Poor Technology or System Requirements Definition - Information System
Previously we looked at product design and specifically the importance of requirements capture as part of the design process. This method is equally as important in the implementation of an IS as only by thoroughly defined what the IS should do can we hope to have a system that will meet all our needs using the appropriate technology. Often a lack of understanding of how our processes and organisation works when it is unsupported by an information system makes it difficult to specify exactly what the IS is required for. The usual response is then to buy an off the shelf solution that may be a square peg filling a slightly rectangular hole. Another common mistake is to over-specify resulting in a system that is awash with features that are not required, leading to operator confusion and overwork as these features may get in the way of the real value adding functionality that the IS may have.
Legacy systems and current infrastructure This problem is most easily understood using the everyday example of the rail ways where the rail network infrastructure is so large and well established that any new innovation must be used in conjunction with infrastructure that may be over a century old. It is therefore difficult to introduce a new type of train as it has to interface with a track that maybe a century old meaning that the ability to use new technology is limited at conception. The rapidly changing face of technology especially in the area of information systems and the race to install these that has been taking place over the last 40 years results in many cases (especially in larger organisations) in solutions being chosen for their ability to interface and integrate with an older less able systems as the cost of an 'upgrade' or 'bolt-on' is seen as more palatable than a completely new system.
Hopefully however more recently with the trend towards standardised hardware and custom software; combined with greater vision being displayed by systems designers in terms of modular approaches; together with forwards and backwards compatibility strategies this problem should reduce.