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E-Ciencias de la Información

On-line version ISSN 1659-4142

E-Ciencias de la Información vol.11 n.1 San Pedro de Montes de Oca Jan./Jun. 2021 


Lessons learned from the implementation of a Management Information System designed at the University of Otavalo, Ecuador

Lecciones aprendidas de la implementación de un Sistema de Información Gerencial diseñado en la Universidad de Otavalo, Ecuador

Francisco Angel Becerra Lois.1 

César A. Del Río.2 

Cristain Narváez.3 

1Universidad de Otavalo, ECUADOR. Correo: ORCID:

2Universidad de Otavalo, ECUADOR. Correo: ORCID:

3Universidad de Otavalo, ECUADOR. Correo: ORCID:


The purpose of this paper is to analyze the essential features of a Management Information System (MIS), designed and implemented at the Universidad de Otavalo to support strategic planning, institutional evaluation, and decision making. A five-phase and fifteen-stage process was applied, along with their corresponding techniques and expected results. Based on the literature review and their experience with the implementation, the authors devised a novel MIS implementation approach, comprising the following phases: planning, information analysis, MIS design, implementation and evaluation. The MIS consisted of four main modules: teaching, research, linkages with society, and management, and was based on the client-server model. The literature review did not yield any publications that discussed truly integrated management information systems applied to university management covering the four main modules, thus confirming the originality of the work described in this paper. The MIS implementation results contributed to the improvement of the management of the university through the automation of most of the processes and activities related to institutional planning and evaluation, and considerably accelerated the processing and analysis of useful information for decision making.

Keywords: university management; strategic information systems; decision making


El objetivo de este estudio fue analizar las características esenciales de un Sistema de Información Gerencial (SIG), diseñado e implementado en la Universidad de Otavalo para apoyar la planificación estratégica, la evaluación institucional y la toma de decisiones. Se aplicó un procedimiento integrado por cinco fases y quince etapas, con sus correspondientes técnicas y resultados esperados. En base a la revisión bibliográfica y las experiencias devenidas de la implementación, los autores elaboraron un procedimiento original, cuyas fases son: Planificación, Análisis de la información, Diseño del SIG, Implementación y Evaluación. El SIG estuvo formado por cuatro módulos principales: academia, investigación vinculación y administración, y se basó en el modelo cliente-servidor. En la búsqueda realizada no se encontraron evidencias de publicaciones referidas a sistemas integrados aplicados a la gestión universitaria, considerando el contenido de los cuatro módulos señalados, lo cual fundamenta la originalidad del trabajo. Los resultados de la implementación del SIG contribuyeron al perfeccionamiento de la gestión universitaria, mediante la automatización de la mayoría de los procesos y actividades vinculados con la planificación y la evaluación institucional y agilizaron considerablemente el procesamiento y análisis de la información útil para la toma de decisiones.

Palabras claves: gestión universitaria; sistemas de información estratégica; toma de decisiones


One of the most difficult challenges in higher education is the improvement of university management and the quality of university strategic, foundational, and supporting processes. At the World Conference on Higher Education, “Higher Education in the Twenty-first Century: Vision and action,” that took place in Paris in October 1998, organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a commitment was expressed to generalize the use of new technologies:

The potential of new information and communication technologies for the renewal of higher education by extending and diversifying delivery, and by making knowledge and information available to a wider public should be fully utilized. Equitable access to these should be international co-operation and support to countries that lack capacities to acquire such tools. Adapting these technologies to national, regional and local needs and securing technical, educational, management and institutional systems to sustain them should be a priority. (UNESCO, 1998, p. 2).

At times, the concepts of Information Technology (IT) and Information Systems (IS) become confused. When defining the term IT, certain aspects are generally emphasized, such as information handling, problem solving, decision making, and technology integration, among others. In connection with this, Mansfield (1984) offers a broad definition when he affirms that IT can be defined as the set of technological developments related to the creation, transmission, manipulation and presentation of data, which, on the foundation of the microprocessor, are applied in the areas of communications, calculations and control. Many educational institutions have a powerful ally in IT (Martín-Gutiérrez, Fabiani, Benesova, Meneses and Mora, 2015), to the point where IT’s progressive advance becomes one of the main sources of innovation and competitive advantage in the sectors where it’s been implemented, as is the case in education (Dastan, 2011; Parra and González, 2020).

According Whitten, Bentley y Dittman, to get the most out of IT it’s necessary to manage it efficiently; this leads to the concept of IS: a set of people, data, processes and IT that interact to gather, process, store and supply the necessary information for the correct functioning of the organization (cited in Benitez, 2012). This is why IS are an essential foundation to develop and strengthen the teaching-learning process, to organize research according to the institution’s own interests and those of its environment, and automate administrative processes and activities related to linkages with the community.

IT’s own evolution has resulted in a parallel typology for IS. For Senn (1992), from a decision making perspective, SI can refer to: Transactional Processing Systems (TPS), Management Information Systems (MIS), Decision Support Systems (DSS), Executive Information Systems (EIS), and Expert Systems or Knowledge Based Systems (KBS).

What is known today as MIS has been evolving over time. At first, communication channels were informal in their structure and use; however, with the advent and subsequent mass use of IT, they became “electronic data processing systems”. Later on, they gave rise to the concept of “computer-based information systems”, which became popularized as “Management Information Systems”. When the concept of “strategy”-the formulation, execution and evaluation of actions that are intended to allow an organization to achieve its objectives-was introduced, MIS became “Strategic Information Systems” (SIS). SIS became part of the organization’s fabric, either because they constitute themselves a competitive advantage, or because they are fundamentally tied to the business and make a unique contribution to its processes and decision making (Puello, Cabarcas, and Martelo, 2013).

One of the most important goals for the 2015-2020 period established during the institutional planning process of the University of Otavalo (UO) in Ecuador was the creation and implementation of an MIS that would supply the necessary and timely, i.e., strategic, information for decision making. To accomplish this, the UO undertook the training of management and faculty in the importance of strategic direction and institutional evaluation. As well, team management, strategic alignment and objectives, and institutional vision were strengthened throughout the UO, aided by IT (Ali, 2014).

The MIS created and implemented at the university traces its roots to the Academic and Administrative Management System (AAMS), in use at the UO before 2016. The functional gaps in the AAMS made the present MIS essential to properly support operational, tactical and strategic decision making, as well as operational and strategic planning, institutional self-evaluation, performance evaluation and other aspects of the UO’s management.

One of the main institutional strengths is educational technology in the classrooms and campus-wide access to the internet and the UO’s intranet. Another strength is faculty commitment and motivation toward the institution’s vision and strategic direction (2016). Indeed, this work is the continuation of the research carried out by the first two authors and a team from the UO that was published as “Strategic Information System for University Management at the University of Otavalo (Ecuador)” in the “Formación Universitaria” journal (Acosta, Becerra and Jaramillo, 2017). A guiding principle in the conception of the MIS was what attributes an MIS in a university setting needs to have to effectively support the UO’s planning, evaluation and decision making, so that improvements in the quality of the institution’s processes can result.

The authors of the present work have made changes to the earlier study’s methodology and present progress in the MIS implementation in 2019 as compared to 2016, when the earlier paper was published. It is precisely their experience with the implementation that motivated the authors to write this paper to document the unique implementation methodology they devised and applied. This methodology was created based on the cumulative learnings and application users’ experience throughout the implementation. There remain, however, some problems or barriers (Hosseini, Karimzadegan and Sazvar, 2012) to be overcome. This paper focuses on the lessons learned from the entire project, from the requirements gathering phase to the production implementation of the MIS.

The reasons why an MIS was implemented are: the lack of a single mechanism for information gathering, coupled with deficiencies in its handling, analysis and distribution; information not available in a timely fashion for problem solving; inadequate communication between management, the academic secretary and the rest of UO’s departments; insufficient IT knowledge among some of the staff; the use of multiple criteria for the classification of information; duplicate databases; unreliable information and its misuse.

Theoretical foundation

There are three key elements in strategic management: excellence, innovation, and foresight (proactive organization). Considering that information management includes elements of organizational management, one can also speak of strategic information management. When the organization that performs strategic information management anticipates the realization of its vision, proactive decisions can be made in the face of any circumstances in the organization’s environment. Although the implementation of an MIS is more popular in the business sector, it is just as relevant for the management of a university (Martínez, 2006).

In a university context, IT enable the learning-teaching process in a virtual environment; the optimization of all academic processes; research in all disciplines; the development of linkages with society, and the automation of all management processes to support decision making. IT is an essential element in the improvement of higher-education institutions (Lau and Yuen, 2014), and it impacts both management and core functions such as teaching, research and knowledge management (Yassin, 2013).

A modern Ecuadorian University’s commitment to the goals listed above is captured in the 2010 Organic Law of Higher Education, in section V that pertains to quality in education. Chapter 1 refers to the principle of quality as the constant and systematic search for excellence, pertinence, optimal production, knowledge transfers and the article 94 defines quality assessment as

the process to determine an institution’s or academic program’s condition through the systematic gathering of quantitative and qualitative data that would enable the rendering of a judgment or diagnosis, analyzing its components, functions, and processes, so that the results can be used to reform and improve a study or academic program, or an institution. Quality assessment is a permanent process and presupposes continuous monitoring (LOES, 2010, p. 94).

In the authors’ view, university management involves four core modules:

  1. Academics: The education, didactic and pedagogical model dedicated to the reaching of high standards of quality in higher education management. It particularly promotes scientific research, technological and business innovation in an integral process whereby knowledge is continually being constructed and transformed, and the student is responsible for his or her own learning.

  2. Research: It is the cornerstone of the entire training process of future professionals.

  3. Linkages with society: They are constantly being created through research, pre-professional practicums, and linkage projects with the community.

  4. Management: It is essential to guarantee the economic sustainability of the university and to support the uninterrupted development of its core activities.

A university is an organization that functions as a system, where the total is greater than the sum of its parts. Information, then, must be understood as a means to reduce uncertainty when supporting decision making. Information Systems must, therefore, present an integrated view of the organization rather than being a fragmented collection of data bases, unaware of the true institutional dynamic. In order for planning to be useful, it’s not enough that they’re well supported by facts; it’s also necessary that they’re in sync with strategic objectives. Assisting in this process are strategic variables, indicators, and information systems as a way to overcome traditional approaches and to develop an organizational culture that facilitates the management of the university.

The university system in Ecuador has experienced in the latter years a very important evolution toward greater responsiveness to social demands and to the need to improve institutional quality. The UO has embarked on a journey to improve the quality of all its processes, whether strategic, core, or support, on three levels: institutional, organizational units, and individuals. The essential pillars of its quality management system are shown in summary form in Table 1. The priorities are as follows: institutional planning, processes, evaluation, and the MIS.

Table 1: UO’s Quality Management System 

Pillars of UO’s Quality Management System
Planning Management Information System Evaluation
Institutional Development Strategic Plan (IDSP-2015-20) Key Result Areas: Faculty Teaching Research Linkages with society University management Identification of the processes and activities in the organizational units Strategic Key Support Institutional Evaluation Model Criteria: Organization Academics Research Linkages with society Resources and infrastructure Students
Institutional Annual Operating Plan (AOP) Key Result Areas: Faculty Teaching Research Linkages with society University management MIS applied to university management (MIS) Modules: Academics Research Linkages with society Management Academic Program Evaluation Model Critera: Pertinence Curriculum Teaching Institutional environment Students
Institutional Units’ Annual Operating Plans Academics Offices & Services Strategic Plan Monitoring and Evaluation (SPME) System Módules: Records Monitoring Evaluation Help Individual performance evaluation Teaching Research Management
Individual Work Plan Teaching Research Management Institutional Evaluation Information System Modules: Evaluation management Information for evaluation Improvement plans: Decision making Improvement plans: institutional, academic programs, individual Process optimization in the organization

Source: owns elaboration, 2020

2.1. Institutional planning

The UO has adopted a management model geared toward development strategies, where a strategic direction predominates. It is based on the proposed University Development Pyramid (Romillo and Polaino, 2019) where the key results areas, development restrictions, the institutional context and the organization’s strategic direction are integrated. In order to formulate and execute the Institutional Development Strategic Plan 2015-2020, the university implemented a participatory process which included the entire university. The cumulative experience in the execution of past plans, as well as the education policy recommendations from national and international organizations, were also taken into account. Strategic alignment became part of the model (Barra, 2015). The methodology steps that were taken in the strategic planning process involved IT, as it brings about significant change wherever it is implemented (Arvidsson, 2014).

2.2. Processes

Processes bring together planning and evaluation with the criteria and indicators to consider when working with evaluation models. To develop the MIS it is necessary to have previously identified strategic, key and support processes. IT’s incorporation into the institution’s process execution is done based on corporate planning being aligned with institutional objectives and with effective support for these processes. The charting stage is essential to understand a process, develop the software (Magaña Echeverría, 2012), and to depict workflow and its participants in a structured way (Espinosa and López, 2020).

2.3. Evaluation

For some time now the UO has been focusing on the evaluation of its activities, developing a culture of quality and accountability in the process. The environment’s dynamics are such that they steer the UO toward a permanent evaluation of objectives and results, and the shift from internal to external evaluation of the institution; this includes institutional and academic program evaluation, and individual performance evaluation (Almuiñas and Galarza, 2013). To accomplish this, the UO has implemented a variety of evaluation systems by type of activity, closely linked to strategic and operating planning, and university process management.

2.4 Management Information System

Within the university context, the MIS supports the day-to-day execution of university processes and automates the most important university management activities, ultimately aiding decision making. It’s important that IT be used right across all processes in the institution, so that solutions will have a broad base throughout the organization (a single corporate database, a single email system, an institutional website, an intranet-based virtual learning environment), so as to avoid the duplication of effort and to achieve the greatest effectiveness in the use of resources.


To ensure agreement between the MIS and the UO’s quality pillars, an original methodology was devised that consists of five phases and fifteen stages. The phases were: (1) Planning, (2) information analysis, (3) MIS design, (4) implementation, and (5) evaluation. Gibson and Nolan (1974) defined a six-stage model to analyze IT’s evolution in organizations: initiation (learning and automation of routine processes), contagion (proliferation of applications), control (reconstruction of data processing operations), integration (integration of current systems), data administration (information is considered a resource and applications start to become integrated, and maturity (applications are fully integrated and reflect the organization’s information flows.

This traditional model is mainly focused on the change in an organization’s budget, so Paños (1999) simplified it into three stages: Data processing (to improve efficiency through process automation), management information systems (to improve effectiveness satisfying information needs), and strategic information systems (to improve an organization’s competitiveness).

The proposed model (Table 2) for this research includes five phases and fifteen stages with their corresponding techniques and expected results. This model represents the authors’ contribution to the Business Intelligence field. Several methodologies were examined for the development of the MIS that was used. (Gibson and Nolan, 1974; Paños, 1999 and Kendall & Kendall, 2011).

Table 2: Phases and stages of the UO’s MIS 

PHASE 1. PLANNING Evaluation of institutional strategic planning Document analysis Evaluación de la calidad de la planificación estratégica y su relación con los servicios informáticos
Definition of the work team
Analysis of the system’s technical and economic feasibility
PHASE 2. INFORMATION ANALYSIS Examination of available information in the organization Document analysis Interviews and surveys Problem identification Definition and identification of useful information Proposed indicators
Identification of the necessary information for the preparation of the MIS
Remaining information: reconciliation between available and necessary information
PHASE 3. MIS DESIGN Identification and evaluation of design alternatives Document analysis Interviews and surveys Programming Definition of MIS components Development of computer applications
Identification of the organization’s processes
Definition of MIS components
Software development and documentation
Implementation approval
PHASE 4. IMPLEMENTATION Preparation of strategic plans for the implementation of computer applications Document analysis Computer application implementation
PHASE 5. EVALUATION Evaluation of results Interviews and surveys Results evaluation Improvement plans for the MIS and its computer applications
Review of MIS improvement alternatives
Software’s use and maintenance

Source: owns elaboration, 2020

3.1. Focus of research

The research began as an exploratory study, including a detailed literature review about information systems and their applications in Ecuador and the rest of the world. Within the UO’s specific context, the dependent variable was defined as the MIS, and the independent variables were planning, institutional evaluation, and decision making. Research began in 2012 with scattered applications; these were partially integrated based on operational needs. There was a need to move to the next stage, so the development of the MIS began in 2014. The completion of the work is expected to be in 2020. The organization is focused on the quality of data collection, and on sharing the results via scientific events, publishing of the results, and networking. Nevertheless, the main emphasis is on the application itself due to its important contribution to organizational improvement, benefitting operational and strategic decision making, as well as in the general management of the UO.

To better understand the drivers behind the specific MIS that was developed for the UO, here’s a brief history of the institution. The UO was created by an Act of the Ecuadorian Congress on December 17, 2002. The UO is a private, self-financed, and intercultural higher-education institution. Its main management instrument is the Institutional Development Strategic Plan for 2015-2020, which defines the following key result areas: faculty, teaching, research, linkages with society, and university management. One of the strategic plan’s core elements is the improvement of its management model; it therefore relies on the MIS as one of its essential components. The Strategic Plan, in turn, drives the annual operating plans, right up to the individual professor’s work plan.

3.2. Techniques obtaining information

Three questionnaires were used for the study. The first one was used to identify the characteristics and content that the MIS should have, given the UO’s size and unique features. The second one allowed the researchers to know in more detail what information was available and what was required to reach the proposed goals. The third one was used to determine the set of indicators that is more appropriate to carry out strategic and operating planning, institutional evaluation, and decision making.

The three questionnaires were given to the leaders of the organization’s 23 academic and administrative departments, including seven academic department directors. This represented the entire population of leaders. The questionnaires were given at the end of 2014, when the decision was made to transition from the system in use at the time, the Academic and Administrative Management System (AAMS), to the MIS. A detailed analysis of the institution’s bylaws, strategic planning, evaluation models and other documents, was carried out. The respondents provided input as to the information that might be useful to provide through the use of IT. Common denominators were identified in the strategic information coming from academics, research, linkages with society and management.

The next step in the analysis was to build a process map for the UO. Strategic processes were defined: institutional planning, institutional ethics, and quality management. Core processes were identified, undergraduate and graduate teaching, research, and linkages with society. Finally, support process was also defined: resource management and infrastructure, information and communications technology, and library management. Activities to be performed were defined for each one of these, and flowcharts were developed for each one of the academic and administrative areas.

Having defined the needs, main areas to be studied, processes and activities, a work team was put together with the necessary IT knowledge and awareness of its importance for improving the organization’s quality standards. This team included a project director (the Executive Vice-President), two project managers, one of which was the Planning Director, and four systems analysts, including the IT department director. The team determined where the UO was at in its information needs through data collection and analysis methods, and, in the last five years, it analyzed the upgrading of the process-management IT infrastructure with the goal of improving institutional performance. Furthermore, the team also defined, in conjunction with the UO’s administration, the features and contents of the MIS to effectively support planning evaluation, and decision making.

3.3. Analysis processing

To evaluate progress in the MIS implementation, a survey was done in May 2018 whereby all leaders were asked to assess the degree of use and implementation of the applications belonging to each one of the four modules in the system, on a scale of 1 to 5: 1 = this application is not being used at the UO; 2 = The use of this application is planned, but it hasn’t been implemented yet; 3 = this application is in the process of being implemented; 4 = This application is implemented and it needs to be improved; 5 = This application is fully operational.

Finally, once all components of the SIE-GU had been implemented, a survey was conducted among the SIE-GU’s users in 2020 to assess (1) the users’ satisfaction levels, and (2) the SIE-GU’s contribution to strategic planning, institutional evaluation, and decision making. The questions were structured in three sections, (1) satisfaction level with the SIE-GU’s accomplishment of its design goals, (2) satisfaction level with each of the SIE-GU’s four modules, and (3) general satisfaction level with the SIE-GU. This survey was done to 100% of MIS users, including 40 professors full time and 25 administrates worked, in February 2020.


The MIS consists of four main modules with their respective applications. It uses the client-server model and includes the UO’s most important processes and their respective activities. It has full access to the internet and intranet. It’s a single integrated system that provides valuable information for decision making and for continuous quality and management results improvement. The MIS is a digital space that not only reports information, but it also allows users to share and to communicate with one another (Zhan, Lee, Cheung, Kwok and Gu, 2003). The MIS’s features, which match closely the objectives it was meant to serve are: (1) personalized modules, (2) centralized information, (3) user administration, (4) role and permissions administration, (5) online reports, (6) client-server structure, (7) continuous monitoring, and (8) software quality standards.

The MIS, to support the Institutional Development Strategic Plan (IDSP, see Figure 1), includes the following: the UO’s mission, vision, shared values, the IDSP’s creation methodology and tools, key result areas, strategic objectives, strategies and action plans, strategic objective matrix, programs, projects and activities, the set of indicators used to measure the UO’s management, budget, and the monitoring and evaluation plan. To support the evaluation process for the fulfillment of objectives, the MIS includes the verification process for the partial and total accomplishment of the results for each one of the strategic elements, programs and projects.

Source: owns elaboration, 2020

Figure 1 Strategic and Operational Planning in the UO’s MIS 

To highlight the indicators’ fulfillment level, the MIS uses a color-coded alert system (see Figure 2) on a comprehensive dashboard. This is of great assistance to the UO’s administration for results analysis and decision making related to the Annual Operating Plan and the evaluation model.

Source: owns elaboration, 2020

Figure 2 Sample indicators on the MIS’ dashboard 

The application that supports institutional evaluation includes two sections: information and management. In the first one, the information is loaded by criteria, sub-criteria and indicators set out in the model used by the Council on Quality Assurance for Higher-Education (CACES). Each indicator is accompanied by supporting evidence documenting it’s percent fulfillment. As for the UO’s management (see Figure 3), the application shows at a glance the percent fulfillment for each of the indicators, sub-criteria and criteria according to the UO’s quality targets. This supports the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly tracking by the administration, as well as strategic and operational decision making.

Source: owns elaboration, 2020

Figure 3 Sample indicators on the MIS dashboard 

The performance evaluation of part-time and full-time faculty is done via the MIS. Faculty do their own self-evaluation through the application, students evaluate their professors, professors are evaluated by their peers, and management evaluate the fulfillment of their direct reports’ individual work plans. Finally, the overall evaluation is done through the system of all three areas: teaching, research, and management.

The main contributions brought forth by the creation of the MIS are the following:

  1. A theoretical contribution: A framework and architecture had to be produced that encompassed the UO’s most important processes and their interrelationships

  2. A methodological contribution: A specific methodology, including the necessary stages, content, steps and structure, had to be derived to satisfy the unique requirements of the university

  3. A practical contribution: This resulted from the strategies and approach that were developed to carry out the ongoing consultation with the entire university community

Upon implementation, the MIS was named Strategic Information System for University Management, or SIE-GU. The implementation of the SIE-GU brought about a significant improvement in all university management functions through the automation of most processes and activities associated with institutional planning and evaluation. The SIE-GU also greatly accelerated information processing and analysis necessary for decision making.

The survey results to evaluate progress in the MIS implementation are presented in Table 3. A survey was done in May 2018 and it was shown that all application was implemented and it needs to be improved. In the second semester of 2020 all the application was fully operational and the 2018-2019 period was dedicated to updating the applications.

Table 3: MIS modules and their applications 

# Applications for each module 2016 2017 2018-2019 Updates
1 Academic Management - AM X XX
2 Virtual Learning Environment - VLE X XX
3 Socioeconomic Card - SEC X XX
4 Digital Repository - DSPACE X X
5 Syllabus Progress Tracking System - SPTS X XX
6 Validation System - VS X XX
7 Total Faculty Performance Evaluation System - FPES X XX
8 Library Management System - LMS X XX
9 Research Project System - RPS X XX
10 Psychological Test Administration System - PTAS X XX
11 Linkages Project System - LPS X XX
12 Scholarship System - SS X XX
13 Alumni System - UAS X XX
14 Free Legal Clinic System - FLCS X XX
15 Employee Records System - ERS X XX
16 File and Inventory System - FIS X XX
17 University Planning System(SPU) X XX
18 Internal Evaluation System - IES X XX
19 Driving School System - DSS X XX

Source: owns elaboration, 2020

Finally, the survey results are presented in Table 4. They show that 88.8% of those surveyed had a satisfaction level between 4 (very good) and 5 (excellent). As for the modules, management and academics had the best results, followed by linkages with society and research. Within management, the SIE-GU’s support for the institutional evaluation process was ranked the highest. Finally, comments and suggestions were offered by those surveyed; the main ones were, (1) procedures manuals need to be improved, particularly in a continuous way, (2) provide online support for professors in the academics module, (3) the system needs to be more usear friendly and easier to use, (4) it is hard to upload information, particularly in the research module, and (5) user interaction and the outputting of information needs to improve.

Table 4: Survey results to measure satisfaction level with the SIE-GU and its contribution to the University’s management 

Updating of the University’s policies, educational-pedagogical model, linkages-with-society model, bylaws and procedures to reach the University’s strategic goals 33.3 66.6
Degree of integration of the Academics, Research, and Linkages with society modules. 11.1 44.4 44.4
Your participation in the institutional self-evaluation process for the updating of the continuous improvement plan 100
The SIE-GU’s support for academics, research and linkages with society, and for decision making 66.6 33.3
ACADEMICS 11.1 44.4 44.4
RESEARCH 11.1 33.3 22.2 22.2 11.1
LINKAGES WITH SOCIETY 11.1 33.3 33.3 22.2
MANAGEMENT 11.1 22.2 66.6
General satisfaction level with the project 11.1 33.3 55.5

Source: owns elaboration, 2020


The main contribution on the part of the present MIS is to provide a centralized platform for online access of information to assist in the management of the institution. Current and future threats to the UO make it imperative to firmly anchor a quality culture, required both by the challenges experienced by the university and by the higher-education regulatory bodies in Ecuador. Quality-oriented measures are being greatly facilitated by the functionality provided by the SIE-GU.

The literature review did not uncover MIS implementations in university settings that were truly integrated. The MIS applications that were described were applications designed for specific functions, rather than covering the full breadth of the four core modules in university management in Ecuador: academics, research, linkages with society, and management.


The implementation of the applications included in the UO’s MIS automate nearly all of the university’s processes and activities. The SIE-GU has 19 applications grouped into four modules, all of which 19 are now fully functional. All the applications produce reports that feed into the planning and institutional evaluation indicators, the overall dashboard, and the performance evaluation of full-time and part-time faculty. Thus, the MIS assists in strategic, tactical and operational decision making in all academic and administrative areas of university management.

6.1. Lessons learned

Here’s a list of things in the project that (a) went well, (b) didn’t go so well, and (c) we learned in the process:

  1. Given the large scope of the project, the breadth of functional areas that would use the MIS, and the multi-year planned horizon for the project, the XP agile software development methodology was the right choice for the project. This gave the development team maximum flexibility to implement the applications, or functional building blocks, of the four core modules. For each XP iteration-typically one to three months in duration-each one of the four developers were assigned a single application within a core module to develop, so progress was made four applications at a time. Given the limited number of developers available to the team, the pair programming aspect of XP was not used. This worked well, as steady progress was made throughout the project

  2. Top executives were fully supportive of the project, ensuring the full cooperation of the functional areas affected by the MIS. One important way all functional areas contributed was to assign a user analyst to the project to provide requirements for their respective core modules and applications

  3. A running challenge throughout the project was constantly changing requirements for each application within a core module, causing a significant amount of redesign and rework, with the associated delays and increase in costs. There were several reasons for this:

  4. The project scope was not worked out in enough detail at the beginning of the project

  5. There was a constant turnover of user analysts for the various functional areas, resulting in a severe lack of continuity in the communication of requirements to the developers

  6. Requirements from the user analysts to the developers were not properly documented

  7. Integration testing was done by the developers themselves without adequate participation by the user analysts

  8. No new developer resources were assigned to the project, so the existing developers had to manage their other tasks along with the project’s development tasks. The result was long overtime hours for months on end for the developers

  9. In the end, the project was completed, and the users in the functional areas were reasonably satisfied with the project. However, it’s not possible to say whether the project ended on time or not, as the desired completion date that was stated at the beginning was not obtained from a realistic understanding of the amount of work required to complete the project. For the same reason, it’s not possible to state whether the project came within budget or not, as no estimate was calculated for the total cost at the beginning of the projected.


The authors wish to express their gratitude to the administration, professors, administrative personnel and students of the UO for their assistance in the implementation of the SIE-GU. The authors would also like to thank the members of the IT department that participated in the SIE-GU’s design, development and implementation.


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Received: April 24, 2020; Revised: November 02, 2020; Accepted: November 11, 2020

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