INFORMATION SYSTEMS FOR END USER COMPUTING AND COLLABORATION
Implementation is the process of putting a system into operation in an organization. The implementation process starts with the final product of the development phase, namely a set of computer programs.
The management of a firm is always interested in managing information technology. The managers are interested in the successful implementation of the IS function. The day the system is suggested, the implementation of the IS designs begins that very day. It is very important that now the systems design team approaches its job.
CHANGE IN THE ORGANIZATION
If It is to transform the organization, the managers must be successful in implementing the IS function. Many of the Information Systems are not used to their full potential which produces a low return in spite of large investments. Managers and other users of the systems want to be certain that the systems work when installed. Some pitfalls which are taken into account while developing a system can be;
- The original design of the system.
- The interface of the system with the users.
- The process of design and complementation.
Original Design of the System
The design may be very unfamiliar in the organization. The original design of the system might be carrying incorrect and incomplete specifications due to which an important action was not included in the system. The system might not work correctly.
The interface of the system with the User
The interface of the system with the user refers to the process by which we come in contact with the system, through printed forms, terminals, PCs, and their associated input language.
Process of Design and Implementation
Successful implementation of IS Function Implementation refers to the entire change effort associated with a new system. Implementation is like introducing new concepts and techniques to the organization so that all the personnel is aware of the latest technological changes in the organization. A system is designed to improve information processing.
What is it? A part of the designing of the system, a component of the organizational change? Implementation is not merely conversion and installation of a new system, but the long-term nature of implementation is that part of the process which when applied will bring the desired changes. The implementation process ceases abruptly when the system is successfully integrated with the organization.
HOW TO CONCLUDE THAT IMPLEMENTATION IS A SUCCESS OR FAILURE
Researchers have not agreed on an absolute indicator that whether a system has been successfully implemented or not. A strategy that appealed was the cost/ benefit study – where one totals the cost of developing a new system and compares it with the benefits incurred in terms of dollars/rupees which result from the system.
In practical terms, it is difficult to provide meaningful estimates. Fora system that aids a decision-maker or provides customer service, it is much more difficult to estimate the benefits and there are few instances of any such attempt since most of the strategic applications have defied the cost/profit analysis even after they have been installed and in work for some time.
As an alternate measure, in place of the cost/profit analysis, the manager can choose among several indicators of successful implementation, depending upon the requirement of the system involved. If the use of a particular system is voluntary, the managers shall adopt a high level of use as a sign of successful implementation. In a voluntary system, the manager or the other user receives a report but does not have to use the information on it or even read the report. The use of the voluntary system can be measured by interviews with the users through questionnaires, or in some instances, by building a monitor into the system to record actual use.
In a system where implementation is mandatory, such as an online production co control system, the managers shall employ the users’ evaluation of the sure of success. One important criterion of evaluation can be that the managers can evaluate a system to be successful if it accomplishes its objectives. For that, a system has to be used. One of the main objectives of the system can be a higher degree of user satisfaction and extensive use. Finally, a major task is to find out the impact of the implementation of the system on individuals and organizations.
RESEARCH ON IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS
Certain guidelines have been prescribed for the systems designer for the successful implementation of the system. The system designers should:
- Not enquire above a limit the information need of the user;
- Keep in mind that his role is to offer a service and not to demand an explanation;
- Respect the demands of the user;
- Not to mix up technical needs with the information needs recommendations for the modifications should not be there, unless technically infeasible;
- The global nature of the design of the system which is required to meet the present and prospective information need should be impressed upon the user;
- Impress upon the user that he should concentrate on the quality of input which wi 1 I increase the quality of the output;
- Impress upon the user that he is a vital component of the organization, the information is a corporate source and he is expected to contribute to the development of the organization;
- Ensure that the user makes a commitment to all the requirements of the systems design specifications;
- Ensure that the user appreciates the fact that his commitments contribute largely to the quality of the information and successful implementation of the system;
- Should make sure that the process of the overall system has the management’s acceptance;
- Systems designer should understand thoroughly that through serving the user, he is his best guide on the complex path of development;
- Impress upon the user that the change, which is easily possible in manual systems is not similar to that in the computer system as it requires a change in the programs;
- Impress upon the user that perfect information is non-existent, his role still has an importance in the organization;
- Take care of the point that before a system is taken for development the problems in the organization solved;
- Conduct a periodical user meeting on the systems where you get the opportunity to know the ongoing difficulties of the user.
One school of thought stresses the process of implementation as being the most significant determinant of implementation success. The implementation process refers to that ongoing relationship among individuals involved in developing a system.
Model 1 – A Process Implementation Model
- Storage – Activity
- Initiation – Primary contact between user and designer.
- Exploration – Betting a feel for the problem
- Commitment – Making a decision to proceed with a system
- Design – Developing the logical design and the specifications of the system
- Testing – Verifying that the system works
- Installation – Converting to the new system
- Termination – Design team finished, users must now own the system Operations – Routine operations plus enhancements and maintenance
Managers need an implementation strategy that takes into account the vital process issued in designing the information systems as well as planning the factors influencing success. Systems design is also viewed as a planned change in the activity of an organization. Dissatisfaction with the present situation stimulates the development of a new information system.
Research has shown that user participation in the design process is essential and a prerequisite for the planning of implementation strategy. It maintains that a changed approach based on user participation is likely to succeed.
Some reasons for user participation are:
- It helps increase self-esteem, which results in more favorable attitudes.
- Participation can build a positive attitude by increasingly satisfying the intrinsic values.
- Participation usually results in the system being used more. Participating users become aware of the change and get to control the technical qualities of the system.
- Users retain much of the control over their activities and should therefore have more favorable attitudes.
For the participation strategy to Work effectively the IS department should encourage it, while users should not feel reluctant to participate and devote a substantial effort to design work. As an effective participation strategy, users should go forward in designing their own system.
ROLE OF DESIGN TEAMS
Many information systems today are designed by groups consisting of managers, end-users, and system professionals. An approach such as joint-application development (JAD) promoted by IBM, emphasizes the role of the design team. Let us have a look at how do the users and the professional systems analyst work together as a team?
The foremost task delineated by the analyst might be the specification of output. The user is asked to think about the information required and to make a rough analysis of figures showing the information desired from the system. The analyst advises the user to maintain the display for several weeks on thinking about how could it be used. The analyst then, from the knowledge of the capabilities of the computer systems, presents an alternative for the user to consider.
Users help conduct interviews to determine the requirements for the new system. They also contribute to review the design of the system as it unfolds. Users will have the final say in how the system will function. In this way, the users will develop ownership, one of the major objectives of the process model.
Our complete implementation strategy comes from merging the most important factors discussed in Model 1 previously. During initiation, one essential path to success is having a sponsor or champion for success. Without the active support of the senior level person of an organization, the chances are greatly reduced. It is difficult to develop a boring system that is unlikely to have an impact on the firm. If users are expected to provide complex input but receive no benefits from the system because the data are used only by senior management. During Exploration one can sec the amount of organizational support the manager needs to encourage use. During the commitment stage, the sponsor has to prepare the organization for the design effort, by providing resources for the team.
During design, the manager needs the sponsor to help make the key policy decisions that will focus on urgent and important problems, which demand a high-quality design that will encourage use. The key policy decisions are
Extremely important in formulating the installation plan. Management along with the maximum number of users must be involved in designing and testing.
It is a bit of a hard task because any new system is designed with the motive to replace the existing system. The risk involved in this is very high. For installation is required a good testing plan, accompanied by a lot of help from the users to succeed in installation.
This stage signifies that the implementation process or the design team’s task has been complete: On the success of the implementation of the system the users’ team will have a sense of ownership of the system. The system installed will enable the organization to provide adequate resources to support the system.
The operational status shows that whether the system is an unfinished task. Users will come across ways to improve the system.
The aforesaid implementation process is based on successful research and experience. It will be very vital in developing systems that are successful and will be used. The best way to maximize the probability of a successful design project is by following a conscious implementation strategy.
- What is implementation and how is an IS function complemented?
- List the guidelines prescribed for the systems designer for the successful implementation of IS function?
- Explain the role of a manager in developing an Implementation strategy/
- Briefly explain the role of the Design Team?