Improving information reporting in data-intensive organisations by determining individual data presentation preferences

Zastron, Carel Mauritz (2016-03)

Thesis (MEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Advancements in data capturing capabilities have allowed organisations to collect and store more data than at any other time in corporate history. However, researchers have found that a big proportion of this data is never used as managers often feel overwhelmed by the new volume of information that they need to process. An investigation into the human cognitive processes showed that the difficulty associated with interpreting information is influenced by the format in which the information is conveyed. The strain placed on an individual’s cognitive processes can be reduced in two ways. Firstly, by conveying information in a format with which the receiver is familiar. Secondly, by selecting a format which supports the task that needs to be completed using the information. These are often competing factors and traditionally report designers had to decide on one of the two approaches when designing reports. This study proposes an information encoding framework which considers both the preferences of the individuals receiving the information as well as the requirements of the task that needs to be completed using the information. A comprehensive literature review preceded the development of the framework and serves as the foundation for the steps proposed in the framework. Twenty managers from six different data-intensive industries were consulted to validate the framework. Of the managers consulted, 68% believed that some of the decisions made in their organisations are based on opinions rather than factual data, even when data is available. A mere 53% of the managers reported that they are satisfied with the way information is currently presented to them while all the managers indicated that reports tailored to their individual preferences would be of value to them. Finally, 95% of the managers consulted believed that the proposed information encoding framework could improve data communication in their organisations.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Verbeterings in datavaslegging laat organisasies toe om nou meer as ooit tevore in die korporatiewe geskiedenis meer data te versamel en te stoor. Navorsers het egter gevind dat ’n groot gedeelte van hierdie data nooit gebruik word nie aangesien bestuurders, deur die nuwe volumes inligting wat hulle moet prosesseer, oorweldig word. ’n Ondersoek na die menslike kognitiewe prosesse het getoon dat die uitdaging waarmee inligting geïnterpreteer word, deur die formaat waarin inligting oorgedra word, beïnvloed word. Die lading wat op ’n persoon se kognitiewe stelsel geplaas word, kan op twee maniere verminder word. Eerstens, deur inligting in ’n formaat oor te dra waarmee die ontvanger bekend is en tweedens, deur ’n formaat te kies wat die taak ondersteun wat deur die inligting voltooi moet word. Hierdie is egter twee meedingende faktore en die ontwerpers moes tradisioneel op een van die twee besluit toe verslae ontwerp is. Hierdie studie stel ’n inligtingkoderingsraamwerk voor wat beide die voorkeure van die individue asook die vereistes van die taak wat met behulp van die inligting voltooi moet word, oorweeg. Die ontwikkeling van die raamwerk word voorafgegaan deur ’n omvattende literatuuroorsig en dien as die grondslag vir die stappe in die voorgestelde raamwerk. Twintig bestuurders, uit ses verskillende data-intensiewe nywerhede, is geraadpleeg om die raamwerk te valideer. Agt-en-sestig persent van die bestuurders wat geraadpleeg is, glo dat sommige van die besluite in hulle organisasies op menings, eerder as feitlike data, gebaseer is - selfs wanneer daar feitlike data beskikbaar is. Slegs 53% van die bestuurders het aangedui dat hulle tevrede is met die wyse waarop data tans aan hulle voorgehou word en al die bestuurders was van mening dat verslae wat na hulle persoonlike voorkeure aangepas is, vir hulle van waarde sal wees. Laastens het 95% van die bestuurders wat geraadpleeg is, geglo dat die voorgestelde inligtingkoderingsraamwerk die kommunikasie van data in hulle organisasies kan verbeter.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98586
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