Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Checklist of the information system

French version : Check-list du système d'information

To troubleshoot an engine one must seek first the most frequent failures, then move gradually towards the rarest (first ignition, then the air filter and fuel supply, then the carburetor, etc.). This allows on average to troubleshoot faster.

The "checklist of the information system" allows us to assess the quality of an existing system and prescribe the measures that will "help out". It begins by examining what happens on the workstation of the users, then it jumps to the other end of the information system to review the decision support system. Having taken the SI in a pincer, it moves on its architecture (organization of responsibilities, semantics). Finally, it considers the control of the information system from the point of view of the functional evolution, the technical platform and the economy.

1) Workstation

Operational information system

Have agents often to do manual re-keying? should they, in the same operation, connect and disconnect for various applications?

Are clearances clearly defined? Are the access rights of each agent automatically assigned when he identifies and authenticates its identification? must the agent identify several times in a day?

Is impression management effective? Are the mails sent by the company of good quality?

Are the agents adequately supported by the information system in the performance of their duties?

Does the company perform a periodic survey on the satisfaction of the users of the information system? Are decisions taken following the results of this survey?

What are the phrases we hear from users about the information system? are they like:

  • "IT is still down"
  • "I don't know how to use this application"
  • "It changes all the time, it's too complicated"
  • "the organization is nonsense" etc.

or like this:

  • "We know what we have to do"
  • "We are well equipped"
  • "Everything is well organized"
  • "The firm is effective" etc.

Do users receive any training shortly before the deployment of a new application? Are periodical "booster shots" planned?

Are the performance of the computer system, as they are perceived by agents to their workstation appropriate (delay of display on the screens, data processing time) ?

Are IT outages frequent? annoying?

Is user support is effective (first level help, troubleshooting, help desk)?

Computerized communication

Does e-mail equip every agent? Do all the users have personal addresses? Is the usage of e-mail supervised (practices monitoring, advertising of best practices)?

Has the company introduced an Intranet? Does it use it for for its technical and professional documentation? for internal communication? Are the documents are they well written? Properly maintained?

Does the firm use tools for cooperative writing, selective dissemination?

Does the firm equip its administrative processes with workflows (leave and transfer requests, approval of contracts, orders for equipment and work etc.)?

2) Decision Support System

Do the leaders of the firm have a scoreboard of good quality (soberly selective, clearly commented)?

Does the steering committee waste time to confront inconsistent statistics?

Does the information system provide operational managers with indicators that allow them a daily or weekly monitoring of their units?

3) Architecture

Organization of responsibilities

Has the firm organized units in charge of the quality of the information system in each of its various businesses and with the CEO?

Do these units know the needs of the agents of the business? have they made ​​a segmentation of this population?

Do they watch on how similar companies use their information systems?

Is there a strategic committee of information systems?

Are the methods used to establish the program of work for a year and to ensure the implementation of a project well defined? Are they known ans used?

Are the IT budgets managed by the business owners or by the IT department?

Are the relationship between businesses and IT suitable, both in regard to the relationships between people that to the effectiveness of their cooperation?


Are nomenclatures (products, customers, organization etc.) and identifiers documented? Do they reside in a searchable repository?

Does the firm have a directory of agents? Is this directory used to manage authorizations?

Are the updates of baseline data immediately reflected in the applications?

4) Management of the Information System

Functional evolution

Did the company develop a master plan of the information system?

Has there been a communication around this master plan?

Can we say that the master plan was "appropriate":

  • By managers?
  • By users?

Is the master plan updated annually? Does it illuminate the budgetary discussions?

Has the "information system portfolio" been defined in each business of the firm? Is its development is managed to ensure the scalability of the information system?

Are information exchanges between businesses known? managed?

Is the use of repositories by different businesses of the firm consistent?

Technical platform

Does IT management possess the necessary skills? Does it use the computer skills of its staff?

Is the implementation of a supplier's product accompanied by internal training and appropriation efforts?

Does technology watch allow:

  • To know the software offering?
  • To define the boundary between what we should do with software packages and ERP, and what is best done in specific?
  • To define the boundary between what to outsource and what is best done in-house?

Is the technology watch extended by small-scale trials (Linux, Web services etc..?)

Is the telecoms network properly sized for present needs? For future needs? Is the share of telecoms spending in the IT budget excessive, reasonable? Are telecoms solutions consistent with the state of the art?

Is computer architecture (Middleware etc..) consistent with the state of the art? are the necessary repairs done? Are maintenance expenses in a proper relationship with the expected repair costs?

Are relatively inexpensive solutions (groupware, intranet, Workflow, Web etc..) readily used by computer specialists? Do they have the skills to develop and exploit them?


Is the cost function of the information system known? Are accounting classifications correct (separation between operating expense and investment, knowledge of the costs of project management, knowledge of internal costs)?

Is the dynamics of the cost of the information system controlled (development and maintenance)?

Can we say that the degree of computerization of the firm is suitable? Is it sub-computerized, over-computerized?

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