Essay: Analysis of user involvement, impacts on information systems use and success

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  • Analysis of user involvement, impacts on information systems use and success
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Abstract
User involvement during information systems development has been an eminent term discussed in information system literature. User involvement is considered to be one of the primal factors that contribute to the success of a system. This research essay has been conducted to examine the need for user involvement, how, where and when users participate in the systems development life cycle (SDLC). examining peer-reviewed IS literature articles, an interview at a company and books utilized from the local university library at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology Cape Town campus.
Keywords
User Involvement, Information Systems, Systems Development Life Cycle, Systems Use, System Success.
1. Introduction
A term frequently discussed in matters of Information Systems has been user involvement. The term has unique definitions when discussed among various educational fields. One of the definitions for user involvement is identified as ‘a subjective psychological state reflecting the importance and personal relevance of a system to the user.’ (Barki & Hartwick, 1989:53) This statement emphasizes that there is a somewhat connection between a user and a system. This essay aims to conclude whether or not user involvement during systems development impacts on Information Systems (IS’s) use and ultimately its success based on reviewed IS literature.
1. The role and importance of users in Information systems development
The role of users in the systems development life cycle differentiates on a wide scale. Authors (Stair, Reynolds, Fundamentals of Information Systems. In: Participants in Systems Development, 2011) claim that during systems development a user is commonly regarded as the individuals who shall ‘interact regularly with the system.’ When examining further into information systems development we can distinguish users who are the decision makers (usually the managers), acquired to give feedback and the ones who are the intermediate between the users and technical staff. The individuals who are responsible for the execution of a project or system are not referred to as users but instead they are the technical staff and consist of developer, systems analyst and more. Each user contributes significantly towards the systems development life cycle in the various phases of the cycle.
1.1 User operators/Standard users
These are the users that utilize the system for everyday tasks and give inputs (ideas) about the system. The roles of these users are to give valuable ideas for a solution to an existing problem. These users are not allowed to make any decisions but their input is highly desirable to the company for improvement of an Information System. This role may occur as a simple task, but in essence they are the core of the business. Without these users input systems would not be in existence.
1.2 User top management
These are the users that are responsible for making decisions about a project, usually the managers of a company. It is important for user in the top management to have a sense of strong commitment. A strong commitment will increase effective decision making based on the company’s objectives and ensure that these objectives are surpassed. Only certain managers are involved during the systems development life cycle depending on the system that will be developed.
2. Information system use, what challenges it and how it can be addressed
Information Systems Use refers to systems usage by the user operators and their satisfaction of the existing system. Information Systems are built to be utilized but ‘if a system is not used, it cannot be considered successful.’ (Szajna, 1993:147) There are any factors that lead to systems being unused or used with little or no interest.
2.1 User behaviours and Information systems use
Usage of a system may be optional or mandatory, nevertheless systems need to be utilised if they exist. A user may not want to use a system for a variety of reasons such as the system may not be user-friendly. How accessible a system is can be considered to influence behavior (i.e. user interacting with the system).
2.2 Expectations and realities of Information systems use
The reality of information systems use is that it’s complicated to measure. Factors that challenge information systems use are the levels of usage, voluntariness and relevance. The levels of usage refer to the number of times the system may be utilized within a specific period of time and at which stages are they most vital to be used.
Voluntariness describes that users utilizes a system voluntarily for personal satisfaction when it’s not regarded compulsory for them to use it, thus meaning users would want to utilize the system not only when instructed to. Although users only utilize a system when they when it is required of them to use it this factor is difficult to measure.
3. Does user Involvement lead to information systems use
User Involvement in information systems use does lead to an increase in users interest of the proposed system. Users would then be excited to use a system knowing that their input is essential.
The system use has separate measurable factors such as user participation and user satisfaction which can also be subdivided into user attitude and user behavior that impacts on system usage.
4. Does User Involvement lead to IS success
The success of a system can be measured in various ways. According to the author (Olson, Introduction to Information Systems Project Management, In: Primary Reasons for Information Systems Project Failure, 2003) suggests that ‘heavy involvement on part of the users is needed for project success.’ The author conveys the importance of involving users in this statement.
A recent study (Information and Software Technology, Vol 58, 148-169, February 2015) reviewed 87 empirical studies and discovered that user involvement contributes positively to a systems success.
Figure 1 – Relationship of user involvement and system success (Bano & Zowghi 2014)
The success of a system is measured in numerous levels of investigation that contribute to the overall success. I will discuss the level regarding user involvement namely ‘individual level’ and how it impacts and aspects on information system success.
5. Discussion of Interview
Citadel is an investment company that provides living annuity funds, retirement funds, pension funds, and tax pre-investments. The company has 13 products. Their client-base is millionaires and billionaires and their wealth management section is for the average person. Citadel has branched in various locations such as Sandton – Johannesburg, Durban, Bloemfontein, Pretoria, Cape Town and Bloomberg.
Moeshfiqoh Jassiem was interviewed and her current position at Citadel is a junior software support employee. The company involves users during the planning, requirements analysis systems implementation and maintenance phase. During systems implementation pilot implementations of newer versions of an existing system are tested by systems analyst who interact and guide the users as they test the new version together.
The company’s practice for improvement of information systems use and success is that it has adopted an effective complaint handling system, this system has a process. First the user identifies the problem and reports the problem to the software support staff, the software support staff then logs a complaint on the complaint handling system and this complaint is sent to the developers. At this point all the logs
6. Comparison of the interview with the Information systems development theory
Findings examined from IS literature and data collected from the interview were somewhat similar. Both IS literature and the interview stems that user involvement during systems development is a necessity for system success.
In comparison there are slight views of The interview outlines the importance of users and that without the users the system is determined for failure whereas the fin
7. Conclusions and suggestions
Ultimately user involvement during systems development overall has a positive impact on the use and success of the system. The main factor to consider is how to manage user involvement during systems development. For effective information systems use and success users should be included throughout the entire systems development life cycle to enhance their interest in not only the business but in technology.
Appendix
(Mohamed, 2015) ‘ Citadel Interview
FinalDS3 Essay Interview Questions.docx
FinalPSmarkup_DS3 Essay Interview Questions.docx.pdf
References
Books:
Olson DL. 2003. Introduction to Information Systems Project Management. Second ed. Pp.238
Stair Ralph, Reynolds George. 2011. Fundamentals of Information Systems. In: An overview of systems development. In: Participants in Systems Development. 6th ed. Pp.357
Electronic Journals:
– Barki Henri, Hartwick Jon, MIS Quarterly, Vol 13, Rethinking the Concept of User Involvement, No.1, March 1989.
Rethinking the Concept of User Involvement, Abstract ‘ 53 (page 1 of 11)
– Bano Muneera, Zowghi Didar, Information and Software Technology, Vol 58,
A systematic review on the relationship between user involvement and system success, February 2015
A systematic review on the relationship between user involvement and system success, Abstract – 148(page 1 of 21)
– Szajna Bernadette, Information & Management In, Vol 25, Determining information system usage: Some issues and examples ,No.3, September 1993
http://www.citadel.com/
Conferences
Bano M, Zowghi D. 2013, User involvement in Software Development: A systematic review on the relationship between user involvement and system success. Proceedings of 17th International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering (EASE) , April 2013, Brazil : Porto de Galinhas . Available WWW: http://www.uio.no/studier/emner/matnat/ifi/INF3280/v14/pensumliste/additionalliterature/banozowghi2013userinvolvementliteraturereview.pdf.

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