Retos para la Dirección al invertir en sistemas de información: el usuario final, un elemento crítico

José L. Calderón-Amaya, Carlos Rodríguez-Monroy, Julián Chaparro-Peláez, Dennis Kira

Resumen


Muchas organizaciones, a nivel mundial, continúan experimentando fuertes pérdidas al fracasar sus inversiones en sistemas de información (SI). Esta investigación empírica ha perseguido evaluar en qué grado cier tas variables relativas al usuario final, incluyendo subdimensiones sobre capacidades y actitudes, que han sido ignoradas o poco profundizadas por la investigación, están involucradas durante el desarrollo de los SI, así como lo fuerte que puede ser su impacto sobre el éxito de los mismos, al implementarlos. Se confirmó el alto nivel de relación e impacto esperados, concluyendo que en este dominio puede hallarse buena parte de la explicación a la problemática planteada.

Palabras claves: inversiones en sistemas de información, pérdidas parciales y totales, usuario final, factores clave de éxito, conocimiento, retos gerenciales.


Challenges to management when investing in information systems: the end-user, a critical element

Abstract: For decades, many organizations worldwide have been enduring heavy losses due to par tial or total failures in their investments in information systems (IS), posing serious challenges to all management levels and the engineers involved. Alarming statistics in this regard and decades of practice in the IS area lead us to place the emphasis on the end-user and to regard them as highly influential elements in such outcomes. Especially, on three end-user success factors deemed critical to any IS development and implementation, not thoroughly analyzed neither in the theory nor in the empirical research on the subject, so far. Hence, this research has studied to what degree such factors influence the outcome of an IS development process and how strong its impact would be, once implemented, on the end user satisfaction, as an accepted measure of IS success. This study was performed in Latin America, embracing four major industrial enterprises which ver tically integrate the aluminum sector of Venezuela, united under a macro ISDP to install the ERP-type package SAP/R3. The field work included surveying and interviewing experienced professionals such as IS executives, IS developers and end-user project leaders of these industrial companies. Findings showed that studies addressing IS success/failure from this viewpoint were not found neither in Latin America nor elsewhere. An empirical validation of the model via Par tial Least Squares (PLS) revealed that indicator variables making up the construct end-user knowledge exert the highest influence on the results and IS success, followed by those of the constructs end-user participation and end-user commitment, in that order. Another finding is that these factors in our model can be used to expand the well-known model of De- Lone y McLean (2003), by connecting them as latent variables of its independent variables information quality and IS quality. Also, many authors analyze the construct end-user knowledge by referring mainly to IT aspects, which proved to be irrelevant in this case. A hermeneutic/dialectic analysis on the interviews confirms, among other things, how end-users can cause major development and implementation problems, leading to a poor or dysfunctional IS, which afterwards they refuse to use. The payroll and the human administration IS were the most problematic, as is usually the case. A detailed checklist comprising key measures is provided for preventive actions. A main result is that when end-users reject an IS, paradoxically, in quite a number of cases, the origin of the alleged reasons are usually traceable to the end-users themselves. The main conclusion is that end-users do have a significant and answerable role in forging their own future IS satisfaction, a fact too often overlooked. By appointing constituent end-users to an ISDP whose contributions are poor or wrong, they not only misrepresent the rest of their peers, but are also harmful to the project. Management must thoroughly analyze end-users’ qualifications before appointing them to an ISDP team, and afterwards. A suggested approach is for supervisors and project leaders to focus their attention pre-emptively on the variables comprising the subdimensions of these constructs.

Keywords: information systems, partial and total losses, end-user, key success factors, knowledge, management challenges.

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