The past, present, and future of "IS success"

Stacie Petter, William Delone, Ephraim R. McLean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations


Since the introduction of information systems more than 60 years ago, organizations want to ensure that their systems are effective or "successful". Much has changed in the evaluation of information systems success during this period. The role of information systems in organizations has changed dramatically, as have the key stakeholders and the expected benefits of the investments in IS. During this period, IS research has evolved to keep pace with the changing expectations regarding the success of information systems, yet practice tends to lag behind. In this commentary, we discuss five eras of information systems evolution and explain how the perceptions and measures of successful information systems have changed across these eras. By looking at the past and present, we are able to comment on how our understanding of success has evolved over time in research and practice. We discuss the inadequacy of IS success evaluation in practice. Finally, we offer four themes as calls for future action related to the research of information systems success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-362
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Systems
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Eras of IT
  • IS History
  • IS effectiveness
  • IS success

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications


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