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The mere fact of using a computer does not of itself mean that work is done more efficiently or that better information is produced Too often computers are introduced in an attempt to solve a technical problem when the real problem is one concerned with management or lack of clear objectives or poor coordination or one caused by environmental change or some other factor To gain the maximum advantage from using computers it is essential that problems are clearly identified before a computer system is introduced This means that there must be considerable investigation into managements requirements problems information needs and so on before there is any attempt to design a computer system If this procedure is not followed at best there will be additional problems during development at worst total disaster An example of the latter was the cancellation in 1992 of the TAURUS system for computerizing share transactions and settlement in the Stock Exchange From the start the Taurus system suffered from bad planning inadequate systems investigation and changing requirements culminating in total cancellation of the project at a cost of some 400 million In an attempt to increase the possibility of success the next few paragraphs outline the procedures necessary to develop effective information systems Defining Information Systems Before deciding what computer system will be used or even whether a computer is needed it is first necessary to find out what the system must do The passive view says we have a system it needs improvement lets see how this can be done The more radical view says Never mind how we do it now lets sort out what we want to do and see if we can develop a system to do it Too often an existing manual system is transferred on to a computer without sufficient thought being given to its real purpose This approach tends to produce information systems that perpetuate existing deficiencies and which swamp managers with
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