Please control my users

Posted on March 20, 2009

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acs-surveillanceOne of the most common requests received by IT support departments is the implementation of add-on controls to standard processes. This usually requires a low effort of software adaptation and is considered as the “must-do” by management. As classical candidates we find margin control, compulsory input of the “description” field, and calculated information that should match financials reporting.

Key expected benefit is the quality of data keyed in the system, and further improved analysis. Although this type of request seems to make a lot of sense, it could hedge a broader problem that cannot only be solved by the development of a small piece of software.

Quality of data is certainly one important area that IT should focus on and helping the user to reduce, errors when keying information, an ongoing effort. In this context customizing Enterprise Solutions to enable users to spot immediately these mistakes is a worthwhile endeavor.

Nonetheless when an IT development is attempting to adjust user behavior by embedding controls in software application, it usually leads to failure. Changing the way people operate ought to be linked with an educational initiative enforced by management. Despite all power of technologies, users will find a way to get round these changes and apply even worst practices, which could compromise the congruence of the information captured.

IT leaders should help management to identify carefully efficient controls that should be integrated in Enterprise Applications.