A Framework to Support Management Teams in Determining the Quality of their Information Systems.

22 Feb

Introduction
This framework is designed to aid management teams in determining the quality of their Information Systems services and outputs. The purpose of a framework is to give a description of a complex entity or process. In this case our framework in figure 1 takes the form of a step by step process or checklist, which will allow the user to methodologically assess the quality of either a new or existing Information System. The framework consists of five main phases, each with their own individual attributes. The five phases are organisation, planning, evaluation/testing, implementation and review.
Methodology
We developed this framework by posting blogs on the topic of IS Quality. We then brought our ideas together and discussed and analysed them in order to develop a comprehensive framework to measure IS Quality. We developed a blueprint of our potential framework by reviewing the issues we raised in our blog posts and is roughly based it on the PIRI model described by pm1083. This blueprint formed the basis of our final framework which is located below.
Framework
This framework is made up of five steps. It begins with organisation which is followed by planning, evaluate/testing. After this it then splits into two depending on the situation of the organisation whether the system is being newly implemented or if it is an existing system that the quality is being determined. We decided to follow method due to its clear structure and as we felt it fitted in well with what we were trying to achieve.

Figure 1

framework1

Explanation of the Framework

Organisation
Culture – The organisational culture will be determined by the external environment, and this will include the language, the way of life of the people, and their work ethic. All of these factors must be compatible with the Information System. There are other problems that can arise due to differing cultures, such as the different formats in which the date can be displayed.
Alignment – The system must align with the business goals of the subjects. Even if the system is fully functional if it does not align with the business goals then the system may be deemed low quality as it will not provide what is required.
Organisational Context – It must take into account the organisational context for example some sectors may require some special characteristics of an information system or may require that certain things be left out of a system depending on an organisation individual situations
Cost Vs. Benefit – The overall possible benefits of the system must outweigh the possible costs of the system. While this is often very difficult to do before a system has been implemented it must be estimated to have an initial overall idea.
Inputs – Technical capability and technical hardware to be able to cope with the system must be present in the organisation. These have to be of a certain standard in order to be able to deal with the requirements of an IS. The data going into the system must be quality data. The inputs of the system will determine the quality of the outputs, and so, the overall information system. The quality of the overall system will be determined by its inputs and so it must be established that these are of high quality to ensure the resulting system will be of high quality.

Planning
Needed from system – This is what is required from the system for the organisation that is implementing the system. This again goes back to the central issue of what are the user requirements. This is what the output the system will have for the organisation and the overall goal they will have from implementing the system.
User requirements – These are the requirements that the user of the system needs in order to maximise the potential output of the system. All aspects of the system being implemented must be user friendly and also allow the user to realise the potential the system can offer. User requirements may differ as a range of variety of users may be using the system and have different or even conflicting requirements. These requirements must be established and balanced in this planning phase in order to ensure the system will be able to successfully deliver these requirements.
User expectations– This is what the user expects the system to be able to do. This relates to what a user wishes to gain from working with the system being designed. It relates to the work that they wish to achieve from the system and what they can achieve for the organisation. The user requirements must match the user expectations otherwise they may deem the system to be of a low quality.
Ease of use – When a system is being developed, the easier it is to use the better it is for the user of the system. The ease of use would allow a user get familiar with the system much faster and this in turn would prove more beneficial for the company and the output from the new system as fewer errors will occur when the users find the system easier to use.
Measurements-Measurements from the system must be established here. You cannot control something unless you can measure it and so the management team must decide how they are going to measure the system- what will they determine the system must output or how. They can then use these in the review stage to determine if these have been achieved. If these measurements have been achieved it will be easier for the organisation to determine the quality of the IS.

Evaluation/ Testing
Potential users – In order to ensure that the system is meeting the users’ requirements and expectation, it must be established who the users are.
Conduct tests- Select a sample of the current staff to evaluate the existing or new system. They should rate this in order to give the management team an idea of how it is currently being used and received.
Ease of use – The system must be usable for the users. If the users find the system too difficult to use then it is most likely they will not use the system to its full potential and so the quality of the system will not be realised resulting in a system which seems of lower quality.
Usefulness – The system must be useful to the organisation. If it is not useful then this again will impact on the user requirements. It will not be able to fulfil these requirements and so the management team would determine this as low quality.
Test system capabilities – The system should be tested for its capabilities to ensure it is up to the level to what is required by the organisation.

Implementation
Ensure users are trained – Ensure that all users of the system have sufficient knowledge and training on the new system before it is fully implemented. This will reduce the number of errors made and ensure they are able to solve issues that come up themselves and so reduce the number of issues brought to management.
Implement in stages – It is important to implement the new system in stages to allow for the resolution of any unforeseen problems or errors that may occur during the implementation process. This will ensure a smooth transition from the old to the new system. It will also allow for the resolving of issues as they occur rather than have them build up.

Review
Alignment – The system must align with the business requirements of the organisation. If it does not align it may not be providing the required information and if it does not provide the required information then most likely it will be determined as poor quality as mentioned that the users will often determine the quality of the system and will determine this by seeing if it matches their requirements as mentioned “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.

Alignment of user expectations & requirements – As mentioned above the user requirements will determine if the system is a success and so it is important to ensure that the users’ expectations and requirements align. Otherwise the user may view the system as not being of high quality if it cannot meet their expectations even if it is technically sound. This is important to consider in the review stage as it may be necessary to address this if these do not match.

Measurements – There must be clear measurable goals set out so that the management team will be able to assess the quality level of the IS. It is important to have established measurements in the planning phase so as to have something to be able to compare whether the aim of the system has been achieved. However as was mentioned measuring the quality of a system is very difficult and there is no one universal method.

Does it fulfil its function– This is one of the most important questions to ask when determining the quality of an IS. Often it will come down to whether the IS fulfils its function will be the deciding factor in determining the quality of an IS.

An Alternative Framework
This alternative framework is different in its inclusion of environment, its splitting up into the organisation and information system, the user then evaluating the system and the system then being reviewed by the organisation and the results then being feed back into the organisation and the information system. How it affects the organisation and the information system to produce an output of information is then to be evaluated by the users. This is then reviewed in such a way that the findings will feed back into the organisation, the information system.

Figure 2.

framework2

Conclusion
It is very important for a management team to be able to determine the quality of an information system as it is hugely important because of its effects on the organisation as a whole. This is because decision making is based on the information that will be produced from the Information System. This decision making can have massive and wide reaching effects on the organisation and its future success or failures.
We felt the above proposed frameworks in figure 1 and figure 2 will allow a management team to successfully determine the quality of an Information System in any organisation.  By providing an alternative framework this will allow a management team to choose which they feel will be most suitable to their own specific circumstances and allow them to feel that they have more control in the matter and so they may be more willing to use one of the proposed frameworks.
It is important to note that often these frameworks may seem incomplete on their own however once a company attempts to actually use the framework and they can input their own circumstances the framework will become much more usable and seem more complete.

Group 8

Deirdre O Leary
Patrick Meehan
Christopher Moloney
Rowland Njoku
Lawrence Ogboani

Advertisements

2 Responses to “A Framework to Support Management Teams in Determining the Quality of their Information Systems.”

  1. pm1083 June 24, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    Reblogged this on pm1083.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Inter- organisational information exchange | pastorireneblog - April 4, 2013

    […] A Framework to Support Management Teams in Determining the Quality of their Information Systems. (sopinion8ed.wordpress.com) […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: