Information systems and Managing Business Processes

Information systems and Managing Business Processes

Healthcare.gov Website Case Study

Relate the topic “Information systems and Managing Business Processes” to the case

For a business to operate efficiently, it must handle various pieces of information. Work activities that utilize the information must be organized for efficient operation and enhancement of the overall operation of the firm. Firms are able to manage all their information, make better decisions and enhance the carrying out of their business processes via the help of information system. Business processes deals with the organization of work, its coordination and how it is focused for the production of quality products and services. In the failure of Healthcare.gov website, the information systems were not properly developed resulting in malfunctioning of the website and also the business processes were not properly managed. The combination of this two critical aspects not being properly handled led to poor decision making that eventually resulted in the failure of Healthcare.gov system.

What did the Healthcare.gov website do well in regards to the topic?

Healthcare.gov ensured that information system was developed and it was functional. With a functional information system, Healthcare.gov guaranteed collection of pieces of information that would be properly integrated in the process of decision making. Managing business processes properly also contributed to the general advancement of Healthcare.gov as it was able to plan.

What did the healthcare.gov do poorly in regards to the topic?

The website did not deliver on its deployment. Most of the users were unable to complete the process of registration and the process of health care provider selection. The risk of McKinsey scenario was realized. A lot of users were unable to finish their registration because of bottlenecks in the process of user authentication. Many users were also forced to leave the website services and make a call to the helpline due to the unacceptably long response time. The failure of the systems of Healthcare.gov has led to the emergence of many speculations, technical investigations and debate by the IT community. There are also claims that during Healthcare.gov development process, the testing scheduling was reduced from months to weeks. This was not enough time for testing and finding the weaknesses in the website. As a result, Healthcare.gov was not appropriately tested before being released to the market thus affecting the information system and business management of Healthcare.gov.

The Healthcare.gov was not completely tested meaning that show-stopper bugs were either not located by the test group or they were not able to stop the project. With this malfunction, Healthcare.gov system was handicapped in its quest to offer a reliable and efficient information system and on its execution of the business processes. The more realistic situation is that the test team lacked the ability to stop the project. It is however clear that coding was rushed by the organization before it could know the answers to the questions which are not a recipe for success.

There was also lack of competence in systems integration during Healthcare.gov system development. In development of information systems and business processes, the system integrator did not have the competence of planning and executing the project. In management of projects of such size, there is requirement of a high level of system integration skills. Healthcare.gov had a very large scope that needed to be integrated and the schedule was tight. A project of such stature needed planning which is detailed and built on substantial constructive experience and control which is tight and they lacked.

Any other insight about the topic that could have been applied to the Healthcare.gov website but so far are absent

Decisions should be made on hard data. The communication channels to individuals who make decisions should be more direct and performance information quality improved. The managers who hold senior positions should be educated and equipped with skills suitable for the development of software successfully. They should also know the basic principles and rules governing software development. For efficient decision making, the senior managers should have the ability to question developers with insightful questions and formulate opinions derived from hard data rather than spin which is most of the times provided by technologists. In order for this to occur, the senior managers must possess appropriate skills for interpretation of complex performance information.

The program managers should also be trained for development of successful information systems and business processes. Governments participating in development of large-scale software intensive systems should enhance the quality of training offered to program managers. Individuals who manage development of Healthcare.gov website should be properly trained and equipped with the fundamental skills required for the success of the website. When the information system and business processes run properly and are properly managed, Healthcare.gov will run efficiently with minimal glitches.

Lessons learned and Recommendations. What could have been done better?

The development method of Healthcare.gov entices a large amount of debate. War room notes use names like sprint and story cards meaning the project utilized an approach that was agile which do not have the ability of preventing all risks possible. Skill and judgment is required in the reduction of risks. The terms sprint and iteration are used to indicate time taken for the designing a software development which is new to be completed, tested fully and coded. Two weeks is the set standard time for teams to begin with iterations, when advancements are done before the standard set time is completed, it means that the iteration has been shortened. Sprint and iterations are used by many teams to only put waterfall concepts like six coding sprints which are most of the time an indication that something is not right.

The systems did not produce the lack of testing but the outcome. In waterfall projects which have a defined test phase, the phase is not usually a test phase but a fixing phase when the show-stopper bug is found. The individuals mandated to develop Healthcare.gov website must have had the knowledge that the sites were not ready to be used. Lack of critical thinking and not lack of testing was the main problem at Healthcare.gov. It is therefore crystal clear that a site should have a prime testing contractor. Contractors that can provide quality outcomes even when the testing time is limited should be recruited during site development for successful information systems development and business processes.

Perfection of the systems was required by law but was not achieved. Healthcare.gov must clarify the eligibility of an applicant from security systems and also enroll clients electronically to registered insurance company in states that lack state health insurance exchange. Information run by the information system requires being accurate, therefore each request requires to run and submit information, via web services. Clients clicked submit and waited for long because the systems had to function in real time and did not. This affected the information system and management of business processes. With proper development, the process of Healthcare.gov could have been simple. Customers of Healthcare.gov needed to have the ability to sign up on government web form and automatically the transactions would flow into the system of an insurer. With the inability to develop a system that was perfect, the developers made attempts to attain their best outcome and delivered what they had which resulted to tragic results. Before allowing customers to see a quote, Healthcare.gov forced personal information.

Lessons learned from working on this case?

The main lesson learned is that efficiency in development of sites that are targeted to be utilized by many people is very essential. When there are malfunctions to websites like Healthcare.gov or difficulties in important processes like registrations, it causes frustrations to customers who utilize its services and may eventually results to its failure. Appropriate skills should be applied in development of information systems to ensure effective flow and proper integration of information pieces which play a vital role in the success of any project. It also facilitates proper management of business processes which assists in decision making.

It is also important to train managers of certain projects so as they can acquire required set of skills to enable them perform their duties to the required standards. When the managers can overlook a project and have the ability to ask insightful questions there are higher chances of success. The stipulated standard time should also be observed when carrying out projects to allow for enough study and proper corrections in case of malfunctions and problems. The test periods should be observed and proper handling carried out to ensure success is achieved.

Conclusion

The degree of unethical behavior in the development of Healthcare.gov systems was very high. There was incompetence at numerous stages of development which was disappointing considering the time and the capital invested to ensure its success. The information systems and Management of business processes were not properly handled and contributed to poor decision making and the eventual failure of Healthcare.gov. The recurrent problem in software development projects should be handled and eliminated to avoid future mishaps.

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