Despite people's best efforts information systems are particularly prone to failure. Some systems never materialize, others appear late and/or over budget and those that are implemented often fail to deliver the promised levels of performance. The consequences of these failures affect people throughout the organization concerned and beyond, sometimes to the point where they even threaten a company's future survival. They also damage the companies that develop and supply such systems. Worse still, the same types of problems occur again and again; even the most exhaustive methods are not able to ensure success. This book aims to help all those people involved with information systems to break that repeating pattern of failure. Using real life examples it introduces a sophisticated approach based around the notion of system to come to grips with the causes of actual and potential failure. It presents a model of a system capable of action without failure that can be used as a yardstick to judge existing and planned information systems and suggest measures that need to be taken to achieve success.
Dr Joyce Fortune is a Senior Lecturer and Head of the Technology Management Department at the Open University. Her teaching and research interests include systems failures, quality management and technology strategy. Her most recent papers have covered a wide range of topics including risk in project management, human rights and ethical policing, emergence and systems approaches to failure. This is her third book on systems failures. Professor Geoff Peters is Professor of Systems Strategy at the Open University and Chairman of UKERNA Ltd, the company that manages JANET, the UK's academic and research network. His main research interests are failure in complex human systems and change in higher education systems. He has edited and authored books on system failures, systems behaviour, corporate universities and the works of Sir Geoffrey Vickers.