Overview: An Evolution to Proactive Management
between static reporting and reporting using decision support
technology is important to understand. They are two distinct
ways of providing information to end-users who make management
decisions. Static reports gave rise to decision support technology
and the move has had an important impact on how organizations
manage--moving them from reactive management to proactive
For years and to this day, public and private industries have
relied on static reports for analyzing organizational data
in order to direct management decisions. Static reports are
typically generated from IT or MIS departments or similar
gatekeepers of organizational information as a result of the
need to centrally manage the large amounts of data generated
and captured during organizational operations.
Static reports have and continue to work to inform management,
but relying on static reports for management decisions is
problematic. The time it takes to generate a report in one
department to reach a decision based on the report in another
is typically long (see typical reporting
process in chart below for more detail). For the
private sector, this "delay to decisions" is costly.
It's inefficient and it's management after-the-fact,
not the best prescription for improving a company and its
To solve the problems associated with static reporting, new
technologies and tools, primarily computer based, were developed
to bring organizational data closer to the people that needed
it, when they needed it and in ways that facilitated analysis.
In the early 1970s these technologies and tools were coined
with the name decision support. Today, the term is
typically associated with software, as seen in the following
definition from Webster's.
Support- Software used to aid management decision
making, typically relying on a decision support database.
support software and many technologies over the past decade,
such as the Internet and powerful desktop PCs, has allowed
private-sector businesses to truly manage proactively by giving
management and key decision makers, at all levels in an organization,
access to information in ways never before imagined, when
they want it and where. It has made them more nimble in their
response to operational problem areas and made them more capable
of making more informed, effective and timely decisions for
continuous improvement. It has ultimately contributed to a
more successful operation.
by the 20+ year successful migration from static reporting
to decision support technology in the private sector and in
reaction to pressures for greater government accountability,
public sector organizations at all levels, are taking notice.
More and more public sector organizations are adopting the
technology and the mind set of proactive management,
all with their sights set on better programs and services.
If private sector successes are any indicator, their migration
should be no different.