|ognizant Communication Corporation|
FAILURE & LESSONS LEARNED IN INFORMATION AND TECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT
VOLUME 1, NUMBER 1, 1997
Failure & Lessons Learned in Information Technology Management,
Vol. 1, pp. 3-17, 1997
1088-128X/97 $10.00 + .00
Copyright © 1997 Cognizant Comm. Corp.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved.
An Implementation of a Data-Centered Information Systems Strategy: A Power/Political Perspective
G. Mike McGrath
Joint Research Centre for Advanced Systems Engineering, School of MPCE, Macquarie University, NSW, 2109, Australia
Despite the substantial increase in strategic IS planning activity over the last decade, it would appear that most strategies have not been successfully implemented. A major Australian organization's recent experience in developing and implementing an IS strategy is detailed. Politically motivated resistance is identified as a major reason why the organization realized few of its strategic IS objectives. Tactics that might have been employed to overcome this resistance are discussed.
Key words: Failure; Information systems strategy; Data centered; Implementation
Correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to G. Mike McGrath. Tel: +61 (0) 2 850-9581; Fax: +61 (0) 2 850-9102; E-mail: email@example.com
Information Systems Failure: Identifying the Critical Failure Factors
Centre for Management Development, Mithras House, University of Brighton, Sussex. BN2 4AT Great Britain
Despite the extensive literature surrounding the area, IS failures continue to occur with some regularity, imposing significant costs on the organizations involved. This article is an attempt to break this cycle of failure by identifying patterns of factors associated with IS development failure and proposing a predictive structure. The research analyzes six failed information systems developments and identifies a set of common factors that were associated with the occurrence of IS failure. It is proposed that these factors, termed Critical Failure Factors, may be applicable to all IS developments and may be used to predict and prevent IS failure occurring and capture the important lessons that may otherwise be lost.
Key words: Critical failure factors; Information systems; Information system development
Correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Stephen
Flowers. Tel: 01273 642340; Fax: 01273 642980; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lessons From a Virtual University Task Force
School of Electrical engineering and Computer Science, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-2752
A task force at a university was created in October 1995 to develop the strategic plan for its virtual university. The 54 members of the task force came from all major units of the multicampus university and were expected to communicate via E-mail, which was automatically archived on the WWW and via documents on the WWW. Through an ethnographic analysis of the period October 1995 through May 1996, the politics of information at the university have been delineated and related to the virtual mode of operation of the task force. An analysis of the accesses to the WWW site revealed that the site was frequently accessed by a minority. Most of the task force E-mail was authored by only a few people. Essentially, two cultures existed, one comfortable with the information superhighway and one not. For such a task force to be successful these two cultures must be treated differently.
Key words: Virtual university; Lessons learned; World Wide Web; Cultures
Correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Roy Rada. Tel: (509) 335-4254; Fax: (509) 335-3818; E-mail: email@example.com
IT Lessons Learned From the Food and Drug Administration's CANDA Program
Joseph Williams,1 Kip Canfield,2 and Michele Ritondo2
1Computer Information Systems Department, College of Business,
Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523
2Laboratory for Healthcare Informatics, Department of Information Systems, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) receives and processes hundreds of thousands of pages of documentation with each application submitted for a new drug approval. The CANDA (Computer-Aided New Drug Application) system, an electronic document management program, was supposed to enable the FDA to significantly reduce the time required for reviewing new drug applications. In fact, benefits from the CANDA system were almost negligible and the FDA has been forced to essentially abandon the CANDA program. The replacement FDA program, called the Submission Management and Review Tracking (SMART) initiative, seeks to make good use of the hard lessons learned from the CANDA program's failures.
Key words: Lessons learned; Information technology; Regulatory requirements; Clinical trials
Correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Joseph
Williams, Ph.D. Tel: (970) 491-7680; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Modeling the Political Aspects of Information Systems Projects Using "Information Wards"
Dennis N. Hart
University College, Australian Defence Force Academy, UNSW, Northcott Drive, Campbell ACT 2600, Australia
It is now well recognized by researchers and practitioners alike that development of an information system is not only a technological issue but also an organizational one. In particular, it is not uncommon for major IS projects to generate conflict and associated political activity within the organizations in which they are embedded. When this occurs there is obviously an increased risk of project failure, whatever the real or purported benefits the information system may hold for the organization at large. This article is concerned with modeling the relationship between the interests of different organizational actors (called "players") and proposed information systems development efforts. The model developed is a graphical technique for representing the relationship between stakeholder interests and information system scope using the concepts of "information wards" and "political information wards." These are used to describe why information systems can generate conflict and as a basis for recommending techniques for avoiding such conflict when and if it occurs. A case study is briefly described to illustrate the applicability and usefulness of the concepts on which the model is based.
Key words: Information wards; Information systems projects; Modeling; Politics
Correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Dennis
Hart. Tel: +61 6 268 8058; Fax +61 6 268 8581.
Organizational Politics and Project Failure: A Case Study of a Large Public Sector Project
Faculty of Communication, University of Canberra, Kirinari Street, Bruce, A.C.T. 2616, Australia
This article presents an overview of a Case Study exploring the proposition that organizational power plays and conflict contribute to the failure of information systems developments. The Case Study Project was an intraorganizational information systems development in a large public sector organization. The study used information gathered from a document study and interviews with participants to formulate a survey that was sent to all project participants (senior management, developers, and target end users). The findings provide an insight into how organizational factors influence information systems development. Participants in the Case Study Project clearly believed that organizational power and politics were major factors contributing to the failure of the project. The major source of conflict, however, was perceived to be between different user groups, and this conflict was damaging enough to impact directly on the success of the development. The findings of this study suggest that professionals involved in information systems development must assess and manage the risk that internal organizational conflict can pose to a systems development
Key words: Project failure; Organizational politics; Public sector; Information systems development
Correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Leoni Warne. Tel: +61 6 (06) 2012392; E-mail: email@example.com
User Acceptance of Interactive Systems: Lessons From Knowledge-Based and Decision Support Systems
P. Brézillon and J.-Ch. Pomerol
LAFORIA-IBP, Case 169, University Paris 6, 4, place Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France
A realistic evaluation of the number of expert systems or knowledge-based systems (KBSs) that really are operational within companies or administrations is difficult. It seems that a large number of such systems have never been used in operations, and a rich literature stresses this point. We think that most of the references in the literature do not address some important dimensions. In this article, we discuss problems encountered in the literature according to three neglected dimensions: (1) the differences between automatic KBSs and interactive KBss; (2) the types of data acquisition that are required, and (3) the nature and the role of future and preferences in the involved decisions. This permits us to propose an interpretation of the acceptance or the rejection of KBSs and their use along these three dimensions. Most of the previous failures and difficulties have already been encountered in several domains in which interactivity plays a crucial role. These domains are generally regrouped under the term of decision support systems (DSSs). Comparing KBS and DSS approaches permits ust to propose some recommendations for an emerging approach, namely those of intelligent assistant systems that cover KBSs and DSSs.
Key words: Knowledge-based systems; Decision support systems; User acceptance; Lessons learned
Correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to P.
Brézillon. Tel: + 33 1 44 27 70 08; Fax: +33 1 44 27 70 00; E-mail: