Exploring the factors associated with expert systems success


As the widespread use and company dependency on expert systems (ES) increase, so does the need to assess their value and to ensure implementation success. This study identifies and empirically tests eight major variables proposed in the literature as determinants of ES success, in this case measured in terms of user satisfaction. IBM's Corporate Manufacturing Expert Systems Project Center collected information from 69 project managers to support the study. The results clearly support the hypothesized relationships and suggest the need for ES project managers to pay special attention to these determinants of ES implementation success. ES success is directly related to the quality of developers and the ES shells used, end-user characteristics, and degree of user involvement in ES development, as each has been defined in this study. For exploratory purposes, the component items for each of these major variables were correlated with the components of user satisfaction. Based on the results, several recommendations are proposed for ES project managers to enhance the likelihood of project success, including: adding problem difficulty as a criterion for ES application selection; increasing ES developer training to improve people skills, having the ability to model and use a systems approach in solving business problems; shaping end-user attitudes and expectations regarding ES; improving the selection of domain experts; more thoroughly understanding the ES impact on end-user jobs; restricting the acquisition of ES shells based on a proposed set of criteria; and ensuring a proper match of ES development techniques and tools to the business problem at hand.


Information Technology and Cybersecurity

Document Type





Determinants of success, ES development, ES implementation, Expert systems, Expert systems success, User satisfaction

Publication Date


Journal Title

MIS Quarterly: Management Information Systems