This paper reports the main problems from the investigation of a student record system. Lessons learned from this investigation are applicable to other types of information system. The system under study exhibited persistent problems, and the aim of the research was to identify the main causes for these, and to understand in particular the human issues involved. Action research was used and this uncovered both proximate and deeper causes for the problems identified. In terms of solutions, well-established approaches were not being employed in the area of strategic information management. But at a deeper level it was clear that aspects of organisational culture also needed to change. Overall, there was a need for a more ‘critical’ process, encouraging greater openness in response to problems, and in helping planners and participants consider ‘social theoretic’ aspects of the system. These included the motivation of individuals, information ownership, and the implications of hierarchy and power.