The computer systems developed during the 1960s and 1970s made very little impact on management decision. Management Information System design was constrained by three factors — the technology was large‐scale and inevitably centralised and controlled by data processing staff; the systems were designed by specialist staff who rarely understood the business requirements; and managers themselves had little knowledge or “hands‐on” experience of computers. In the 1980s a greater awareness of the need for planning and better use of personnel information, coupled with the development of distributed processing systems, has presented personnel management with opportunities to use computing technology as a means of increasing the professionalism of practising personnel managers. Effective use will only occur if the implementation of technology is matched by appraisal of skills and organisation within personnel departments. Staff will need a minimum level of computing expertise and some managers will need skills in modelling, particularly financial modelling. The relationship between personnel and data processing needs careful redefining to build a link between the two and data processing staff need to design and communicate an end‐user strategy.
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