You are working as an assistant to the Information Systems Manager (ISM) in a large organisation, as part of their management training scheme. The organisation wishes to redesign its information systems so that systems are more integrated to support strategic decision making. In order to do this, it needs to understand how information is gathered and used to support the different business functions.
In preparation for a discussion with the ISM he has asked you to write a report relating to the area of strategic decision making. This will involve considering the role, value and sources of information required in strategic decision making.
Your report must cover the following key information, within four sections.
Task 1 – The role of information systems
The introductory part of your report should set out the scope of the report and explain the importance of information in strategic decision making that aligns with business objectives.
You must write the first section of your report. You must evaluate:
- a) the role of information in supporting strategic decision making and the achievement of business objectives.
- b) the value of information in supporting strategic decision making and the achievement of business objectives.
LO1 Assessment Criterion 1.1
Task 2 – Sources of information to support strategic decision making
This section should look at the sources of information for strategic decision making and evaluate these sources. You should use examples of the information requirements and sources of information for strategic decisions in a range of organisations you have chosen to illustrate you answers.
You must write the second section of your report. You must:
- Identify a range of sources of information used for strategic decision making.
- Explain each source of information.
- Evaluate the strengths and limitations of each source.
To achieve a Merit you must add to the report an analysis of the information requirements for making a strategic decision in an organisation which you have selected.
To achieve a Distinction you must add to the report an assessment of the role of integrated information management systems in supporting strategic decision making in organisations. You should use specific examples to illustrate your answer.
LO1 Assessment Criteria 1.2, 1.3, 1M1, 1D1
Task 3 – Gathering information to support strategic decision making
In this section you will focus on the tools and techniques for gathering information and the potential barriers to gathering information for strategic decision making.
You must write the third section of your report. You must:
- Identify information gathering tools and techniques.
- Evaluate strengths and limitations of a range of information gathering tools and techniques to support strategic decision making.
- Analyse the potential barriers to gathering information for strategic decision making.
To achieve a Distinction you must add to the report an evaluation of the information gathering approaches used to gather information to support a strategic decision in an organisation you have selected.
LO2 Assessment Criteria 2.1, 2.2, 2D1
Task 4 – Using information to support strategic decision making
In this section, you should consider the use of information in strategic decision making and how information is validated, analysed, collated and presented as well as how information is used to make decisions.
You must write the fourth section of your report. You must:
- Assess the legal, regulatory, organisational and ethical guidelines used to validate information gathered for strategic decision making
- Discuss how information required to make strategic decisions should be analysed, collated and presented
- Explain how people make strategic decisions by using information
To achieve a Merit you must add to the report an assessment of how senior managers can use information to positively influence their teams in support of decisions made by senior managers.
LO3 Assessment Criteria 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3M1
Guidelines for assessors
The assignments submitted by learners must achieve the learning outcomes and meet the standards specified by the assessment criteria for the unit. To achieve a merit or distinction grade, the learners must demonstrate that they have achieved all the criteria set for these grades. Where work for the pass standard is marginal, assessors can take account of any extension work completed by the learners. The suggested evidence listed below is how learners can demonstrate that they have met the required standards.
|Task number||Assessment criteria||Suggested evidence
|Suggested evidence DISTINCTION|
|ALL||The learner must produce a well-structured formal report in a style appropriate for an Information Systems Manager..
The learner must exemplify relevant theory with actual practice in one or more selected organisations by using examples.
|1||1.1||The learner must explain the scope of the report and make a reasoned judgement about the role and value of using data to facilitate strategic decision making and the achievement of business objectives. This may include: explaining what strategic decision making is, how it fits in with other decision making in an organisation, the process of strategic decision making, examples of strategic decisions, the impact of effective or ineffective decision making, and how information is key to strategic decision making.|
|2||1.2, 1.3, 1M1, 1D1
|Learners must consider a range of both internal and external sources of information and consider the positive and negative aspects of each source. The evaluation should lead to personal judgements.
|The learner must identify a selected organisation which is known well or been researched. The learner must break down the information requirements which a particular organisation uses to make a strategic decision. The learner must then examine each part in detail.
Learners should use specific examples of information needed to make strategic decisions.
|The learner must use available information to make a judgement about the role of information systems which are connected to each other in aiding decision making at a strategic level|
|3||2.1, 2.2, 2D1||Learners must ascertain the characteristics of a range of tools and techniques such as management information systems, filtering methods, primary vs secondary research, qualitative vs quantitative data, questionnaires, employer and customer surveys, critical incidents, “what if” scenarios, decision modelling and creative thinking. They should consider the strengths and limitations of each tool and technique.
Learners must examine in detail the barriers to information gathering such as access to information in the right form, time constraints, resources available for gathering information and their impacts.
|The learners must examine the usefulness and weaknesses of different tools and techniques used to gather information to support the decision making process. They must select an appropriate organisation which is known well and where the relevant information has been gathered.
|4||3.1, 3.2, 3.2, 3M1||Learners must make a judgement about the impact on information for strategic decision making of guidelines regarding data protection confidentiality, GDPR, organisational policies, procedures and best practice, security.
Learners must give a detailed account of the validation of information relating to relevance, sufficiency, currency, bias and statistical analysis. The account should contain a range of views or opinions including contrasting perspectives. In this discussion of the analysis, collation and presentation of information, learners must consider audience needs and house format and style.
Learners must give a clear, detailed explanation of how information supports decision making.
|Learners will use available information to make a judgement about how senior managers can use information to persuade and encourage their teams to support management decisions taken. Learners should provide examples to support the points made.|