXERCISE IN DESIGNING PERFORMANCE EVALUATION FORMATS


This Module is:
Module 6: MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS, COMPUTERS AND
NETWORK TECHNIQUES
Page

Session 1. MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS (MIS) 3
Study guide: Management information systems 5
Reading note: Management information systems 29
Information and the MIS concept 29
Management and the MIS process 29
Systems approach 31
Organizational structure and MIS 32
Information requirements for MIS 32
Types of MIS 34
Process of MIS 35
Criteria for MIS 36
Strategies for determining MIS design 36
References 37

Session 2. MIS EXERCISE 39
Session guide: Management information systems exercise 41

Session 3. COMPUTERS AS MANAGEMENT TOOLS 43
Session guide: Computers as management tools 45
Reading note: Computers as management tools 61
Overview of computer technology 61
Computer applications in agricultural research 72
A framework for de-centralized use of computers 75
Management of the computer services function 77
Acquisition of computer resources 79
Literature references for further reading 82







Training manual for institute management vii


Session 4. NETWORK TECHNIQUES 83
Session guide: Network Techniques 85
Reading note: Network Techniques 105
A drainage experiment for salinity control 105
Concept of a project network 106
Network 106
Activities 107
Events 107
Distinguishing between events and activities 107
Drawing the network 108
Estimating time 108
PERT and CPM models 109
Incorporating the time estimate 110
Critical path 110
Earliest start and finish times 112
Latest start and finish times 113
Slack time 113
Time-cost relationship 115

Session 5. PERT AND CPM EXERCISE 119
Session guide: PERT and CPM exercise 121
PERT and CPM exercise: Developing salt-tolerant varieties of paddy 123

The other Modules are:
Module 7 FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
Session 1. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT 1: COMPONENTS AND INFORMATION NEEDS
Session 2. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT 2: PLANNING AND BUDGETING
Session 3. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT 3: PROJECT DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION
Session 4. CASE STUDY: FARO ARROYA
Session 5. GENERATING FUNDS THROUGH CONSULTING AS AN INSTITUTIONAL
ACTIVITY. CASE STUDY: FOOD TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF DONGAL

Module 8 RESEARCH-EXTENSION LINKAGE
Single Session: RESEARCH-EXTENSION LINKAGE

Module 9 INFORMATION SERVICES AND DOCUMENTATION
Session 1. SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL INFORMATION IN A DEVELOPING-COUNTRY
RESEARCH INSTITUTION
Session 2: INFORMATION AS AN INPUT TO RESEARCH
Session 3: INFORMATION AS AN OUTPUT OF RESEARCH
Session 4: COOPERATION IN NATIONAL PROGRAMMES
Session 5: EXERCISE ON BARRIERS TO THE FLOW OF INFORMATION

Module 10 INSTITUTE EVALUATION
Single Session: INSTITUTE EVALUATION










Training manual for institute management 1


This module includes five sessions:
1. MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS (MIS)
2. MIS EXERCISE
3. COMPUTERS AS MANAGEMENT TOOLS
4. NETWORK TECHNIQUES
5. PERT AND CPM EXERCISE


Session 1 is devoted to developing a conceptual understanding of management information
systems (MIS). The reading note and the guide for this session are based on published
literature. Interested participants should be directed to the references for more details. The
exercise in Session 2 provides an opportunity for applying the concepts learned in the first
session. Session 3 is devoted to the computer as a management tool. The first part of
Session 3 introduces participants to computer systems. The second part is devoted to
computer systems development, management, maintenance and user services. Session 4
introduces the Programme Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) and the Critical Path
Method (CPM). The techniques are applied in an exercise for practice in the last session.
The CPM technique involves preparation of a network which can be used as a planning
as well as monitoring and control tool. This technique could therefore also be discussed in
association with the module on planning.
Module 6 should be introduced as being technique oriented, for application in
monitoring, evaluation and systematic management of various functions in an organization.
Monitoring is an important step in management of research. It enables review of
ongoing research, allows mid-course corrections, if necessary, and can provide important


MODULE 6


MANAGEMENT INFORMATION
SYSTEMS, COMPUTERS AND
NETWORK TECHNIQUES












inputs for future planning. How does one monitor research where gestation periods are long,
outcomes uncertain and intermediate milestones vaguely defined? Through both formal and
informal systems. Monitoring of research means monitoring the performance of the scientists
as well as their work. An MIS can be designed and computerized to generate information
on an ongoing basis on both these aspects. PERT and CPM techniques can be effectively
used to periodic reviews of achievements vis-a-vis plans. However, these are formal
techniques. As John Nickel observes, the best management is by 'walking about,' implying
that a great deal of monitoring in a research institute is informal. Project managers (or
principal scientists) and department heads being in constant touch with their staff do
informally monitor the progress of ongoing research programmes. The directors can also
monitor progress in many informal ways, the most important being regular rounds of the
laboratories and talking to the scientists and technical staff. In this way the directors should
have firsthand knowledge of the prevailing and emerging situations with regard to both the
scientific work and the scientists, and should be able to promptly identify and remedy factors
hampering progress of the scientific work. Experience indicates that most problems in
scientific work arise from a lack of administrative support and from difficulties in timely
procurement of materials and equipment. Such problems can be easily identified and solved
during regular, preferably daily, rounds. Based on experience and taking full advantage of
MIS potential, an efficient inventory system can be instituted for procurement of supplies.







Training manual for institute management


DATE


TIME


FORMAT Plenary participatory lecture


TRAINER






OBJECTIVES
At the end of this session, participants should be able to understand and appreciate:
1. Principles and elements of MIS
2. The relationship between organizational structure and MIS
3. Information requirements for MIS
4. Different types of MIS
5. The process of developing a MIS
6. Criteria for MIS
7. Strategies for determining MIS design


Module 6 Session 1


Management information systems







Module 6 Session 1 Management information systems


INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS


Management information systems
MIS elements
Steps in planning
Requirements during the planning process
Controlling
Requirements for controlling
Decision making
System
Perceiving the system
Basic parts of the organization
Why a systems approach
Information
MIS as a pyramid structure
Conceptual basis of MIS
Implications of the organizational structure for MIS
Information requirements for MIS
Strategies for determining information requirements
Strategy for determining data requirements
Types of MIS
The MIS process
MIS criteria
Strategies for determining MIS design


REQUIRED READING

Reading note: Management information systems



BACKGROUND READING

None.



SPECIAL EQUIPMENT AND AIDS

Overhead projector and chalkboard


Exhibit 1
Exhibit 2
Exhibit 3
Exhibit 4
Exhibit 5
Exhibit 6
Exhibit 7
Exhibit 8
Exhibit 9
Exhibit 10.
Exhibit 11
Exhibit 12
Exhibit 13
Exhibit 14
Exhibit 15
Exhibit 16
Exhibit 17
Exhibit 18
Exhibit 19
Exhibit 20
Exhibit 21
Exhibit 22







Training manual for institute management 5


MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS


Show EXHIBIT 1. Define and discuss what a management information system (MIS) is, and
how it helps an organization. Identify elements of MIS: management, system and
information (EXHIBIT 2). Each of these should be discussed individually. Management
information is an important input for efficient performance of various managerial functions
at different organization levels. The information system facilitates decision making.
Management functions include planning, controlling and decision making. Show EXHIBIT 3
and discuss various steps in planning. Using EXHIBIT 4, discuss the basic requirements for
information during the planning process, and emphasize their importance. Controlling
compels events to conform to plans. It includes setting performance standards, measuring
performance against those standards, and correcting deviations (EXHIBIT 5). Show EXHIBIT 6
and discuss the information requirements for the controlling function. Decision making is
the core of management and aims at selecting the best alternative to achieve an objective.
The decisions may be strategic, tactical or technical (EXHIBIT 7). Strategic decisions are
characterized by uncertainty. They are future oriented and relate directly to planning
activity. Tactical decisions cover both planning and controlling. Technical decisions pertain
to implementation of specific tasks through appropriate technology. The elements of decision
making include the model, criteria, constraints and optimization. A model is a quantitative-
cum-qualitative description of a problem. Criteria relate to methods for achieving goals.
Constraints are the limiting factors. Once the decision problem is fully described in a model,
criteria stipulated and constraints identified, the decision-maker can select the best alternative.
That is optimization.
Show EXHIBIT 8. Define and discuss the concept of a system. Observe that modern
management is based upon the systems approach, which views an organization as a system
of mutually dependent variables and composed of a set of interrelated sub-systems. This
interrelationship is a fundamental concept in the systems approach to management. Show
EXHIBIT 9 and discuss how a system can be perceived. The basic elements of the
organization include the individual, the formal and informal organization, patterns of
behaviour, role perception, and the physical environment (EXHIBIT 10). Show EXHIBIT 11
and discuss the relevance of the systems approach in the design of an MIS. MIS aims at
inter-relating, coordinating and integrating different sub-systems by providing information to
facilitate and enhance the working of the sub-systems and achieve synergism.


Module 6 Session 1

Session guide







6 Module 6 Session I Management information systems


Show EXHIBIT 12. Define information in generic terms as well as in the context of
different levels of decision making. Note that all data are not necessarily information. The
value of management information lies in its content, form and timing of presentation.
Discuss the role of the information system in linking different components of the organization
through integration, communication and decision making. Integration aims at ensuring that
different sub-systems work together towards the common goal. Coordination and integration
are essential controlling mechanisms to ensure smooth functioning in the organization.
Communication is a basic element of organizational structure and functioning to integrate
different sub-systems at different levels to achieve organizational goals. Information is
generated in the organizational structure. Show EXHIBIT 13. Information requirements are
different at all levels of the organization. As information flows from bottom to top, it
becomes more and more focused as a result of capsulization and concretization. In contrast,
information becomes increasingly diffuse as it flows from top to bottom. Since the
information system is specific to an organization, organizational structure and behaviour have
to be explicitly considered in designing an MIS (EXHIBIT 14). Show EXHIBIT 15 and discuss
the implications of various characteristics of the organizational structure when designing an
MIS. Refer to Table 1 in the Reading note in discussing these implications.
Show EXHIBIT 16 and discuss information requirements for MIS. It is important to
consider carefully the information needs of the organization at different levels of the
hierarchy. Strategies for determining information requirements should be discussed in the
context of EXHIBIT 17. This discussion can be continued using EXHIBIT 18, in which a step-
by-step strategy for determining data requirements is suggested.
An MIS can be a data bank, predictive, decision making or decision taking system.
Discuss each of these in the context of EXHIBIT 19. Show EXHIBIT 20 and discuss the MIS
process. As already discussed earlier, the MIS design team should first establish management
information needs and clearly establish the system's design objectives. The important
decision making areas should be identified, and within them the management decision areas
delineated. Information needs at each of these levels have to be appreciated in the context
of defined roles. A crude description of the system could then be developed and
subsequently refined with more precise specifications. An MIS should be based on a few
databases related to different sub-systems of the organization, for efficient management of
information processing. the MIS should be tested and closely monitored to ensure that all
critical data are captured.
Any MIS should be relevant to the individual decision-maker. It should provide up-to-
date and accurate information to facilitate decision making. It should enable management to
anticipate change. An MIS cannot be static in the face of the changing environment. As the
environment changes, decision making changes and hence the information requirements
change also (EXHIBIT 21).
Show EXHIBIT 22 and discuss the six strategies determining MIS design. The
organization-chart approach is based on traditional functional areas defining current
organizational boundary and structure. MIS evolves on its own in a laissez faire manner in
the integrate-later approach. The data-collection approach involves collection and
classification of all the relevant data for future use. In the database approach, a large pool
of data is collected and stored for future use. The top-down approach involves defining the
information needs for successive layers of management. The total-system approach involves
collection, storage and processing of data within the total system.






TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 1


Definition
"An integrated user-machine system for providing
information to support operations, management and
decision making functions in an organization. The
system utilizes computerized and manual procedures;
models for analysis, planning, control and decision
making; and a database."


Based on: Davis, G.B. 1985. MIS: Conceptual Foundations, Structure
and Development. 2"d ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.




MIS principal concerns


Facilitate decision making by supplying the information needed in an up-
to-date and accurate form
to the people who need it
on time
in a usable form


EXHIBIT 1





TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 1


EXHIBIT 2


MIS ELEMENTS


Information system




Management information


Management functions
Planning
Controlling
Decision making







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 1


EXHIBIT 3


I. I


STEPS IN PLANNING


Source: Kumar, S. 1989. Management Information System. New Delhi: Ashish Publishing.


1. Selecting objectives

2. Identifying activities required to achieve the
stipulated objectives
3. Describing the resources or skills, or both,
necessary to perform the activities
4. Defining the duration of each activity to be
undertaken
5. Determining the sequence of the activities







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 1


'I


REQUIREMENTS DURING
THE PLANNING PROCESS


1. Supplying the information needed by the planner at
each step


2. Establishing procedures for procuring the
information at each step (including the means to
view alternatives)


3. Arranging for storage of the approved plans as
information for the control process


4. Devising an efficient method for communicating
the plans to other members in the organization


Source: Kumar, S. 1989. Management Information System. New Delhi: Ashish Publishing.


EXHIBIT 4


=======!j







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 1


EXHIBIT 5


CONTROLLING


Controlling involves


1. Establishing standards of performance in order to
reach the objective

2. Measuring actual performance against the set
standards


3. Correcting deviations to ensure that actions remain
on course















Source: Murdick, R.G., and Ross, J.E. 1975. Information Systems for Modern Management.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 1


EXHIBIT 6


REQUIREMENTS FOR CONTROLLING


1. Defining expectations in terms of information
attributes

2. Developing the logic for reporting deviations to all
levels of management prior to the actual
occurrence of the deviation

















Source: Murdick, R.G., and Ross, J.E. 1975. Information Systems for Moder Management.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 1


EXHIBIT 7


DECISION MAKING


Levels of decision making


Strategic
Tactical
Technical




Elements of decision making


Model
Constraints
Optimization













Source: Gorry, G., and Scott Morton, M.S. 1971. A framework for management information
system. Sloan Management Review, Fall 1971.







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 1


EXHIBIT 8


SYSTEM


"A set of elements forming an activity or a procedure/
scheme seeking a common goal or goals by operating
on data and/or energy and/or matter in a time reference
to yield information and/or energy and/or matter."


















Source: Hopkins, R.C. et al. A systematic Procedure for System Development: Systems Philosophy.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 1


EXHIBIT 9


PERCEIVING THE SYSTEM


1. Some components, functions and processes
performed by these various components

2. Relationships among the components that uniquely
bind them together into a conceptual assembly
which is called a system


3. An organizing principle which is an overall concept
that gives it a purpose

4. The fundamental approach of the system is the
interrelationship of the sub-systems of the
organization













Source: Albrecht, K. 1983. New systems view of the organization. In: Organization Development.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 1


1. The individual

2. The formal and informal organization

3. Patterns of behaviour arising out of role demands
of the organization

4. The role perception of the individual

5. The physical environment in which individuals
work


SEXHIBIT 10







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 1


EXHIBIT 11


WHY A SYSTEMS APPROACH


Developing and managing operating systems
(e.g., money flows, manpower systems)

Designing an information system for decision
making


Systems approach and MIS

MIS aims at interrelating, coordinating and
integrating different sub-systems by providing
information required to facilitate and enhance the
working of the sub-systems and achieve
synergistic effects














Source: Murdick, R.G., and Ross, J.E. 1975. Information Systems for Modem Management.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 1


EXHIBIT 12


INFORMATION


"A set of classified and interpreted data used in the
decision making process"

Source: Lucas, H., Jr. 1978. Information Systems Concepts for
Management. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.




Information has also been defined as some tangible
entity which serves to reduce uncertainty about future
state or events


In the context of different levels of decision making,
information can be described as:
source
data
inference and predictions drawn from the data
value and choices (evaluation of inferences with
regard to the objectives, and then choosing
courses of action)
action which involves a course of action
The value of management information lies in its
content, form and timing of presentation







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 1


EXHIBIT 13


MIS AS A PYRAMIDAL STRUCTURE







Top level

Middle level 1

Middle level 2

Bottom level







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 1


IEXHIBT 14


CONCEPTUAL BASIS OF MIS


1. Concepts of organization


2. Organizational theories, principles, structure,
behaviour and processes such as communication,
power and decision making


3. Motivation and leadership behaviour







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 1


EXHIBIT 15


IMPLICATIONS OF THE ORGANIZATIONAL
STRUCTURE FOR MIS


Concepts:

Hierarchy of authority
Specialization
Formalization
Centralization
Modification of the basic model
Information model of organization
Organizational culture
Organizational power
Organizational growth cycle
Goal displacement
Organizational learning
Project model of organizational change
Case for stable system
Systems that promote organizational change
Organizations as socio-technical systems








Source: Davis, G., and Olson, M.H. 1984. Management Information Systems: Conceptual
Foundation, Structure and Development. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 1


1. Assessing information requirements




2. Levels of information requirements
Organizational level
Application level
Technical
Database















Source: Davis, G., and Olson, M.H. 1984. Management Information Systems: Conceptual
Foundation, Structure and Development. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.


FEXHIBIT 1 J







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 1


EXHIBIT 17


I


STRATEGIES FOR DETERMINING
INFORMATION REQUIREMENTS


1. Asking


2. Deriving from an existing information system


3. Synthesizing from characteristics of the utilizing
system


4. Discovering from experimentation with an involving
information system
















Source: Davis, G.B. 1982. Strategies for information requirements determination.
IBM Systems Journal, 21(1): 4-31.


.i







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT T
Module 6 Session 1




STRATEGY FOR DETERMINING DATA
REQUIREMENTS



1. Identify elements in the development process
utilizing system:
Information systems or applications
Users
Analysts

2. Identify process uncertainties:
Existence and availability of a set of usable
requirements
Ability of users to specify requirements
Ability of analysts to elicit and evaluate
requirements

3. Evaluate the effects of elements in the develop-
ment process over process uncertainties

4. Evaluate the combined effects of the process
uncertainties on overall requirements uncertainty

5. Select a primary strategy for requirements
determination based on the overall requirements
uncertainty

Uncertainty level Strategy

Low Asking or deriving from an
existing system
S Synthesis from charac-
teristics of utilizing systems

High Discovering from
experimentation

6. Select one or more from the set of methods to
implement the primary strategy




Source: Davis, G.B. 1985. Management Information Systems: Conceptual Foundation, Structure
and Development. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 1


EXHIBIT 19


TYPES OF MIS


Databank information system


Predictive information system


Decision making information system

Decision taking information system










TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 1EXHIBIT 20


THE MIS PROCESS


1. Understand the organization
2. Analyse the organization's information requirements
3. Plan overall strategy
4. Review
5. Preliminary analysis
6. Feasibility assessment
7. Detailed fact finding
8. Analysis
9. Design
10. Development
11. Cutover
12. Obtain conceptual schema
13. Recruit database administrator
14. Obtain logical schema
15. Create data dictionary
16. Obtain physical schema
17. Create database
18. Modify data dictionary
19. Develop sub-schemas
20. Modify database
21. Amend database






Source: Crowe, T., and Avison, D.E. 1982. Management Information from Databases.
London: Macmillan.







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 1


EXHIBIT 21


MIS CRITERIA


Relevance


* Management by exception


Accuracy


* Adaptability


I







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 1


EXHIBIT 22


STRATEGIES FOR DETERMINING MIS DESIGN


Organization-chart approach

Integrate-later approach

Data-collection approach

Database approach

Top-down approach














Source: Blumenthal, S.C. 1990. Management Information Systems: A Framework for Planning and
Control. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Institute of Personnel Management.







Training manual for institute management 29


MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS


INFORMATION AND THE MIS CONCEPT
Information is a set of classified and interpreted data used in decision making. It has also
been defined as 'some tangible or intangible entity which serves to reduce uncertainty about
future state or events' (Lucas, 1978). A management information system (MIS) is 'an
integrated user-machine system for providing information to support operations, management
and decision making functions in an organization. The system utilizes computers, manual
procedures, models for analysis, planning, control and decision making, and a database'
(Davis and Olson, 1984). MIS facilitates managerial functioning. Management information
is an important input at every level in the organization for decision making, planning,
organizing, implementing, and monitoring and controlling. MIS is valuable because of its
content, form and timing of presentation. In the context of different levels of decision
making, information can be described as:
source,
data,
inferences and predictions drawn from data,
value and choices (evaluation of inferences with regard to the objectives and then
choosing a course of action), and
action which involves course of action.
The MIS concept comprises three interrelated and interdependent key elements: management,
system and information (Murdick and Ross, 1975).


MANAGEMENT AND THE MIS PROCESS
An MIS is directed towards the managerial functions of planning, controlling and monitoring,
and decision making.


Module 6 Session 1

Reading note







30 Module 6 Session 1 Management information systems


Planning
Planning consists of five sequential and interactive steps (Kumar, 1989). These are:
selecting objectives;
identification of the activities which are required to achieve the stipulated objectives;
detailing the resources including the various skills required to undertake the activities;
determining the duration of each activity to be performed; and
defining the sequence of the activities.
The basic requirements during the planning process of most importance in designing and
implementing an MIS for an organization are (Kumar, 1989):
providing the information required by the planner at each step of planning;
establishing procedures for obtaining the information;
arranging for storage of the approved plans, as these will provide the information
requisite to monitoring and controlling; and
evolving methods for communicating the plans to employees in the organization.


Monitoring and controlling
Controlling 'compels events to conform to plans' (Murdick and Ross, 1975). It involves:
establishing standards of performance in order to reach the objective;
measuring actual performance against the set standards; and
keeping actions on course by correcting deviations as they appear (mid-course
corrections).
The requirements for successful development of a control system are:
defining expectations in terms of information attributes; and
developing the logic for reporting deviations to all levels of management prior to the
actual occurrence of the deviation.


Decision making
Decision making is the process of selecting the most desirable or optimum alternative to solve
a problem or achieve an objective. The quality and soundness of managerial decisions is
largely contingent upon the information available to the decision-maker. Gorry and Scott
Morton (1971) classified decision making on three levels of a continuum:
Strategic decisions are future-oriented because of uncertainty. They are part of the
planning activity.
Tactical decision making combines planning activities with controlling. It is for short-
term activities and associated allocation of resources to them to achieve the objectives.
Technical decision making is a process of ensuring efficient and effective implementation
of specific tasks.







Training manual for institute management 31


Elements of decision making
The four components of the decision making process are (Burch and Strater, 1974):
Model A model is an abstract description of the decision problem. The model may be
quantitative or qualitative.
Criteria The criteria must state how goals or objectives of the decision problem can be
achieved. When there is a conflict between different criteria, a choice has to be made
through compromise.
Constraints Constraints are limiting factors which define outer limits and have to be
respected while making a decision. For example, limited availability of funds is a
constraint with which most decision makers have to live.
Optimization Once the decision problem is fully described in a model, criteria for
decision making stipulated and constraints identified, the decision-maker can select the
best possible solution.


SYSTEMS APPROACH
Modern management is based upon a systems approach to the organization. The systems
approach views an organization as a set of interrelated sub-systems in which variables are
mutually dependent. A system can be perceived as having:
some components, functions and the processes performed by these various components;
relationships among the components that uniquely bind them together into a conceptual
assembly which is called a system; and
an organizing principle that gives it a purpose (Albrecht, 1983).
The organizing system has five basic parts, which are interdependent (Murdick and Ross,
1975). They are:
the individual;
the formal and informal organization;
patterns of behaviour arising out of role demands of the organization;
the role perception of the individuals; and
the physical environment in which individuals work.
The interrelationship of the sub-systems within an organization is fundamental to the systems
approach. The different components of the organization have to operate in a coordinated
manner to attain common organizational goals. This results in synergic effects. The term
synergy means that when different sub-systems work together they tend to be more efficient
than if they work in isolation (Murdick and Ross, 1975). Thus, the output of a system with
well integrated sub-systems would be much more than the sum of the outputs of the
independent sub-systems working in isolation.
The systems approach provides a total view of the organization. It enables analysis
of an organization in a scientific manner, so that operating management systems can be
developed and an appropriate MIS designed (Murdick and Ross, 1975).







Module 6 Session 1 Management information systems


By providing the required information, an MIS can help interrelate, coordinate and
integrate different sub-systems within an organization, thus facilitating and increasing
coordinated working of the sub-systems, with consequent synergism. The interaction between
different components of the organization depends upon integration, communication and
decision making. Together they create a linking process in the organization.
Integration ensures that different sub-systems work towards the common goal.
Coordination and integration are useful controlling mechanisms which ensure smooth
functioning in the organization, particularly as organizations become large and increasingly
complex. As organizations face environmental complexity, diversity and change, they need
more and more internal differentiation, and specialization becomes complex and diverse. The
need for integration also increases as structural dimensions increase.
Communication integrates different sub-systems (specialized units) at different levels
in an organization. It is thus a basic element of the organizational structure necessary for
achieving the organization's goals.


ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND MIS
MIS has been described as a pyramidal structure, with four levels of information resources.
The levels of information would depend upon the organizational structure. The top level
supports strategic planning and policy making at the highest level of management. The
second level of information resources aid tactical planning and decision making for
management control. The third level supports day-to-day operations and control. The bottom
level consists of information for transaction processing. It then follows that since decision
making is specific to hierarchical levels in an organization, the information requirements at
each level vary accordingly.
Thus, MIS as a support system draws upon:
concepts of organization;
organizational theories, principles, structure, behaviour and processes such as
communication, power and decision making; and
motivation and leadership behaviour.
Davis and Olson (1984) analysed the implications of different characteristics of the
organizational structure on the design of information systems (Table 1).


INFORMATION REQUIREMENTS FOR MIS
Assessing information needs
A first step in designing and developing an MIS is to assess the information needs for
decision making of management at different hierarchical levels, so that the requisite
information can be made available in both timely and usable form to the people who need it.
Such assessment of information needs is usually based on personality, positions, levels and
functions of management. These determine the various levels of information requirements.









Training manual for institute management 33


Table 1 Organizational structural implications for information systems

Concept Implications for Information Systems

A tall hierarchy with narrow span of control requires more formal control infor-
Hierarchy of authority ation at upper levels than a flat hierarchy with wide span of control.

Specialization Information system applications have to fit the specialization of the organization.

Formalization Information systems are a major method for increasing formalization.

Centralization Information systems can be designed to suit any level of centralization.

Modification of basic Information systems can be designed to support product or service organizations,
model project organizations, lateral relations and matrix organizations.

Organizational mechanisms reduce the need for information processing and
Information moe o communication. Vertical information systems are an alternative to lateral relations.
organization Information systems are used to coordinate lateral activities.

Organizational culture Organizational culture affects information requirements and system acceptance.

Organizational power affects organizational behaviour during information system
Organizational power planning, resource allocation and implementation. Computer systems can be an
instrument of organizational power through access to information.

Organizational growth The information system may need to change at different stages of growth.

When identifying goals during requirements determination, care should be taken to
Goal displacement
avoid displaced goals.

izio i Suggests need for information system design for efficiency measures to promote
rganizaonaearnig single loop learning and effectiveness measures for double loop learning.

Project model of
project model of Describes general concepts for managing change with information system projects.
organizational change

Case for stable system Establish control over frequency of information system changes.

Reporting critical change variables, organizational change, or relationships, and use
Systems that promote of multiple channels in a semi-confusing system may be useful for promoting
organizational change
responses to a changing environment.

Organizations as socio- Provides approach to requirements determination and job design when both social
technical systems and technical considerations are involved.

Source: Taken from Gordon and Olson, 1984: 358-359.



Levels of information requirements

There are three levels of information requirements for designing an MIS (Davis and Olson
1984). They are:

At the organizational level, information requirements define an overall structure for the
information system and specific applications and database.

Application level requirements include social or behavioral covering work organization
objectives, individual roles and responsibility assumptions, and organizational policies
and technical, which are based on the information needed for the job to be
performed. A significant part of the technical requirement is related to outputs,
inputs, stored data, structure and format of data and information processes.








Module 6 Session I Management information systems


At the user level, database requirements can be classified as perceived by the user or as
required for physical design of the database.



Strategies for determining information requirements

Gordon and Olson (1984) suggested six steps in selecting a strategy and method for
determining information requirements (Table 2).

Table 2 Strategies for determining information requirements

1. Identify elements in the development process
Utilizing systems
Information system or application
Users
Analysis

2. Identify characteristics of the four elements (in 1, above) in the development process which could affect
uncertainty in the information requirements.

3. Identify the process uncertainties
Existence and availability of a set of usable requirements.
Ability of users to specify requirements.
Ability of the analyst to elicit and evaluate information requirements.
Assess how the characteristics of the four elements in the development process (listed under 1, above)
will affect the these process uncertainties.

4. Determine how the overall requirements uncertainties would be affected by the combined effects of the
process uncertainties.

5. Considering the overall requirements uncertainty, choose a primary strategy for information
requirements.
If uncertainty is low, then the strategy should be to:
Ask the users what their requirements are. This presupposes that the users are able to structure
their requirements and express them objectively. Asking can be done through
questions, which may be closed or open,
brainstorming sessions, totally open or guided, and
group consensus as aimed at in Delphi methods and group norming.
Wherever there are close similarities in the organization and easy replication is possible, information
requirements can be derived from the existing system.
Characteristics of the utilizing system should be analysed and synthesized. This is particularly useful
if the utilizing system is undergoing change.
If uncertainty is high, discover from experimentation by instituting an information system and learning
through that the additional information requirements. This is 'prototyping' or 'heuristic development' of
an information system.

6. Select an appropriate method.


Source: Davis and Olson, 1984: 488-493.



TYPES OF MIS

MIS can be categorized (Mason, 1981) as follows:

Databank information systems refer to creation of a database by classifying and storing
data which might be potentially useful to the decision-maker. The information








Training manual for institute management 35


provided by the databank is merely suggestive. The decision-maker has to determine
contextually the cause and effect relationships. MIS designs based on the databank
information system are better suited for unstructured decisions.

Predictive information systems provide source and data along with predictions and
inferences. The decision-maker can also enquire as to 'what if a certain action is
taken?' and whether the underlying assumptions are true. This type of MIS is useful
for semi-structured decisions.

Decision-making information systems provide expert advice to the decision-maker either
in the form of a single recommended course of action or as criteria for choice, given
the value system prevailing in the organization. The decision-maker has just to
approve, disapprove or modify the recommendation. Decision-making information
systems are suitable for structured decisions. Operations research and cost-
effectiveness studies are examples of decision-making information systems.

Decision-taking information systems integrate predictive information and decision-making
systems.


PROCESS OF MIS


The MIS implementation process (Table 3)
involves a number of sequential steps
(Murdick and Ross, 1975):

1. First establish management
information needs and formulate
broad systems objectives so as to
delineate important decision areas
(e.g., general management, financial
management or human resources
management). Within these decision
areas there will be factors relevant
to the management decision areas,
e.g., general management will be
concerned about its relationship with
the managing board, institute-client
relationships and information to be
provided to the staff. This will then
lead the design team to ask what
information units will be needed to
monitor the identified factors of
concern. Positions or managers
needing information for decision
making will be identified.

2. Develop a general description of a
possible MIS as a coarse design.


Table 3 Methodology for implementing MIS

1. Understand the organization
2. Analyse the information requirements of the
organization
3. Plan overall strategy
4. Review
5. Preliminary analysis
6. Feasibility assessment
7. Detailed fact finding
8. Analysis
9. Design
10. Development
11. Cutover
12. Obtain conceptual schema
13. Recruit database administrator
14. Obtain logical schema
15. Create data dictionary
16. Obtain physical schema
17. Create database
18. Modify data dictionary
19. Develop sub-schemas
20. Modify database
21. Amend database


Adapted from Crowe and Avison, 1982.


This design will have to be further refined by more precise specifications. For effic-
ient management of information processing, the MIS should be based on a few
databases related to different sub-systems of the organization .







36 Module 6 Session 1 Management information systems


3. Once the information units needed have been determined and a systems design
developed, decide how information will be collected. Positions will be allocated
responsibility for generating and packaging the information.
4. Develop a network showing information flows.
5. Test the system until it meets the operational requirements, considering the
specifications stipulated for performance and the specified organizational constraints.
6. Re-check that all the critical data pertaining to various sub-systems and for the
organization as a whole are fully captured. Ensure that information is generated in
a timely manner.
7. Monitor actual implementation of the MIS and its functioning from time to time.


CRITERIA FOR MIS
Crowe and Avison (1982) suggested five criteria for an MIS:
Relevance Information should be relevant to the individual decision-makers at their level
of management.
Management by exception Managers should get precise information pertaining to factors
critical to their decision making.
Accuracy The database from which information is extracted should be up-to-date,
contextually relevant and validated.
Timeliness The information should be provided at the time required.
Adaptability The information system should have an in-built capability for re-design so
that it can suitably adapt to environmental changes and changing information
requirements.


STRATEGIES FOR DETERMINING MIS DESIGN
MIS design should be specific to an organization, respecting its age, structure, and
operations.
Six strategies for determining MIS design have been suggested by Blumenthal (1969):
Organization-chart approach Using this approach, the MIS is designed based on the
traditional functional areas, such as finance, administration, production, R&D and
extension. These functional areas define current organizational boundaries and
structure.
Integrate-later approach Largely a laissez faire approach, it does not conform to any
specified formats as part of an overall design. There is no notion of how the MIS
will evolve in the organization. Such an MIS becomes difficult to integrate. In
today's environment where managers demand quick and repeated access to
information from across sub-systems the integrate-later approach is becoming less
and less popular.
Data-collection approach This approach involves collection of all data which might be
relevant to MIS design. The collected data are then classified. This classification








Training manual for institute management 37


influences the way the data can be exploited usefully at a later stage. The
classification therefore needs to be done extremely carefully.
Database approach A large and detailed database is amassed, stored and maintained.
The database approach is more and more accepted for two main reasons: first,
because of data independence it allows for easier system development, even without
attempting a complete MIS; and, second, it provides management with immediate
access to information required.
Top-down approach The top-down approach involves defining the information needs for
successive layers of management. If information required at the top remains relatively
stable in terms of level of detail, content and frequency, the system could fulfil MIS
requirements (Zani, 1970). The usefulness of this approach depends on the nature of
the organization. It can be suitable for those organizations where there is a difference
in the type of information required at the various levels.
Total-system approach In this approach the interrelationships of the basic information are
defined prior to implementation. Data collection, storage and processing are designed
and done within the framework of the total system. This approach can be successfully
implemented in organizations which are developing.





REFERENCES


Albrecht, K. 1983. A new systems view of the organization. in: Organization
Development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Bee, R., & Bee, F. 1990. Management Information Systems and Statistics. [Management
Studies Series] London: Institute of Personnel Management.
Blumenthal, S.C. 1969. Management Information System: A Framework for Planning and
Control. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Burch, J.G., Jr., & Strater, F.R., Jr. 1979. Information Systems: Theory and Practice.
New York, NY: John Wiley.
Crowe, T., & Avison, D.E. 1982. Management Information from Databases. London:
Macmillan.
Davis, G.B. 1982. Strategies for information requirements determination. IBM Systems
Journal, 21(1): 4-31.
Davis, G.B., & Olson, M.H. 1984. Management Information Systems: Conceptual
Foundations, Structure and Development. 2nd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Gorry, G., & Scott Morton, M.S. 1971. A framework for management information
systems. Sloan Management Review, Fall 1971.
Hopkins, R.C. et al., 1962. A Systematic Procedure for System Development: Systems
Philosophy. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.







38 Module 6 Session 1 Management information systems


Kumar, H. 1989. Management Information Systems: A Conceptual and Empirical
Approach. New Delhi: Ashish Publishing House.
Lucas, H.C., Jr. 1978. Information Systems Concepts for Management. New York, NY:
McGraw-Hill.
Mason, R.O. 1981. Basic concepts for designing management information systems. In:
Mason, R.O., & Swanson, E.B. (eds) Measurements for Management Decision.
Philippines: Addison-Wesley.
Mehra, B.K. 1982. Putting management back into MIS. pp. 41-50, in: Keen, G.W. (ed)
Perspectives on Information Management. New York, NY: John Wiley.
Murdick, R.G., & Ross, J.E. 1975. Information Systems for Modern Management.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Zani, W.M. 1970. Blueprint for management information system. Harvard Business
Review, November-December 1970.







Training manual for institute management 39


DATE


TIME


Plenary and small group


OBJECTIVES
At the end of this session, participants will have had an opportunity to:
1. Map the flow of information for a specific management decision area.
2. Develop a set of documentary instruments to aid management in the planning,
monitoring and control, and evaluation of this area.


Module 6 Session 2


MIS exercise


FORMAT


TRAINER







40 Module 6 Session 2 MIS exercise


INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS

None.





REQUIRED READING

None.


BACKGROUND READING

Reading note: Management information systems




SPECIAL EQUIPMENT AND AIDS

Overhead projector and chalkboard







Training manual for institute management 41


MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM EXERCISE


The previous session presented a basis for the development of management information
systems (MIS) for research institutions. The purpose of this session is to provide an
opportunity to develop a similar set of instruments for management decision areas such as:
general management;
financial management;
productivity management;
facilities management; and
personnel management.
Divide the participants into three or four small groups. Assign to each group the task of
selecting a management decision area for which to design an MIS. The decision areas may
be planning, monitoring, control or evaluation. Didactic material should be prepared for
overhead projection and photocopied for distribution to the whole group.
Re-convene the plenary group, distribute document sets to all participants, and ask each
small group to present its MIS.


Module 6 Session 2

Session guide


0










Training manual for institute management 43


DATE


TIME


Plenary session


OBJECTIVES
At the end of this session, participants will have:
1. A brief introduction to computer hardware, software and applications
development as a background to the identification of potential areas for the use
of computers in the management of agricultural research.
2. An understanding of application areas and a framework for the use of
computers as a management tool for agricultural research.
3. Knowledge of the management of computer services activities in institutions
engaged in research activities.


Module 6 Session 3


Computers as management tools


FORMAT


TRAINER








44 Module 6 Session 3 Computers as management tools


INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS

Exhibit 1 Functional diagram of a computer
Exhibit 2 Terms used in computer systems
Exhibit 3 Computer configurations
Exhibit 4 Software
Exhibit 5 Computer languages
Exhibit 6 Common computer software
Exhibit 7 Computer applications in agricultural research
Exhibit 8 Framework for de-centralized use of computers
Exhibit 9 System development strategies
Exhibit 10 Management of computer services function
Exhibit 11 Staffing pattern for a typical computer services department
Exhibit 12 Acquisition of computer resources




REQUIRED READING

Reading note: Computers as management tools




BACKGROUND READING

None.




SPECIAL EQUIPMENT AND AIDS

Overhead projector and chalkboard








Training manual for institute management 45


COMPUTERS AS MANAGEMENT TOOLS'


This session has two components. The first component gives an overview of computers,
introduces the fundamentals of computers, and illustrates use of computers in management
of research institutions. The second component relates to strategies for development,
management, maintenance and expansion. If participants are already familiar with
computers, it is desirable to focus on the important managerial issues which arise in the
context of systems development and maintenance. If a computer system is available in the
vicinity of the workshop venue, participants should be shown the system and, if possible,
even be given an opportunity to work with it.
A computer is equipment which receives information, processes this information in some
way according to a given set of instructions, and presents the results in a useful form
(EXHIBIT 1). The physical components of a computer are called hardware. The set of
instructions given to the computer to accomplish a task is referred to as software. The
hardware components of a computer system consist of the input device through which data
or instructions are entered, the output devices on which the processed results are presented,
and between them a central processing unit (CPU), which receives data or instructions from
input devices, processes them and returns the results to the output devices. A CPU can be
has basically three components: memory unit; arithmetic and logic unit; and control unit.
The component in which the instructions and data to be handled by the processor are stored
is called main memory. Computer memories depend on electronic circuitry. The basic unit
of storage in the memory system is a bistable device, i.e., it has two alternate stable states.
Show EXHIBIT 2. Define and explain the terms used in a computer system. Show
EXHIBIT 3 and discuss five alternative computer configurations. Observe that stand-alone,
inexpensive systems such as personal computers (PCs) are becoming increasingly widespread
because of ease of use, convenience and low cost. The concept of work stations emerged
from the fact that dedicated systems can be configured to offer problem solving environments
optimized for special applications. The current trend is to interconnect a number of low-cost,
mini-computer systems based on advanced micro processor chips, as multi-terminal systems.


1. Given the current rapid developments in computer systems, this section may seem dated, but it
nevertheless provides a basic introduction to the subject.


Module 6 Session 3

Session guide


I







Module 6 Session 3 Computers as management tools


Less expensive, local area networks (LANs) provide interconnection between PCs in nearby
locations, while wide area networks (WANs) cover geographically widespread areas.
Show EXHIBIT 4 and initiate discussion on computer software. Software can be
classified into systems or applications software. Broadly speaking, software that offers
facilities for better utilization of systems resources is called systems software, while software
developed for specific application needs is called applications software. Software such as
operating systems, computer language processors, general purpose packages and special
purpose packages are systems types. Financial accounting, payroll, personnel and inventory
control packages are examples of applications software. Discuss each of these.
Computers use different languages to receive instructions. The CPU executes
instructions stored in the main memory by fetching and decoding them. These instructions
have to be in binary form in the machine language of the CPU. Higher-level computer
languages have been developed for convenience. The language translator software translates
the instructions into a machine-understandable language. Show EXHIBIT 5 and discuss various
languages for different applications. Observe that with the availability of PCs, where help
is available on-screen, most users do not need to know the machine languages.
Commonly encountered PC software includes programs for electronic spreadsheets, data
management systems, word processing, operations research in statistics, project management,
computer aided design, presentation systems, desk-top publishing and packages integrating
two or more of these programs into software suites. Show EXHIBIT 6 and discuss each of
these.
EXHIBIT 7 lists important uses of computers in agricultural research. These include
project management, research data analysis, training and administration. Use of computers
in financial accounting, personnel systems, library services and management information
systems (MIS) is fairly common.
A framework for de-centralized use of computers relates to systems for data processing.
This includes systems for regular data processing, prototype information and decision support
(EXHIBIT 8).
From the point of view of research institutions management system development,
management, maintenance and user services are quite important. The computer system may
be centralized or de-centralized. Both have advantages and disadvantages, as discussed in
EXHIBIT 9. In the centralized system, users interact directly with the system. They can
augment the basic packages using fairly simple peripheral applications based on end-user
software products to develop additional programs for their particular requirements. The
major limitations of centralized computer systems are that:
centralized systems may not ensure total translation of users' requirements, usually due
to imperfect communication between systems developers and users; or
users may not wholeheartedly endorse systems which are not developed by them.
In the de-centralized approach, users themselves develop their applications, with the help of
end-user software packages, such as electronic spreadsheets and data management systems.
However, there are some problems associated with the de-centralized approach, as considered
below.
Excessive de-centralization can lead to data indiscipline, making system integration a
difficult task. Each department or individual may develop individual coding schemes,







Training manual for institute management


define their own data fields, specify their own types and sizes for the data handled by
them. Sharing such data is difficult if proper standards are not evolved and adhered to.
Lack of systems analysis and design skills in users can result in the development of half-
baked products. Systems which are not thoroughly tested might be put into use while
users are ignorant about any problems ('bugs') in the program.
De-centralization may lead to disintegration if each individual solves his or her problem
in isolation. One might develop an efficient system within a very narrow scope of a
department or individual. Sometimes such solutions may turn out to be efficient overall
solutions, but more often they are a cause of problems.
Users may tend to be possessive of their systems and databases, and be unwilling to share
or cooperate.
Lack of exposure to decision analysis and model building techniques often results in the
development of mundane applications where value added to the processed data is
negligible. Users waste their energy in 'playing' with computers: developing more
cosmetic features rather than objectively analysing results produced and taking necessary
action to evolve and improve the essential effectiveness of the program.
Management of computer services (EXHIBIT 10) includes organization, acquisition,
performance monitoring and expansion of computer services. EXHIBIT 11 illustrates the
staffing pattern for a typical computer services department. The designations relate to
functions which have to be performed in managing the computer system. Of course, the
staffing pattern will differ from organization to organization and will depend upon services
offered. Considerable care has to be exercised in acquisition of computer resources,
considering current requirements and likely future needs. Not only the initial cost of
acquisition but also subsequent maintenance and operating costs have to be considered in
designing computer system configurations.
Show EXHIBIT 12 and discuss the steps in acquiring a computer system. Emphasize that
performance evaluation of available systems, as well as after-sales service, are important
criteria in making any decision to buy a particular system.










TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 3


EXHIBIT 1


FUNCTIONAL DIAGRAM OF A COMPUTER


INPUT DEVICE


- keyboard
- card reader
- mark sense
reader
- bar code
reader
- MICR
- OCR
- mouse
- scanner
- digitizer
- voice input


AUXILIARY STORAGE
DEVICE

- floppy disk drive
- WORM
- magnetic tape
- hard disk drive


- OUTPUT DEVICE


- VDU
- Printer
- COM
- plotter
- voice
synthesizer
CD-ROM


CPU


MEMORY UNIT
[u



CONTROL UNIT


Ht


ARITHMETIC AND
LOGIC UNIT


U11








TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 3


EXHIBIT 2


COMPUTER TERMS



Technical terms

bit binary digit the smallest unit of information, expressing a
state of 0 or 1

a group of 8 bits operated on as a unit and storing a
meaningful instruction or data

kilobyte (kb) storage unit of 1024 bytes (= 210 bytes)

megabyte (Mb) 1024 kb (= 220 bytes)

gigabyte (Gb) 1024 Mb (=230 bytes)

10-9 seconds; the timescale at which main memories can
nanosecond (ns)
receive and supply information

ROM read-only memory information fixed in the memory and
cannot be overwritten

random-access memory memory unit used to store
RAM instructions and data in active use; can be overwritten and is
often ephemeral

Peripheral devices

mouse pointing device to indicate selection of items on the screen

used to capture graphic information by recording points on
digitizer
maps or figures

optical scanner captures a paper image in a form that the computer can use

video scanner captures a video image in a form that the computer can use

OCR optical character recognition software to interpret a scanned
image as text for word processing

VDU visual display unit displays text and graphics as output and
input to CPU

back-up and porting medium (a 3Y2" DS/HD floppy holds
floppy disk 1.44 Mb)







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 3


EXHIBIT 3


1. Stand-alone, inexpensive systems (e.g., PCs)


2. Work stations (powerful CPUs, large RAM, large
hard disks, high-resolution graphic VDUs and
advanced software for specialized applications)


3. Mini-computer systems with dumb terminals
(terminals with VDU and keyboard only) or
intelligent terminals (terminals with some
independent processing capacity, e.g., PCs)

4. PCs connected through an inexpensive LAN

5. Computer systems at distant sites, connected
through a WAN






TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 3


SOFTWARE





Software includes operating systems, language
processors, general purpose packages and special
purpose packages

Systems software


Facilitates better utilization of system resources,
including
operating systems (e.g., MS-DOS; Windows;
OS/2; MacOS; etc.)
language processors (e.g., for C+ +,
FORTRAN, COBOL, etc.)
general purpose, end-user packages


Applications software


Developed for specific application needs, including
financial accounting
payroll
personnel management
inventory control
geographical information systems (GIS)
computer aided design (CAD)
computer aided manufacture (CAM)


EXHIBIT 4







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 3


EXHIBIT 5


SOME COMPUTER LANGUAGES





Language Derivation Main use


FORTRAN formula translation scientific


COBOL common business-oriented commercial data
language processing


BASIC beginners' all-purpose beginners
symbolic instruction code


PASCAL Named after the scientist structured
programming


PROLOG programming logic artificial
intelligence


C; C+ + use of basic
system resource










TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 3 EXHIBIT 6














COMMON SOFTWARE





electronic spreadsheets
data management systems
integrated packages
operations research
statistical analysis
project management
CAD/CAM
computer-aided software engineering
presentations
word processing
text processing
desk-top publishing







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 3


EXHIBIT 7


COMPUTER APPLICATIONS IN
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH


Research
project management
data analysis
statistical analysis


Training


Administration
financial accounting
payroll
personnel information system
library systems
MIS
other


Publication
word processing
graphics
DTP









TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 3


EXHIBIT 8


FRAMEWORK FOR DE-CENTRALIZED USE OF
COMPUTERS


Systems for data processing:

regular
prototype
for decision support








TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT E
Module 6 Session 3 EXHIBIT 9



SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES





CENTRALIZED SYSTEMS


ADVANTAGES:
Users interact directly with the system for solutions
Users can add simple enhancements using commonly
available programs
DISADVANTAGES:
System may not completely meet the users' requirements
due to imperfect communication between system
developers and users
Users may not wholeheartedly endorse systems not
developed by they themselves


DE-CENTRALIZED SYSTEMS


ADVANTAGES:
Users develop their own applications with user-friendly
software packages
Minimum effort needed to completely satisfy users'
requirements for a computer-based system
Users can introduce modifications into the system as and
when needed
DISADVANTAGES:
Can lead to data indiscipline, making system integration
difficult
Development of half-baked products due to lack of systems
analysis and design skills
Can lead to disintegration if individuals solve their problems
in isolation
Users become possessive of 'their' systems and databases
and are unwilling to share them or to collaborate
Development of mundane or restricted applications due to
ignorance of decision analysis and model building
techniques







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT EXHIBIT 10
Module 6 Session 3















MANAGEMENT OF THE
COMPUTER SERVICES FUNCTION




Organization


Acquisition


Performance monitoring

Expansion








TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 3


EXHIBIT 11











TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 3XHIBIT 1














ACQUISITION OF COMPUTER RESOURCES





1. Analysis of requirements and configuration design


2. Performance criteria established


3. Selection of computer systems


4. Initial screening


5. Performance evaluation


6. Final selection







Training manual for institute management


COMPUTERS AS MANAGEMENT TOOLS


Computers have been increasingly used in research and commerce over the last three
decades. The concept of stored program computers, in which instructions and data are stored
in a memory unit and fetched and executed by a processor, has not undergone change, but
developments in micro-electronics have brought the size and cost of computer systems to
previously unimaginably low figures. In parallel, computers have become more powerful and
accessible with the emergence of sophisticated, user-friendly software.


OVERVIEW OF COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY
Computers are equipment which receive information, process this information in some way
according to a given set of instructions, and present the results in a useful form.


Computer fundamentals
The physical components of a computer are called hardware. The set of instructions given
to the computer to accomplish a task is referred to as software.
The hardware components of a computer system consist of the input devices through
which data or instructions are entered; the output devices by which the processed results are
presented; and the central processing unit (CPU), which receives data or instructions from
input devices, processes them, and presents the results to the output devices, the CPU can
be has three primary components: a memory; an arithmetic and logic unit (ALU); and a
control unit. Most of the components of a computer, such as memory, ALU, control unit
and interconnections to (interface between) input and output devices and the CPU operate
through electronic circuitry, which makes it possible to perform the processing at extremely
high speeds. The speed of a CPU is normally measured in millions of instructions per second
(MIPS).
The input and output devices are usually electro-mechanical items. Input devices -
which include keyboards, scanners, etc. convert mechanical actions into electrical signals
and send them through the interfacing circuitry to the CPU. The output devices are printers,
plotters, VDUs, etc. These devices convert the electrical signals received from the CPU into
physical movements to generate the output. Certain storage devices working on the principle
of electro-magnetic storage, such as disk drives or magnetic tape drives, are also used with


Module 6 Session 3

Reading Note







62 Module 6 Session 3 Computers as management tools


computers. These are helpful in storing data and instructions for later use. They are also
known as auxiliary storage devices. The input, output and auxiliary storage devices are
commonly known as peripheral devices.
The CPU control unit seeks the instructions stored in the memory, one by one, decodes
them and executes them with the help of the arithmetic and logic Unit (ALU). It also
coordinates operations related to transfer of data to and from input and output devices. The
control unit and ALU together are called the processor.
The functional diagram of a computer system is given below:
Figure 1 Functional diagram of a computer system
r 1


Processor
The electronic circuitry forming the ALU and control unit is called the CPU, or simply the
processor. The processor executes instructions stored in the main memory by fetching and
decoding them. The instructions must be in a language the processor can understand.
Normally these are groups of bits which trigger an appropriate circuitry of ALU or control
unit. Each processor has its own convention for using the combinations of bits for executing
specific arithmetic (add, multiply, etc.), logic (compare, branch) and control (initiate device,
store, retrieve, etc.) operations. Such a convention is known as the machine language. Each
processor has its own machine language. The architecture of the processor (instruction set,


- floppy disk drive
- WORM
- magnetic tape
- hard disk drive







Training manual for institute management bJ


size of data handled per instruction, unit of data transfer between processor and memory,
basic data types handled, etc.) determines its size, power and cost.
Developments in micro-electronics in the past decade or so have provided tremendous
opportunities for the growth of computer technology. Micro-electronic technology has made
it feasible to have thousands of electronic components fabricated into a small area of silicon
wafer (approximately thumbnail size. Such fabricated wafers of silicon are popularly known
as silicon chips or simply 'chips.' With these developments, various functional units of
computers (CPU, memory, input/output interfaces) which previously required thousands of
separate electronic components have become very compact through integration. In fact, it
has become possible to have a CPU on a chip, large memory capacity on a chip, and
input/output interfaces also on a third chip. These developments have brought down the cost
of various components, and have made computer systems more affordable by the end user.
The late 1970s saw the arrival of the home computer, which consisted of limited
powered (8 bit) microprocessor chips with limited memory (64 kb) and inexpensive peripheral
devices, such as floppy disk drives, video monitors, keyboards and character printers. The
most attractive feature of these systems was the availability of user-friendly software
products, such as electronic spreadsheets, data management packages and word processing
packages, which made using computers so simple. Since then, a large number of vendors
have introduced inexpensive computer systems catering for low-volume, data processing
applications: systems based on microprocessor chips from companies like Intel, Motorola and
Rockwell.
The use of micro-computers as end-user computing devices got a boost when the giant,
USA-based computer manufacturer International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)
entered the micro-computer market. IBM introduced a product called the 'IBM Personal
Computer' (IBM/PC) based on a partial 16 bit microprocessor chip (INTEL 8088)
manufactured by the Intel Corporation. Soon after its introduction, several manufacturers,
who were otherwise offering different products centred around a variety of microprocessors,
introduced equivalent PCs in their own product range, with hardware specifications similar
to that of the IBM-PC. Such systems are called IBM-compatible PCs. The reason for such
adoption of one specification is simply the market potential. The same is responsible for the
availability of third-party software (software developed by neither manufacturer nor user, but
by a commercial software company) on IBM-compatible PCs. Later we shall see how these
PCs are superior to earlier mini- and large computers in terms of meeting the information
processing needs of end-users, in addition to their price advantage.
Mini-computer manufacturers like Digital, Data-General and Hewlett Packard have also
taken advantage of the micro-electronic revolution and have introduced microprocessor-based
versions of their earlier computers. This approach gave them advantage of providing readily
available and well tested software from their minis for the inexpensive micro-computer
systems.
Some manufacturers have adopted a technique called bit slicing, in which a combination
of smaller microprocessors is put together to offer the power of a larger processor. For
example, using bit-slicing technique, four 4-bit microprocessors can be used to make a 16-bit
processor.
Today, the user has a wide choice in the availability and use of computers. Computer
systems based on 32-bit microprocessors, offering features superior to those of earlier super-
mini-computers are already available as desktop models, with 64-bit machines on their way.







64 Module 6 Session 3 Computers as management tools


Main memory
The component in which the instructions and data to be handled by the processor are stored
is called main memory. Normally computer memories today use through electronic circuitry,
although in the early computers, tiny magnetic cores were used. Since auxiliary storage
devices are also used for storing instructions and data, the memory system from which the
processor takes instructions directly is also known as main memory.
The basic unit of storage in memory systems is a bistable device, i.e. a component
having two stable states. Conventionally these stable states are used to represent a 0 or a 1.
Hence, the unit of storage is known as a binary digit or bit. Since a bit can represent only
two values, we need a group of bits to store a meaningful instruction or data. The standard
unit adopted for such group is eight, and a group of eight bits is known as a byte. Using
standard coding systems, known as ASCII (American Standard Code for Information
Interchange) or EBCDIC (Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code), a byte is used
to store a character (typically any keyboard character). Larger memory units are the kilobyte
(written kb) (a storage unit of 210 bytes = 1024 b); similarly, a megabyte (Mb) is a unit of
1024 kb (=220 bytes); while gigabyte memories are increasingly common (1 Gb = 1024 Mb
= 230 bytes). The sizes of main memories normally range from 1 to 2 Mb for home
computers, to 16 Mb to 64 Mb for larger computers. These capacities help the processor to
readily access the instructions and data. The larger the capacity, the better should be the
utilization of processor power and hence the better the performance. The time taken for a
main memory to supply or receive information is measured in nanoseconds (1-9 seconds, or
one thousand-millionth of second). A typical memory unit may take around 200 nanoseconds
to transfer a byte to the processor, i.e., 5 Mb per second.
The storage space of a memory system can be used to hold permanent instructions or
used as a scratch pad. Since memories are made of electronic circuits, they can be
prefabricated to have a desired set of frequently used instructions. The information stored
in such memory modules cannot be overwritten; they can only be read. Such memory
modules are known as read-only-memories (ROM). Since the information is prefabricated,
their contents cannot be erased.
A large portion of main memory is normally used as temporary storage space. In that
portion of memory known as random access memory (RAM) instructions or data are
copied from auxiliary storage devices. Once they are used, another set of instructions and
data can be copied into the same place. This feature gives us the flexibility to use the same
computer for different applications. Since RAM is made of electronic circuitry, but not
prerecorded like ROM, the contents of RAM get erased by switching off the power supply.


Peripheral devices
Computer peripherals have also seen major developments. Input devices like card readers
and paper tape readers have become obsolete. Since computers have become inexpensive,
direct data-entry systems, by which users directly interact with the computer, have become
common. These systems, which are driven by inexpensive processors (quite often they are
IBM-compatible PCs) accept data from keyboards. They offer, through resident software,
formatting and data validation features, with the help of which the user can design customized
screens and incorporate validation checks for data to be entered.







Training manual for institute management 65


A pointing device called a mouse has become popular for use with PCs. The mouse
facilitates the selection of menu and data items displayed on VDU screen without using the
conventional keyboard. The user can move the pointer displayed on the VDU screen to a
desired position by moving the mouse on a pad, and indicate the selection by pressing the
select buttons on the mouse.
Another useful device that helps in capturing graphic information by tracing different
points on a map is digitizer. This is an important input device for applications involving
spatial planning, as well as in engineering design.
Optical and video scanners are used to capture pictures directly into computer files.
Optical scanners create an image of pictures in computer memory by scanning them. Video
scanners take the picture of the object kept in front of a video camera. These devices are
widely used in desk-top publishing (DTP) applications. They are also used in geographical
information system (GIS) applications.
VDUs of different types have become common output devices with PC and mini-
computer systems. A wide range are available, either cathode-ray tube based (like a TV) or
using liquid crystal display (LCD) technology, and with a wide range of options in terms of
size, colour or B&W, resolution, colour quality, size of screen, etc.
A wide range of light- to heavy-duty, hard-copy printers offering different character
fonts are used with PCs and micro-based mini-computers. These printers, which are now
inexpensive can generate regional language printouts, since they use a dot matrix technique
to print the characters. Letter-quality printers are also available for use with word processing
applications. Laser printers and ink-jet printers which produce a high resolution hard-copy
image composed by the user in computer memory are a new addition to the variety of
printers. These are popularly used with DTP applications.
Floppy disks have become common back up and porting media. The 5 V4 size disks are
becoming obsolete, being replaced by 3/2" disks. They are standard equipment for almost
all systems. Floppy disk drives record 360 kb to 1.4 Mb of data on these disks. To back
up large volumes of hard-disk-resident data, tape drives are available to take a backup on
cartridge tapes. They record data of the order of 40 to 60 Mb or greater. Winchester
technology is widely used for hard disks. With improved reliability, Winchester disc drives
come as a compact and composite unit of drive and disc, offering storage capacities of the
order of 30 Mb to several gigabytes. Compact disk read-only memories (CD-ROMs) are a
recent innovation, capable of storing gigabytes of data on an optical disc. Information on
such discs is normally pre-recorded by the suppliers, offering the data and software for
popular applications such as encyclopaedias, dictionaries, literary collections and tutorial
material for various subjects, with extensive illustrations. CD write-once read-many times
(WORM) capability are also available today.


Computer configurations
With the availability of different types of processors and peripheral devices, a number of
configurations are possible. Typically, they can be classed as:
Stand-alone, inexpensive systems (e.g., PCs).
Work stations (powerful processors with large memory and disk capacities, high-
resolution graphics and advanced software for specialized applications).







66 Module 6 Session 3 Computers as management tools


Mini-computer systems with dumb terminals (terminals having keyboard and VDU only)
or intelligent terminals (terminals having some processing capacity) such as PCs.
PCs interconnected through an inexpensive local area network (LAN).
Computer systems at different locations connected through a wide area network (WAN).
Some of these configurations are considered in the sections below.


IBM-compatible PCs
The original IBM PC was based on a CPU processor chip called the Intel 8088, and
optionally with an Intel 8087 numerical co-processor chip to provide faster computational
speed. The motherboard (the main printed circuit board) provided 40 kb of ROM. Using
expansion slots, additional RAM memory of up to 640 kb could be added. The PC in its
simplest form was interfaced with two 51/4" floppy drives, a keyboard and a monochrome
VDU. Additional ports could be used to connect a 10 or 20 Mb Winchester disk (in which
case it was called the IBM PC/XT), printers or LAN boards.
The IBM PC/AT (Personal Computer; Advanced Technology) computer used the next
generation of Intel microprocessor, the 80286 chip, with a clock frequency of 8 to 10 MHz,
RAM memory of around 2 Mb and either colour graphics or enhanced graphic adapter
(EGA). This system was normally interfaced with a 1.2 Mb, 5/4" floppy disk drive and a
40 Mb hard disk drive.
The next generation was the IBM PS/2 (Personal System model 2), and used micro-
channel architecture for efficient input-output and graphics handling. It was based on Intel
80386 chip as the main processor, supported 8 Mb main memory and worked with a clock
speed of 25 MHz, offering a capacity of about 5 MIPS.
The IBM PC and PC/XT models, being inexpensive, were widely used in
home-computing and end-user computing applications. Many organizations provided at least
a PC/XT to each departmental head to facilitate computing and information processing needs.
The operational cost of these systems is minimal since their power requirements are less than
1 kW per unit and do not require air-conditioning.
The technology for small computers similar to the PC has been advancing by leaps and
bounds: so fast that it is difficult to keep abreast of the latest developments. User-friendly
software to exploit the full potential these powerful systems is more and more accessible, and
their operating environments are making the use of computers simpler. At the same time,
international operating modalities in agricultural research as much as in any other sphere
- are based increasingly upon the use of computers in every activity.


Other personal computers
Apple Computers are another popular microcomputer company, which introduced several
popular PCs even before IBM entered the scene. This company has used Motorola chips as
the main processors. The Apple Macintosh is the most popular PC centred around the
MC68020 processor and later versions, and is a system with very user-friendly screen
management software, together with excellent word processing and desk-top publishing
software capabilities.







Training manual for institute management 67


Work stations
The concept of work stations emerged because dedicated systems can be configured to offer
highly efficient problem solving environments for special applications. Computer aided
design (CAD) applications available on work stations include digitizers, plotters and high
resolution graphic monitors, in addition to the powerful processors supported by large main
and auxiliary memories. User-friendly and comprehensive design software available with
work stations enable the designer to solve problems with relative ease. Similarly work
stations for geographic information systems (GIS) can be used for spatial planning
applications such as development of infrastructure facilities. SUN and Apollo work stations
are two popular models.


Micro based mini-computers
The current trend is to introduce low cost, mini-computer systems based on advanced micro-
processor chips in a multi microprocessor architecture as multiterminal systems. The power
offered by these systems is comparable to some of the super-mini-computer systems of not
long before. PCs are used as terminals to mini-computers. Such configurations offer the
advantages of providing computing facilities in a distributed manner, with scope for
centralized processing and storage facilities wherever needed.
Microprocessor-based computer configurations vary from simple, single-user systems
such- as PCs, to complex multiterminal systems. Apart from these developments, mini-
computers and mainframe computers offered by established computer manufacturers have
undergone changes. These have become more powerful and compact, and offer powerful
software systems.


Local area networks
Personal computers located in close proximity, such as in a suite of offices, can be
interconnected through inexpensive hardware using telephone cables. Such interconnection
is known as a local area network (LAN). One of the computers is used as a file server to
store commonly used software and data. A LAN reduces software cost since the installations
need not buy multiple copies of the software. Each PC user connected through the LAN can
access the software from the file server. Apart from this, file transfers, electronic mail, etc.,
are other benefits of a LAN configuration. The viability of LAN configuration will have to
be evaluated based on the cost of LAN circuit boards to be installed in each PC, the cost of
a file server to offer better performance, and the benefits of such interconnection.


Wide area networks
Computers located at various sites distant to each other can be interconnected through tele-
communication networks known as wide area networks (WAN), using communication
controllers, modems and associated communications software to facilitate software and data
sharing amongst the users of the systems. Pooling of software and hardware resources
located at different locations, and transmission of data from originating sources to destinations
using them are strengths of WANs. The systems connected to a WAN need not be
homogenous. Expensive software systems installed at one of the nodes of the WAN can be
used by any user connected through one of the other nodes.







68 Module 6 Session 3 Computers as management tools


Software
Computers have become powerful and well accepted if not almost obligatory tools for
decision support, built up on the availability of user-friendly software. Operating systems,
language processors, general purpose packages and special purpose packages constitute the
main elements in software. General purpose, end-user software systems include electronic
spreadsheets, data management packages and integrated software packages. Special purpose
software systems include packages for operations research, statistical analysis, project
management, computer aided design, computer aided software engineering, presentation,
word processing and desk-top publishing.
Software can be classified into systems and applications software. Broadly, software
that offers facilities for better utilization of systems resources is called systems software.
Software developed for specific application needs is called applications software. Operating
systems, language processors and general purpose end-user packages are examples of system
software. Financial accounting, payroll, personnel and inventory control packages are
examples of applications software. Systems software will have to be procured from the
manufacturer or established software houses. Application software can be designed and
developed in-house using a team of professionals or with the help of professional software
developing companies.
The following sections briefly present such software packages. For more details you
should refer to product literature or software reviews in computer periodicals.


Operating systems
The first and most important piece of software needed for computers is called the operating
system (OS). This software presents an end-user view of the computer, making several
physical characteristics of the computer and its peripheral devices transparent to the user.
OS allows the computer to accept commands in natural language (rather than in binary code,
the native language of the machine) and to execute them and thus offer various services. The
services offered by OS include acceptance of instructions and data from several types of input
devices, presentation of results through various types of output devices, organization of the
storage space on auxiliary storage devices in the form of files, load the specified software
from these devices into the main memory and execute them, and so forth. The basic
operations required to work with different devices are all performed by OS. Normally the
user is required to specify the operation (read/write) to be performed and the device on which
to perform. The task will be executed by OS without burdening the user with several device-
dependent details. Similarly, several software packages can be stored on disk or tape and
can be executed by giving simple instructions to OS. In large computer systems, OS also
provides a multi-user working environment. Security through passwords, resource sharing,
accounting of system utilization, etc., are some of the additional tasks performed.
MS-DOS [Microsoft Disc Operating System] on IBM-compatible PCs and UNIX on
minis have become defacto industry standards. Because of this, the portability of software
and data files has increased enormously. Many computer manufacturers still offer proprietary
operating systems on their mini- and large computers.







Training manual for institute management 69


Computer languages
The CPU executes instructions stored in main memory by fetching and decoding them.
Therefore these instructions will have to be in binary code, the machine language of the
CPU. However, it is difficult to give instructions in machine language to handle even the
simplest of operations. We can express our problems better in natural language closer to our
application environment. Taking this into account, software developers have designed higher-
level computer languages (machine language being lower-level language) and developed
translators which translate instructions given in high-level language into machine language,
which then can be executed.
For scientific applications, languages such as FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslation),
COBOL (COmmon Business-Oriented Language) and BASIC (Beginners All-purpose
Symbolic Instruction Code) have been developed. The American National Standards Institute
(ANSI) has also developed standard specifications for these languages. In addition to these,
a language called PASCAL (named after the scientist) was developed by computer scientists
to promote better discipline in program writing, called structured programming. Languages
such as Prolog (PROgramming LOGic) for artificial intelligence applications and language
C/C + + for developing applications involving the use of basic system resources have become
popular.
To be able to use any of these languages, we need to have the language translator
software called a compiler or interpreter needed to execute programs written in a higher
level language. Compilers or interpreters for the same language will be different for different
computer operating environments. Depending on the requirements, we need to acquire these
software systems.
All these languages were offered on the early mini- and large computers. Today they
are all available on PCs and micro-based mini-systems. Some of the popular language
processors available on PCs are Turbo Pascal, MicroSoft C, Quick BASIC, MicroSoft
COBOL, Micro Focus COBOL, and Turbo Prolog. These language processors offer in-built
editing features and efficient compilation techniques to improve programmer productivity and
run-time efficiency.


Electronic spreadsheets
Electronic spreadsheet software are considered a software marvel, which has brought
computers closer to end-users. With a matrix-like column-row interface and cell positioning
through directional keys, users can enter data in the form of text, numbers and formulae into
specified cell addresses, and specify the relationships between the cells. Financial, statistical
and mathematical functions supported by these packages offer model building capabilities to
end-users. Graphics features enable improved presentation of results and data. Data
management functions provide good interfaces with spreadsheet databases. Table handling
facilities such as table look up and result tabulation by substitution of the given values in the
specified cells enable the user to perform 'What-if?' analyses. These features qualify the
spreadsheet packages to be used as DSS generators (software systems that facilitate the
development of DSS) in a limited sense. Today these packages are extensively used in cash
flow projections, project investment analysis, budgeting and business planning. They have
almost replaced the use of conventional programming languages for those applications which
can be modelled as spreadsheets. To give an example in the area of materials management,







Module 6 Session 3 Computers as management tools


electronic spreadsheet packages are widely used in the generation of comparative statements,
consumption budgeting exercises and A-B-C analysis.
Popular electronic spreadsheet packages are VISI-CALC, Lotus 1-2-3, VP Planner,
Multi-Plan, Super Calc, Excel, Quattro, Softpro-456 and IFPS.


Data management systems
Data management software facilitates development of data processing systems with user-
convenient interfaces. Facilities offered by these packages include data creation,
manipulation, processing, organization, query processing and report generation. Data
management packages available on PCs are directly responsible for development of effective
de-centralized information systems. Users can participate actively in the design, development
and use of computer-based information systems because of the simple interfaces provicled by
these packages. The command- and programming-level features enable the packages to be
used as generators for data-oriented, decision-support systems. Popular data management
packages on PCs are dBASE IV, RBASE, Reflex, INGRESS and ORACLE.


Integrated packages
In a number of situations, the user is required to use features offered by electronic
spreadsheets, data management packages and word processors together to solve a problem.
Integrated software systems offer all these features through one package and offer a
convenient programming language. They also eliminate the need for transferring data from
one package to another. They are the ideal DSS generators. Popular integrated packages
are FRAMEWORK II, Symphony, Focus and Farsight.


Operations research and statistics
Packages for operations research and statistics enable the user to solve optimization,
forecasting and simulation problems. LINDO, GINO, SPSS/PC+, RATS and SLAM are
some of the popular packages.


Project management
Project-management software packages offer facilities to accept project network data, perform
resource analysis, scheduling, cost analysis and generate reports to aid project monitoring.
Popular project management packages are Harvard Total Project Management, Time Line,
MS Project, INSTAPLAN and PRISM.


Computer aided design
CAD packages provide features such as automatic dimensioning, projections, hatching, 3-D
visualization and standard libraries of designs. Popular CAD packages are AUTOCAD,
PRODESIGN-II and Generic CAD.







Training manual for institute management


Computer aided software engineering
Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) packages are tools which improve the
productivity of designing and developing information systems. They provide a structured
systems analysis and design environment and accept systems specifications in the form of data
flow diagrams, record layouts, entity-relationship diagrams, structured charts, systems flow
charts and screen layouts. CASE tools automatically document systems specifications entered
by the analyst and generate a number of analysis reports and diagrams. They provide
features like prototyping, screen painting, validation of data flow diagrams and generation
of record layouts in COBOL, dBASE IV or Pascal. Popular CASE tools are Yourdon Tool
Kit, Nastec Design Aid, MEGA, Execlerator, Structsoft and TURBO ANALYST.


Presentation systems
Presentation software systems assist the user to produce electronic slides involving text and
pictures, to capture from other software packages, and cut and paste from picture libraries.
The packages can be used for classroom instruction, seminars, workshops and boardroom
presentations.


Word processing and desk-top publishing
An application that came into prominence with the availability of inexpensive hardware is
word processing. Word processing packages offer facilities to create, edit and present textual
information. Cut-and-paste features, underlining, boldfacing and alignment features greatly
simplify the preparation of final versions of documents. Facilities such as mail merge, spell
checking, generation of table of contents, indexing, etc., greatly enhance the power of these
packages. Wordstar, WordPerfect and WORD are some of the popular word processing
packages.
Desk-top publishing (DTP) is a related application which addresses problems such as
development of page layouts, selection of fonts and inclusion of graphic objects in addition
to word processing. Pagemaker and Ventura are two popular DTP software systems.
Recent developments in microcomputer technology and user-oriented software products
offer enormous opportunities for improving the quality of decision making. They have
provided excellent scope for developing convenient interfaces with databases, data analysis
models and graphics so that the user can use the computer as a decision-support aid,
accommodating personal styles in the analysis and interpretation of data. There is wide scope
for using computers as a management tool in any organization.







72 Module 6 Session 3 Computers as management tools


COMPUTER APPLICATIONS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH


Recent developments in computer technology can be exploited to excellent effect in various
facets of agricultural research. Consider the tasks associated with management of agricultural
research.
The director of a typical institution conducting agricultural research would have to
manage the major areas of:
research,
training, and
administration.
In research, computers can assist in management, primarily in the areas of project
management and analysis of research data.


Project management
Formulation of projects for agricultural research involves extensive searches of literature and
development of a technically feasible proposal.
Computers can offer support in the task of literature search through information retrieval
systems in libraries. A good information retrieval system which offers selection and retrieval
of related work on the topic of research interest can greatly enhance the work of research.
If a network service is available, connecting libraries of related organizations, the scope of
the task can be further enhanced. One library network package available for PCs is
CDS/ISIS, distributed by UNESCO. Apart from this, there are a number of other packages
for this service.
Tasks like working out project budgets, time frames and generation of proposal reports
can be aided with the help of electronic spreadsheets, data management systems and word
processing, which facilitate development and presentation of different alternatives with
relative ease.
Monitoring and bookkeeping activities related to project finances (grants and
expenditures) can be aided through accounting packages developed using data management
systems. Several useful reports for internal record keeping as well as for submission to
funding agencies can be generated by these packages. Any of the project management
software systems listed earlier would offer comprehensive analysis and reporting features.
Users should be acquainted with formal project management concepts in order to use these
packages effectively.


Research data analysis
Use of computers for data analysis is not new to agricultural research scientists. Statistical
techniques such as regression analysis, discriminant analysis and factor analysis are used
widely in research studies. These were performed using minis or mainframe computers in
the past. Today every researcher can perform these analyses for reasonably large-sized







Training manual for institute management 73


problems more easily on PCs with the help of the .user-friendly packages described earlier.
Where necessary, more complex analyses can be performed using advanced statistical and
operations research packages. Area planning applications can use graphic software. GIS
packages can assist researchers to generate alternatives by performing complex data analyses
of spatial information and displaying the solutions on maps. Research studies relating to
monitoring applications can also benefit from thematic mapping software systems in reducing
the cumbersome mapping tasks.


Training
Training in the context of agricultural research involves development of case studies based
on research and associated experiences in the field. Preparation of teaching material can be
assisted by computers through data analysis, data management and packages performing the
transfer of data from one package to another, and then using word processing and DTP for
reports and didactic material preparation. Cases can be updated easily if they are maintained
in computer memories.
By using a computer-connected projection system, presentations in seminars, workshops
and classrooms can be made more effective, either by presenting live situations of data
analysis, or by presenting an electronic slide show. Such teaching modules can be easily
exchanged among instructors and made available for wider dissemination.


Administration
A large number of administrative functions related to agricultural research projects can be
assisted by computers.


Financial accounting
Preparation of financial statements through processing of revenue and expenditure documents
on a day-to-day basis can be done by computers. Such systems offer correct and up-to-date
statements on the financial position of the institution. A detailed project accounting statement
giving the expenditure under different budgetary heads can also be generated using the same
data. Such details help the project coordinator to work out a financial plan.


Employee payroll
Generation of employee payslips and associated accounting statements is a fairly common and
well accepted application of computers.
Processing of basic salaries, allowances and recoveries to generate pay-slips would also
facilitate automatic preparation of various statements to be sent to external agencies like
insurance, provident funds and banks. Similar statements can also be prepared for various
internal servicing units, including the telephone department for telephone charges recovered,
hostel on the amount of hostel bill recovered, cooperative society on loan amounts recovered,
and personnel and accounts department on the recovery of various loans sanctioned by the
organization.







74 Module 6 Session 3 Computers as management tools


Payroll systems can also assist management by facilitating the study of the financial
implications of various wage revision schemes. The system, with some extensions, can also
be used in wage negotiation exercises.


Personnel information system
Personnel information systems, which contain the basic data on various employees of the
organization, can assist the personnel department in planning and execution of human
resources development activities and employee welfare schemes by providing vital
information on employee background, such as educational qualifications, training and past
experience. Availability or gaps in human resources can be estimated easily. Future
scenarios can be developed under various policy options to help the organization develop
long-range plans.


Library systems
Administrative services of the library, such as circulation and document acquisition systems,
can be effectively aided by computer-based systems. Operational efficiency and user services
can be significantly improved through such systems. The circulation system can assist in
locating books in circulation, generating loan records, overdue statements and usage
frequency of library materials. The acquisition system keeps track of books procurement.
In the case of periodicals, the system can keep track of receipt of volumes and assist in
follow-up procedures.
Qualitative improvement to the services provided to researchers can be accomplished by
using computerized indexing and information retrieval systems. Such systems can provide
selected retrieval of information on recent acquisitions as well as acquisitions as of a given
date for any given author, subject, publication, keyword, etc. Sharing and access of similar
information from other libraries is feasible through computer networks.


Management information system
Information about achievements and use of resources compared with targets and budgets can
be prepared through computer-based systems maintaining information on various activities
of the organization. Such reports help management in taking timely corrective actions (if
needed) and guide it toward efficient use of resources. Systems can be developed to aid in
the planning and monitoring tasks of departmental heads by providing them with information
on activities desired at specific intervals.


Other systems
The applications presented above are not exhaustive. Depending on the volume of data,
complexity of procedures or need for quick retrieval of data, computer applications would
vary. Systematic development of systems with the correct, open perspective can bring
desired results through the use of information technology. The next section deals with
approaches to the use of computers in organizations.







Training manual for institute management 75


A FRAMEWORK FOR DE-CENTRALIZED USE OF COMPUTERS


With the prices of microcomputers coming down and the systems becoming more and more
user-friendly, use of microcomputers in a de-centralized set-up has been steadily increasing.
PCs are used in a number of de-centralized data processing and decision-support applications.
In this section we discuss two types of use in detail.


Systems for data processing
One of the most common applications of microcomputers in a de-centralized set-up is data
processing. These applications are developed for either regular use or prototyping.


Regular data processing systems
Since software available on PCs makes it possible to develop data processing systems with
less effort, one is often tempted to develop systems for regular use. These systems can,
however, be successfully implemented only if the security and integrity features, which are
weak in PCs, are achieved through externally imposed data access discipline, i.e., by
following certain norms for accessing database files and by establishing procedures of back
up and recovery. Normally such externally imposed discipline would function well if the
systems are managed by individuals or by close-knit groups. Special efforts are, however,
required to extend PC-based data processing systems to a general-user environment, because
it is difficult to impose security and integrity disciplines externally on a large group of users.
Advanced PCs which offer UNIX-like operating systems and advanced database management
systems are one solution to this problem. Today, a large number of organizations are
adopting this approach. Quite a few data processing applications are developed and regularly
used for processing using PCs.


Prototype information systems
Development of illustrative systems in pilot projects is another popular use of PCs. Using
end-user software packages, it is possible to develop, easily and quickly, a live model of an
information system, involving all steps of information processing. Such systems can be
subjected to field tests through installation in the pilot project areas. Experiences of using
the system and suggestions for improvement can be documented. Subsequently, the main
system can be developed using the appropriate technology, taking into consideration the
experiences and suggestions resulting from use of the prototype. Prototyping in this form
also facilitates user education and improves user participation in the computerization process.


Systems for decision support
From earlier discussions, it is evident that there is no dearth of software tools available on
PCs to develop systems to assist the decision-maker. In fact, users have to prepare
themselves to meet the challenge of utilizing the power offered by inexpensive and yet
powerful information technology.







76 Module 6 Session 3 Computers as management tools


To design systems for decision support in planning, users should acquire model building
and optimization skills. To design decision support systems for monitoring, users should
acquire a feel for numbers and develop better indicators of performance using advanced
statistical techniques. In both cases, development of aesthetic screen interfaces is an art to
be acquired through experience. There are a number of instances where users have
developed powerful decision support systems using end-user software without the assistance
of systems specialists. However, beyond a certain level of complexity, users need to acquire
system design and programming skills. More importantly, users should concentrate on
acquiring the modern tools of problem solving in their problem domain to use the micro-
computer technology to its fullest potential in a de-centralized set-up.
Systems for evaluating alternatives in project appraisals, project monitoring, profitability
analysis, market research studies, production scheduling, inventory management, purchasing,
portfolio management, advertising and engineering design are some examples of PC-based
decision support systems.


System development strategies
Two approaches are generally used in the development of computer-based systems in a de-
centralized environment.
In the first approach the traditional a centralized department, such as a computer
services department, develops systems and installs them on PCs. This approach has all the
advantages of using expert skills in developing systems which are vital to the successful
implementation of complex application systems. If systems so developed meet most of the
user requirements, their acceptance should be high, primarily because:
users interact directly with the systems for solutions; and
users can enhance the system at local level by use of simple add-ons based on use of
peripheral applications developed using the computer and end-user software on hand.
Major limitations in this approach are:
it may not ensure total translation of users' requirements into the computer system
because of imperfect communication between systems developers and users; and
users may not wholeheartedly endorse the systems which are not developed by they
themselves.
In the second approach, users themselves develop their applications with the help of end-user
software packages like electronic spreadsheets and data management systems. In this case,
since the problem context is very well known to the developers, the effort involved in
completely translating the users' requirements into a computer-based system is minimal. It
can be expected that such systems get implemented smoothly since users are the owners of
the system. It should also be possible for users to introduce improvements to the system
from time to time. The current trend in a number of organizations is to encourage this
approach.
Some problems likely in this approach are:
excessive de-centralization might lead to data indiscipline, making system integration a
difficult task. Each department and individual might develop individual coding schemes,








Training manual for institute management 77


define their own data fields and the types and sizes of data to be handled. Sharing such
data would be difficult if proper standards are not evolved and enforced;
lack of systems analysis and design skills in users might result in the development of half-
baked products. Systems which are not thoroughly tested might be put into use while
users are totally ignorant of any bugs in the system. Systems developed must therefore
be subjected to rigorous checking by others not associated with development before
releasing them for regular use;
de-centralization may lead to disintegration if each individual solves his or her problem
in isolation. One might develop an efficient system within a very narrow scope of a
department or individual, but, in a number of cases, such solutions probably turn out
to be inefficient solutions overall;
users may tend to be possessive of 'their' systems and databases, and may not share them
with others; and
lack of exposure to decision analysis and model building techniques might result in the
development of mundane applications, where the value added to processed data is
negligible. Users might waste their energy in playing with computers to developing
more cosmetic features rather than objectively analysing results and taking the necessary
development action.
In spite of the above dangers, development of applications by users is an ideal solution to
increase users' involvement in information processing in organizations. Perhaps a mixed
approach is desirable. Based on the organization culture, each organization will have to work
out a strategy of information processing and cautiously blend technology with de-
centralization. A core group from management services, computer services and user
departments could analyse the issues and work out a strategy to take advantage of
developments in information technology.


MANAGEMENT OF THE COMPUTER SERVICES FUNCTION
In this section we discuss the issues related to the management of computer services. These
are covered under three broad headings:
Organization of computer services.
Acquisition of computer resources.
Performance monitoring and expansion.


Organization of computer services
Normally computer services are managed by a professionally trained group within the
organization. Such a group would include computer services managers, systems analysts,
programmers, computer operators and data-entry operators. These professionals have
computer hardware, software and applications backgrounds to provide information processing
services to the organization. The department could have various titles, including the
Computer Services Department or the Electronic Data Processing Department. The
department is normally attached as a staff function to the managing director or general
manager. In organizations where the management services function exists, computer







78 Module 6 Session 3 Computers as management tools



Figure 2 A typical computer services department staffing pattern


professionals are included as a part of this function. A typical staffing pattern appears as
Figure 2.
The main function of a computer services department is to analyse information
requirements of the organization, identify the areas where computers can be used to bring
tangible or intangible benefits, and design and implement computer-based systems in the
identified areas. Training users in data entry and interpreting results generated by the system
would be a major responsibility. This department should also be responsible for maintenance
and upgrading of the systems (hardware, system software and application software). Since
the technology is developing fast, it is necessary that this department undertakes a market
survey of information technology from time to time and suggest ways of adopting new
technology.
In the staffing chart presented as Figure 2, maintenance of hardware, installation of
system software, development of new systems facilities and training of users on system
resource utilization could be vested in the systems analysts) [systems].
The task of developing new application packages and providing programming assistance
to researchers and administrators could be assigned to systems analysts) [applications].
These three section heads are assisted by programmers and computer and data-entry
operators in accomplishing their tasks. They report to the computer services manager.







Training manual for institute management 79


The office assistant provides record keeping services to the computer services manager,
in addition to assisting in procuring, stocking and issuing consumable items like paper, floppy
disks, printer ribbons and cartridges, software manuals and essential computer spares. A
separate computer library could be created, if the number of books and software manuals is
large.
The precise number of staff member needed for each of these positions will have to be
worked out based on the requirements of the organization. All staff must have formal
professional qualifications. They should be able to work with computer systems in a
methodical way, with perfect clarity. End users developing applications for their own use
need not be computer specialists, but must respect the operating protocols and data integrity
requirements established by the system controller.
Developments in computer technology today encourage de-centralized use of computers.
The computer services department will have to see its changed role as a catalyst in promoting
modern techniques in data processing and data analysis, and as auditor of data processing
practices in the de-centralized set-up. This is in addition to its role of developing centralized
databases and information systems.


ACQUISITION OF COMPUTER RESOURCES


A detailed exercise may be necessary for most organizations wishing to evolve a strategy for
adoption of information technology. The exercise would include study of requirements,
design of a suitable configuration, scheme of acquisition and selection of systems. The
following sections describe these processes.


Requirements analysis and configuration
Design of a suitable computer configuration is fundamental to the use of computer in manage-
ment. Computer services departments, if they exist, or expert consultants should be invited
to design a suitable configuration, with approximate cost estimates. The alternatives
discussed in the earlier sections, such as stand-alone systems, work stations, minicomputer
with terminals, PCs in a LAN or WAN, etc., will have to be evaluated in the context of
organizational needs. Application needs and availability of suitable software generally
become vital factors in configuration design. It is always desirable to start with a good
software base, since it determines the pace at which applications can be developed and users
can be involved in the computerization process. A reliable hardware-software combination
is essential for successful computerization.
Requirements analysis is an elaborate exercise, involving almost all the members of the
organization. The professional group entrusted with the task of designing a suitable computer
configuration should hold discussions with all the relevant members of the organization and
try to understand the practices of information management as they exist in the institution.
Methods to improve these practices with the help of appropriate information technology will
be worked out by the group. Any special computing requirements will also be taken into
consideration at this stage. A detailed exercise of this nature is necessary to develop a
strategy for the use of information technology in the organization as a whole. This ensures
proper introduction of information technology and effective use of the system.






80 Module 6 Session 3 Computers as management tools


A phased approach to acquisition and introduction of computers is normally adopted in
cases where experience in the use of computers is limited within the organization. Unless
it is estimated that the full configuration will be utilized within a year, it is not desirable to
acquire a large configuration of hardware and software, since the rate of developments in
technology may render these systems obsolete before the organization is ready to use them.


Selection of computer systems
The effort necessary for the selection of hardware and software depends upon the configur-
ation decided upon. While the prime consideration for selecting a PC may be limited to the
availability of good after-sales service, it is quite complex for mini- and large computer
systems, and for systems involving use of recent processors, peripheral devices and software
products. Even in the case of PCs, the software selection exercise may have to be done
extensively for advanced software products.
It is perhaps the power of the machine and how well the operating system and
application software can exploit it in a desired configuration which determine the selection
of minis and large systems.


Initial screening
Data on comparative performances of hardware and software products can be obtained
independently from standard computer magazines. Any user experience, if available, in the
neighbourhood will be a valuable input for evaluation. These inputs along with vendor
supplied information may be tabulated to prepare a short list for detailed consideration.
Data may include hardware characteristics such as speed, capacity, expandability and
method of interconnection of processor, memory and input-output devices. The model and
make of these units are equally important inputs.
Ease of use, features supported, ease of data conversion, efficiency of implementation,
etc., are some dimensions by which data on software may tabulated for comparison. These
inputs will have to be collected for each important software package, including operating
systems, language processors, end-user packages and special purpose application software
systems.
Vendors offering comparatively superior hardware and software products for the
specified computer configuration can be shortlisted for detailed performance evaluation.


Performance evaluation
To evaluate the performance of shortlisted systems, a detailed study using benchmark test
programs will have to be carried out.
These studies involve development of a large number of prototype programs (around 20
to 30) running in the proposed hardware-software environment. These benchmark programs
will have to be run in several experiments on the proposed equipment.
Observations such as smooth performance of the system (easy navigable, no
breakdowns, no hang-ups, etc.) and knowledge of system engineers concerning the hardware







Training manual for institute management 81


and software may be given equal importance to elapsed and execution times required to run
the test programs.
Benchmark data may be used to evaluated the vendors using either of approaches. Either
assign interval scores to each vendor on each criterion and multiply this score by the
weights of the criteria. Add these weighted scores to produce a final weighted total.
Use these totals to rank order the systems. This scheme works right when the weights
are judiciously chosen and the resultant totals are not too close; or
prepare a brief scenario of how the organization would function with each proposed
system. These scenarios would illustrate efforts required in using the proposed system
along with the associated costs and benefits. The decision making body can then rank
these scenarios and choose the most desirable one.


Final selection
In addition to benchmark results, the market image and service reputation of the vendor are
other important points to be considered while selecting computer systems. Detailed techno-
economic evaluation may be necessary after this stage.
Since computer selection is a specialized task, it is advisable to engage professional
consultants to select complex hardware/software systems involving large budgets.


Performance monitoring and expansion
Monitoring the performance of computer services is as important as monitoring other
functions. It is perhaps more complex because of the several issues, including:
the manager of the computer services function has a wide variety of subordinates, ranging
from highly technical computer personnel to clerical personnel;
the department is responsible for a broad range of activities, from creative system design
to routine clerical tasks;
the department has an impact on many areas of the organization; and
the manager is responsible for major investment in hardware and software.
Given these points, top management should see the manager of the computer services
department as a change agent and give support to the manager's activities within the
organization.
Management will have to evolve policy guidelines for data retention, privacy and
security. These areas have significant bearing on cost, legal and societal implications.
Auditing computer procedures is essential to ensure adequate control for computer-based
systems. Some illustrations of audit controls are: maintenance of control logs for input and
output; records of job run, beginning, ending, errors, re-starts and re-runs; file back-up
procedures; program back-up procedures; back-up arrangement for processing with another
organization; insurance for re-creating bad files; disk and tape library controls; system
documentation; user documentation; and operator documentation.







82 Module 6 Session 3 Computers as management tools


Performance of the computer services department can be influenced by reviewing the
performance of existing systems, including users, in the design of new systems and training
of the staff of user departments.
Based on these inputs, an expansion plan may be worked out. The plan could include
the expansion of the computer services department in terms of augmentation of manpower
or equipment. A detailed exercise may be necessary in the case of equipment expansion to
take advantage of developments in information technology.


LITERATURE REFERENCES FOR FURTHER READING


Bodily, E.S. 1985. Modern Decision Making. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Chien. 1989. Introduction to Micro-computers and Applications. Homewood, IL: Irwin.
Condon, J.R. 1987. Data Processing Systems Analysis and Design. New Delhi:
Prentice-Hall of India.
Grauer, T.R., & Sugrue, K.P. 1987. Micro Computer Applications. New York, NY:
McGraw-Hill.
Haueisen, D.W., & Camp, L.J. 1988. Business Systems for Micro Computers. New
Delhi: Prentice-Hall of India.
Lucas, H.C., Jr. 1984. Managing Information Services. London: Macmillan.
Lucas, H.C., Jr. 1984. Information Systems Concepts for Management. New
York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Norton, P. 1989. Inside the IBM PC. New Delhi: Prentice-Hall of India.
Pratt, W.T. 1983. Programming Languages. New Delhi: Prentice-Hall of India.
Sanders, H.D. 1988. Computers Today. 3' ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Senn, J.A. 1989. Analysis and Design of Information Systems. New York, NY:
McGraw-Hill.


Computer magazines
Byte, published by McGraw-Hill Inc., New York.
Computers Today, published by Living Media Ltd., New Delhi.
Dataquest, published by Cyber Media (India) Pvt Ltd., New Delhi.
PC Magazine, published by Ziff-Davis Publishing Company, New York.







Training manual for institute management 83


DATE


TIME


FORMAT Plenary participatory lecture


TRAINER



OBJECTIVES
At the end of this session, participants will have been introduced to:
1. Principles of networking.
2. Computation of the critical path and slack times.
3. Crashing of activities to reduce project duration.
4. Using the Critical Path Method (CPM) as a planning and monitoring tools.


Module 6 Session 4


Network techniques







84 Module 6 Session 4 Network techniques


INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS


Exhibit 1
Exhibit 2
Exhibit 3
Exhibit 4
Exhibit 5
Exhibit 6
Exhibit 7
Exhibit 8
Exhibit 9
Exhibit 10
Exhibit 11
Exhibit 12
Exhibit 13
Exhibit 14
Exhibit 15


Concept of a network
Activities and events
Activities and events in a project plan
Network for Exhibit 3.
Illustration: Time estimates for activities
Illustration: Incorporating time estimates in the network
Illustration: Different paths through the network
Computing earliest start and finish time
Computing latest start and finish time
Illustration: Earliest and latest time estimates
Total and free slack time
Illustration: Partial network
Slack time estimates
Illustration: Time and cost estimates
Time scale network


REQUIRED READING

Reading note: Network techniques




BACKGROUND READING

1. Wiest, J.D., & Levy, F.K. 1972. A Management Guide to PERT/CPM. New
Delhi: Prentice-Hall of India.
2. Baker, B.N., & Eris, R.L. 1964. An Introduction to PERT/CPM. Homewood,
IL: Irwin.




SPECIAL EQUIPMENT AND AIDS

Overhead projector and chalkboard







Training manual for institute management 85


NETWORK TECHNIQUES


This is a technique-oriented session, and best handled by working through an illustration.
In order to be ready with all the calculations, the resource person should beforehand have
worked through the example given in EXHIBIT 3.
Initiate discussion by asking participants whether they have been able to draw a project
graph for the relationships presented in Table 1. Chances are that some of them may have
drawn fairly neat graphs while others may have graphs which are difficult to read since lines
cross each other blurring the relationships between various activities. At this stage, introduce
the concept of network.
Show EXHIBIT 1, explain what a network is, and discuss the components of a network.
A network is composed of activities and events. Show EXHIBIT 2. Activities represent a
definite stage of work for the project. They have to be sequenced in order of given technical
or other relationships. Activities may be real or dummy. Dummy activities are used solely
to establish relationships and are of no consequence in terms of time or resources. Each
activity consists of a beginning and an end. Events represent a definite point in a total
project. Events occur instantaneously and have no duration. They consume neither time nor
resources. Draw diagrams of activities and events to illustrate these concepts. Observe that
while activities are denoted by arrows, events are shown by circles in a project network.
Using the concepts of activities and events, draw a network for the illustration' given
as EXHIBIT 3. It is preferable to draw the network in stages, encouraging class participation.
Once the network has been drawn (EXHIBIT 4), observe that it:
shows all the stipulated sequential relationships;
has a beginning and an end; and
there are various ways to traverse it from beginning to the end.


1. The example and its solution are taken from pages 141-151 in: Gupta, V.K., Asopa, V.N., Gaikwad, V.R.,
& Kalro, A.H. No date. Planning RuralDevelopment Projects in Laos: A Guide. New Delhi: ILO-ARTEP.


Module 6 Session 4

Session guide






Module 6 Session 4 Network techniques


Observe that several activities can be conducted simultaneously, allowing project duration to
be reduced. One does not have to wait for one activity to be completed before initiating
another activity unless there is a predecessor relationship. Besides, different times taken by
various activities may provide some advantages.
Discuss the need for estimating time for each activity. Note that we may have either
a definite knowledge of the time required for an activity or onle an estimate of time.
Introduce the concepts underlying Critical Path Method (CPM) and the Programme
Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) models. Observe that PERT incorporates
uncertainty and controls cost through control of time. In contrast, CPM brings costs into
direct consideration. CPM is more suited for institute management and can be used as a
planning, monitoring and controlling tool. In contrast, PERT is more appropriate for
scientific research projects which involve a high level of uncertainty concerning activity
times. Depending on whether PERT or CPM is being used, we can estimate time for each
activity. For the PERT model we first obtain optimistic, pessimistic and most likely time
estimates, and then compute an expected time, as discussed in the note. Since the discussion
in the session concentrates on CPM, we have assumed normal time estimates.
Incorporate into the network the time estimates for the individual activities given in
EXHIBIT 5. Show EXHIBIT 6, which is the network with time estimates. Now ask
participants how many routes are there from event 1 to event 9. This is tantamount to
completing the entire project through all its activities. Let them work through the various
paths. There are six different paths (EXHIBIT 7) and the longest one has a total time of 36.2
months. This is called the critical path. Discuss the important features of the critical path.
Observe that, while activities on the critical path are being completed within the stipulated
time, activities on the other paths (called slack paths) will also be pursued simultaneously and
completed during that period. Since the critical path is the longest path, it represents the
minimum time required for completing the project. If a project network is modified, the
critical path may also change.
Show EXHIBIT 8 and introduce the concept of earliest start and finish times. Note that
we compute these in order to gain a better understanding of the interrelationship between
various project activities and to try to reduce or control project duration.
Earliest start and finish times are calculated using a forward computation method.
Earliest start time is the earliest time that a project activity can be initiated. Obviously, this
will depend on completion of the predecessor activities. Add to the earliest start time the
time required to complete that particular activity. This gives the earliest finish time. Using
the relationships shown in EXHIBIT 8, compute earliest start and finish time for individual
activities in the network.
Show EXHIBIT 9 and introduce the concept of latest start and finish times. These are
calculated using backward computation: we start with the completion time of objective event
(9) for last activity i (8, 9) and work backward. Using the relationships shown in EXHIBIT 9,
compute the latest start and finish times for the network. Note that one may compute either
the earliest or the latest time estimates. Both need not be computed. The resource person
should do these calculations on the board, activity by activity, for the entire network. Show
EXHIBIT 10, where these values are tabulated.
Show EXHIBIT 11 and introduce the concept of slack time. Slack may be total or free.
Total slack is the difference between the latest and earliest start times of an activity. It can
also be calculated as the difference between the latest and earliest finish times. Free slack







Training manual for institute management 87


is the difference between the earliest finish time of an activity and the earliest of the early
start times of all its immediate successors. Illustrate the calculation using the partial network
in EXHIBIT 12. Use the data on early and late start and finish times given in EXHIBIT 10 and
calculate total and free slacks. Incorporate these estimates in the network, as shown in
EXHIBIT 13. Note that activities on the critical path will have no slack time. It follows then
that activities which are not on the critical path probably have some slack time. Knowing
this helps when scheduling activities. The strategy should be to concentrate on activities on
the critical path by taking advantage of the knowledge of slack available on activities which
are not on the critical path.
Discuss the need for reducing project duration. At this stage, it would be useful to
discuss time and cost relationships as a prelude to crashing the network. Recall that the CPM
model has definite time estimates for each activity. In some cases this time can be reduced
by providing more support and resources. This is called crashing. Show EXHIBIT 14 and
use the data on crashing time and cost to illustrate the process of crashing stage by stage.
This should be done with the help of EXHIBIT 15. Observe that, for obvious reasons, only the
activities on the critical path will be considered for crashing. Thus, only activities e, h and
a should be crashed. We will begin with the activity which has the smallest cost per unit of
time. Stage-by-stage crashing should be shown and discussed. As EXHIBIT 15 shows, we
begin with the original network (Chart I) and then crash activity e from 4.1 to 2.1 weeks at
a cost of Rs 240 per week. This reduces the project duration or the length of the critical path
from 36.2 to 34.2 months (Chart II in EXHIBIT 15). Next, we crash activity h from 5 to 4
weeks at a cost of Rs 300 per week; this further reduces the length of the critical path by
another week, from 34.2 to 33.2 months (Chart III in EXHIBIT 15).
Finally, we crash activity a from 8 to 6 weeks at a cost of Rs 450 per week and that
reduces the project duration to 31.2 weeks (Chart IV in EXHIBIT 15).
Before concluding the session, ask participants whether there are limits to crashing.
Obviously, the cost of crashing imposes a limit. In addition, technical requirements may also
limit the potential for time reduction.










TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 4


EXHIBIT 1


THE CONCEPT OF A NETWORK




A network digram is a graphical representation of all
the activities of a project, placing thm in their proper
sequence and with all interdependencies clearly
established. The network diagram provides a complete
picture of the project.







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 4


EXHIBIT 2


ACTIVITIES & EVENTS





Activities

* Real or dummy
* Predecessor-sucessor relationship
* Represented by arrows




Events

* Instantaneous occurrence
* Denotes the beginning or end of an activity
* Represented by circles
* Burst or merge events


Event Activity Merge Burst
event event


a







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 6 Session 4


EXHIBIT 3


Illustration:
ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS IN A PROJECT PLAN


ACTIVITY EVENT
Stage
of work Identi- Prede- Suc- Identi- Prede- Suc-
fication cessor cessor fiction cessor cessor

1 a b,d (1,2) 2 2
2 b a c (2,3) 2 3
3 c b e (3,4) 3 4
4 d a e (2,4) 2 4
5 e c,d f,g,h (4,5) 4 5
6 f e j (5,6) 5 6
7 g e k (5,7) 5 7
8 h e i (5,8) 5 8
9 i h (8,9) 8 9
10 j f i (6,8) 6 8
11 k g i (7,8) 7 8


Source: pp. 141-151 in: Gupta, V.K., Asopa, V.N., Gaikwad, V.R., &
Kalro, A.H. No date. Planning Rural Development Projects in Laos: A
Guide. New Delhi: ILO-ARTEP.




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