Is there a ‘one for all’ approach to measuring IS success?

17 Jan

An Information System (IS) can be defined as “a set of interrelated and interacted elements or components that collect, store, process, and report data and information that can be used to enhance the process of decision making”. [1]

In this modern, technological era, the competitiveness of an organisation depends greatly on how it adopts and uses information systems. An IS can achieve valuable benefits for an organisation including but not limited to “gaining competitive advantage, increasing productivity, shorter product cycle, automation of operational decisions and supporting of strategic and tactical decisions.” [2] However, the achievement of such valuable benefits depends on the success of the IS.

It is well known that IS initiatives are very expensive investments and thus failure of an Information System is considered a very expensive mistake. It is imperative that organisations are aware of the success factors and also the risks involved in IS. According to a 1994 CHAOS report, an IS project is considered as successful if “it is completed on time and according to budget, with all features and functions as specified. It can be deemed a failure if the project was completed but exceeded budged costs or time and/or lacked all of the features and functions that were originally specified.” [2]

A blog posted by Zonic89 explains the DeLone and McLean IS success framework which mentions some key factors that determine the success or of IS including information quality, system use, user satisfaction, system quality, organisational impact, and individual impact. [3]

According to an article by Vaughan (2001), commitment and resistance are other factors which can impact on IS success. In terms of resistance, “people can resist technically inadequate systems, systems of poor ergonomic design, or user-unfriendly systems.” [4] As for commitment it is vital that “the organisation is willing to make changes to behavior, procedures, structure and any other factors that are necessary for the system to work.”[4] Commitment to IS must exist throughout the organisation starting with top management. Lack of commitment from management can result in IS failure.

From my own knowledge of IS, another factor which can contribute to the success or failure of an IS is alignment within the organisation. For example, does the system work well in the organisation and complement the existing processes? Does the IS share the same objectives as the organisation?

It is clear from my initial research that measuring the success of an Information System is not an easy task and it seems extremely unlikely that a ‘one for all’ approach to measuring IS success exists.


  • [1] Laudon & Laudon, 2010. Management Information Systems. 11th Edition. Pearson/Education
  • [2] Al-adaileh, R. (2009) An Evaluation of Information Systems Success: A User Perspective – the Case of Jordan Telecom Group. European Journal of Scientific Research. Vol.37 No.2 p.226-239
  • [3] Zonic89, IS Success. Available at:
  • [4] Vaughan, P. (2001) System Implementation Success Factors; It’s not just the Technology. University of Colorado.

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