Information management systems are complex beings, often over-engineered, commonly dysfunctional – as far as end users are concerned. Most established “records management” systems have been shaped by compliance requirements and “industry” standards (more about this in another post). Lack of usability is a common theme. Many end-users have opted-out of the record keeping process– anecdotal evidence suggests that uptake and acceptance of IM systems is low because the systems are not meeting business needs. After 15 years of IM implementations (mostly unsuccessful), many Australian organizations are taking a fresh look at system design. There is a move away from prescriptive functional requirements and a move towards systems which deliver business functionality. New case studies are emerging traditional approaches are eschewed.
One of our pet projects is the development of an IDEAL set of functional requirements for IM systems. IDEAL requirements address five usability concerns: Integration, Description, Effort, Arrangement and Linking, not necessarily in this order.