IS Success: Factors to Consider to avoid Failures

24 Jan

With IS success there is no way to predict if your chosen project will be a success or failure. In today’s world the rate of failures of “computer based information systems have proved to be of significant concern in this modern technological era” [1]. According to Dr. Paul Dorsey there are contributing factors which seem to result in failures of IS. He argues that in order to have a successful system the following points must be considered:

“1. Don’t cut corners, methodologically. In the long run, this results in system failure or an inadequate system that doesn’t meet the users’ needs.

2. Audit each major deliverable and step along the way for accuracy and correctness.

3. Carefully monitor top management support for the project. Make sure that managers are aware of the progress of the team.

4. Secure the correct technical lead for the project”.

[2] (Taken directly from source)

He feels that if the above are followed then it will help to achieve success. The article outlines four interdependent factors which also impact on success. Them being as follows:

1. Cost

2. Quality

3. Speed

4. Risk

He highlights how it is close to impossible to have “the best of all four” but states that it is usually possible to have the best of two and have a good management over two. If close to 30% to 40% of software projects are failing then maybe if more emphasis was put on these factors it may help to cut back on failures [1].

Mukherjee (2008) [1] discusses three different frameworks which are used to evaluate IS failures.  Firstly he states that Functionalism is connected with “logical positivism”. It covers how important it is to have the “presence or absence of specific factors for enhancing the success of information systems”. Rockart first came up with “CSFs or Critical Success Factors which can be applied here. In contrast with this Flower then came up with the idea of CFFs or Cricital Failure Factors which is linked in with the DeLone and McLean Model as previously mentioned in my last blog [3]. Secondly the article proposes the Interpretivism factor. This outlines the “problem of dichotomy between social and technical worlds by considering the knowledge of reality as a socially constructed one by the associated human actors”. Finally the factor of Critical School is introduced. Within this researchers pose that “power and politics are the inescapable features of every organisation”.

These factors should be consider when calculating what is a IS success or failure. As mcoconnell points out sometimes assumptions are made “that systems that are heavily used are because they are successes, while systems that are failures are because they are unsuccessful”. This not always the case. Defining exactly what is an IS success and failure can be difficult.

[1] Mukherjee, I. (2008) ‘Understanding Information System Failures from the Complexity Perspective’.

[2] Dorsey, P. (2000) ‘Top 10 Reasons why Systems Projects Fail’

[3] 04ac (2013)

[4] mcoconnell (2013)


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