Developing Information Systems that reflect Client Expectations

Frank Stowell


Organisational information systems existed before computers were used to support them but the speed of change to working practices facilitated by information technology has created a kind of change not previously experienced. Whilst it can be argued that IT is affecting society no more than mechanisation affected society in the first Industrial Revolution, a fundamental difference is the speed at which change is taking place. %en technology is introduced to support information systems into an organisation (social or business) there is an impact upon individuals and groups as the boundaries of responsibility, authority and power are shifted by surrogate technology. An important consideration for the IS practitioner is how the appreciation and management of the situation can be translated into a process of learning.

Too often the development of the technology supported information systems is taken out of the hands of the user, or client, often with a less than satisfactory result. This paper deals with the issue of client control, aspects of organisational power and the effects upon the power structures of an organisation that technology may introduce are considered.

Suggestions about ways of managing change whilst enabling all those involved to control the development of their information systems are proposed. The paper includes an example from a manufacturing enterprise where a form of client-led development was used to develop an information system. The example also illustrates how the group dealt with the implication upon working practice and with the reorganisation of the department.