טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentAdi Hod
SubjectTabular and Graphical Visualization in Enterprise
Information Systems
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisors Full Professor Shtub Avraham
Professor Parush Avi


Abstract

The ERP (Enterprises Resources Planning) Information System serves as a main information tool for the contemporary organization and enables the concentration as well as the distribution of information to the entire organization.  Usage efficiency of these information systems has been an important and influential factor upon the organization's work processes. The users’ ability to effectively use the information that is being presented within the main information system is influenced by various factors within the organizational work environment.


The main goal of this research is to analyze the effect of factors within the organization on usage efficiency of graphical visualizations compared to tabular visualizations in ERP systems.  The characteristics selected for the experiment were:

-         Type of users

-         Type of task to be performed

-         Task level of difficulty

-         Type of information visualization

The research was empirical and the research apparatus was a mock ERP system that was developed especially for this research.

Types of users that participated in the research:

-         Novice users

-         Expert users


The participants performed tasks from the purchasing and production fields. Tasks were designed according to three levels of difficulty:

-         Easy

-         Moderate

-         Difficult

In each task, the relevant information visualization systems were presented on the same screen. Tasks were presented to the participants in a random order and each task was presented in a tabular as well as in a graphical format.

There were two main performance efficiency measures:

-         Time to perform the task

-         Improvement percentage (performance difference) between parallel graphical and tabular  tasks

The research results indicate that performance times with a graphical visualization were relatively shorter than performance times with a tabular visualization. The advantage of graphical visualization formats compared to tabular visualization formats was particularly apparent with novice users and with high task difficulty. With respect to tasks with low difficulty, the advantage of the graphical visualization format compared to the tabular format was relatively small for both user groups. With respect to managing production tasks, the advantage of the graphical format compared to the tabular format was relatively more significant than for tasks concerning purchasing management. This advantage is more significant among novice users compared to the group of expert users.


The main conclusion that is drawn from this research is that the efficiency of usage in ERP systems within an organization, with respect to the comparison between graphical and tabular visualization formats, is affected by the content of information (i.e., purchasing vs. production) as well as user type (i.e., novice vs. expert). The fact that the effect of these factors is different over the various levels of difficulty, leads to the conclusion that in ERP systems it is important to characterize visualization information systems that are appropriate to the type of information visualized in the system and to the type of users.