Information Systems FAIL!

10 Feb

 My series of blogs have been an attempt to perhaps look at the idea of a framework and the extraction of quality from an Information System from a different perspective & rather than approach it in an expansive way, that it could be better to have a pared down approach i.e: what do we really need & what would be a bonus if we can get it!

Unfortunately there are many examples of Information Systems failures however I have chosen an Irish example which I think represents a situation where the business needs were misunderstood and this in turn resulted in a low quality output.

The SUSI debacle came to light in October 2012, Student Universal Support Ireland, a new body which had been set up to centralise the student grants system which had previously been dealt with by individual Local Authorities had begun to flounder. Reports in the media of students having to drop out of college and being unable to pay for food,uncovered that thousands of students nationwide were still awaiting both tuition & maintenance grants. It was deemed a “bureaucratic nightmare” by a T.D in the Dáil. [1]

The system had been unable to cope with the amount of applications it received and had “underestimated the complexity of detail required from the students”[2]

As an applicant myself I was mystified that any time I rang to check on the status of my application I was dealt with promptly, unusual for an organisation which was under so much pressure, however I found through my research that in fact the helpline for SUSI had been outsourced & therefore the people on the phones were not involved in processing the applications, that to me is a huge misallocation of resources, the helpline was outsourced however they had not employed enough staff to process the applications! When looking at this example through the prism of IS Quality, does it really matter that the service level agreement with the outsourced company was producing the high quality required of the helpdesk when the Information System had clearly failed the end user.

I look forward to discussing these ideas with my blog group.

[1] James Bannon-http://www.irishtimes.com

[2]Jacinta Stewart- http://www.irishtimes.com

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