Information System Life Cycle

Information System Life Cycle

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5986-5.ch009
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Abstract

The main purpose of the IVO framework refers to study and management of IS. This chapter discusses the IS issues that are standard topics in study of IS (Management Information Systems and similar areas). These are IS design/development, adoption, evaluation, management, and use. These IS life cycle stages interact with IVO aspects, such as infopolitics and infoculture. Understanding this whole process rather than just a single step is necessary for effective research and management. An extensive case study is discussed to demonstrate these ideas. It is also shown how the IVO perspective can deepen teaching case studies.
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Introduction

The concept of IS was introduced earlier. To reiterate two more important points. First, IS is a broader concept than IT, as the former incorporates the latter along with data and procedures. And second, an IS does not “provide information” but rather transformed and organized data that may become information in human cognition. For the following discussion, it is useful to look at IS from a perspective of a cyclical life process. The process starts with the system conception and ends by phasing out the system. The process steps (sub-process in their own right) are IS design/development, adoption, use, evaluation, and management. The IS issues are represented in the inner circle of the IVO framework as depicted in Figure 1 in Chapter 1 and below in Figure 1. Elements in Figure 1 are somewhat rearranged to suit the purpose of this discussion. Some of the IS issues have attracted more attention than others; for example, the issue of system adoption drew in more research than IS design/development, use, or evaluation. It will be argued that more balanced approach is needed, including a concentration on IS use and management.

Figure 1.

Information system life cycle in the IVO perspective

The topic of issues will be richly demonstrated in a further elaboration of a previously introduced case that after successful initial adoption took on rather a dramatic turn. Next, the contributions of IVO will be summarized, guidelines for deploying it specified, limitations stated, and directions for further research outlined.

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Mapping System Life Cycle

The term “IS issues” captures the main phases or processes that constitute a life cycle of an IS (a large scale process in itself). These are depicted in Figure 2. The cycle starts with the birth of a system, which in this figure is represented in the innermost orbit. A system is first planned in terms of functionality supportive of a particular area of business, funding decisions are made, timing of development and switchover is planned, system requirements are defined, and system design documentation is created. All this is labeled as IS design. The design process is coupled with system development, which refers to practical work on physically making a system. In comparison to system analysis and design terminology, “design” implies “analysis” (to compress the expression), and “development” is spelled out (to express the differences in management concerns associated with conceiving versus building a system).

Figure 2.

The IS life process

A developed system undergoes the process of adoption by the users. This phase can also be understood in terms of change management. IVO offers analytical tools for understanding intricacies of system adoption, as it will be discussed in this chapter. System adoption ties into the process of IS use. This stage normally takes most of the life cycle time, unless a system fails. A system is used for production and other purposes (e.g., organizational maintenance and development), and its effects on the organizational performance materialize.

Throughout the life cycle, the stakeholders evaluate the system’s characteristics and data, advantages and disadvantages (ups and downs, pros and cons), or tangible and intangible costs and benefits. Stakeholders are various user groups (differentiated on business area, access privileges, and levels of expertise and use). One group is users that in rapid methodologies can be involved as early as in the development phase (Figure 2). This happens with rapid methodologies system development methodologies, whereas more traditional methodology would engage users once a system is fully developed. In any case, users’ evaluation continues into the adoption phase and later parallels system’s use until the completely routine use sets in. System evaluation by managers is also extensive and parallels other life cycle processes.

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