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The trend away from the implementation of large new computer systems toward adjustment, fine-tuning, and localized introduction of information technology has left the systems analyst without the effective system tools to work with. The analyst needs to be able to identify and correct problems that arise in information systems in which documentation is incomplete or nonexistent, and to achieve measurable improvements in a short period of time without extensive use of resources. The underlying systems principles involved are considered, and the first of a series of systems studies conducted to test these principles and the resulting systems tools developed is described. The study focused on errors that emerged following the implementation of a computerized billing system for classified advertising accounts of a British regional newspaper. By examining the transactions in which errors with significant potential for revenue loss occurred, and evaluating the interface functions carried out on them, the causes of the errors were identified and remedied in a short time without disturbing operations of other system functions. The method described can only be used effectively where the organization in which the information system functions is healthy and not under serious pressure.
Systems, Man and Cybernetics, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:SMC-15 , Issue: 3 )
Date of Publication: May-June 1985