Systems selection is a process that is central to the success of systems development. Recall that the first objective of systems development is “to develop information systems that satisfy an organization’s informational and operational needs.” For this reason, one key to the success of systems development is to ensure that systems selection criteria are based on user requirements (i.e., the logical specifications and physical requirements) developed during the systems analysis phase of systems development.
Another key to systems development success is the full evaluation of available software and hardware resources. As the quantity of resources has grown, it has become more difficult to identify and evaluate all available resources. On the other hand, the Internet has made available to us large quantities of up-to-date, independent information to assist in the selection process. Indeed, as noted earlier in the chapter, we can see product demos or actually conduct tests at many vendor Web sites.
Finally, the success of systems development projects is found in the details. It may be such things as user manuals, training, and implementation schedules and plans that determine the success of the new or modified system.
There may be, however, another twist on the cause-and-effect relationship between successful completion of systems development steps and the achievement of the systems development objectives. 1 At the time we have implemented a system and conducted the post-implementation review, we might measure the development process as successful. That is, we have delivered a system that meets most of the user requirements, we have implemented the system on time and within budget, and there don’t seem to be any bugs. These are all short-term measures.
It is not until we conduct systems maintenance that we discover that the system has some long-term faults. It may not be, for example, flexible, scalable, reliable, or maintainable. These faults are what drive up the life cycle cost of the system, that cause maintenance costs to be 50 to 70 percent of the long-term costs. The solution is to incorporate the long-term requirements (e.g., flexibility, maintainability) into the initial user requirements and to measure the success of the implementation over the long run, rather than at the time of implementation.