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The Farm Bank is an old and solid banking institution. Located in a regional marketing center, the bank has been active in all phases of banking, specializing in farm loans. The bank's president, Frank Swain, 62, has been with the bank for many years and is prominent in many circles.
The bank is organized into five departments with a senior vice president heading each of these departments. They have been with the bank for years and in general reflect a stable and conservative outlook. This organizational chart reflects the partial organizational structure of The Farm Bank.
This is something like an organizational chart.
VP VP VP VP VP VP
Savings MIS Loans Operations Trust Investments
The Management Information System
Two years ago, President Swain felt that the bank needed to modernize its operation, and with the approval of the board of directors (above President Swain), he decided to design and install a comprehensive management information system (MIS). The primary goal was to improve internal operations by supplying necessary information on a more expedited basis, thereby decreasing the time necessary to service customers. The system was also to be designed to provide economic operating data for top management planning and decision making. To head this department he selected Al Hassler, 58, a solid operations manager who had some knowledge and experience in the computer department.
After the system was designed and installed, Al hired a young woman as his assistant. Valerie Wyatt was a young M.B.A. With a strong systems analysis background. In addition to being the only women and considerably younger than any of the other managers at this level, Wyatt was also the only M.B.A.
In the time since the system installed, the MIS has printed thousands of pages of operating information, including reports to all vice presidents, all branch managers, and the president. The reports include weekly, monthly, and quarterly summaries and include cost of operations, projected labor costs, overhead costs, and projected earnings figures for each segment of the bank's operations.
The MIS Survey
Swain has been pleased with the system; however, he noticed little improvement in management operations. In fact, most of the older vice-presidents tended to make decisions and function pretty much as they had before the MIS was installed. Swain then decided to have Wyatt conduct a survey of the users to try to evaluate the impact and benefits of the new system. Wyatt was glad to undertake the survey, because she had long felt the system was too elaborate for the bank's needs. She sent out a questionnaire to all department heads, branch managers, and on, inquiring into the uses of the system.
As she began to assemble the survey data, a pattern began to emerge. In general, the majority of managers were strongly in favor of the system, but felt that modifications could be made. As Valerie analyzed the responses several trends and important points came out: (1) 93 percent reported they did not regularly use the reports because the information was not in a useful form, (2) 76 percent reported the printouts were hard to interpret, (3) 72 percent stated they received more data than they wanted, (4) 57 percent reported finding some errors and inaccuracies, and (5) 87 percent stated that they still kept manual records because they did not fully trust the MIS.
Valerie Wyatt finished her report and rushed into Al Hassler's office and handed him the report. Hassler slowly scanned the report and then said, "You've done a good job here, Val. But now that we have the system operating, I don't think we should upset the apple cart, do you? Let's just keep this to ourselves for the time being and perhaps we can correct most of these problems. I'm sure Frank wouldn't want to hear this kind of stuff. This system is his baby, so maybe we shouldn't rock the boat with this report.
Valerie reported to our on site consultant that she returned to her office feeling uncomfortable. She wondered what to do.