Why It Is Important To Understand Complexity In Information Systems

We know from researchers that as businesses and organizations become more dependent on technology for their operations, the ‘complexity’ of Information Systems (IS) becomes an important issue for management from the point of view of organizational engineering.

When we say ‘complexity’, we use it in two ways. There is the usual meaning of the term – “something with many parts, all of which interact with each other in many different ways”. Then there is the term that you’ll find scientists and theorists use, the technical term ‘complexity’ which is used to put complex systems in categories based on their degree of interactions between the many parts.

We are simplifying the meaning of complexity here, but there are a lot of conceptual and application-based theories and processes behind identifying complexity and using it to understand a system, particularly an Information System which we’re talking about here.

The Complexities of ICT 

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are known largely as being enablers of social and economic growth, and IS, when applied properly, play an important role in accelerating growth and development in organizations and nations. But ICT has also been closely linked with risk for as long as it has been around.

We know that ICT is a technology that helps us to control and better predict complex processes in nature (such as in weather forecasts, new drug development etc.), in society (such as in project management tools, production control systems etc.) and in other areas (such as in chemical plants, ballistic missiles etc.). We also know that the technology includes many risk-management tools for predicting, calculating and managing risks. But ICT solutions themselves may have their own risks and lead to project failures, if they are not used in the correct way.

Several studies and research by experts ever since we began using ICT in specialized areas and in the mainstream have shown that complexity in IS can lead to project failure. These studies have used both technical approaches as well as socio-technical approaches. The conclusion of most of this research is the same – understanding complexity in information systems is the key to understanding the different types of IS failures that can occur, predicting these failures, and using the knowledge to eliminate or at the very least, control these risks and make sure that every project is a success.

In other words, any organization that wants to enjoy long-term success and continuous improvement through evaluation and monitoring of its IS will need to learn from the complexities and failures of ISDPs (Information Systems Development Projects).

Who needs to understand the Complexities of IS?

Managers of Information System departments and managers engaged in organizational engineering in general will do well to understand the key components of Information Systems, and the complexities that revolve around them so that they can better manage their IS. This means that whether your organization is in the public sector, or whether you are in the healthcare, banking, financial or other industries that are heavily dependent on Information Systems, you will benefit from the knowledge of complexity.

Whether you are based in the developed West or in developing countries, you need to understand complexity. Developing nations in particular, especially LDCs (least developed countries) often try to directly employ the latest technologies, methods and techniques of using IS without understanding the potential risks. This often leads to dissatisfaction in organizations, cost and schedule overruns and other problems because of which projects fail or are abandoned. In you need more information Click here.

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