Information Systems Success

The concept of IS success is problematic and can be interpreted in different ways (Caldeira & Ward 2002). For example, Brabander and Thiers (1984) defined IS success as related to the efficiency of the IS itself in meeting the requirements. IS success is also often associated with the benefits gained from the IS compared to the cost to acquire the IS (Ives, Olson & Baroudi 1983). However, cost–benefit analysis to measure IS success is difficult and previous studies were inconclusive in providing definitive evidence of benefits arising from IS or IT investment (Cragg 2002; Tallon, Kraemer & Gurbaxani 2000). Other measurements of IS success are related to its effectiveness, which is associated with the IS contribution toward achieving the organisation’s goals and performance (Raymond 1990; Thong, Yap & Raman 1996). However, measuring the impact of IS on organisational performance is also problematic, since it is difficult to isolate the impact of IS from other factors influencing organisational performance (Delone & McLean 1992; Turban, MacLean & Wetherbe 2002).

In order to measure IS success, two surrogate measures in the form of two variables are often used: computer utilisation and user satisfaction (Delone & McLean 1992; DeLone 1988; Raymond 1985). Computer utilisation refers to the actual use of computers within organisation, which is shown by the frequency and length of use (DeLone 1988). User satisfaction, according to some authors such as Raymond (1985), emphasises factors that contribute to user satisfaction, including whether the applications were developed internally, usage of administrative applications, whether applications are interactive, the presence of high ranking MIS functions, and whether the organisation is situated in a less remote region. DeLone (1988), on the other hand, argues that user satisfaction is shown by the actual usage of the applications by the user.

Looking at the different definitions and measures of IS success, we need to formulate a way to measure IS success. In this posting, IS success is measured by:

  1. Computer usage by looking at the actual usage of computer (e.g. what the computer is used for, by whom, etc)
  2. Impact on the business measured by number of applications in used, perceived application importance, and perceived application success.


Brabander, S. & Thiers, G. 1984, ‘Successful Information Systems Development in Relation to Situational Factors which Affect Effective Communication Between MIS-Users and EDP-Specialists’, Management Science, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 137-155.

Caldeira, M.M. & Ward, J.M. 2002, ‘Understanding The Successful Adoption and Use of IS/IT in SMEs: An Explanation from Portuguese Manufacturing Industries’, Information System Journal, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 121-152.

Cragg, P. 2002, ‘Benchmarking Information Technology Practice in Small Firms’, European Journal of Information Systems, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 267-282.

Delone, W. & McLean, E. 1992, ‘Information Systems Success: The Quest for The Dependent Variable’, Information Systems Research, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 60-95.

DeLone, W.H. 1988, ‘Determinants of Success for Computer Usage in Small Business’, MIS Quarterly, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 50-61.

Ives, B., Olson, M. & Baroudi, J. 1983, ‘The Measurement of User Information Satisfaction’, Communications of the ACM, vol. 26, no. 10, p. 785`793.

Raymond, L. 1985, ‘Organizational Characteristics and MIS Success in the Context of Small Business’, MIS Quarterly, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 37-52.

Raymond, L. 1990, ‘Organisational Context and Information Systems Success: A Contingency Approach’, Journal of Management Information Systems, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 5-20.

Tallon, P.P., Kraemer, K.L. & Gurbaxani, V. 2000, ‘Executives’ Perceptions of The Business Value of Information Technology: A Process-oriented Approach’, Journal of Management Information Systems, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 145-173.

Thong, J.Y.L., Yap, C. & Raman, K. 1996, ‘Top Management Support, External Expertise and Information Systems Implementations in Small Businesses’, Information Systems Research, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 248-267.

Turban, E., MacLean, E. & Wetherbe, J. 2002, Information Technology for Management: Transforming Business in The Digital Economy, 3rd edn, John Wiley & Sons, New York.

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