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Types of Information System failure.

10 Mar

According to Lyytinen and Hirschheim there are 4 different categories of Information Systems failure such as Correspondence failure, Process Failure, Interaction Failure and Expectation Failure.

1. Correspondence failure- This type of failure refers to when design objectives arent not met when the system has been developed. People who require an information system will reject an information system if they design brief they set out hasn’t been met.

2. Process Failure- This type of failure occurs when an information system is not delivered in the specific time allocated or is costs more than the amounted budgeted for the project.

3. Expectation Failure- This type of failure views information system failure as the failure of system in meeting stakeholders requirements, expectations or values. According to Lyytinen and Hirschheim ‘Expectation failure is perceived as the difference between the actual and desired situation for the members of a particular stakeholder group’.

4. Interaction Failure- This refers to the end users usage of the information system. Is the system regurally used by users? Has its implimation been a success and worth the compmany’s time and money? if the system is not used much this would be classed as in interaction failure.


I.S failure can have major implications.

7 Mar

Although we have only looked at the financial losses when information systems fail there can also be other very serious implications.

In 1992, just 21 years ago a failure in the information system of the London Ambulance service resulted in the death of numerous people. The London Ambulance service attempted to develop an Information System which aimed to miminise the the human intensive functions such as call taking, information management,resource management and resource identification.

An error in the system one evening meant that many calls to 999 were being wiped from the system due to large numbers of calls. With some ambulances taking as long as 3 hours to come to help people in difficulty, when the recommended wait is 17 minutes, it estimated that between 20-30 people died over the period of one night.

This case has been seen as the greatest failure of Imformation systems in recent years and caused a wide variety of responses to occur.

Real life examples of I.S failure

1 Mar

As said before I.S failure is very common when developing and using Information Systems. Here are some examples of the signifiicance of I.S failures.

1. The FBI lost over $100 billion on a virtual case file which after developing for over 4 years was never used. There were several factors identified as contributing to the failure such as poorly defined design requirements, lack of planning and ‘ambitious schedules’.

2.In 1988 several staff in Bank of America lost were fired from their jobs due to an Information system failing. This failure resulted in the bank losing control of billions of dollars in trusts. Staff were fired when trust holders become aware of this issue and moved their money from the bank. This failure resulted in people losing confidence in the bank also.

3. In 2004 Hewlett Packard lost almost $160 million due to a failure in the system they were developing.

4. The Ford Car Company also lost millions in 2004 when a purchasing system they were developing was scrapped before completion costing the company also $400 million.

It is critical that companies take the necessary steps to prevent failure of information systems, now more than ever.


Failure of Information Systems…. Can this be reduced??

19 Feb

Last time we looked at the main causes of failure when developing Information Systems. With 50-70% of new systems failing what, if anything can businesses do to prevent such failure and reduce the risk of systems failing??

There are a some steps businesses can take to reduce I.S failure. These steps include:

1. Be More prepared- A common reason for failure is lack of preperation. When businesses fail to prepare they come accross more problems when developing the system. By being more prepared before development businesses can reduces the risk of failure.

2.Flexibility- Some Information Systems are not flexible which can result in failure as the sysyem cannot be modified to meet new demands. By ensuring a system is flexible it can allow the business to make changes and avoid disposing of the system before completion.

3.Involve all people within the business organisation who will us the system- Sometimes failure is down to the fact that not all people who use the system have been involved in its development. All parties who will have access to the system should have a contribution if this is possible. This will ensure that all user need and requirements will be met and upon completion of the system everyone will be satisfied and use the sysyem rather than it being a waste of money.

These are 3 steps businesses can take to reduce the risk of I.S failure, with large financail investments also at stake it is essential that businesses try to reduce the risk of failure happening.

Causes of Failure in Information Systems.

5 Feb

Part of human life is that we all experience some failure throughout the course of our life. When developing Information Systems people fail a large proportion of then time.

Each year it is estimated that between 50-70% of Information Systems undergoing develpoment fail. Hundreads of thousands of Euro is wasted each year by companies who fail to develop sucessful Information Systems. For example in 2004 the Ford car manufacturing company lost an estimated $400 million after the development of a purchasing system was cancelled before completion.

What are the main causes of I.S. failure? Why is it that in a time where technology is such a key factor in society and for the success of businesses that companies are losing so much money?

No one factor can be held responsible for the failure of I.S., it comes down to a large variety of factors. While one would expect technological difficulties to be the main and only reason, this is not the case. All the following contribute to failure also:

  • Capital Costs
  • Human resources and the lack of resources available
  • Failure to meet the design objectives
  • Breakdown of communication between the system┬ádesign analyst and the end user
  • Missed deadlines
  • Cancellation before completion.

It is estimated that 30% of I.S projects are cancelled by the end user before they are completed, resulting in firms losing any capital they have invested in the project up to this date.

In order to have a sucessful information system it is critical that the objectives are clearly identified by the end user and that these objectives are passed onto the system designer. Deadlines must be met and the correct resources must be available to the designers be in capital or human resources.

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