Hey Guys, as this is my last blog I’ve decided to do a quick recap of basically what I’ve been talking about over the last few weeks all summarised into one blog. Hope ye will find it useful.
The British Computer Society defines information systems as “software that has been written to support human activity within an organisation”.
So at what point can we say that an information system has failed? Well an information system has failed when it:
• Goes way over budget
• Is not operational at a specific time
• Does not do what it was intended to do
• Does not fit in the organisational structure or work processes
Information system failure is not caused by just technological difficulties but also human resource issues and the functionality within a business
Organisations need to be aware of the causes of information system failure because unfortunately failure rates are very high, much much higher than success rate. The harsh reality is most projects are destined to fail before they even begin.
Here are some causes of Information system failure in:
• Requirements do not represent the actual needs
of the customer.
• Improper planning
• Lack of and poor communication
• Requirements are incomplete or conflicting.
• Customers, requirements analysts, and
software engineers who develop the system
have problems understanding and communicating with each other.
• Both a lack of proper leadership and poor leadership
• Unrealistic expectations
• Inability to keep within the budget
This is my last blog just to conclude my blogs. Failure in I.S. is so high with over half of all i.s. projects failing. I.S. can fail in so many ways whether it is minor in not meeting all its requirements, but it still is used, whether its major when its over budget and schedule or critical where the system is not used or abandoned. Any problems that occur should be carefully dealt with by management to insure that it doesn’t happen again in the project or even future projects. Management need to carefully research and communicate well with their team too make sure as little problems occur during the pre, during and post implementation phases.
If management can keep full control of the project and work well with their team, it will give them a great chance of succeeding and achieving all of their requirements and objectives, leading to happy stakeholders and users etc.
Thanks for reading my blogs everyone!
Over the last six weeks I have discussed many interesting aspects on the topic of ‘Causes of Failures in IS’, these including; the top 10 ways to guarantee failure in IS, interesting real life examples of IS failures as well as how and where it all goes wrong. Lastly I will discuss success in information systems.
It is important that we consider the determinants of success because those success factors may be leveraged and controlled to improve success in information systems and therefore avoid failures.The key to successful information systems are in my opinion:
- Management Support and Commitment: if an information system project has the backing of a dedicated management team at various stages throughout the project it is more likely to be perceived positively by both users and IT staff because, their participation receives higher attention. They are also recognised and rewarded for their efforts throughout the project. Evidentially, it ensures that the project will receive funding and resources.
Measures of information systems success can also be looked at such as:
- High levels of usage.
- User satisfaction.
- favourable attitudes.
- Achieved objectives.
- Financial payoff.
Based on empirical research conducted between 1980 and 2004, the study examines four aspects of information systems (IS) success: system quality, perceived usefulness, user satisfaction, and system use. The authors highlighted the importance of system quality, which affects all other aspects of IS success. They also observed that system quality and perceived usefulness but, curiously, not user satisfaction, influence the extent to which the system is used.The analysis also suggests that four long-term measures related to information systems are particularly important: 1.IS training, 2.Improving individuals’ attitudes toward information systems, 3. Gaining top-management support for information systems, 4.Developing organizational structures that facilitate use of information systems, such as help desks and online user assistance.
Thanks for reading. 🙂
Sources:“Information System Success: Individual and Organizational Determinants” is by Rajiv Sabherwal, Anand Jeyaraj, and Charles Chowa of the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Seeing as 75% of all large systems may be considered failures, 28% of systems projects are cancelled before completion and 46% are behind schedule or over budget is it fair to say failure is prevalent among information systems, but where does it all go wrong?
- Analysis: Scarce time and money resources to researching the problem, minimal or no preliminary planning, improper staffing, excessive promises leading to incomplete requirements, users spend insufficient time helping the teams gather information which is not needed.
- Design: Little or no user input, built-in flexibility is entirely omitted only to serve current needs, severe lack of organisational impact analysis, functional specifications not recorded and documented appropriately.
- Programming: Underestimated cost and time, incomplete specifications such as limited time for program logic due to essential time being wasted on writing code, insufficient use of structured design, programs inadequately documented, requisite resources not scheduled.
- Testing: Disorganised test plan, underestimated time and cost, direct users not involved at crucial times, inappropriate acceptance tests, management doesn’t sign off test results due to lack of dedication.
- Conversion: Insufficient time and money, all direct users not involved until this final stage, delayed training in order to reduce overall costs overruns, system goes online too soon, inadequate system and user documentation, no performance evaluation, insufficient system maintenance plans for the future aswell as no extra support and training.
Another key aspect to failure is the issue of poor Project Management; this then leading to undefined requirements, costs and benefits are not assessed accurately, end users are not trained this all then leads to major conflict and uncertainties within the project which causes FAILURE!
Sources: Standish Group International Inc.
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.
There are many reasons as to why information systems fail. It is assumed that many systems fail due to technological difficulties. However this is not the case. We should also consider the problems regarding human resources and the functionality within a business. ‘IS fails when it does not meet its design objectives, excessive costs, missed deadlines, the users cannot interact well with the IS, and unable to meet the clients expectations.’ is the opinion of this article http://sherylsniche.blogspot.ie/2008/07/why-information-systems-fail.html…
Other reasons why information systems do not work well is because it may not be planned properly, an organisation may not have implemented a study to good effect, if the organisation has no specific goals, lack of attention to the contribution of the staffs character, coordination and most importantly performance. “You stop working because you fail… but you fail because you stop working.” , this is an extremely relevant quote for this topic in my opinion and if put to good effect can lead to great success…
Here are some more real life examples that I found of companies who have suffered losses because of IS failure:
Hershey Foods Corp.
Hershey’s spent $112 million on the implementation of an enterprise resource planning system to meet the Halloween and Christmas demand, which eventually failed. Incorrect stock and problems with orders resulted in a sales drop of 12% for the organisation.
Norfolk Southern Corp.
This rail company lost over $113 million because of system failure while doing a merger. The logistics software was not tested properly and incorrect data was fed into the system, causing serious backups and delays. Not only this but the company had to fork out a further $80 million on overtime pay and repair work.
An industrial supplies company who paid $9 million on new software. The problem occurred when the ERP overcounted the stock, there was also routine crahes. Over a 6 month period, the company lost sales and profits of $19 million and $23 million respectively. The firm eventually worked with the supplier on repairs and fixes.