Definition of Information System Failures

2 Mar

Information Systems are defined as:

“software that has been written to support human activity within an organisation”.

The definition of Information System failure is also important in order to direct research and facilitate data collection for more correction. Unfortunately this is not clear and there does not seem to be any consensus on this topic. Without this consensus, it will be very difficult for policy makers and regulating bodies to set legislation

Although some have suggested that the definition of “Information Systems failure” is a relative and variable concept, or can be subdivided into 4 groups of varying severity:

  1. Total
  2. Partial
  3. Unsustainable
  4. Un-replicable

It would seem these loose and complex definitions are not helpful. They only serve to confuse the situation even more which is present between the different professional groups involved. The definition needs to be clear to everyone involved, including the front line soldiers and should be based on pragmatic values such as:

  1. Timescale
  2. Costs
  3. Functionality and organisational

The definition of information Systems failure should be one where the implementation of the system goes over either:

  • Budget
  • Term of years
  • Does not function as described in specification
  • Does not fit organisational structure

This is because even if an Information System implementation does not fail completely, and only goes over budget by two to three times, or is delayed, the opportunity costs of the human and financial resources expended could have been allocated to other uses.



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