Technical Principles of Systems Design
It is clear from both the research literature and from discussions with managers that the reality of management information systems has been disappointing. Often MIS fail to meet their intended objectives, especially it seems where they are computer-based. On examination of the cause, it is frequently found that the MIS has addressed a wrong or irrelevant problem, that behavioural factors have been overlooked, or that management support has been lacking. Indeed many systems have not been designed at all, being the result of automating or improving existing systems so that it is fortuitous if management’s real needs are satisfied.1 Furthermore such systems tend to evolve through their own momentum, but with little explicit attention to design decisions, so that alternatives and trade-offs are not considered and critical questions rarely asked. Nor are ‘greenfield’ systems necessarily any better. Both Diebold2 and McKinsey discovered that commonly both the goals and the structure of MIS were decided and guided, not by management or the users, but by the technical specialists themselves. Thus technically feasible systems were built, but by those who had little appreciation of business or of wider design issues.
KeywordsEntropy Ferrite Expense Sorting Arena
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