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System Success and Failure: Implementation


What do we mean by information system failure?

An information system "failure" may mean that a system falls apart, but it usually means that the system is
under-utilized or not used at all. This is because the system does not perform the functions for which it is intended or
does so in a way that is too difficult or time-consuming to use. Users may have to develop "parallel" manual
procedures to make the system work properly or rely on manual procedure entirely.

What kinds of problem that are evidence of information system failure?

Information system failure is indicated by the following problems: design, data, operations and costs.

How can we measure system success? Which measures of system success are the most
The following are recognized as measures of system success:


High levels of usage of the system.

User satisfaction.
Favorable user attitudes about information systems and the IS department.
Achieved objectives: the extent to which the system meets its specified goals.
Financial payoff. This measure may be of limited value because not all successful
information systems have tangible benefits.

Define implementation. What are the major approaches to implementation?

Implementation refers to all of the organizational activities involved in the adoption, management and
routinization of an innovation. For IS, implementation is the entire process of introducing, building and installing the
system and can be considered a complex process of deliberate organizational change.
There are three major approaches to implementation in scholarly literature:
1) a focus on actors and roles, suggesting that organizations should promote actors with innovative
characteristics and develop organizational roles championing innovation.
2) a focus on strategies of innovation, believing that successful innovations must have support from topdown and/or bottom-up.
3) a focus on general organizational change factors supportive of long-term routinization of innovations.
5. What are the actions and Indicators for successful system implementation?
- Support by local funds; New organizational arrangements; Stable supply and maintenance; New
classifications; Changes in organizational authority; Internalization of training program; Continual
updating of
the system; Promotion of key personnel; Survival of system after turnover; Attainment of widespread
6. What is the user-designer communications gap? What kinds of implementation problems can it
The "user-designer communications gap" refers to the conflict between the "technical" orientation of IS
specialists and the "business" orientation of end-users. Often the objectives, priorities and language of
communication between these groups is so different that they have entirely divergent goals. If serious, the "userdesigner communications gap" prolongs implementation time. Users and IS specialists must spend additional
time and effort trying to mutually understand one another. Users often forfeit their control over implementation to
technical specialists. The result is an information system that makes sense to the technicians but doesn't meet
users' business requirements.

What dimensions influence the level of risk in each systems development project?
Influencing the level of project risk are:

Project size.
Project structure.
Project technology level.

8. Why is it necessary to understand the concept of implementation when examining system success and
One of the most important determinants in system success and failure is the pattern of the implementation
process. Especially critical facets of the implementation process are:

Define requirements

Assess costs, benefits, schedules

Identify interest groups, actors, details
Train end users
Contain conflicts, uncertatinties

Poor Project Management

- Cost overruns
- Time slippage
- Technical shortfalls impair performance
- Failure to obtain anticipated benefits

What are the major causes of implementation success or failure? How are they related to the failure
of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and business reengineering projects?
System failure may be due to factors outside the organization. An organization may be faced with external
"environmental" pressures which it cannot meet because to do so would run counter to its inherent characteristics.
However, many instances of system failure and negative implementation outcome are caused by factors within the

The role of users in the implementation process.

The degree of management support for the implementation process.
The level of risk and of organizational and technical complexity in an implementation project.
The quality of management of the implementation process itself.

List some of the implementation problems that might occur at each stage of the systems
development process.
Implementation problems at different stages of the life cycle :

Inadequate resource allocation.

Poorly defined problem or objectives.

Promises that are impossible to meet.

Incomplete documentation.

Users won't provide the requisite information.

IS specialists can't interview users properly and understand their requirements.


Users don't participate sufficiently in the design process. The design reflects the biases of technicians.

The system is designed only to serve current needs.

No organizational impact analysis for drastic clerical procedure changes.


Programmers receive incomplete specifications.

Programs are not fully documented.

Too little time is spent on developing program logic.


Insufficient time is allocated to testing.

The project does not develop organized test plans.

No development of appropriate acceptance tests for management review.


Training begins too late. Users are unprepared for the new system and procedures.

Insufficient time and dollars are budgeted for conversion activities.

Inadequate user and system documentation.


What project management techniques can be used to control project risk?

External integration tools help solidify the relationship between implementation activities and end-users at
all organizational levels. Such tools are most useful for projects that are not well-structured and which require heavy
user involvement and commitment.

User as team leader or assistant

User steering committee
Users as active team members
Require user approval of specs
Distribute important minutes widely
Users can report to management; lead training effort and installation
User responsible for change control

Internal integration tools promote cohesion and unity within the implementation team. They are most useful
for projects with high technical complexity. Formal planning and control tools help structure and sequence tasks and
monitor progress towards goals. They are most valuable for managing projects that are large and/or well-structured.

Team members highly experienced

Leader has strong technical, project management background
Frequent meetings; distribute minutes concerning key decisions
Regular technical status reviews
Members have good working relationships with others
Members help set goals, establish targets

12. Formal Planning and Control Tools

FORMAL PLANNING TOOLS: Help Structure, Sequence Tasks; Budget Time, Money, Resources
Select milestone phases
- Develop specifications from feasibility study
- Establish specification standards
- Develop process for project approval
FORMAL CONTROL TOOLS: Help Monitor Progress Toward Completing Tasks, Reaching Goals
Maintain disciplines to control, freeze design
- Spot deviations from plan
- Periodic formal status reports to show progress

What strategies can be used to overcome user resistance to systems development projects?
End-user resistance to IS projects can be overcome by the following strategies:

A "people-oriented" strategy focuses on ways of overcoming resistance stemming from factors

inherent to individuals or people as a group. It can consist of education, coercion through edicts or policies,
persuasion or building commitment through user participation.
A "system-oriented" strategy focuses on overcoming resistance stemming from factors inherent in
system design. Such a strategy might include user participation in system design, a design that is highly sensitive to
human factors, package modifications to conform to organizational procedures, and user education.
A strategy to counter the conflict of people and system factors could consist of restructuring the userdesigner relationship, encouraging user participation, and attempting to fix organizational problems before
introducing new systems.

What organizational considerations should be addressed by information system design?

Organizational impact analysis

- How will proposed system affect orientational?
In terms of the structure, attitudes, decision making and operations
- Interaction of people and machines including, design of jobs, health issues, and enduser interfaces
Sociotechnical design
- Design to produce information systems that blend the ff: technical effiency,
sensitivity to organizational needs and sensitivity to human needs.

Information system design must consider careful planning and orchestration of organizational change.
Changes in job functions, organizational structure, power relationships, procedures and behavior will have to be
addressed. Technical solutions must be developed around an appropriate "social design" for an information system.


Information Technology for Management 7th Edition, Henry C. Lucas Jr.
Management Information System 6th Edition, Effy Oz