COIS12073 – Week 2

6 Dec

Shadow systems are frequently used as a justification for the implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning system (ERPs).  Shadow systems are often, but not always, reflective of practice and data storage needs in particular functional silos.  Yet oddly, the implementation of an ERP doesn’t always eliminate these systems – sometimes, the number of them increases. 

“Shadow systems are systems which replicate in full or in part data and/or functionality of the legitimate systems of the organisation.” (Behrens and Sedera, 2004, p. 2) It is a term which can be used in information services for any application relied upon for business process that is not under the jurisdiction of an information systems department. This shadow system is good for business group because they can collect the information they need to use for the success of their business. Also, it is easy and fast to get information from a shadow system. However, there are many possible threats existing in the use of shadow system.


There are many potential causes increasing the number of shadow systems after an Enterprise


  • People

Organisation may put too much Pressure on their staff, employees have to analyze information in new ways. They have to get information quickly into the hands of the organisation’s CFO or CEO.

  • Organisation

Some business Increased power of personal computer hardware and software, the individual users now have all of the computing power to get the information. The information may contain all of an organisation’s customer, supplier or accounting information.

  • Technology

When the IT department decides to put a reporting system together, rigorous controls and the breadth of required skills can lead to unresponsive information technology or IT departments. They have to consider many questions: Who is authorized to see this information? How can security be enforced? Take CQUniversity as a good example, it includes student accounts and staff accounts, students cannot log on with a staff account without authorization.

  • Business process

The presence of shadow systems may be indicators that the Enterprise System (ES) cannot provide appropriate support for some business processes (Khosrowpour 2000).

What threat do these systems pose to integration? 

  • Poorly Designed

Shadow system often experience a poor design. Many errors many be hard to find and long-term support may be difficult.

  • Poorly Documented

Shadow system are often lack adequate documentation, it could result in decisions being made on inaccurate or incomplete information.

  •  May allow unauthorized access to sensitive information

Shadow system hold many data and can include confidential information about customers, suppliers or staff. The access control processes for these systems may not even exist at all. Anyone can access to the computer if it is stolen.

  •   Inconsistent

If the data shadow system in a silo, it will promote the creation of data that is no longer consistent with other data being used in the firm (Jones 2012). The information will not be consistent, relevant or timely when people tried to view across the entire corporation.

Who or what else might be threatened by the existence of these systems?

The number of shadow systems is increasing after the implementation of ERPs. It is hard to operate a business successfully if the enterprise ignores the existence of shadow systems. The data shadow system could have a bad influence on an organisation’s customers, suppliers, staff and reputation.

An enterprise usually collect and save their customers and suppliers’ information into database, if they cannot provide a long-term system to support it or to guarantee their accuracy, they may lost some important information that could result in an inappropriate business process. The CFO or CEO cannot get the information timely, and then the firm will suffer from more and more problems. Also, it will bring the business a terrible reputation for its long-term development.


Behrens, S. & Sedera, W. 2004, Why do shadow systems exist after an ERP implementation? Lessons from a case study. IN WEI, C.-P. (Ed.) The 8th Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems. Shanghai, China.

Jones, D, Behrens, S, Jamieson, K & Tansley, E n.d., The rise and fall of a shadow system: lessons for enterprise system implementation, pp. 1-15, viewed 12 July 2012,

Khosrowpour, M 2000, Challenges of information technology management in the 21st Century, Idea Group Publishing, London.

Annotated Bibliography

Khosrowpour, M 2000, Challenges of information technology management in the 21st Century, Idea Group Publishing, London.

This book demonstrates how the implementation of Enter Resource Planning (ERP) impacts the organisational strategies and outcome of projects. The author also points out that ERP systems are difficult and costly to implement because of the complex relationship among implementer, vendor and consultant. On the other hand, Khosrowpour shows two issues related to the use of ERPs, including the role of the implementation partners and the importance of the amount of knowledge held by the enterprise. This book uses effective analysis to reflect the implementation experiences of the ERP system and some issues could have an influence on the organisational strategies. This book is relevant to the case study assignment, and it can be viewed as an attempt to produce a match between the business systems and organisational strategies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: