Information can be specified as a compulsory element to be used in decision making in organisations. Decisions taken in organisations can be divided into two categories – strategic and operational, and each type of decision is associated with relevant information needs.
Specifically, decision making at a strategic level addresses issues that have long-term implications for the performance of the whole organisation in general. For example policy formulation, new market development, new product development, or decisions related to corporate social responsibility issues can be mentioned as instances for strategic decision making.
The type of information needed for strategic decision making may include market share, tendencies in global marketplace, consumer preferences, proposed changes in relevant legislation etc.
Operational decision making, on the other hand, relate to the type of decisions relating to daily operations that have implications to a particular department, not necessarily the whole organisation. Information needs for operational decision making may relate to regional sales data, supply-chain management for a specific product, or any other similar information.
Critical success factors (CSF) can be defined as “the limited number of areas in which satisfactory results will ensure successful competitive performance for the individual, department, or organisation” (Mard et al., 2004, p.114) and CSF can prove to be instrumental in determining organisational need for information.
The nature of CSF for any given organisation depends on a range of factors such as the type of industry, the level of competition, the source of competitive advantage for the firm etc.
For example, a CSF for a fast-food restaurant can be specified as reducing the duration of time a customer waits for his food without compromising the quality of the food. Accordingly, key decisions (KD) directly related to CSF for this specific business can be specified as deciding what goes into the menu of the fast-food restaurant, whereas information requirements (IR) relates to the duration of time required to prepare each individual item on the menu.
Mard, M.J., Dunne, R.R., Osborne, E. & Rigby, J.S. (2004) “Driving Your Company’s Value: Strategic Benchmarking for Value” John Wiley & Sons