The systems survey is conducted to investigate Information Systems problems and to decide on a course of action. One course of action will be to proceed with development. However, initial investigation may find that there is no problem and broader analysis is not warranted. We must be careful in reaching conclusions, because problems may be ill defined and not appropriately identified by users.
A systems survey is initiated when the organization’s IT strategic plan prescribes the development or when a user requests the development or modification of a new system. In planned reviews, systems analysts may not be aware of any particular problems. In such cases, they conduct the systems survey to see whether information processing problems exist or if they can improve an Information System. Planned systems development determines whether:
• A system still satisfies users’ information needs.
• New design ideas can be incorporated.
• Evolving environmental changes, such as competition, require system changes.
• New types of business by a firm require system changes.
The user requests systems development when a system no longer efficiently and effectively meets their goals. User-requested systems development may occur when:
• Government regulations require new or modified reports.
• Current reports do not meet decision-making needs.
• Erroneous system outputs occur.
• Escalating customer or vendor complaints are received.
• The information system causes delays that slow a business process.
Notice that many of those reasons are rooted in a desire to leverage new technology for competitive advantage. The organization should have a formal process for selecting projects to ensure that they are consistent with the organizational goals and strategies identified in the strategic plan for IT. Potential projects should be prioritized and approved by the IT steering committee to ensure that:
• Efficient and effective use is made of existing IT resources.
• IT resources are directed at achieving organizational objectives.
• Information services are used consistently throughout the organization.