Information Systems Failure – The Need for Careful Planning and Communication

Checking on an online dictionary or wiki once in a while is helpful in understanding better the different terms associated with Information Technology. At times it may appear that two terms have the same meaning, and yet otherwise in reality. Say for example “network” engineer” against “systems administrator”. At first, it may seem that these 2 jobs perform the same function, but then, both offer different job responsibilities. On the other hand, some terms are linked to each other while some are even identical. Take the case of “management information systems” or “MIS”.

MIS is the discipline that encompasses everything that involves information systems (e.g. people, procedures, technologies) to solve business issues. It is the most commonly used term as opposed to “information systems and management”. These two have the same meaning but the other one is seldom being used. To be acquainted with such terms, it would be best to check on online resources as this will be helpful in carrying out day to day work load.

Information system is yet another term identified with MIS and Information Systems Management. But then again, an information system may not always be intended for decision making. It can also be used in other areas such as geography, sociology, telecommunications and computer security. Unlike MIS, it has something to do with business decision making process, data resources, decision support systems, project management, and hardware resources among other applications. The department that usually handles such issues is often called MIS department, but not Information Systems and Management Department. It appears that fairness is also an issue with a lot of computer and IT terms.

Designing of information systems, data structures and databases is something that is expected for an information architect. Such line of work can be attained from advanced training and constant exposure to Information Architecture (IA), the art and science of expressing information concepts used in activities that require explicit details. Such activities include web development, database development, technical writing, library systems, enterprise architecture, programming, and critical software system design. Being adept with all these functions require one to have a thorough knowledge of information system architecture.
 
In the context of information systems design, information architecture is all about the analysis and design of data stored in information systems, as well as their entities, attributes and interrelationships. In an organization, it is a must to develop information systems needed for business operations. There are a lot of individual and corporate databases to be maintained and information architecture plays a major role in accomplishing this task through data modeling. Such distinct line of work is applied to integration technologies as a means of defining how specific data is passed between systems of an enterprise. Having a broad understanding on data storage is a must to anticipate future systems failure where backing up of relevant data is critical to the needs of the business.

Now that the World Wide Web has dominated the entire region, information architecture techniques and practices are definitely in demand. An experience in designing information systems is indeed an advantage to take on a larger enterprise business system. But then again, there is still a need to specific business and user requirements before one can truly qualify to shape a system’s information.

It is but a fact that no matter how hard people try in establishing a more stable and reliable information system, it is still not a guarantee that system failure will never occur. This is one huge threat enveloping the proper implementation of projects that were made to improve business operations. There are just some information systems that never materialize due to unknown reasons. It could be that some were accomplished later than expected while others run out of budget. Another reason is that business objectives were not met due to failure in delivering the promised level of performance.

Being in such situation is very alarming as this will definitely affect people throughout the organization. Not only is that employee morale goes down, the worst part is that the company’s future survival is threatened. So what could cause this issue? What went wrong?

Information systems greatly relies its success on two groups of people: its developers and users. The development stage is the most critical part of the process wherein insufficient planning is most likely to occur. Cautiously considering all factors involved in the process (e.g. users, time frame, budget etc.) is a must to ensure the accomplishment of business goals.

Information system failure may also be due to user’s mistakes. There are times that people are unaware of the possible effects of the things that they do. Constant communication should be done at all times to ensure work proficiency. As what they always say, “prevention is better than cure” so taking the time to carefully plan and communicate are the needed ingredients for future success.