Problems in implementing a Computer based MIS

Resistance to a new MIS can be every manager’s nightmare G W Dickson and John K Simmons note five major factors that determine whether and to what extent the implementation of a new MIS will be resisted.

Does the MIS disrupt established departmental boundaries? The establishment of a new MIS can result in changes in several organizational units. For example, inventory and purchasing departments may be merged to make more efficient use of the MIS. Such disruptions may be resisted by department members, who may resent having to change the way they do things or the people with whom they work.

Does the MIS disrupt the informal system? The informal communication network may be disrupted as a new MIS alters communication patterns. If organization members prefer some of the earlier, informal mechanisms for gathering and distributing information, they may resist the more formal channels set up for the new system. Development and Alumni Office managers often talk informally about the university’s graduates. A new MIS cannot interfere with that valuable communications channel.

Does the MIS challenge specific individual characteristics? People with many years of service with the organization have “learned the ropes” and know how to get things done in the existing system. They may resist change more tenaciously than newer people who have been with the organization for a comparatively short period of time and do not have as large an investment in organizational know how and relationships.

Is the MIS supported by the organizational culture? If top management maintains open communication deals with grievances, and, in general establishes a culture with trust throughout the organization, there is likely to be less resistance to the installation of a new MIS. However, if top managers are isolated or aloof from other organization members, or if the organizational culture supports inflexible behavior then effective implementation of the MIS is likely to be hindered. At many colleges and universities, departments have been relatively independent by tradition. In this kind of culture, top management support must be supplemented by broad based support from organizational members.

Do employees have a say in how the change is implemented? As we have seen repeatedly earlier, the manners in which changes are designed and implemented affects the amount of resistance those changes will encounter. In general when managers and employees make change decisions together, there is a greater likelihood that the changes will be accepted.

As you can see, the difficulty of managing a new MIS introduction is a case example of management in general. Organizational structure, communication, motivation, organizational culture and group decision making ideas that should be familiar to you by now are all involved in the process of changing an MIS.

Implementation and Security:

Security of the new system is a control issue that must be addressed in the design and implementation stages – for example, by placing equipment in safe and supervised areas and by constructing password and read only files. There are a number of important security concerns to be addressed and the risks associated with mainframe computers and micro or personal computers vary. While the production of mainframe configuration is usually adequate, security for microcomputer systems is sorely lacking in many organizations.

Organizations using microcomputer based information systems have experienced increased control problems, such as theft and vandalism, the destruction or alteration of data and the unauthorized dissemination of restricted or sensitive information. Theft and vandalism can be limited by placing equipment in secure areas or by making existing facilities more secure. Software or program piracy can be prevented by copy guarding important programs and by securely strong authorized originals and backup copies. Data can be protected by making alterations to on line data files impossible without the correct password or by making backup copies of disks to preserve the originals from intentional or accidental erasure. —