Using scenarios in planning a digital information service

Marthie G. de Kock

Abstract


Planning is essential in developing an electronic text centre, a digital information service or a virtual information service. It is a continuous process which is focussed on future implications generated from present decisions. Management needs certain techniques to forecast the future and plan according to how external factors will influence their decisions. Forecasters are increasingly relying on the use of scenarios to produce forecasts and to identify conditions leading to major changes in environments. Scenarios are written descriptions of possible future environments which may affect the enterprise. They cover possible developments and changes and identify future trends and events with specific emphasis on causal relationships and key decision-making aspects. The Delphi interviewing technique is discussed as a method which can be applied during the environmental scanning process. Other methods are the trend-impact and cross-impact techniques. Scenario building usually takes place within a framework in which certain methods are used to organise the scenario development process into a sequence of steps. A model specially adapted to plan scenarios for a future electronic information service is discussed. Scenarios are successful when management assumes ownership of the scenarios and put them to work.

Beplanning is noodsaaklik in die ontwikkeling van 'n elektroniese tekssentrum, 'n digitale inligtingsdiens of 'n virtuele inligtingsdiens. Dit is 'n volgehoue proses wat gefokus is op toekomstige implikasies wat uit huidige besluite voortspruit. Die bestuur het sekere tegnieke nodig om toekomstige neigings te voorspel en om te help met beplanning na gelang van die mate waarin eksterne faktore hulle besluite sal bei'nvloed. Toekomsvoorspellers vertrou toenemend op die gebruik van scenarios om voorspellings te maak en toestande te identifiseer wat tot groot veranderings in die omgewing kan lei. Scenarios is geskrewe vertellings waarin die moontlike toekomstige omgewing wat 'n onderneming kan bei'nvloed, beskryf word. Moontlike toekomstige ontwikkelings en veranderings word benut en toekomstige neigings en gebeure word gei'dentifiseer, met spesifieke klem op oorsaaklike verhoudings en sleutelbesluitnemingsaspekte. Die Delphi-onderhoudtegniek word bespreek as metode wat by omgewingverkenning gebruik kan word. Ander metodes is die neiging- en kruisimpaktegnieke. Scenariobeplanning vind gewoonlik plaas binne 'n raamwerk waarin die ontwikkelingsproses volgens sekere stappe geskied. 'n Model word bespreek wat spesiaal aangepas is vir die beplanning van 'n toekomstige elektroniese inligtingsdiens. Scenarios is suksesvol as die bestuur verantwoordelikheid daarvoor aanvaar en dit implementeer.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7553/66-2-1443

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