Volume 11 Issue 2 / Jun 2008 pp51‑108
Keywords: accounting techniques, business systems integration, cluster analysis, communication and technology (ICT), credit card system, diffusion, e-commerce, e-tourism, information technologies, new technologies in e-museums, payment models, performability, PPD, probabilistic model checking, probit model, product-process dependencies, simulation, SMEs, software development, software process improvement, usability of cultural sites
Companies have been investing in integrated enterprise applications (such as ERP) for over a decade, without firm evidence of a return from these investments. Much research has centred on the factors which will lead to a successful implementation project (eg: Holland and Light, 1999; Shanks and Seddon, 2000), but to date there appears to be little research on the longer term impact of ERP systems on the organisation (Heili and Vinck, 2008). Although the greater level of system integration brought on by ERP has meant that there is more operational information available to managers than ever before, the information stored in ERP applications requires much off‑line manipulation in order to be meaningful to managers. The data held in ERP databases originate in physical processes that evolve over time, and thus inevitably a gap opens between the ERP system, and the reality it is designed to capture (Lee and Lee, 2000). Taking the evaluation of management performance against organisational objectives as research domain, and focusing on a case study in the pharmaceutical sector, this paper looks at the footprint of a global ERP system in the day to day decision making of managers both at a manufacturing site level and at Headquarters level. Although the ERP implementation resulted in major improvements in data integrity at an operational level, resulting in improved visibility of costs and traceability of transactions for head office, many of the benefits associated with exploiting the information thus collected have been compromised by the need to rely on non‑integrated tools for certain specific functions. Thus, for decision making purposes, managers must still download data to spreadsheets, where they are manipulated and combined with data from other, non‑integrated systems. Thus, this paper examines the role of ERP systems in supporting management activity in a manufacturing environment, highlighting the gap between management performance and the informational and decisional support provided by the ERP.
Public Administration aims at producing value for citizens; the use of ICTs to improve government and governance, as implied by e‑Government, can be considered as a means to increase the public value produced by Public Administration. As a consequence, the policies for e‑Government can be evaluated according to their ability to increase the Public Administration capacity of producing public value, both for citizens as users and citizens as operators of Public Administration. In the first case, the policies for e‑Government can be evaluated with respect to the quality of the services delivered to citizens; in the latter case they can be evaluated with respect to their ability to improve the system of Public Administration. In this paper, we describe a public value evaluation of two different systems of support to e‑Government projects implemented in Lombardy Region (Italy). Both systems support Small Local Government Organizations that set up aggregations in order to implement innovation projects. The two systems we will consider concern the funding for e‑ Government projects according to the Italian National Action Plan for e‑Government and the Regional Government funding for the implementation of Inter‑organizational Information Systems for Local Government (SISCoTEL). Considering the stability in time, the attractivity and the level of trust within the funded aggregations as indicators of public value (considered from an internal point of view), in the paper we will use data concerning the Local Government in Lombardy to compare the two supporting models according to their capacity to set up aggregations that are stable, attractive and that could strengthen the level of trust among the partners. In section 1 we will describe some of the actions currently in use in Italy to support the spread of E‑Government at a local level. In section 2 we will describe the models for supporting innovation implemented in the National Action Plan for e‑ Government and in the Regional Plan for the activation of SISCoTELs. In section 3 we will compare the main characteristics of the two supporting models. Finally, in section 4 we will evaluate the two models, from a public value point of view, with respect to their capacity to strengthen the cooperation among Local Government organizations.
Since the 1980s, a number of frameworks have been proposed for understanding the concept of information system (IS) failure. Two approaches to IS failures seem particularly important: the concept of Expectation Failure and the concept of Termination Failure. We argue that there is an extra dimension to the problem that is not covered by those descriptive models, which we call the Outsourced IS Failure (OISF). To explain the OISF we draw on agency theory, which views the problems that occur in outsourced environments as the results of three factors: goal differences, risk behaviour differences and information asymmetry. Although the (positivistic) agency theory has already been used to describe phenomena of failure in IT relations there is still a lack of empirical evidence. This paper brings the results of the attempts of falsification of the agency theory in situations of OISF. A positivistic case study research was conducted based on multiple cases in SMEs. The choice for qualitative research is based on the accessibility of well documented secondary data in litigation files of failed IS projects. Eight cases of IS project failures subject to litigation were selected. We conclude that the agency theory has strong prediction and explanation power for OISF. However some adjustments are needed to the agency theory. The theory seems to work in two ways, opportunistic behaviour is also observed on the side of the principal. The findings indicate that lack of trust is a prominent determinant for failure.
Keywords: IS outsourcing, SMEs, IS failures, Principal Agent theory, Organisational and Personal Trust
Towards an Integrated Approach to Benefits Realisation Management — Reflections from the Development of a Clinical Trials Support System pp83‑90
The aim of our research project, described in this paper, was to develop a purpose‑built clinical trials support system [CTSS], which would be sufficiently comprehensive, integrated and flexible, so as to support the vast majority of research studies that were to be managed and conducted by one UK‑based health authority. Whilst at the start of this project, it was reasonably clear what major clinical activities the system would need to be able to support, it was less clear what benefits the system should be expected to deliver, nor how these benefits were related to specific aspects of the system's functionality. Moreover, whilst it was recognised that the introduction of the CTSS would engender fairly significant organisational changes, it was less easy to articulate the nature of the changes, nor how they might ultimately relate to the realisation of benefits. Consequently, it was agreed at the project's outset that an explicit benefits' realisation approach should be integrated into the system's development activity. The aims of this paper are threefold: 1] to describe the CTSS project, paying particular attention to why it justified the inclusion of a benefits realisation approach; 2] to provide a description of, and justification for, the benefits management approach adopted; 3] to provide a provisional assessment of the effectiveness of this approach. In addressing these objectives, it was envisaged that our paper would make an important contribution to the literature by providing one of the few first‑hand accounts of the conduct of benefits' management practices, and certainly the first in the context of clinical trials support systems. Moreover, the paper provides new insights into the integration of benefits realisation and structured development tools and practices: we describe how the benefits dependency network has been successfully related to use case diagrams.
In this paper, we explore some of the results from a survey of 378 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) based in the southeast of England. The objective of this survey was to build a snapshot of the state of play of the information and communications technology (ICT) use by SMEs in economically significant sectors in this region. The sectors chosen were as follows: food processing, transport and logistics, media and internet services. More specifically, the survey was intended to answer the following questions: what types of ICT are in use by SMEs in this region, what prevents and facilitates the adoption and use of ICT amongst these firms, and where do SMEs acquire information on ICT related issues. Our survey suggests that most SMEs in the southeast of England are in general positively inclined towards adoption and use of ICT. However, this adoption and use of ICT is mainly focused on operational matters with few extensions into potential strategic use of such technologies in their business environments. SME ownermanagers perceive ICT to be often costly and complex and are wary of consultants and vendor organisations. We also discovered, somewhat surprisingly, that SMEs are largely unaware of existing policy instruments at the regional, national and European levels, designed to help them in their adoption and use of ICT.
Keywords: Information and communications technology, ICT, small and medium sized enterprises, SMEs, ICT adoption, ICT use, government policy
One major reason for doing evaluations of information systems is to take actions based on the results of the evaluation. In order to make better use of interpretive evaluation processes in practice we need to understand what kinds of results such evaluations produce and the way that the results are used to be transformed into change and betterment in the organisation. We have developed, applied and studied a methodology in support for doing interpretive evaluation. In the paper we report the case of a performed action research study that has comprised an IS evaluation. Through this action research we have transformed the theoretical principles of the interpretive approach into a useful evaluation methodology in practice. The main emphasis in this study is on the results and the uses of the evaluation process. We make a brief theoretical overview of interpretive principles for IS evaluation and of the research on evaluation use, from the field of evaluation theory, and represent a framework for analysing influences from evaluation efforts. We use this framework to analyse and identify the results and uses of the performed evaluation in order to shed light on what kinds of results that interpretive evaluation may offer. We experienced the influence framework useful for locating and understanding the variety of results from interpretive evaluation processes. We conclude with a model depicting results and uses from interpretive IS evaluation processes. The main point we elaborate on in this paper is how evaluations influence the actions taken in the organisation in order to establish betterment. How people in the organisation use evaluation in order to establish betterment and change. Further we bounce back the insights on evaluation results and uses into the discussion on how to design interpretive evaluation processes and how to design evaluation methodology in support for those processes.
Keywords: IS evaluation, evaluation process, evaluation results, evaluation use, interpretative evaluation methodology