5 of the biggest failures and horrors in information technology | eXo platform (2023)

5 of the biggest failures and horrors in information technology | eXo platform (1)

IT has become an essential part of our lives today. IT enables us to do most of our daily tasks and most jobs require software and a computer. However, these tools that we use every day are not without flaws, which often result in costly and painful mistakes.IT can also be a professional killer. Here are 5 of themThe biggest mistakes in information technologyand fear:

1. A German professional basketball team was downgraded to a lower division due to a Windows update.

On March 13, 2015, German second division basketball team Paderborn Baskets was downgraded to a lower division for a game start delay due to the scoreboard laptop requiring a 17-minute Windows update.

The game between Chemnitz Niners and Paderborn Baskets was supposed to start normally when Paderborn connected his laptop to the scoreboard. According to Paderborn Baskets Managing Director Patrick Seidel, as reported by the newspaper Die Zeit, the laptop was connected at 6 p.m. (i.e. 1 hour and 30 minutes before the game) and has been set to "as usual". But according to Seidel: “When both teams were warming up, the computer crashed. If we restart it at 7:20 p.m. m., it started downloading updates automatically.” When the computer finished downloading and installing all the updates, the game finally started at 7:55 p.m. M

Paderborn won the game 69-62. Chemnitz, on the other hand, protested the win, claiming that since the game was 25 minutes late and German basketball rules only allowed a 15-minute delay, Paderborn should have been penalized.

"Chemnitz cannot be blamed," added Seidel. With the result, Paderborn missed a penalty point and was relegated from the ProA division to the ProB division.

2. A large drug wholesaler failed with a large ERP implementation

In the early 1990s, FoxMeyer, a health care services company, was the fifth largest drug wholesaler in the United States with annual sales of $5 billion and about 500,000 items shipped daily.

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Due to stiff competition, FoxMeyer needed a solution that could make complex supply chain decisions while facing cost pressures. FoxMeyer decided that an ERP would be the best solution to get real-time information, automate inventory systems and integrate them into one system. The company hoped to eliminate unnecessary or redundant activities, establish adequate inventory levels, and implement more responsive customer service.System Integration Serviceshelp to connect different components of a company into a whole, be it a few systems or components, and thus simplify the various processes considerably

This computer system, a multi-million dollar project, was the first of its kind to come into existencepharmaceutical industry. The cost of implementing SAP was estimated at $65 million and the ERP system should save FoxMeyer approximately $40 million per year.

The budget included:

  • $4.8 million HP Client/Server Computer System
  • $4 million for the software
  • Consulting costs in the millions
  • $18 million for a new 340,000 square foot computerized warehouse

This failure was the result of poor planning and execution.


  1. Bad ERP selection
  2. Without taking into account the advice of other consultants.
  3. Lack of contingency planning
  4. No End User Involvement


  1. No restructuring of business processes
  2. insufficient evidence
  3. Project scope too ambitious
  4. Self-interest area of ​​IT specialists
  5. bad support management
  6. Lack of end-user collaboration

Unfortunately for FoxMeyer, the project was a total disaster, with a final bill of $100 million for the ERP implementation. FoxMeyer saved only half of the projected amount, and the company filed for bankruptcy a few months later.

3. A $2 billion air traffic control system went down due to insufficient computer memory

On April 30, 2014, hundreds of LAX flights were delayed or canceled because all of the airport's computers crashed due to a bug in the En-route Automation Modernization (ERAM) system.

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The system failure was caused by a U-2 spy plane flying over the region. Lockheed Martin Corp. The $2.4 billion manufactured system stalled and tried again to correct the error due to missing altitude information in the plane's flight plan. After an air traffic controller entered an estimated altitude for the aircraft, the system calculated all possible flight paths to ensure it was not on a collision course with other aircraft. However, this process caused the system to run out of memory and shut down all other flight processing functions. Fortunately, there were no reports of injuries or accidents.

The ERAM system failed because it limited the amount of data each aircraft could send. Most planes have simple flight plans, so they don't exceed this limit. However, the U-2 deployed that day had a complex flight plan that pushed it to the system limit.

4. The fiasco of Queensland Health's new payroll system

When the Queensland state government introduced a new payroll system in 2006, the design seemed simple. Five years later, however, the bill's review committee called it "the worst public service failure in Australian history".

In late 2007, the State of Queensland commissioned IBM Australia to set up a new payroll system for Queensland Health (QH)'s 80,000 employees. The original deal had a budget of around $6 million and was scheduled to go live in six months.

However, it did not come as expected. In fact, the system only went live in late 2010 with major flaws and an additional cost of nearly $25 million. Unfortunately, even though the central system was up and running, QH had to hire an additional 1,000 employees to manually handle payroll, which totaled $1.15 billion over eight years.

When the Commission finalized its report, it found flaws in all phases of the project, including the project's procurement process, contract scheduling and supplier management.

5. The launch of Ariane 5 has become one of the greatest failures in information technology

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The Ariane 5 Flight 501 rocket was part of the Ariane project, a Western European project signed in 1973 that aimed to launch a pair of three-ton satellites into orbit with each launch and would give Europe a position of power in the commercial space . . . It took 10 years to complete the project and a total of $7 billion to make it possible.

Ariane 5 v 501 was launched on Tuesday 4 June 1996 and crashed a few seconds later. Two Inertial Reference Systems (IRS) with identical hardware and software worked in parallel inside the launch vehicle. If the on-board computer recognizes that the active IRS has failed, it switches directly to the backup system.

The (IRS) had its own internal computer and measured the launcher's elevation and distance improvements. Information from this system was sent to the onboard computer that ran the flight program. The launch vehicle's guidance system shut down 36.7 seconds after launch when its own computer attempted to convert the rocket's lateral velocity data from a 64-bit format to a 16-bit format. The number was too large because Ariane 5's horizontal acceleration was much faster than Ariane 4's, resulting in an overrun error.

The number to be converted was greater than 32,767, the largest integer that can be stored in a 16-bit signed integer, and therefore the conversion failed. There were no exception handlers associated with the conversion to Ariane 5, so the system's exception-handling capabilities were activated, causing the software to shut down.

The root cause of this disaster was that when the control system shut down, it handed control over to the identical backup system, which a few milliseconds earlier had failed in exactly the same way and was running identical software. In fact, the algorithm that contained the bug that caused this disaster was useless once the rocket was airborne, as its sole function was to align the system before launch. It should have been turned off, but due to an earlier decision by the engineers of previous versions of the Ariane, they left it on for the first 40 seconds of flight to allow for an easy system restart in the event of a brief lull. in the countdown system.

As a result, the rocket exploded, shattered into a million pieces and fell into an open field. The failure cost another $370 million and reduced a large and potentially groundbreaking project to speck of dust.

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5 of the biggest failures and horrors in information technology | eXo platform (9)

Walid Hamrouni

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Product Marketing Specialist

I'm a product marketer and technology enthusiast. My role at eXo is to support the marketing and operational activities of our digital collaboration tool. I will blog primarily about digital transformation, collaboration, open source technology and navigating the eXo platform.


What are the reasons for failure of information technology? ›

There are other common reasons that ultimately result in information system failure.
Why do information systems fail?
  • Poor planning.
  • Projects that don't fall within budget.
  • Unrealistic performance expectations.
  • Lack of collaboration within teams.

What are the 4 types of failures in the developed information systems? ›

According to Lyytinen and Hirschheim there are 4 different categories of Information Systems failure such as Correspondence failure, Process Failure, Interaction Failure and Expectation Failure.

What is an example of information technology failure? ›

A $2 billion air traffic control system failed due to insufficient computer memory. On April 30, 2014, hundreds of LAX flights were delayed or canceled because all computers in the airport crashed due to a bug in the En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) system.

What are the different types of information system failure? ›

Types of failure
  • System failure. The primary reason for a system failure is a software or hardware failure. ...
  • Communication medium failure. The main reason for a communication medium failure is the failure of the communication link or the shifting of nodes. ...
  • Secondary storage failure. ...
  • Method failure.

What are the five reasons for systems failure? ›

2. Analysis of Causes of System Failure:
  • 2.1 Poor development practices. ...
  • 2.2 Incorrect assumptions with regard to system requirements. ...
  • 2.3 Poor user interface. ...
  • 2.4 Faulty hardware. ...
  • 2.5 Inadequate user training/ user error. ...
  • 2.6 Poor fit between systems and organisation.

What are 3 negative impacts of information technology? ›

Social media and mobile devices may lead to psychological and physical issues, such as eyestrain and difficulty focusing on important tasks. They may also contribute to more serious health conditions, such as depression. The overuse of technology may have a more significant impact on developing children and teenagers.

What are three information failures examples? ›

The cigarette manufacturer, who does not inform smokers of the true health risk of smoking. The buyer of a financial product, who is unaware of the true level of risk, as in the case of derivative products. The seller of a pension, who misleads purchasers about the financial value of the pension.

What is the biggest problem in information systems development? ›

The major problem areas are design, data, cost, and operations. Problems with an information system's design, data, cost, or operations can be evidence of a system failure. The actual design of the system may fail to capture essential business requirements or improve organizational performance.

Which are 3 of the 5 challenges of implementing information systems? ›

There are five key management challenges in building and using information systems: (1) designing systems that are competitive and efficient; (2) understanding the system requirements of a global business environment; (3) creating an information architecture that supports the organization's goals; (4) determining the ...

What are 2 examples of the negative impact of technology? ›

Eight Negative Impacts of Technology
  • Depression and Other Mental Health Issues. A University of Michigan study found that Facebook use led to a decrease in happiness and overall life satisfaction. ...
  • Lack of Sleep. ...
  • ADHD. ...
  • Obesity. ...
  • Learning Barriers. ...
  • Decreased Communication and Intimacy. ...
  • Cyberbullying. ...
  • Loss of Privacy.
Jul 22, 2019

What are the risks failure of IT systems explain? ›

Types of Risks to IT Systems:

Risk of systems failure and communication network failure due to power fluctuations and absence of effective UPS protection. Hardware or LAN Failure. Loss of data due to inadequate backup facility or procedure. Poorly trained, poorly skilled IT staff that lack sufficient knowledge.

What are the 3 types of failure? ›

These are preventable, unavoidable/complexity-related, and innovative or intelligent failures. All organisations can benefit from understanding what kinds of failures they can face.

What are the 5 factors of information systems? ›

This systematic literature review concluded that there are five critical success factors in developing information system projects. Those critical success factors are people, project, organization, knowledge, and expertise. Those critical success factors are also supported by several items of each factor.

What are some examples of failure? ›

Examples of failures
  • Receiving poor or failing test grades.
  • Not getting accepted into a degree or certification program.
  • Interviewing for a position but not securing a job offer.
  • Getting a bad performance review.
  • Missing a deadline.
  • Not making a team.
  • Losing a client, sale, project or money.
Feb 3, 2023

What are the 4 main reasons why companies fail? ›

  • Financing Hurdles.
  • Inadequate Management.
  • Ineffective Business Planning.
  • Marketing Mishaps.

What is the biggest cause of failure? ›

The main causes of failure in life are poor environmental influences, the wrong mindset, bad habits, and lack of motivation. All these reasons for failure can be addressed if you identify which ones apply to you and create a plan for removing them.

What are 3 examples of disadvantages or risks of digital technology? ›

The disadvantages of digital technology include the spread of disinformation, addiction to social media, compromised personal privacy, increase in the crime rate, breaches in data security, loss of traditional lifestyle and values, development of more deadly weapons of war, loss of jobs and information overload.

What are the two main negative impacts of information technology on the environment? ›

These technologies have damaged our world in two main ways; pollution and the depletion of natural resources.

What are five famous failures? ›

Albert Einstein had the label "mentally slow" put on his permanent school record. Henry Ford's first two automobile companies failed. Oprah Winfrey was fired from an early job as a television news anchor. Jerry Seinfeld was booed off stage in his first stand-up comedy appearance.

What are the two main types of failure? ›

Think of it this way: There are two kinds of failure. The first comes from never trying out your ideas because you are afraid, or because you are waiting for the perfect time. This kind of failure you can never learn from, and such timidity will destroy you. The second kind comes from a bold and venturesome spirit.

What is also known as information failure? ›

Asymmetric information, also known as "information failure," occurs when one party to an economic transaction possesses greater material knowledge than the other party.

What are 3 challenges that might be faced when developing information systems? ›

Typical information management challenges include a lack of strategy, digitizing documents, automating processes, controlling the expanding volume, securing information access, minimizing information silos, connecting with older systems, and eliminating low-quality data.

What are the topic 5 global challenges in information systems? ›

Global challenges include: Cultural particularism: Regionalism, nationalism, language differences. Social expectations: Brand-name expectations, work hours. Political laws: National laws governing transborder data flow and privacy, commercial regulations.

How many key issues are there in information technology system? ›

These are: information architecture, data resource, organizational learning, technology infrastructure, and IS organization alignment.

What are the reasons for the failure of information technology projects in the public sector? ›

It's safe to say that government tech projects fail by default. Many researchers, practitioners, and observers have outlined reasons why these projects fail: mismanagement, lack of budget, lack of executive support, inefficient talent pipelines, inadequate design practices, and so on.

What is the biggest challenge facing the IT industry? ›

The consequences of these challenges vary but often overlap (and the same could be said for the solutions too).
  1. Talent Retention. ...
  2. Talent Recruitment. ...
  3. Workload. ...
  4. Skills gaps. ...
  5. Lack of Career Development, Growth. ...
  6. Resources and Budget Constraints. ...
  7. Unclear Job Roles and Responsibilities. ...
  8. A Lack of Effective Leadership.
Mar 1, 2023


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