Proceedings of the 7th European Conference on Information Management and Evaluation Faculty of Management University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk Poland 12-13 September 2013
Przemysław Lech A conference managed by ACPI, UK www.academic-conferences.org
Proceedings of the 7th European Conference on IS Management and Evaluation ECIME 2013
Faculty of Management University of Gdańsk Sopot Poland 12‐13 September 2013 Edited by Prof Przemysław Lech Faculty of Management University of Gdańsk Poland
Copyright The Authors, 2013. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission may be made without written permission from the individual authors. Papers have been double‐blind peer reviewed before final submission to the conference. Initially, paper ab‐ stracts were read and selected by the conference panel for submission as possible papers for the conference. Many thanks to the reviewers who helped ensure the quality of the full papers. These Conference Proceedings have been submitted to Thomson ISI for indexing. Please note that the process of indexing can take up to a year to complete. Further copies of this book and previous year’s proceedings can be purchased from http://academic‐ bookshop.com E‐Book ISBN: 978‐1‐909507‐57‐9 E‐Book ISSN: 2048‐8920 Book version ISBN: 978‐1‐909507‐55‐5 Book Version ISSN: 2048‐8912 CD Version ISBN: 978‐1‐909507‐58‐6 CD Version ISSN: 2048‐979X The Electronic version of the Proceedings is available to download at ISSUU.com. You will need to sign up to become an ISSUU user (no cost involved) and follow the link to http://issuu.com Published by Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited Reading UK 44‐118‐972‐4148 www.academic‐publishing.org
Contents Paper Title
Knowledge Management in the Process of Enterprise System's Configuration
Jerzy Auksztol and Magdalena Chomuszko
Understanding and Supporting Cloud Computing Adoption in Irish Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs)
Marian Carcary, Eileen Doherty and Gerard Conway
New Delivery Model for Non‐Profit Organisations: Shared Computing Services
Barbara Crump and Raja Peter
Enhancing IT Capability Maturity – Development of a Conceptual SME Framework to Maximise the Value Gained From IT
Eileen Doherty, Marian Carcary, Una Downey and Stephen Mc Laughlin
Organisational Politics: The Impact on Trust, Information and Knowledge Management and Organisational Performance
Nina Evans, Athar Mahmood Ahmed Qureshi
Opportunities and Risks of the Use of Social Media in Healthcare Organizations
Social Media Marketing: An Evaluation Study in the Wellness Industry
Kerstin Grundén and Stefan Lagrosen
Building the Persuasiveness Into Information Systems
Marja Harjumaa and Salla Muuraiskangas
Communications Management in Scrum Projects
Vered Holzmann, Ilanit Panizel
The Development of an Introductory Theoretical Green IS Framework for Strong Environmental Sustainability in Organisations
Grant Howard and Sam Lubbe
Functional Consultants’ Role in Enterprise Systems Implementations
A Systematic Literature Review on Business Cases: Structuring the Study Field and Defining Future Research Dimensions
Kim Maes, Wim van Grembergen and Steven De Haes
Integrating Green Information Systems into the Curriculum Using a Carbon Footprinting Case
Carolyn McGibbon and Jean‐Paul Van Belle
Electronic Health Record Requirements for Private Medical Practices in Namibia: A Pilot Study
Julius Oyeleke and Meke Shivute
Selected Factors Influencing Customers' Behaviour Michal Pilík in e‐Commerce on B2C Markets in the Czech Republic Information Asset Management: Who is Responsible and Accountable?
James Price and Nina Evans
An Integrated Model for Evaluating ICT Impact in the Education Domain
Swedish and Indian Teams: Consensus Culture Meets Hierarchy Culture in Offshoring
Project Communication Management in Industrial Enterprises
Jana Samáková, Jana Šujanová and Kristína Koltnerová
Information Security in Enterprises – Ontology Perspective
Stephen Schiavone, Lalit Garg and Kelly Sum‐ mers
Organisational Value of Social Technologies: An Australian Study
Mohini Singh and Konrad Peszynski
An Evaluation of Potential Benefits of Mobile BI
Olgerta Tona and Sven Carlsson
Analysis of IT Projects in the Models of Enterprise Value Building. A Summary of Research between 2010–2012
Giuseppe Ercolani “Cloud Computing SaaS Assessment” (CCSaaSA): Measuring and Evaluating Cloud Services end‐User Perceptions
Business Process Maturity as a Case of Managerial Cybernetics and Effective Information Management
Jaroslav Kalina, Zdeněk Smutný and Václav Řezníček
Sustaining IT Investment Value – Using IT Artifacts as a Knowledge Generative Tools
Strategic Agility and the Role of Information Systems in Supply Chain: Telecommunication Industry Study
Nicholas Blessing Mavengere
A Search for Patterns of Productivity Gains of Information Workers
Natallia Pashkevich and Darek Haftor
Masters Research Paper
Evaluating the Value of Enterprise Resource Planning in Home Care Services
Juha Soikkeli, Mirja Pulkkinen and Toni Ruohonen
Work In Progress Paper
‘Backshoring’ Home: Developments in Home‐ Based Teleworking (HbTW) in the European Labour Market
Daiga Kamerade, Pascale Peters, Helen Richard‐ son, Minna Salminen and Sudi Sharifi
Preface The 7th European Conference on Information Management and Evaluation (ECIME) is hosted this year by The Faculty of Management, University of Gdańsk, Sopot, Poland. The Conference Co‐Chairs are Prof Przemysław Lech and Prof Bernard Kubiak, and the Programme Co‐Chairs are Prof Stanislaw Wrycza and Prof Jerzy Auksztol, all from the University of Gdańsk, Poland ECIME provides an opportunity for individuals researching and working in the broad field of information man‐ agement, including information technology evaluation to come together to exchange ideas and discuss current research in the field. We hope that this year’s conference will provide you with plenty of opportunities to share your expertise with colleagues from around the world. The opening keynote address will be delivered by Wojciech Piotrowicz, University of Oxford, UK on the topic "Evaluation of the Information Systems research in the Visegrád Group of countries". The second day keynote will be given by Benjamin Dewilde, President of Westernacher Consulting, Germany on the topic of Infor‐ mation Architecture and Application Strategy, what can we learn from Elizabeth Newton, Caesar, Genghis Khan, the St Denis Basilica and other seemingly unrelated stories on how to make this successful in practice? ECIME 2013 received an initial submission of 84 abstracts. After the double‐blind peer review process 23 aca‐ demic papers, 5 PhD papers, 1 Masters paper and 1 work in progress paper have been accepted for these Con‐ ference Proceedings. These papers represent research from around the world, including Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Namibia, New Zealand, Poland, Republic of Korea, Serbia, Slovak Republic, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, UK, USA We wish you a most interesting conference. Prof Stanislaw Wrycza and Prof Jerzy Auksztol Programme Chairs Prof Przemysław Lech and Prof Bernard F. Kubiak Conference Chairs September 2013
Conference Committee Conference Executive Dr Przemysław Lech, University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland Dr Wojciech Piotrowicz, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, UK Dr Piotr Soja, Cracov University of Economics, Poland Mini Track Chairs Ian Owens, Cranfield University, UK Dr Ciara Heavin, University College Cork, Ireland Grant R. Howard, University of South Africa (UNISA), South Africa Dr Karen Neville, Business Information Systems, University College Cork, Ireland Conference Committee The conference programme committee consists of key people in the information systems community. The fol‐ lowing people have confirmed their participation: Prof. Abdel‐Badeeh Salem (Faculty of Computer and Information Sciences, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt); Ademola Adesina (University of Western Cape, South Africa); Adetola Adewojo (National Open University of Nigeria, Nigeria); Abidemi Aina (Lagos State University, Nigeria) Maria Alaranta(Copenhagen Business School, Denmark); Prof Maria Ceu Alves (University of Beira Interior, Portugal); Dr Hussein Al‐Yaseen (Amman Univer‐ sity, Jordan);Prof Karen Anderson (Mid Sweden University, Sweden); Dr Joan Ballantine (University of Ulster, UK); Dr Mustafa Balsam (University Malaysia Pahang (UMP), Malaysia); Dr Frank Bannister (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland); Dr Ofer Barkai (SCE ‐ Sami Shamoon College of Engineering, Israel); Dr David Barnes (West‐ minster Business School, University of Westminster, London, UK); Peter Bednar (Department of ISCA, Ports‐ mouth University, UK); Dr Egon Berghout (University of Groningen, The Netherlands); Dr Milena Bobeva (Bournemouth University, Poole, UK); Ann Brown (CASS Business School, London, UK); Dr Giovanni Camponovo (University of Applied Sciences of Southern Switzerland, Switzerland); Dr Marian Carcary (NUIM, Ire‐ land);Professor Sven Carlsson (School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Sweden); Dr Noel Car‐ roll (Dublin City University,Ireland); Dr Walter Castelnovo (Università dell’Insubria, Como, Italy); Prof Anna Cavallo (University of Rome, "Sapienza", Italy); Dr Sunil Choenni (University of Twente and Ministry of Justice, The Netherlands); Dr Peter Clutterbuck (University of Queensland, Australia); Dr Reet Cronk (Harding Univer‐ sity, Arkansas, USA); Jacek Cypryjanski (University of Szczecin, Poland); Prof Renata Dameri (University of Genoa, Italy); Paul Davies (University of Glamorgan, UK); Dr Miguel de Castro Neto ( ISEGI, Universidade Nova de Lisboa , Portugal); Guillermo de Haro (Instituto de Empresa, Madrid , Spain); Francois Deltour(GET‐ENST‐ Bretagne Engineering School, France); Denis Dennehy (Business Information Systems Dept, University College Cork., Ireland); Dr Jan Devos(Ghent University, Belgium,); Professor Dr Eduardo Diniz (Escola de Administracao de Empresas de Sao Paulo, Fundacao Getulio Vargas, Brazil); Dr Maria do Rosário Martins (Universidade Cape Verde, Portugal); Romano Dyerson (Royal Holloway University, London, UK); Dr Alea Fairchild (Vesalius Col‐ lege/Vrije Univ Brussels, Belgium); Dr Elena Ferrari (University of Insubria, Como, Italy); Jorge Ferreira (e‐Geo Geography and Regional Planning Research Centre / New University of Lisbon, Portugal); Dr Graham Fletcher (Cranfield University / Defence Academy of the UK, UK); Elisabeth Frisk(Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden); Dr Andreas Gadatsch (Bonn‐Rhein‐Sieg University of Applied Sciences , Germany); Dr Sayed Mahdi Golestan Hashemi (Iranian Research Center for Creatology , TRIZ & Innovation Science, Iran); Pro‐ fessor Ken Grant (Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada); Professor Ginevra Gravili (Facolta Di Economia, lecce, Italy); Dr Paul Griffiths (The Birchman Group, Santiago, Chile); Loshma Gunisetti (Sri Vasavi Engineering Col‐ lege, India); Dr Petri Hallikainen (University of Sydney, Business School, , Australia); Ciara Heavin (University College Cork, Ireland); Dr Jonas Hedman (Copenhagen Business School, Denmark); Dr Matthew Hinton (Open University Business School, UK); Dr. Vered Holzmann(Tel‐Aviv University / Holon Institute of Technology, Is‐ rael); Grant Royd Howard (University of South Africa (UNISA), South Africa); Björn Johansson (Lund University, Sweden); Dr Paul Jones (University of Plymouth, UK); Prof Ghassan kbar (Riyadh Techno Valley, King Saud Uni‐ versity, Saudi Arabia); Professor Ranjan Kini (Indiana University Northwest, Gary, USA); Lutz Kirchner (BOC In‐ formation Technologies Consulting GmbH Voßstr. 22, Germany); Prof Jesuk Ko (Gwangju University, Korea); Dr Juha Kontio (Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland); Dr Jussi Koskinen (University of Jyvaskyla, Finland); Prof. Luigi Lavazza (Università degli Studi dell'Insubria, Italy); Dr Przemysław Lech (University of Gdańsk, Po‐ land); Dr Harald Lothaller (University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, Austria); Prof Sam Lubbe (University
of South Africa, South Africa); Paolo Magrassi (Polytechnique of Milan, Italy); PonnusamyManohar (University of Papua New Guinea, Papua New Guinea); Prof Nenad Markovic (Belgrade Business School, Serbia); Steve Martin (University of East London, UK); Prof Nico Martins (University of South Africa, South Africa); Milos Maryska (University of Economics, Prague, Czech Republic); John McAvoy (University College Cork, Ireland); Prof Nor Laila Md Noor (Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia); Dr Annette Mills (University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand); Dr Maria Mitre (Universidad de Oviedo, Spain); Dr Mahmoud Moradi (University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran); Dr Gunilla Myreteg(Uppsala University, Sweden); Dr Tadgh Nagle (University College Cork, Ireland); Prof Mário Negas (Aberta University, Portugal); Karen Neville (University College Cork, Ireland); Emil Numminen (Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden); Dr Brian O'Flaherty (University College Cork, Ire‐ land); Dr Tiago Oliveira (Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal); Dr Paidi O'Raghallaigh (University College Cork, Ireland); Prof Patricia Ordóñez de Pablos (The University of Oviedo, Spain); Dr Roslina Othman (Interna‐ tional Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia); Ian Owens (Cranfield University, Shrivenham, UK); Sevgi Özkan (Middle East Tehcnical University, Ankara, Turkey); Dr Shaun Pather (Cape Peninsula University of Technology, , South Africa); Kalevi Pessi (IT University, Gothenburg, Sweden); Dr. Danilo Piaggesi (Fondazione Rosselli Americas, USA); Elias Pimenidis (University of East London, UK); Zijad Pita (RMIT University, Mel‐ bourne, Australia); Dr Cosmin Popa (The University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Roma‐ nia); Nayem Rahman (Intel Corporation, Aloha, , USA); Hugo Rehesaar (NSW, Sydney, Australia); Prof. João Manuel Ribeiro da Silva Tavares(Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto, Portugal); Dr Dimitris Ri‐ gas (De Montfort University, UK); Professor Narcyz Roztocki (State University of New York at New Paltz, USA); Professor Hannu Salmela (Turku School of Economics and Business Administration, Finland); David Sammon(University College Cork, Ireland); Elsje Scott (University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, South Africa); Dr Elena Serova (St. Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance., Russia); Dr Yilun Shang (University of Texas at San Antonio, USA); Dr. Hossein Sharif (University of Portsmouth, UK); Gilbert Silvius (Utrecht Univer‐ sity of Professional Education, The Netherlands); Dr Riccardo Spinelli (Universita Di Genova, Italy); Dr. Darijus Strasunskas(Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway);Professor Reima Suomi (University of Turku , Finland); Lars Svensson (University West, Trollhättan, Sweden); Jarmo Tähkäpää (Turku School of Economics and Business Administration, Finland); Torben Tambo (Aarhus University, Denmark); Dr Llewellyn Tang (University of Nottingham Ningbo , China); Dr Claudine Toffolon (Université du Mans ‐ IUT de Laval, France); Dr Geert‐Jan Van Bussel (HvA University of Applied Sciences Amsterdam, The Netherlands); Dr Minhong Wang (The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong); Dr Anna Wingkvist (School of Computer Science, Physics and Mathematics, Linnaeus University, Sweden); Dr Les Worrall (University of Coventry, UK); Prof Stanislaw Wrycza (University of Gdansk, Poland); Tuan Yu (Kent Business School, University of Kent, Canter‐ bury, UK); Dr Atieh Zarabzadeh (UCD, Ireland); Dr Ryszard Zygala (Wroclaw University of Economics, Poland); Alexandru Tugui (Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Iasi, Romania)
Biographies Conference Co‐Chairs Prof Przemysław Lech, PhD is a Professor at the University of Gdańsk and Consulting Department Managing Partner in the IT consulting enterprise—LST. His areas of interest include knowledge management, MIS evaluation, IT business impact, MIS project management and implementation methodologies. He has worked as a senior consultant and project manager in several IT projects, including IT strategy formulation and ERP systems implementations. He is the author of more than thirty papers and two books on Management Information Systems. Dr Bernard F. Kubiak is Full Professor of Information Systems and Information Technologies at The Department of Information Systems (Faculty of Management) at the Gdańsk University. His researches and didactics focuses on informatization strategy of organization, systems analysis, knowledge and information management, ecommerce, organizational performance and electronic business strategies. He has published books and articles in many national and foreign journals and publishing houses. He has gained extensive experience as system analyst and as application specialist in formulating and realization of informatization strategy in organizations.
Programme Co‐Chairs Stanisław Wrycza is professor and head of Department of Business Informatics at University of Gdansk, Poland. His numerous publications – books, articles, papers ‐ regard business informatics, information systems development, UML, SysML, e‐business, e‐learning. He is the editorial board member of Information Systems Journal, Information Systems Management, Journal of Database Management, Information Systems and E‐business Management. He has been involved in organization of numerous international conferences, serving as organizing chair of the following regular conferences: European Conference on Information Systems ECIS 2002, Business Informatics Research BIR 2008, SIGSAND/PLAIS EuroSymposium 2011 on Systems Analysis and Design, Conference on Advanced Information Systems Engineering CAiSE’12, all held in Gdansk. He was Vice President of Information Systems Academic Heads International (2008‐2010. Dr Jerzy Auksztol is Professor at the Information Systems Department, University of Gdańsk, Poland. His main areas of interest are: information technology (IT) and information systems (IS) sourcing arrangements, statistics of IT/IS services, enterprise architecture mana gement, interoperation of management information systems. He is the author and co‐author of more then thirty research papers as well as four books dealing with the filed of information technology and management information systems.
Keynote Speakers Benjamin Dewilde is Managing Partner and CEO of the Westernacher Consulting group. He provides advice to senior management at Westernacher clients as well as strategy setting, business process analysis, system design and implementation expertise to the projects under his management. He has a track record of guiding top class global players through complex business reengineering and information technology challenges, providing pivotal advice and vision to top level decision makers and implementers alike. His key role in projects is ensuring optimal business results through correct strategy setting, business process design and highest quality implementation of the appropriate information technology. Benjamin has over 18 years of consulting experience in topics ranging from finance, controlling, investment and project management, forecasting, logistics and business intelligence in industries like: life sciences, fast moving consumer goods, financial services, utilities, telecom, consumer electronics and retail. His clients include well known multinational companies like Gillette, Colgate‐Palmolive, Sandoz, National Grid, Deutsche Telekom, Deutsche Post, RTL, Deutsche Bank, TJX and Federal Mogul.
Dr Wojciech Piotrowicz (PhD Brunel, MA Gdaosk, PGDipLATHE Oxon) is a member of the Faculty of Management, University of Oxford at SaŃ—d Business School and the Wolfson College. His research is related to supply chain management, information systems, IT/BP outsourcing, performance measurement and evaluation, with focus on emerging markets. Wojciech is recipient of Outstanding and Highly Commended paper awards from Emerald Literati Network for Excellence.
Mini Track Chairs Dr Ciara Heavin is a College Lecturer in Business Information Systems at University College Cork, Ireland. She also holds a BSc and MSc in Information Systems from UCC. Her main research interests include the development of the ICT industry, primarily focusing on Irelandâ€™s software industry and knowledge management in software SMEs.
Grant Royd Howard is an Information Systems lecturer in the School of Computing, College of Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET), at the University of South Africa (UNISA). He is a PhD student at the North-West University (NWU) in Mafikeng, South Africa. He obtained his Master of Science (MSc) degree inInformation Systems at UNISA. He has authored and presented papers published at peer-reviewed conferences, both local and international, and has published in an accredited journal. His research focus is Information Systems in the domain of organizational, environmental sustainability. Before being a lecturer he worked in the financial industry in South Africa as a Business Analyst. Dr Karen Neville is a researcher and lecturer in Business Information Syst ems (BIS) at University College Cork (UCC), Ireland. Her current research interests focus on the areas of ISS and Compliance, Social Learning and Biometrics. Karen has published in international conferences and journals.
Ian Owens is a lecturer and researcher at Cranfield University. His research interests include information systems evaluation, information systems development methodologies, sense making and mindfulness, enterprise architecture, and service oriented architecture. He has published a number of papers on these topics in international journals and conferences. Ian is currently UK representative on the NATO RTO IST 118 panel that is researching the use of service-oriented architecture over disadvantaged grids.
Biographies of Presenting Authors Dr Jerzy Auksztol is Professor at the Information Systems Department, University of Gdaosk, Poland. His main areas of interest are: information technology (IT) and information systems (IS) sourcing arrangements, statistics of IT/IS services, enterprise architecture management, interoperation of management information systems. Marian Carcary is a post-doctoral researcher working on an IT Capability Maturity Framework research project at the Innovation Value Institute, National University of Ireland, Maynooth. Marian previously worked as a member of Faculty in the University of Limerick and Limerick Institute of Technology. She has an MSc by research and a PhD in IT evaluation. Sven Carlsson is Professor of Informatics at Lund University School of Economics and Management. His current research interests include: Business Intelligence, KM, and enterprise 2.0. He has published more than 125 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and conference papers. His work has appeared in journals like JMIS, Decision Sciences, and Information Systems Journal.
Barbara Crump’s research involves evaluation of digital divide initiatives and research projects investigating the culture of the computing tertiary and work environments. She has collaborated with research colleagues from Japan, Malaysia and the UK. She is a Senior Lecturer in the information systems group in the School of Management, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand. Dr Eileen Doherty is a Research Fellow at the Innovation Value Institute, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Ireland. Having completed a PhD in 2012 into ‘The adoption of Broadband Technology by Irish SMEs’, her research interests include technology / innovation adoption and how the organization can gain maximum value from its IT capability. Giuseppe Ercolani is a PhD candidate in Information Systems at University of Murcia (Spain). With more than 25 years' experience as a business and information systems consultant and trainer, he works as Technical Project Manager at the University of Tuscia (Viterbo, Italy). He owns several IT certifications released from I.B.M., 3Com, Siebel, JdEdwards, Microsoft, Citrix and Planet3 Wireless. Nina Evans holds qualifications in Chemical Engineering, Education, Computer Science, Master of IT, MBA and PhD. She is Associate Head of the School of Information Technology and Mathematical Science at the University of South Australia. She teaches and conducts research in Knowledge Management, ICT Leadership, Business-IT fusion, Stakeholder Engagement, Women in ICT, CSR and Information Asset Management. Ginevra Gravili was born in Lecce in 1969. Since 2002, she has been professor of Organization Theory at the University of Economics. Salento, Lecce, Italy. She has written numerous books and articles on SMEs, knowledge sharing, social recruitment, HRM of public administration, ICT. Kerstin Grundén is senior lecturer in informatics at the West University of Sweden. She has also a background as a sociologist. She was participating in the research project Innoveta funded by Vinnova for the study of customer centres implementation within municipalities in Sweden 2009 – 2011. Her main field of research is eGovernment and e-Learning. Dr. Darek Haftor is the PostNord Professor of Information Logistics, at Linnaeus University, Sweden. His previous work exposed him initially for various aspects of operations development. Darek’s current research focuses two frontiers: Information Economy and Digital Business Models, the Normative foundations, inherent in any design and developmental effort of an organized effort. Marja Harjumaa, M.Sc., works as a research scientist at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. She is experienced in conducting user-oriented research in different domains. Her main interests are knowledge intensive services for health and environment, focusing especially on technologies for health behaviour change. Dr Vered Holzmann, MBA, is an experienced practicing project manager with a distinguished track record in managing computer software development teams, implementation of quality assurance programs and management of fast track construction projects. She is a faculty member of Holon Institute of Technology - H.I.T. and lectures at Tel-Aviv University. Grant Royd Howard is an Information Systems lecturer in the School of Computing at the University of South Africa (UNISA). He has authored papers published at peer-reviewed conferences, both local and international, and has a publication in an accredited journal. His research focus is information systems in the domain of organizational, environmental sustainability. Jaroslav Kalina graduated from applied informatics. Currently, he is PhD student at the Faculty of Informatics and Statistics, University of Economics, Prague. He deals mainly with modelling. Nathan Lakew’s research interest is studying ‘ISD methods’ applied to develop and/or update systems in organizations, their effect in the overall worksystem. He is also interested in studying IT investment approaches from the perspective of value creation in IS. He is a PhD student at Mid Sweden University, Sweden and a member of ValIT research group.
Przemysław Lech, PhD is a Professor at the University of Gdańsk and Consulting Department Managing Partner in the IT consulting enterprise—LST. His areas of interest include knowledge management, MIS evaluation, IT business impact, MIS project management and implementation methodologies. He has worked as a senior consultant and project manager in several IT projects, including IT strategy formulation and ERP systems im‐ plementations. Kim Maes, PhD candidate at University of Antwerp (IWT grant) and researcher IS Management at Antwerp Management School and affiliated with ITAG Research Institute, performs research on business case, value management, IT governance and alignment. He published in International Journal of IT/Business Alignment and Governance and presented at HICSS, MCIS, PREBEM and BENAIS bazaar. Nicholas Blessing Mavengere is a researcher at the University of Tampere, Finland. His research interests in‐ clude supply chain management, business strategy, strategic agility, ICT for development, the role of IT in busi‐ ness. Currently, he is working on his PhD thesis on investigating supply chain enhancement from a strategic agility perspective and role of information technology. Carolyn McGibbon, Research Associate at the Centre for IT and National Development in Africa (CITANDA) at the University of Cape Town is doing her PhD in Green IS in the Higher Education sector. She holds a Master in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science degree as well as a Higher Diploma in Higher Education (cum laude). She has co‐authored a book chapter and four peer‐reviewed conference papers. Seid Ahmed is an MBA candidate in the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration at the JNTU Univer‐ sity, Hyderabad India, Prior to entering the MBA program, he received a BCA from the Osmania University. His current research interests include competence of business managers and ARE professionals. Salla Muuraiskangas (M.H.Sc.) works as a research scientist at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland since 2008. She is experienced in user testing. Her research interests cover developing technologies for wellness and health behaviour change and evaluating user experience. Julius Oyekunle Oyeleke received his honours Degree in Business computing at the Polytechnic of Namibia in 2012. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Business Administration degree and his research interests are on the electronic health record systems and how they are to provide a comprehensive view of patient information in the Namibian private sector. Natallia Pashkevich is a PhD candidate at SUSB, Sweden. She has previously carried out research in the field of Labour Economics. Her research interests target a theoretical gap within the “nano‐level” of the Productivity Paradox discourse that is concerned with challenges to identify productivity increase in operations that are conducted with the support of IT. Michal Pilík Marketing is his professional orientation. He collaborates on EU projects. He is the researcher of the scientific project Czech Science Foundation P403/11/P175: The factors influencing customer’s online be‐ haviour in e‐commerce environment on B2C and B2B markets in the CR. He is the author of many scientific papers. James Price is the founder and Managing Director of Experience Matters, a firm that takes a position of global leadership in the business aspects of Information Management. He is the leader of a project conducting re‐ search on three continents into the barriers to the effective management of information assets. Dr Mirja Pulkkinen is a Senior Researcher at the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, University of Jyväskylä. She joined the Faculty in 2001 to work with research projects, and is currently also teaching master’s level courses in Enterprise Architecture, which was the topic area of her doctorate thesis, and Business Process Management. Vaclav Reznicek graduated from information management at the Faculty of Informatics and Statistics, Univer‐ sity of Economics, Prague. Currently, he is internal PhD student at the Department of Systems Analysis, Faculty of Informatics and Statistics, University of Economics, Prague. His doctoral thesis deals with the issue of human knowledge.
Dr. Helen Richardson is a Professor of Gender and Organisation and joined Sheffield Business School at Shef‐ field Hallam University, UK in 2012. She is engaged in Critical Research in Information Systems including issues of gender and the ICT labour market and the global location of service work. Toni Ruohonen holds bachelor’s degree in Information Technology (Satakunta University of Applied Sciences) and PhD degree in Computer Science (University of Jyväskylä, Finland). He is currently working at the Univer‐ sity of Jyväskylä, IT Department and Agora Center as a postdoctoral researcher. His research interests include health operations management, process analysis and simulation and service design. Minna Salminen‐Karlsson researches the area gender‐technology‐organization‐education, with particular fo‐ cus on ICT technologies. Her research includes gender studies of engineering education, other technical educa‐ tion as well as gendered conditions, such as situated learning and career building, in high‐tech work places, both in private computer companies and in technical and scientific disciplines in the academy. Jana Samáková Ph.D. works at the Slovak University of Technology, Faculty of Materials Science and Technol‐ ogy in Trnava, Institute of Industrial Engineering, Management and Quality. At the Institute she is assistant professor in project management with a focus on project communication management and business manage‐ ment. Stephen L. Schiavone, Enterprise IT Architect and Director of IT Engineering for a large international pharma‐ ceutical company based in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. Obtained BSc in Cognitive Sciences, University of Surrey, UK and recently completed MSc in Information Technology, University of Liverpool, UK. Thirty years experi‐ ence working for large international enterprises across five industry verticals. Meke Shivute is a lecturer in information systems at the University of Cape Town. Her research interests lie primarily in ICT use for Health care to enhance health service delivery, with a focus on People, Business proc‐ esses and the use of Information Technology and how it renders economic and social benefits in the health care sector. Mohini Singh is Professor of Information Systems at RMIT University in Australia. She has published well over 100 scholarly papers in the areas of e‐business, e‐government, ERP systems and new technology and innova‐ tion management. Her current research focus is on social media in organisations, cloud computing and broad‐ band for business. Zdenek Smutny graduated from applied informatics and media studies. Currently, he is internal PhD student at the Faculty of Informatics and Statistics, University of Economics in Prague where he deals with the problems of social informatics. Juha Soikkeli is a Master’s student at the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, Univer‐ sity of Jyväskylä. His research interests are Business Process Reengineering, ERP Performance Measurement and Process Mining. Olgerta Tona is a PhD Student at Lund University School of Economics and Management, department of In‐ formatics. Her PhD project is related to Mobile Business Intelligence area. Additionally, she has published some articles—book chapters, journal article and conference papers‐‐ on Business Intelligence topic. Jean‐Paul Van Belle, professor at the University of Cape Town and director of CITANDA (Centre for IT and Na‐ tional Development in Africa), has authored or co‐authored about 20 books/chapters, 20 journal articles and more than 80 peer‐reviewed published conference papers. His key research area is the social and organisa‐ tional adoption of emerging information technologies in a developing world context. The key technologies re‐ searched include e‐commerce, M‐commerce, e/M‐government but also green IS/IT, open source software and cloud computing. Bartosz Wachnik specializes in MIS implementation. He is a member of senior management in Alna Business Solutions in Poland, a branch of Lithuanian company, which is one of the largest IT companies in the Baltic area. He has published more than 20 articles in professional and academic journals. He has co‐operated with University of Technology in Warsaw where he completed his PhD.
Knowledge Management in the Process of Enterprise System's Configuration Jerzy Auksztol and Magdalena Chomuszko Management Department, Information Systems Faculty, University of Gdansk, Sopot, Poland email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract: Reliable and easy reachable information has become a valuable asset of a modern enterprise. The ability to manage it, by collecting, organizing, selection and use in order to achieve certain business objectives is an advantage that can directly translate into a better competitive position in the market. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems have contributed significantly to the improvement of information management processes. While the implementation of such a system is both technological and organizational challenge, its further operation requires dedicated management methods so that it would not lose a strategic place in the enterprise. Changes made to the ERP system respond to directions of the organization development, by which that change management processes become a key asset of the organization. This article aims to systematize the issues related to the management of the ERP system configuration change based on a most common representative from the firm SAP, namely SAP–ERP. Keywords: enterprise system, enterprise resource planning system, configuration process, SAP‐ERP, knowledge management
1. Introduction The development of information technology and its use in business today has not only achieved a high level, but also can be met in a large number of companies. Currently, it is impossible to participate in the economy without the organization of management support systems. The progress, which can be observed in this area, is related to the continuous change that is an integral part of the development. According to the Webster’s Third New International Dictionary the term change means: “to make over to a radically different form, composition, state, or disposition” (Webster’s 1993, p. 373). A general definition of the change also applies to business. This "radical different form" is the result of the interpretation of incoming information that is reported by the participants of the organization as well as the demand for innovation and an organizational change. This, in turn, is defined by Griffin, as any substantial modification of any part of the organization and can affect almost every aspect of the organization: the span of management, overall project organization and the very employees (Griffin 2012). Changes in the organization will naturally bring changes in the IT system, by which a company manages execution of its business processes. Skillful management of information resources and knowledge allowing to play at any time or to analyze the sequence of events involved in the changes of the system becomes the crucial issue. The main objectives of configuration changes management are (Guide to software configuration management 1995, p.3):
“software components can be identified,
software is built from a consistent set of components,
software components are available and accessible,
software components never get lost (e.g. after media failure or operator error),
every change to the software is approved and documented,
changes do not get lost (e.g. through simultaneous updates),
it is always possible to go back to a previous version,
a history of changes is kept, so that is always possible to discover who did what and when”.
It goes without saying that the tools that help people achieve these goals are necessary. IT companies began to offer software that could manage configuration changes and record all the related knowledge, and information systems, such as ERP were already equipped with such solutions. Department of Defense of the United States was one of the first to introduce in 1950 the configuration management (Masewicz 2008). This gave rise to the creation of new solutions (models, tools, applications) to manage configuration changes. The most important of these are:
Jerzy Auksztol and Magdalena Chomuszko
ISO 9000 (Quality Management System),
ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library),
CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration),
Prince2 (Projects In a Controlled Environment),
COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and related Technology),
ILS (Integrated Logistics Support).
In addition, there are dedicated solutions and industry standards. Each of these models has been designed for the specific functions and areas, but all benefited from the basic assumptions of the configuration change management. As defined by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers configuration management (IEEE Standard… 1990, p. 20): “is a discipline applying technical and administrative direction and surveillance to:
identify and document the functional and physical characteristics of a configuration item,
control changes to those characteristics,
record and report change processing and implementation status,
verify compliance with specified requirements.”
All configuration changes are implemented based on the knowledge brought by the implementation teams, as well as information released in the course of the system operation caused by changes in the business organization and any other changes (e.g. legal). The whole process covers three areas and it is not possible to separate them. These are the area of expertise, configuration change, and organizational change. Knowledge of the life cycles of expertise in the context of the identified and implemented changes, allows to provide the link between the areas of:
As a consequence a complete picture of knowledge management of configuration changes is given. Figure 1 shows three situations: envisaged change, the created change, an opportunity arising from the change in the organization relates to business processes. Capability to predict changes as well as the evaluation of opportunities arising from them can be achieved based on the possessed knowledge and the ability to share it in the organization. Knowledge of the expertise life cycle allows linking and presenting the relationship between the two cycles. Chan and Rosemann (2001) propose the following life cycle stages of expertise:
Before any change appears, it is necessary to identify the knowledge of the new or existing situation. Creation and the transfer (recording) and storage are next stages. Using knowledge is the moment when the change is formalized. The last stage is the outdating, which is often referred to as unlearning. There are two kinds of knowledge in the economic organization: tacit and explicit as described by Hansen et al. (1999) and previously Nonaka & Takeochi (1995, p.8). Tacit knowledge is based on personal experience and cannot be easily separated from the person that possesses it, while explicit knowledge is easy to codify, store and transfer via mechanical media, such as books, databases or computer software. However, when the areas of expertise, organizational change and information systems configuration are combined only explicit knowledge (codified) is used. Tacit knowledge may be involved in the process of knowledge management configuration only after it is codified, that is, after changing it to explicit knowledge. Figure 1 shows the relationships between the three areas listed above (knowledge, change and configuration of the ERP system).
Jerzy Auksztol and Magdalena Chomuszko
Source: own elaboration Figure 1: The relationship between change, configuration knowledge and the ERP system Figure 1 shows the process of knowledge identification as a result of the changes. These changes may occur both within the organization and outside of it. The whole process is a closed cycle, because the changes are not possible without the use of knowledge, and change always stimulates the development of knowledge. All changes made in an enterprise, which derive from the ERP system modifications, are registered by this system. Appropriate mechanisms supporting the management of change and to record it ensure stability and development of the IT system in a planned and safe way.
2. Configuration knowledge management in the life cycle of an IT system An IT system just like any other product has its life cycle. It was described in many publications. The present one describes the life cycle of the two types of systems: dedicated and duplicable. Life cycles of different IT systems differ depending on their nature. For dedicated systems (prepared for a particular company) its life cycle begins with planning and specifying requirements, while in the case of duplicable systems with the purchase decision. Table 1 presents the phases of life‐cycle of any ERP system for both of these types. Table 1: Presentation of ERP system’s life phases Phase – dedicated system Requirements, specification, planning
Phase – duplicable system Adoption decision
Phase characteristics Managing people specifies requirements to be met by the ERP system. Business problems as well as the improvement strategy are determined by providing the benefits of implementing the system. In this phase, the selection and purchase of the product that most closely matches the requirements and needs of the enterprise are made. In addition, there also occurs a selection of a consulting firm to handle the subsequent phases of the cycle. In case of duplicable systems it is designed in accordance with the customer requirements. This step allows for parameterization and adaptation of the system to the specific circumstances of the organization. A consulting company, in collaboration with the business team, carries out implementation. At this stage tests and user trainings are carried out as well. In the case of the dedicated system, the software author does implementation.
Jerzy Auksztol and Magdalena Chomuszko Phase – dedicated system Operational mode
Phase – duplicable system Use and Maintenance
Phase characteristics Post‐implementation operation of the system still requires the user to monitor the functionality of the system (in terms of expected benefits). Maintenance is based on the management of failures and correcting discrepancies. At this stage, the system acquires additional values, which result from its accompanying the execution of business processes. This includes not only the development of system functionality, but also improved handling or working with external applications. This phase runs parallel to the exploitation phase. When new technologies emerge or the system is recognized to be inadequate to business processes in the organization, the system is withdrawn and replaced by a new one.
Source: Chomuszko et al. (2012) Parameters for each stage of the ERP life cycle are defined. Some of them are covered by the standard settings (valid for each system implementation), and some of the settings are specific to the company or industry to which it belongs. According to the ERP system life cycle as presented in Table 1, Table 2 shows its configuration steps. Table 2: configuration steps for the implementation of the ERP duplicable system ERP system life cycle stages Implementation
Stage setup Define initial settings mostly based on standard assumptions, but also taking into account the specific characteristics of the company
Use and Maintenance
Completion of configuration. At this stage, the parameters for a specific company are configured. Extending the configuration with the changes resulting from various causes that were formed while working with the system. Changes of this stage are shown in the Table 3
Activities Founding of the company, account plan, distribution channels, areas of cost accounting, wage system, dictionary of measures and units used in the business organization. Configuring the missing parameters that were skipped during the system implementation. Building extensions and improvements in the functionality of the system.
Source: own elaboration During the operation and growth of the ERP system there may be many different causes making it necessary to introduce changes. They have been described in the Table 3 (Chomuszko et al. 2012). Table 3: Classification of system modifications in the evolution phase Name Legal change Business change Software errors Ergonomics improvement change Technological modification Securing the system Others
Interpretation The need for modifications resulting from changes in the law. Observations reported by users, based on the need for support of business processes not included in the existing system functionality Amendments resulting from program execution errors Modification of the system based on the creativity of programmers or suggestions raised by members to facilitate the operation of the program. Changes to improve system operation such as changing the format of the database use of modern technology. Validation ‐ Modifications to ensure performance of procedures in accordance with the assumptions. Incidental changes not described above
Source: Chomuszko et al. (2012) ERP parameterization before running it in a company is not the end of the work on its configuration. As mentioned in the introduction, the ERP system grows with the organization as well as business and it has to
Jerzy Auksztol and Magdalena Chomuszko record all the changes on current basis, so it could really help the management. That is why it is very important that the system is configurable depending on the individual needs of the customer and characteristics of the industry in which it operates, as well as ‐ in the case of requirements growth ‐ its extension and integration with other IT systems, Internet based or mobile applications were made possible. A flexible system, which evolves together with the company, a quick response to changes is possible (Romanowicz 2013).
3. Solutions to management of change and configuration of ERP systems For the purposes of this study a small survey was conducted. Questions related to configuration change management tools in the systems in use were sent to 20 businesses involved in the sale and distribution of ERP software. Five companies answered the questions. The two agreed that such tools are not present in their systems because they do not make the configuration available freely to its users and specialized consultants carry out any changes. The three companies declared that their systems are equipped with mechanisms to manage the change. At the same time in all three cases, respondents identified those mechanisms with the flexibility of the system and access to the configuration. No system was equipped with any tools to record process parameterization or the system expansion. “Symfonia Forte”, which is the most popular ERP system in the Polish market, attaches documents to each latest version, with the description of all modifications made to the previous one. However, these changes are for the standard, global solutions and a particular company is not interested in collecting this type of documentation. The information that would be relevant for the company in the management of configuration change process should include at least the following:
date of commencement of work on the change in the system,
description of the change,
the person who made the change,
was the change tested and what was the outcome of the tests,
date of the changes implementation.
This type of information create valuable knowledge about the system configuration of the company. This knowledge can be used in cases of subsequent configurations in companies with similar activities, or for the training of key users and consultants of ERP systems
4. Management of information flows about the changes in SAP‐ERP configuration SAP‐ERP system is designed for large and wealthy companies. The implementation of such a system in any business is always a large, complex and time‐consuming project. Therefore, the software designer had to provide it with the solutions that not only control and manage configuration changes but also raise the safety of the system. The basic premise of this approach is the principle that no configuration setting can be applied to the production system (target) without prior testing it in a test environment (Auksztol J. et al. 2012). Figure 2 shows how this idea of implementing such a configuration changes can be designed.
Source: own elaboration Figure 2: Model of configuration change management in SAP‐ERP
Jerzy Auksztol and Magdalena Chomuszko The above diagram shows not only the implementation of the system configuration in SAP‐ERP, but it is a way of documenting of the changes that have been made in the system, thus not only supporting the security of operation but also creating the valuable knowledge base about the system configuration. The concept proposed by the developers of SAP‐ERP system involves running three environments: configuration, testing, and the so‐called, target environment that is called production. Table 4 presents the tasks of each environment. Table 4: Tasks of configuration changes environment Configuration environment Parameterization of the system within the standard solutions
Testing environment Testing of the basic parameterization validity.
Implementation of functional extensions
Testing the correctness of the designed extensions and their configurations Maintaining the security of the target environment Collecting information about the changes made in the system
Configuration of the system expansion areas Collecting information about the changes made in the system
Target environment Working in real environment with the company documentation, which is in accordance with the requirements of the business. Collecting information on the configuration changes that were implemented from a test environment.
Source: own elaboration The possibility to combine these groups into a specific sequence, the so‐called transport of configuration orders path (transport road) is an important element of the concept defined in such a way. It is based on the fact that the configuration requests are transferred in accordance with the defined path. If the path of the system configuration will be built from four environments, such as configuration, testing 1, testing 2, target environment, in a given order, it will not be possible to send orders from the transport configuration to the production (target) environment skipping the two testing environments. A user can enter a configuration without testing it, but it will be easy to find out, because every configuration order has a log, which in addition to the person who implemented the change, records the date of the change and its subjects. The names of tables where changes were made can be found. Testing systems make it possible to find documents related to the test of the correctness of a given configuration. These documents can be identified by the dates of their introduction in the first place. The period in which they should appear in a test environment is the timespan between the introduction of the order into the TEST system, and introducing it into the PROD (target) system. If documents in the TEST system in the specified date range are missing it proves the lack of control of the configuration changes. Ability to track and recreate this type of information is extremely valuable for the construction process of the ERP system. It primarily provides its controlled development, and secures the production (target) environment. The system configuration place is called: Customizing Implementation Guide. There are about 30 areas of configuration, such as: Financial Accounting, Controlling, Materials Management, Production, General Logistics or other, which are less often implemented, like: Time Management, Quality Management, Environment, Health and Safety and many, many others. Each area contains many sub‐directories where the configurations of specific functionalities are located. There are over thousand such locations in the financial accounting area alone. It is obvious that with such a wide range of configuration options the lack of mechanisms that manage the change as well as configuration knowledge is unacceptable. Any change in the system within Customizing Implementation Guide is automatically stored in the Transport Management System documentation in the form of the so‐called transportation orders. It is possible to save all the defined settings in one transport order, but such an action contradicts the idea of configuration knowledge management (described in Chapter 1). Each transport order should include actions associated with defining specific parameters. As shown in Table 2, the first steps related to the system configuration apply to standard basic settings. These are among others: Create Company Code, Fiscal Year Variant Maintain, Define Posting Period Variant, Define Document Number Ranges, Enable Fiscal Year Default, etc. The next stage of the configuration is to define the parameters, which are specific to a particular enterprise, and the next one, following the table. 3, is the system extensions. Creation of the configuration changes records starts at the attempt to save the parameters that were entered into the system. Before they are stored, the user describes the changes that he introduced. This is done in the
Jerzy Auksztol and Magdalena Chomuszko Prompt for Customizing request window, which will be open before saving changes. In this window, the user enters a short description of the Request, and the system automatically completes the data concerning the order creation date (the date and the given time to the second) and the data of the user who amended the configuration. Moreover, the table name is displayed in a forthcoming order configuration where new data are defined, and the system automatically gives a unique number that identifies clearly this order. Order configuration is saved in the Transport Organizer, where you can also see the specific data that have been entered. The next stage is called: release of the transport order, so it is moving it on the transport path from the configuration environment to the testing environment. In order to load that transport order with the configuration change, the Transport Management System must be run. This is where transport orders queue is managed. With the help of a proper button, the configuration defined in the DEV system (developer) shall be transferred to the TEST. Figure 3 shows the log of this operation. Figure 3: Overview of transport logs
Source: SAP GUI 7.20 The icon Log Display appears with each record with the information about the details of a configuration order, and it can be used to view detailed records of the executed configuration transfer process. From this point, it is possible to test the change in the test environment. This is an important step, because the test result provides the basis to transfer the designed configuration to the target system. In case any errors are found during the testing phase the configuration order will not be sent forward. Having corrected errors and verified the settings the configuration is again transferred to the testing system as per earlier described procedure. Positive test result allows moving the setting to the target system configuration. Table 5 gathers all stages of information registration concerning the implemented changes in the configuration of SAP‐ERP. Table 5: Stages of management of knowledge about system configuration SAP‐ERP Item
Configuration change registration phase Recording configuration order
Releasing configuration order
Configuration data entering
Introduction of configuration change in the environment configuration (system DEV)
Brief description of the task, data on the user introducing the change, order creation date, the name of the table where the data were introduced and the data themselves. Instance (principal) source, date of release of the transport order (instance in SAP‐ERP system is a term referring to: the binaries of specific SAP‐ERP version, database management system and data located in this database. It can be installed more than ones on a single host).
Transfer of configuration change to the transport path
Jerzy Auksztol and Magdalena Chomuszko Item
Configuration change registration phase Entering the order to the test system
Configuration data entering
The introduction of configuration changes to the test environment (system TEST)
Entering date, the owner of the order, the mandant’s target and the details of the order (mandant is a special term used by SAP‐ERP system which refers to the package of data connected with its configuration settings, which unify all elements of one business group. Documents in the test system, which are introduced in the context of configuration control. Entering date, the owner of the order, the mandant’s target, the details of the order (data).
Checking for correctness of the defined configuration
Entering the order in the target system
Introduction of the configuration change to the target environment (PROD system)
Source: own elaboration In the SAP ERP system that was implemented in a capital group with the following modules: financial, controlling, fixed assets, real estate, distribution and sales, 2338 transport orders were registered in the Transport Management System, of which about one thousand applied to basic settings (before the system was activated). After over four years of the system usage it is possible to recreate the documentation and the knowledge about the configuration that was implemented in this company in this ERP system.
5. Conclusions SAP‐ERP has been used in companies for over 30 years. Globalization of the market made that it is readily implemented in countries not only in Europe but also around the world. Due to their functionalities ERP systems are very expanded solutions, but those that become international systems evolve to very large and complex IT products. Supporting them requires considerable amount of knowledge and is often shared among several specialists, the so‐called modular administrators. However, before the system is ready for use, it is necessary to configure it. The work that is conducted in this area prepares functionalities to ensure that it most closely matches the business concept of the company. The developers of the SAP‐ERP, which is representative of this class of software, designed a solution that is not only appreciated by the users of the system, but also by the environment engaged in the development and implementation of SAP. Configuration change management that has been presented in this article is a proposal that aims to be an inspiration to other ERP systems. This is a really noteworthy proposal because it accumulates in a unique way, not only the facts about the implemented changes, but also builds the knowledge base about the whole setup, which was developed on the system. It is also important that next to the function of collecting and organizing data, it also has a protective function against incorrectly defined system configuration, which is meaningful in all these applications. The benefits of concept pointed out in document Change Request Management (2013), i.e. “(i) increased maintenance and project efficiency, (ii) minimized costs for project management and IT, (iii) reduced risk of project failure and correction, (iv) shorter correction, Implementation, and going‐live phase, (v) efficient maintenance of customer implementations and developments, (vi) transparency and documentation of the change process from approval of a request for change to the transportation of changes into follow‐on systems” can be confirmed in many enterprises, which use SAP‐ERP. The solution designed in SAP‐ERP meets all the aforementioned European Space Agency assumptions. In addition, it is easy to use by automation tasks. In the context of increasingly dynamic changes, agile implementation methodologies should directs research towards the developments of standards for ERP systems based on such as those used in the SAP‐ERP.
Acknowledgements We would like to express our appreciation to Sławomir Patelczyk for his useful remarks and valuable review.
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Jerzy Auksztol and Magdalena Chomuszko Chomuszko M., Lech P., Auksztol J. (2012) “Knowledge creation and merging in the exploitation phase of the enterprise resource planning systems – case study research”, Studies & Proceedings of Polish Association for Knowledge Management, No. 60, pp. 30‐42. Griffin R.W. (2012) Podstawy zarządzania organizacjami / Introduction do organisation management, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, Warszawa. Guide to software configuration management (1995), European Space Agency for Software Standardisation and Control (BSSC), Paris 1995. Hansen M.T., Nohria N., Tierney T. (1999) “What’s your strategy for managing knowledge?”, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 77, No. 2, pp. 106‐16. IEEE Standard Glosary of Software Engineering Terminology (1990) The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, New York. Masewicz M. (2008) “Mechanizmy wspomagające zarządzanie zmianami konfiguracyjnymi serwera bazy danych Oracle11g i jego otoczenia / Rules for Configuration Change Management in the Oracle 11g Database Server and for its Environment”, Paper read at XIVth Conference PLOUG, Szczyrk. Nonaka I., Takeuchi H., (1995) The Konwledge – Creating company, Oxford University Press, New York. Romanowicz W. (2013) Zmiana popłaca / Change Matters, Personel PLUS, No. 2, pp. 77‐78. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (1993), Koenemann, Cologne.
Understanding and Supporting Cloud Computing Adoption in Irish Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) Marian Carcary, Eileen Doherty and Gerard Conway National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Ireland Marian.email@example.com Eileen.firstname.lastname@example.org Gerard.email@example.com Abstract: Cloud Computing adoption has experienced a considerable rate of growth since its emergence in 2006. In 2011, it had become the top technology priority for organizations worldwide and according to some leading industry reports the cloud computing market is estimated to reach $241 billion by 2020. Reasons for adoption are multi‐fold, including for example the expected realisation of benefits pertaining to cost reduction, improved scalability, improved resource utilization, worker mobility and collaboration, and business continuity, among others. Research into the cloud computing adoption phenomenon has to date primarily focused on its impact on the larger, multinational enterprises. However, one key area of the market where cloud computing is expected to hold considerable promise is that of the Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (SME). SMEs are recognized as being inherently different from their larger enterprise counterparts, not least from a resource constraint perspective and for this reason, cloud computing is reported to offer significant benefits for SMEs through, for example, facilitating a reduction of the financial burden associated with new technology adoption. This paper reports findings from a recent study of Cloud Computing adoption among Irish SMEs. Despite its suggested importance, this study found that almost half of the respondents had not migrated any services or processes to the cloud environment. Further, with respect to those who had transitioned to the cloud, the data suggests that many of these SMEs did not rigorously assess their readiness for adopting cloud computing technology or did not adopt in‐depth approaches for managing the cloud lifecycle. These findings have important implications for the development/improvement of national strategies or policies to support the successful adoption of Cloud Computing technology among the SME market. This paper puts forward recommendations to support the SME cloud adoption journey. Keywords: cloud computing, SMEs, cloud adoption readiness, cloud non‐adoption reasons
1. Introduction Cloud Computing affords organisations the opportunity to access on‐demand IT services using Internet technologies on a free or pay‐per‐use basis, thereby enabling them to improve their strategic and technological agility, and responsiveness in the global business environment (Son et al, 2011). McAfee (2011) regards Cloud Computing as “a sea change—a deep and permanent shift in how computing power is generated and consumed. It’s as inevitable and irreversible as the shift from steam to electric power in manufacturing”. Cloud Computing has evolved to become the top technology priority for organisations worldwide (Gartner, 2011). The estimated figure for cloud services worldwide in 2013 is $44.2bn (ENISA, 2009). Cloud Computing is defined by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as: “A model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on‐demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g. networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction” (Mell and Grance, 2011, p.2). Because Cloud Computing is a relatively new IT and business phenomenon, there remains many untapped areas of research in this field (Son et al, 2011). Of the studies reviewed in developing this paper, prior academic research has focused on issues including the emergence of and developments in Cloud Computing, Cloud deployment and delivery models, benefits and challenges in migrating to the Cloud, readiness for cloud adoption, among others. However, the majority discuss Cloud Computing topics with no references to company size, and for some it can be inferred that they are oriented more towards larger organisations. However, it is recognised that SMEs (defined by the European Commission as any enterprise with less than 250 employees) are inherently different from large enterprises (Street and Meister, 2004). Given, Cloud Computing’s ability to support increased capacity or extended firms capabilities, without incurring extra costs which would have historically necessitated investment in infrastructure, software or staff training, it can be inferred that this technological platform may hold several opportunities for SMEs (Aljabre, 2012). However this emerging trend needs to be further researched from the SME perspective. SMEs are an important and integral component of every country; they form a cornerstone of the EU economy, representing
Marian Carcary, Eileen Doherty and Gerard Conway 99% of all enterprises. In the Republic of Ireland SMEs represent 98% of all companies employing less than 50 people, and constitute approximately 60% of the overall workforce (Central Statistics Office, 2008). Given the pivotal role SMEs play in the European economy, ensuring that they have a firm understanding of issues associated with cloud computing adoption is critical. This paper presents results of an exploratory study on the cloud computing phenomenon in the Irish SME context. The structure of this paper is as follows: Section two outlines the methodological approach taken. Section three outlines survey findings. For those SMEs who have adopted Cloud Computing, the paper examines the steps those organizations have taken in preparing for migration to the cloud environment (section 3.2). For those SMEs who have not taken steps towards adopting Cloud, the paper examines the reasons behind this non‐adoption (section 3.3). Understanding the implications of these findings results in the development of a set of recommendations or policy steps that should be addressed at a national level to promote and support the SME cloud adoption journey (section 4). Section five draws a conclusion to the paper.
2. Methodology The following are the research questions addressed in this paper:
What degree of preparation do SMEs undertake prior to adopting Cloud Computing?
What factors/reasons deter SMEs from adopting Cloud Computing?
This study employed a quantitative research approach. The merits of the questionnaire are linked to its ability to provide quantified data for decision‐making, it provides a transparent set of research methods, it supports the presentation of complex data in a succinct format; and it provides the opportunity to apply a comparable methodology across longitudinal studies. This quantitative study was conceptualized from a theoretical base in order to ensure that the instrument employed in this process had prior validity, reliability and was appropriately designed to address and answer the research questions. In developing questionnaire constructs, a detailed review of existing literature which focuses on reasons for technology adoption/non adoption, as well as readiness for new technology adoption was undertaken. This literature helped to frame the questionnaire’s constructs ‐ these constructs were then tested with a sample of 20 SME owner/managers and senior academic researchers, and refined to ensure relevance and comprehension in the SME environment. The questionnaire gathered responses using a 5‐point Likert scale. A numerical score was associated with each response and this reflected the degree of attitudinal favourableness, with ‘strongly disagree’ associated with number ‘1’ on the scale and ‘strongly agree’ associated with number ‘5’. The survey also consisted of a combination of open‐ended and closed questions. A purposive stratified sampling technique was employed in developing the sampling frame (Saunders et al, 2007) – using this sampling strategy units are chosen because they have specific characteristics that enable a core theme to be understood in greater detail. Purposive sampling ensures that key research themes are addressed and that diversity in each category is explored (Silverman, 2005). The sampling frame was stratified according to the following criteria:
Firms must have less than 250 employees
Firms must be located in Ireland.
Within each SME, the owner or manager was chosen as the point of contact, as he/she was regarded as in the best position to answer questions pertinent to the research problem. The study’s sample consisted of 1500 SMEs. The researchers aimed for a response rate of 7 percent in order to achieve 100 usable responses, which is deemed a suitable minimal level in a large population (Harrigan et al, 2008). The data collection process generated 95 usable responses, achieving a 6 percent response rate.
3. Findings 3.1 Profile of respondents The survey provided 95 usable responses. Each respondent organization was located in Ireland and employed less than 250 individuals. 70 percent (n=66) were micro‐sized firms; 26 percent (n=25) were small firms, while 4 percent (n=4) were of medium size (see Figure 1). In terms of industry sectors (Figure 2), the largest sector,
Marian Carcary, Eileen Doherty and Gerard Conway represented by almost half of all respondents (48 percent, n=46), were those firms from the Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS) sector. 39 percent (n=37) were from the service sector, while only 13 percent (n=12) were from manufacturing.
Figure 1: Respondent profile by firm size
Figure 2: Respondent profile by sector
3.2 Adoption of cloud computing among SMEs – how prepared are they? 45 percent (n=43) of the survey respondents had adopted Cloud Computing; the most popular business service/process they had migrated to the cloud were email (40 percent, n=38), followed by sales and marketing (15 percent, n=14), CRM (11 percent, n=10), R&D (10 percent, n=9), finance (8 percent, n=8), software applications development (6 percent, n=6) and purchasing/ procurement (2 percent, n=2). This section carefully considers the degree to which these respondent firms carefully prepared and established strategies to support the transition to the Cloud environment and the ongoing management of the cloud lifecycle. Understanding this degree of preparation is important as previous studies on technology adoption have found that “small firms with higher organizational readiness ... will be more likely to adopt and more likely to enjoy higher benefits than firms with low levels of readiness” (Iacovou et al, 1995). Only 40 of the SMEs provided insight into the steps they took when migrating to the cloud. Respondents were presented with a series of statements outlining possible steps to support cloud migration, and were asked to rate the extent to which these statements applied to their firms cloud adoption journey on a 5‐point Likert scale (Figure 3). The findings indicate that three key areas received the greatest degree of attention from SMEs in terms of preparing for Cloud Computing. These include:
Establishing the strategic intent and objectives of Cloud Computing adoption
Establishing a process for identifying those services suitable for migration to the Cloud
Involving stakeholders in assessing service readiness for the cloud
Findings indicate that the majority of cloud adopter SMEs in this study (53 percent; n=21) considered the importance of establishing the strategic intent and objectives of transitioning to cloud‐based technology. As outlined in previous technology adoption studies, a key consideration in technology adoption is the alignment between the objectives of an organization’s IT strategy and business strategy (Henderson and Venkatraman, 1992). Many previous studies have found that such alignment with an organization’s strategic objectives is important in maximising returns from ICT investments, in assisting in competitive advantage realization through ICT and in providing direction and flexibility to deal with new opportunities (Avison et al, 2004). From a Cloud Computing adoption perspective, Conway and Curry (2012) emphasize the importance of determining the organization’s IT objectives, including the role of Cloud Computing within the IT strategy; understanding, managing and controlling the impacts on the business; aligning these objectives with business needs; and strategically planning the transition to the cloud environment. 48 percent of firms (n=19) established a process for selecting those services that were potentially suitable for cloud migration. In line with the literature, one of the central tenets of Loebbecke et al’s (2012) Cloud Readiness Model is the need for organizations to make informed, strategic decisions regarding which of their IT services are appropriate to migrate to the cloud environment, as poor selection decisions may prove operationally costly and may potentially negatively impact on business strategy.
Marian Carcary, Eileen Doherty and Gerard Conway
Figure 3: SMEs preparation for cloud adoption 43 percent of the survey respondents (n=17) indicated that management, employees and other stakeholders were involved in assessing service readiness for the cloud. As outlined in the literature, the key differentiators of technology deployment’s long‐term success rest within the organizations internal context, in the form of managers and employees knowledge and skills. Previous studies by Caldeira and Ward (2003) highlight that top management attitudes and perspectives towards IT adoption explain differences in the levels of success achieved. Further, ensuring employees are aware of new technology adoption and are involved in the adoption process yields higher success rates (Nguyen, 2009). From a cloud computing adoption perspective, the criticality of stakeholder involvement and influence is also emphasized by Conway and Curry (2012), as failure to actively involve interested parties, particularly those from the user community, results in resistance to cloud migration. Further preparatory steps for Cloud Computing adoption, as identified in the technology adoption literature (e.g. Conway and Curry, 2012; Loebbecke et al, 2012), were followed less frequently by the survey respondents.
28 percent (n=11) established a process to regularly review the organizations cloud service requirements,
25 percent (n=10) established an operational strategy to manage service transition to the cloud,
23 percent (n=9) developed criteria for assessing service cloud‐readiness,
20 percent (n=8) conducted assessments using the defined criteria, to determine which pre‐identified services were cloud‐ready,
18 percent (n=7) indicated that they considered/designed the current and future state of services to be migrated to the cloud.
15 percent (n=6) established a threshold to separate cloud ready services from those not yet ready for cloud migration,
15 percent (n=6) established a strategic plan for roll‐out of the selected services to the cloud,
15 percent (n=6) documented a strategy for selecting the Cloud Service Provider(s) and managing relationship(s) with them.
3.3 Non‐adoption of cloud computing among SMEs 48 percent (n= 46) of the respondent SMEs had not migrated any services or processes to the cloud environment. These cloud ‘non‐adopters’ were primarily (54 percent, n=25) those firms from the services sector. This is a particularly interesting finding given the fact that Cloud Computing is reported in the literature
Marian Carcary, Eileen Doherty and Gerard Conway to offer SMEs considerable benefits in terms of cost reduction (Aljabre, 2012; Armbrust et al, 2010; Geczy et al, 2012), improved resource utilization (Neves et al, 2011), and improved mobility and collaborative opportunities (Aljabre, 2012; Kynetix, 2009; Neves et al, 2011), among others. Survey respondents reasons for not adopting cloud computing are reported in this section (insights provided by 40 SMEs). Respondents were presented with a series of statements outlining possible reasons for not adopting Cloud Computing, and were asked to rate the extent to which these statements applied to their firms on a 5‐point Likert scale (Figure 4).
Figure 4: Reasons for not adopting cloud computing 40 percent of the respondents reported a lack of time as a key deterrent to the adoption process, while a further 32 percent suggested they did not have the necessary IT skills to support migration. These findings are supported by Thong (1999) who states that the skills, time and staff required for effective technology adoption are not predominant issues in large organizations but represent considerable difficulties in smaller businesses. Concerns regarding the security of the cloud environment (40 percent); data ownership and protection (35 percent); and compliance (35 percent) were further obstacles to cloud migration identified by the SME survey respondents. These largely mirrored concerns as found in other studies. A recent study, conducted by Frost 2 and Sullivan for (ISC) in 2011 reported that Cloud Computing was one of the key areas that represented potential risks from an organizational perspective. Security concerns present the greatest barrier to cloud adoption (Armbrust et al, 2010; Iyer and Henderson, 2010; Luoma and Nyberg, 2011), due to the need for organizations to entrust external Cloud Service Providers with their business critical data. Such concerns include physical and personnel security in accessing machines and customer data, identity management in accessing information and computing resources, application security pertaining to applications that are available as a service via the cloud, and data confidentiality. Privacy, from the perspective of users needing to upload and store critical data in publically accessible data centers, as well as legalities surrounding data protection, confidentiality, copyright and audits are fundamental concerns (Yang and Tate, 2009). Rules pertaining to countries, country jurisdictions and industries impact on the free flow of data across boundaries (Iyer and Henderson, 2010). Hence, ensuring compliance with local, regional and global statutory and legal requirements represents a potential barrier to cloud adoption (SIM Advanced Practices Council, 2011). The physical location of the servers which store an organizations data is important under many nations’ laws, due to different national legislations regarding privacy and data management. For example, within the EU, there are strict limitations on the flow of information beyond the user’s jurisdiction (Iyer and Henderson, 2010; SIM Advanced Practices Council, 2011). 27 percent of the survey respondents felt that they had insufficient financial resources to support Cloud migration; to the authors this perceived barrier or reason for not adopting Cloud Computing highlights a lack of understanding of the cloud environment and how it can alleviate some SME financial concerns. While lack of financial resources typically limits SMEs ability to receive strategic benefits from new technology; a key characteristic of cloud computing is its ability to reduce the financial burden placed on SME’s in technology adoption (Aljabre, 2012; Armbrust et al, 2010). For example, Cloud computing provides potential for significant cost reductions in, for example, capital acquisition, IT infrastructure operations and maintenance costs (Aljabre, 2012; Armbrust et al, 2010; Geczy et al, 2012; Iyer and Henderson, 2010; Luoma and Nyberg, 2011; Yang and Tate, 2009). Firms can switch from a CAPEX to an OPEX cost structure (Kynetix, 2009), and take
Marian Carcary, Eileen Doherty and Gerard Conway advantage of the pay‐per‐use model (Armbrust et al, 2010). The authors’ perception that this is an inherent misunderstanding of Cloud Computing characteristics is further supported by the finding that 35 percent of the survey respondents were unaware of any Cloud Computing benefits. As specified by one respondent, “I don’t know how to set it up, or much about it”. A further 27 percent believed Cloud Computing was unsuitable for their business/product offerings, while 42 percent of respondents didn’t migrate services or processes to the cloud environment largely because they perceived that Cloud Computing was not widely employed in their specific industry sector. 22 percent of the survey respondents suggested their broadband speed was inadequate. Cloud Computing relies on the quality and availability of the Internet connection and the cloud service itself (Kynetix, 2009), giving rise to business continuity concerns due to Internet downtime, connection unreliability or CSP outages (Armbrust et al, 2010). Further, latency or the delay incurred in transferring data packets is of concern especially for time‐critical applications such as those used in financial markets and international trading (Kynetix, 2009). Latency of the Internet is unpredictable and such performance unpredictability and resulting data transfer bottlenecks impact on the realization of cloud computing power (Armbrust et al, 2010; Yang and Tate, 2009). In relation to availability of a good quality Internet or broadband infrastructure, the Republic of Ireland’s telecommunications market was late to open up to competition and only initiated broadband rollout in 2002 (Doherty, 2012). This slow start may have contributed to the fact that by 2006 the country had one of the lowest rates of broadband penetration in Europe (Point Topic, 2011). More recently, the Irish government have adopted an aggressive interventionist approach to broadband rollout (Doherty, 2012) and combined with the fact that Ireland has one of the youngest demographics in Europe, it has seen strong broadband growth in the last few years (Point Topic, 2011). However, much still remains to be done as highlighted in a recent OECD (2010) report where Ireland was ranked 22nd out of 33 countries in terms of fixed line broadband penetration rates and received the lowest ranking in Europe in terms of its average broadband speed (OECD, 2010).
4. What are the Implications of these survey findings? – recommendations for improvement Analysis of the findings on SMEs preparation for cloud adoption, as well as the reasons for SMEs not adopting Cloud, result in some interesting implications. Examination of the depth of preparation SMEs undertook prior to migrating to the Cloud environment suggests there is a substantial gap between what is published in the literature regarding steps to support cloud computing adoption and what is implemented in practice by the SME community. Specifically, only between 43 percent and 53 percent of the survey respondents determined the strategic intent and objectives of Cloud adoption; established a process for determining the services most suitable for the cloud environment; and involved key stakeholders throughout the process of assessing service readiness for the cloud. The depth of effort in for example the process applied to determine suitability for the cloud is somewhat questionable, as only 23 percent developed criteria for assessing cloud service readiness and only 20 percent used those criteria to assess actual cloud readiness. Other important preparation steps were poorly followed. For example, only 15 percent established a strategic plan for roll‐out of the selected services to the cloud, and documented a strategy for selecting the Cloud Service Provider(s) and managing relationship(s) with them. The low levels of preparation correspond to some findings in the literature. For example, Iacovou et al (1995), state that many small organisations lack a required level of organizational readiness for adopting high‐impact systems. However, the survey findings also suggest that approximately half of the SMEs in this study who adopted cloud computing did not engage in any preparation for migration to the cloud. Recommendations: There is a need for a more concerted national effort led by Government and State Bodies to support SMEs who plan to engage in Cloud Computing Adoption. This requires the development of simple SME specific models/frameworks which emphasise and increase awareness of the preparatory steps SMEs should undertake to ensure efficient migration to the cloud environment. Further, the reasons for cloud non adoption are quite varied. All of the following findings point to a lack of awareness and education surrounding cloud computing. For example, 27 percent of the survey respondents felt that they had insufficient financial resources to support Cloud migration; 40 percent reported a lack of time as a key deterrent, while a further 32 percent suggested they did not have the necessary IT skills to support migration; 35 percent were unaware of any Cloud Computing benefits, while others perceived it was not suitable for their product/service offering, or was not adopted within their industry sector.
Marian Carcary, Eileen Doherty and Gerard Conway Recommendation: A more concerted awareness/education campaign targeting Irish SMEs, on the inherent characteristics and benefits associated with cloud computing needs to be rolled out nationally. While much literature on the Cloud already exists, much of this presents a specific vendor perspective. What is required is an independent analysis of the impact of cloud computing in the SME context; this is critical to enabling SMEs to make informed decisions regarding the suitability of Cloud technology for their businesses. Such an awareness programme would help alleviate common misconceptions, and could for example specify the level of time investment required for common service/process transitions; could outline how lack of in‐house skills may be addressed by the outsourcing of more complex services/processes to a cloud provider; and could offer cost benefit analysis findings in relation to savings made in comparison with any financial outlay associated with cloud transitioning. A possible strategy to support such education and awareness would be the establishment of an expertise centre whose purpose would be to provide SMEs with independent advice on management of the cloud lifecycle. A particularly interesting finding from the SME context was the perception of some SMEs (22 percent) that their broadband speed was inadequate. Absence of a stable, high quality Internet connection is a key deterrent. As previously outlined, in a recent OECD (2010) report, Ireland ranked 22nd out of 33 countries in terms of fixed line broadband penetration rates and received the lowest ranking in Europe in terms of its average broadband speed. Despite strong broadband growth being experienced in recent years, Ireland’s poor ranking is particularly concerning given the current economic climate and the fact that Ireland is a peripheral economy, both in the European Union (EU) and in global market terms (Doherty, 2012). Recommendation: Continued and aggressive broadband rollout by Government, with enhanced and fit for purpose broadband speeds available on a national basis, is critical to ensuring that Irish SMEs are no longer disadvantaged and are in a position to harness the power of available information and communication technologies. At present, broadband is not available throughout Ireland on a stable “like‐for like” basis; hence SMEs need to be made aware of current plans and time lines for high speed (e.g. fibre optic) broadband rollout and available alternatives (e.g. satellite). The issue of providers specifying a minimum broadband speed, as opposed to the current “up to” broadband speed is critical. Effective strategies to enable Government to hold service providers accountable for issues such as this and to show more support for smaller businesses is required.
5. Conclusions This study was one of the first empirical studies to examine cloud computing adoption preparation and reasons for non adoption among SMEs in Ireland. Given the study’s exploratory nature and the limited sample of respondents, the authors are far from reaching generalisable conclusions. Nonetheless, the insights gained from the Irish SME cloud survey respondents provide some interesting findings in terms of how the study’s SMEs have engaged in the cloud adoption process and indeed the reasons behind some SMEs not adopting cloud computing. As cloud technology is asserted to hold significant benefit potential for SMEs, the authors believe that further efforts can be taken on a national scale to support greater understanding and adoption of cloud. Implementation of the key recommendations outlined in section four would be of considerable benefit to the SME market in overcoming any misconceptions of the cloud environment, in making informed decisions regarding cloud adoption, and in managing the adoption process and deriving the benefits that are inherent within cloud technology.
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New Delivery Model for Non‐Profit Organisations: Shared Computing Services Barbara Crump and Raja Peter Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Abstract: The current economic climate of funding stringency has intensified the need for non‐profit organisations (NPOs) to find new delivery models of their services as a way of creating greater efficiencies and reducing costs. Consideration of improvement to their back‐office operations is one way of addressing overheads associated with delivery functions of NPOs so that they can continue to focus on their core business activities. The overheads for back‐office functions are much larger for smaller NPOs (by about 10‐15 percent) than the larger ones and interest in sharing services could appeal to that sector. One approach to reduce overhead costs is for two or more NPOs to collaborate in sharing office space and office equipment and, in some instances, outsourcing some functions, for example, human resources and information technology. Currently, in New Zealand, there is very little engagement by NPOs in sharing services, particularly back office computing services. It was against this background that meetings with representatives of eight NPOs in Wellington, New Zealand, identified the challenges they were facing. These included funding, client management, compliance with reporting (financial and non‐financial), financial management and control, governance, marketing and promotion and retention and management of staff and volunteers. Wellington City Council, as a significant funding agent of some local NPOs, commissioned an online survey with the aim of understanding the interest and readiness of NPOs in adopting shared computing services. The survey was developed collaboratively with the council, a computing charitable trust and a local university. The objectives of the survey were: to provide a snapshot of computing usage within the organisations, identify significant issues challenging the sector and understand their perceptions of shared computing services. The perceptions of the Wellington region NPO representatives (147 valid surveys) regarding shared services are reported in this paper. Results reveal the factors that drive the uptake of shared services within the non‐profit sector, the benefits, barriers and priorities of sharing computing services and respondents’ views on their willingness to pay for a shared services arrangement. NPOs were positive regarding potential benefits of a shared services arrangement but recognised potential barriers of privacy and security, a need for contractual relationships, shared vision and compliance and standardisation. Priorities for a proposed shared services model were identified as finance and management of data and knowledge. The majority of respondents indicated they were willing to pay up to five percent of their budget for a shared services arrangement. These results provide a basis for further study as to the type of shared services model that organisations would find acceptable and render efficiencies and cost savings. Keywords: shared services, non‐profit, computing
1. Introduction and background The challenge of having to do more with less has intensified in recent years with the economic downturn. In the private and public sectors many organisations have turned to shared services in an effort to achieve efficiencies and a reduction in costs through the consolidation of business operations and administrative processes. For the nonprofit sector the changed environment has meant fewer grants and diminishing resources forcing agencies and organisations to consider cost‐reduction measures, one of which is moving to sharing services. Definitions of shared services arrangements vary, depending on the type and manner of sharing. These arrangements are typically centralised and are distinct from outsourcing where services and operations are provided by an independent organisation. Shared services models range from low‐cost solutions such as collaboration amongst co‐located NPOs (for example, sharing office space and administrative staff) to greater complexity where organisations collaborate in the provision of back office support and increase their buying and purchasing power. Information communications technology (ICT) plays a major role in contributing to economies of scale in many of these areas. Adoption of shared services has spread within the public and private sectors since the 1990s (Ramphal, 2013) and are evident in large and more complex organisations such as those with multiple business units and revenue over $2 billion (Schulman, Harmer, Dunleavy and Lusk, 1999). For example, the New Zealand government has mandated a medium‐term strategy for “how central government will more collectively lead the use, development and purchasing of government ICT over the next three years” (New Zealand
Barbara Crump and Raja Peter Government, 2012). The government’s focus extends beyond shared services for ICT purchasing and includes alignment and standardisation of agency business applications, integrating workflow across government and improving access to government services and data. Other areas where ICT shared services can be an enabler is in the financial area (accounts payable and accounts receivable) and human resource services (payroll, reporting and accountability). Literature relevant to implementation of shared services in the nonprofit sector is scanty compared with that relating to the private and public sectors and is mostly based on United States NPOs where the term ‘management services organisations’ or ‘management support organisations’ (MSOs) is used (Walsh, McGregor‐Lowndes and Newton, 2008). In Australia empirical research on shared services by NPOs is also meagre although some states report initiatives such as pilot projects that include Queensland’s multi‐tenant service centre project with a focus on co‐locating separate service providers in an appropriately located centre (Lennie, 2008). Another example is the IT services provision to the UnitingCare NPO group in Australia, an initiative established by the Uniting Church Queensland Synod (Walsh, et al, 2008). The services respond to a wide range of needs from desktop support, network and datacentre infrastructure to application support and project management services (Naimo, 2011). In New Zealand local government shared services include a diversity of collaborative projects, for example, call centre services, library management systems, business solutions and IT services (Drew, 2011 and Shaw, 2010). However, compared with private and public sector organisations, little is reported on shared services implementation by NPOs in New Zealand. This paper contributes to the shared services literature, responding to Newton’s (2008) comment that the literature lags behind the practice of forming shared services arrangements. We report on the results of an online survey of NPO representatives in Wellington, New Zealand with the aim of understanding respondents’ perceptions of shared computing services. The survey results also provided a snapshot of computing usage within NPOs and identified significant issues challenging the sector. In the next section we briefly discuss characteristics of NPOs and the different shared services models. Next is a discussion on factors relevant to shared services adoption followed by a description of the study’s initiation, method and sample. Results are then presented followed by a summary and reflections.
2. Models and characteristics The adoption of a shared services model is dependent, in part, on the characteristics of the NPO. Organisations that are complementary, have synergies, a similar philosophy, share a common vision, goals and focus and are not competing with each other are more likely to be successful in adoption of shared services (Lennie, 2008). The range of shared services models is broad, each with benefits and limitations. Walsh et al (2008), after an investigation of the literature, review five models in the non‐profit sector, each of which has different features. For example, the Classical Business Model which the authors note�� is not particularly common, is where a separate shared services provider brings together the business functions previously performed by separate business units within the organisation. The Dedicated Shared Services Centres involves a separate organisation or entity that is sub‐contracted to perform specific functions. Walsh et al warn that there could be taxation implications with this approach. The Peak Body Support Model is useful within a particular sector or industry and in return for a membership or subscription fee provides a range of services for members. Sharing common premises, resources and facilities is the main feature of the Co‐location Model. Walsh et al provide several Australian examples where this model has been implemented and believe there is potential for extending it to shared services. Finally, the Amalgamation or Merger Model is where administrative functions are streamlined and consolidated by organisations in a similar field of service amalgamation, thus forming a single larger organisation. A background paper on shared services for non‐government organisations by the Council of Social Services of New South Wales (NCOSS 2008) suggests additional models that include Outsourcing to a Specialist Provider and Group Buying Schemes (among others) (see http://ncoss.org.au/content/view/1498/111). There is consensus that one size does not fit all and for NPOs that deal with a “whole other realm of issues” in comparison to private and government sector counterparts Naimo (2011), identifying the type of model that may be suitable requires time and negotiation. The different models, at times the bewildering possibilities of what to share, as well as the need for trust and negotiation within a collaborative arrangement are among the factors needing consideration in a decision to adopt shared services.
Barbara Crump and Raja Peter
3. Factors for consideration in shared services adoption The main rationale for initiating a shared services arrangement is identified by Becker, Niehaves and Krause (2009) as “cost pressure”, the financial imperative of having to do more with less. Their model of causal relationships, derived from their case study of two German local bodies where shared services projects were implemented, includes two “necessary conditions”, namely key actors who champion the initiative and second, the existence of prior cooperation. Vangen and Huxham, (2003, p. 8) note “Trust is an essential ingredient for successful collaboration” and Becker et al (2009) believe that collaboration and cooperation between administrations, accompanied by collaborative communication and decision‐making contribute to “trustful cooperation during shared service delivery” (p. 118). The assumption that “trust levels start small and gradually increase” (McKnight, Cummings and Chervany, 1998, p. 473) is challenged by McKnight, et al, citing researchers of survey and experimental studies who found high trust levels of their subjects at initial and early stages. Hence, it is possible that NPOs interested in implementing a shared services model could achieve a shared arrangement with organisations with whom they have previously had little contact but have a good reputation. However, McKnight et al propose that initial trust is more likely when “the trusted party has built a widely known good reputation” (p. 486). An NPO that has already established trustful relationships, within the geographical area of NPOs interested in collaborating in a shared services arrangement is likely to be suitable as one of the “key actors”. Seddon (2008), a leading critic of management fads, notes that “command‐and‐control consultancies” where decision‐ making is taken out of the organisations’ hands does not work. His recommendations that focus on local government (but are equally applicable to NPOs) is to find a “better way”. That is, to “’check’ in situ for services that might be shared, to improve them where they are and then, on the basis of the knowledge gained, to determine whether and how to go about sharing them.” (p. 186). NPOs considering shared services implementation would do well to heed Seddon’s criticisms, particularly as they relate to what is being measured and included in evaluations of shared services. Holistic evaluation of a shared services project is critical for assessing effectiveness and efficiencies. Seddon (2008) provides a strong critique of centralising shared administration. He notes that much administration work is part of a service flow and centralising the work “creates waste (handovers, rework, duplication), lengthens the time it takes to deliver a service and consequently generates failure demand” (p. 57). Seddon criticises Varney’s 2006 report in which UK local authorities shared‐service centres are cited as “exemplars” in their shared service arrangements. When Seddon visited the authorities he found no “proper evaluation of the change to the quality of services … and no information about the cost effectiveness of the initiative” (p. 149). He doubted that if those involved had no evidence then Varney would be unlikely to have had information about the cost‐effectiveness of the initiative. Dollery et al’s (2009) examination of shared services in local government both internationally and in Australia concluded with a “modest conclusion [that] thoughtful selection and application of shared services arrangements would almost certainly induce cost savings [but] it could not by itself solve the acute problems of financial sustainability confronting a majority of Australian local councils” (p. 218). Triplett and Scheumann (2000) stress the criticality of having a “thorough understanding of costs and the ability to impact those costs” (p. 42) for the success of any shared service centre.
4. Initiation, method and sample The decision to investigate the perceptions of NPO representatives was made after meetings with representatives of eight Wellington NPOs who identified the following challenges they were facing in meeting the pressures of a tight‐funding environment:
compliance with reporting (financial and non‐financial)
financial management and control
marketing and promotion
retention and management of staff and volunteers.
Barbara Crump and Raja Peter Wellington City Council, as a significant funding agent of some local NPOs, commissioned Wellington ICT (charitable trust) to develop and administer an online survey, in collaboration with Massey University. The aim was to understand the interest and readiness of NPOs in adopting shared computing services. The objectives were to:
identify major concerns currently affecting organisations and possible contributions/role of ICT in resolving these
gain NPO employees’ perceptions of shared ICT services
identify potential components/priorities in the shared services model
The survey was tested by trustees of Wellington ICT and feedback incorporated into changes in survey questions. The final version was then uploaded to Survey Monkey and remained open for four weeks. Multi‐ item scales were used, as single‐item measures are deficient both with respect to validity and reliability. Respondents were asked to rate the extent to which they agreed with different statements on a five point Likert scale from 1= Strongly Disagree to 5 = Strongly Agree as the anchor points. Responses to Part B of the survey relating to the perceptions of shared services by the Wellington region respondents (147 valid surveys) are reported in this paper. Respondents indicated their organisation size by selecting one of four organisational categories, namely, Large NPO with several paid staff plus volunteers (LNP), Small NPO with paid staff and volunteers (SNPFS), Small NPO with less than two paid staff and volunteers (SNP<2PS) and Entirely Voluntary Organisation (Vol). The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used for data analysis that included the means and Analysis of Variance ANOVA tests. One way Anova is the appropriate analytical technique to use when comparing the means of three or more groups. The statistic associated with ANOVA is the F‐statistic or the F‐ value, which also has a corresponding p‐value. From a statistical point of view, if the p‐value is less than .10, then the results are “statistically significant’. The p‐value also indicates the degree of confidence with which you can say that the observed phenomenon is true. For example if p = .05, then we can be 95 % confident that the observed phenomenon is true; if p = .10, then we can be 90 % confident that the observed phenomenon is true; if p = .01, then we can be 99 % confident that the observed phenomenon is true. A statistical significance of p<.10 is used in this analysis and when p‐value is <.10, the differences between the means of the groups are statistically different. This implies that there are genuine differences between the groups.
5. Discussion of results This section presents respondents’ perceptions of the potential for a NPO shared services arrangement.
5.1 Drivers of shared services There was agreement by all organisations on current concerns that drive a potential shared services arrangement within the sector (see Table 1). The highest total mean (3.81) was for the item that indicated that organisations wished to “focus resources on actual service delivery ….” The two statistically significant (p = .06 and p = .04 respectively) items: refer to pressure from government funding agencies and a preference by funders for larger organisations which are seen to be more cost effective. Table 1: Factors that drive shared services within the sector Drivers of Shared Services There is pressure from government funding agencies to achieve economies of scale within NGO programs Funders are preferring larger organisations which are seen to be more cost effective There is increasing contract and compliance costs relative to funding More skilled employees are needed to meet increasing compliance, ICT, contract, and other demands Recruiting and retaining workers in the sector is becoming more challenging Clients have changing needs and we want to provide more coordinated and consistent range of services We want to focus resources on actual service delivery rather than back‐ office or administrative systems
LNP SNPFPS SNP<2PS Vol Total 3.79 3.83 3.48 3.40 3.64 3.15
Barbara Crump and Raja Peter
5.2 Potential benefits As can be seen in Table 2, all organisations agreed that there were potential benefits of a shared services arrangement. No items were statistically significant. Table 2: Potential benefits of shared services Potential Benefits Shared services results in savings as cost is shared among users Shared services provides expert service/concentration of specialist skills Shared services facilitates better knowledge sharing and collaboration We are assured of consistent and reliable service levels at all time Shared services allows standardisation of systems and processes without losing your identity as an organisation There is a low system maintenance Shared services streamlines accountability and reporting requirements For small NFPs shared services reduces risks Shared services encourages and can eventually lead to accreditation and compliance
5.3 Barriers Table 3 identifies the items that organisations regard as barriers to shared computing services. Two items of these items: privacy, control and confidentiality and need for contractual relationships are statistically significant. Table 3: Barriers to shared computing services Barriers Privacy, control and confidentiality Security Need for contractual relationships Compatibility with other organisations and need for a shared vision New systems of communication, management, administration and networking Need for compliance and standardisation Initial costs and investments
LNP 3.85 3.88 3.61 3.91
SNPFPS 4.19 4.13 3.75 3.94
SNP<2PS 3.52 3.59 3.17 3.70
Vol 3.79 3.79 3.74 3.79
Total 3.89 3.89 3.63 3.85
5.4 Priorities Organisations agreed they would want to share most services (see Table 4). However all organisations indicated they would not wish to share customer relationship management. The LNP did not want to share reporting and accountability. The two items: Human resource/employer‐employee relationship management and finance were statistically significant (p < .10). Table 4: Shared services priorities Shared Services Priorities Human resource/Employer‐Employee relationship management Finance (accounting/budgeting) Customer relationship management Project and resource management Reporting and accountability Fundraising Data and knowledge management
3.00 2.84 3.13 2.21 3.06 3.27
3.50 2.96 3.36 3.61 3.53 3.50
3.39 2.87 3.22 3.30 3.52 3.22
3.56 2.88 3.33 3.22 3.58 3.45
3.39 2.90 3.27 3.36 3.44 3.39
Barbara Crump and Raja Peter
5.5 Willingness to pay Table 5 reveals that majority of the organisations indicated that they believed shared services would be useful and that they would be willing to pay up to 5% of their budgets. The voluntary organisations tended to disagree (49%) but 77% were willing to pay. Table 5: Usefulness and willingness to pay for a shared service arrangement Organisation Category Large NPO Small NPO with a few paid staff Small NPO < 2 paid staff Voluntary organisation Total
Would Shared Service be Useful? Yes 58% (19) 63% (30)
No 42% (14) 37% (18)
Willing to pay up to 5% budget Yes 80% (16) 78% (29)
Willing to pay up to 10% budget Yes 20% (4) 22% (8)
6. Conclusion 6.1 Summary of results All organisations agreed that there were potential benefits of shared services to provide expert service and concentration of specialist skills as well as savings and facilitation of better knowledge sharing and collaboration. Organisations were unanimous that there were barriers to a shared services arrangement and these were identified as: privacy, control and confidentiality; need for contractual relationships; the need for a shared vision, compliance and standardisation; new systems and security. Strongest agreement by all organisations was for prioritising finance (accounting/budgeting) and data and knowledge management. None of the organisations indicated customer relationship management as a priority and the large organisations disagreed that reporting and accountability was a priority for shared services. Finally, the results show that organisations believe they would benefit from a shared services arrangement but the majority would not be prepared to pay more than five percent of their budget.
6.2 Limitations A limitation of this study related to the number of shared services questions within the survey. The survey had two parts, the first related to the funder’s interest in ascertaining ICT usage of NPOs and the second included questions relating to shared services. As we were mindful of keeping the survey to an acceptable length so that the time respondents invested in completing the survey was not too long, we limited the number of questions. This meant that while we gained a broad overview of the perceptions of NPOs which showed their interest in the new delivery mode, the results raised further questions. This raised a further limitation associated with the nature of surveys in that they do not reveal the deeper insights which a qualitative approach can do. Therefore we recommend a follow‐up study that uses in‐depth interviews, prefaced by a presentation of the different models of shared services arrangements to elicit further information.
6.3 Reflections There is increasing pressure from local government funding agencies to achieve economies of scale within NPO programmes. In Wellington’s case the city council was sufficiently interested to fund this exploratory survey as they perceived that shared services offers a solution to these organisations. However barriers to adopt shared services remain. We therefore need to explore ways in which these barriers can be overcome. The council could take the lead and work with these NPOs, possibly through the auspices of Wellington ICT, a NPO the council has supported in earlier digital divide projects. The organisation already runs the computing hubs in the council’s housing estates, has run a successful WebRider programme where NPOs have been assisted with Web site development and has had working arrangements with ICT companies in the private sector. Through collaboration and cooperation with many other NPOs, Wellington ICT has built, and enjoys ‘trustful’ relationships, an important attribute in a shared services arrangement. A further benefit is that Wellington ICT is a local NPO, is therefore “in situ” (Seddon, 2008) and familiar with the sector. A major advantage of being
Barbara Crump and Raja Peter “in situ” is that the specific values and origins of NPOs interested in a shared services approach can be carefully focused upon, without which any shared service arrangement is likely to be carried out poorly (Arsenault, 2008). Wellington ICT, as one of the “key actors” could assist with decision‐making, another favourable aspect that Seddon (2008) believes helps when it remains within organisations’ hands. Before launching a shared services initiative any NPO considering collaborating in a shared arrangement needs to have a clear idea of the functionalities they believe would build economies of scale and thereby reduce cost and/or improve the quality of some functions. There is a wide range of areas where shared services arrangements may apply and different models of how such an arrangement works. Through cooperation and collaboration identification of areas for potential efficient can be made and appropriate model agreed. McLaughlin (1998) and Arsenault (1998) identify cooperation and collaboration among NPOs as not only a “good value” but one that will be a necessity in the future. Any implementation should include evaluation, formative as well as summative, following Seddon’s (2008) argument that such evaluations should be holistic; that is, the entire work‐flow, rather than a particular task, should be measured to assess whether efficiencies, effectiveness and savings have been achieved. Finally, the results of this study were presented at a public meeting in the council offices late 2012 and generated considerable interest by those present. Attendees recommended following up the study with focus groups and interviews to explore different shared services models but so far little progress has been made. With careful consideration and planning shared services could reduce costs but the functionalities, workflow and trustful relationships need attention.
Acknowledgements We wish to thank the Director and Trustees of Wellington ICT for partnering with us in the development, administration and analysis of the survey. The first author is an Associate Trustee of Wellington ICT. This relationship has no impact on the independence of this study.
References Arsenault, J. (1998) Forging Nonprofit Alliances, Jossey‐Bass, San Francisco. Becker, J., Niehaves, B. and Krause, A. (2009) “Shared Service Center vs. Shared Service Network: A Multiple Case Study Analysis of Factors Impacting on Shared Service Configurations”, [online], http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978‐3‐642‐03516‐6_10#page‐1 McKnight, D.H., Cummings, L.L. and Chervany, N.I. (1998) ”Initial Trust Formation in New Organizational Relationships”, Academy of Management Review, Vol 23, No. 3, pp. 473‐490. Dollery, B., Akimov, A. and Byrnes, J. (2009) “Shared Services in Australian Local Government: Rationale, Alternative Models and Empirical Evidence”, The Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol 68, No. 2, pp 208‐219. Drew, C. (June, 2011) Shared Services for Local Government, Local Government New Zealand, Wellington. Lennie, J. (2007) “Challenges and Strategies for the Sustainability and Viability of Non‐Profit Multi‐Tenant Service Centres: A Literature Review”, [online], http://legacy.communitydoor.org.au/documents/strengthening/collaboration/mtsc‐ literature‐review.pdf. McLaughlin, T.A. (1998) Nonprofit Mergers and Alliances, Wiley Nonprofit Series, New York. Naimo, G. (2011) “The Not For Profit Sector and Shared Services”, [online] http://www.slideshare.net/iqpcaustralia/qa‐ withe‐greg‐naimo‐the‐not‐for‐profit‐sector‐and‐shared‐services. NCOSS (2008) “Shared Services in the NGO Sector Background Paper”, [online], http://ncoss.org.au/content/view/1498/111 Newton, C. (2008) “Shared Services in the NGO Sector: Lessons we can learn from other sectors”, [online], http://ncoss.org.au/content/view/1498/111 New Zealand Government (2012) “Directions and Priorities for Government ICT”, [online], http://ict.govt.nz. Ramphal. R. (2013) A Literature Review on Shared Services, African Journal of Business Management, Vol 7, No. 1, pp. 1‐7. Schulman, D.S., Harmer, M.J. Dunleavy J.R. and Lusk, J.S. (1999) Shared Services: Adding Value to the Business Units, John Wiley and Sons Inc. New York. Seddon, J. (2008) Systems Thinking in the Public Sector: The Failure of the Reform Regime... and a Manifesto for a Better Way, Triarchy Press, Axminster. Shaw, J. (2010) “Shared Services in New Zealand Local Government 2010”, Paper read at ALGIM Annual Conference, Wairakei, New Zealand, November. Triplett, A. And Scheumann, J. (2000) Managing Shared Services with ABM, Strategic Finance,p. 40‐45. Vangen, S. and Huxham, C. (2003) “Nurturing collaborative relations: Building trust in interorganizational collaboration”, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Vol 39, No. 1, pp . 5‐31 Walsh, P., McGregor‐Lowndes, M. and Newton, C.J. (2008) “Shared Services: Lessons from the Public and Private Sectors for the Nonprofit Sector”, The Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol 67, No. 2, pp 200‐212.
Enhancing IT Capability Maturity – Development of a Conceptual SME Framework to Maximise the Value Gained From IT Eileen Doherty, Marian Carcary, Una Downey and Stephen Mc Laughlin Innovation Value Institute, National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM), Ireland Eileen.firstname.lastname@example.org Marian.email@example.com Una.firstname.lastname@example.org Stephen.email@example.com Abstract: The Small and Medium sized Enterprise (SME); defined by the European Commission (2005) as any firm with less than 250 employees, is acknowledged as a fundamental component in the success and growth of any economy. Given the very difficult global economic conditions we are faced with, it is essential that this sector is supported and continues to thrive. In tandem with these difficult economic conditions, monumental technological advances are happening almost on a daily basis. These advances impact and change how businesses need to operate and SMEs must keep abreast of these advances and better understand how to remain competitive in such a difficult and fast moving environment. Given the resource constraints such as time and access to finance that are inherent in the small firm, maintaining this competitive edge proves increasingly difficult. This paper seeks to examine the key business challenges faced by SMEs around their Information Technology (IT) or Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) in this current climate. It also seeks to determine the IT capabilities that firms are most interested in seeing improvements in. This is done through employing a quantitative research approach to the data collection (questionnaire) and analysis processes. Through analysis of this data, an SME IT Capability framework (SME IT‐CMF) is conceptualised to facilitate maximum value to be gained from IT. This paper will make a number of practical recommendations. Firstly, these recommendations are of value to the knowledge base, secondly to SMEs themselves, in helping them understand how they can improve their competency in a number of key IT areas or critical capabilities (CCs). From a government perspective it will identify the key areas that require support for the SME in an effort at maintaining and promoting economic growth. This research primarily relates to SMEs within the Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS) Sector and those organizations which are medium sized having in excess of 50 employees. Keywords: SME, technology adoption, value from IT, IT‐CMF, KIBS
1. Introduction / literature review ICTs…are facilitating the globalization of many services…[and] is having a fundamental impact on the way economies work and on the global allocation of resources, contributing to productivity growth by expanding markets, increasing business efficiency and reinforcing competitive pressure (OECD, 2008, p.5). The current economic climate has never been so competitive; the increasing rate of technological advancement, access, and ease of use has seen many ‘well known’ organizations struggling, and indeed failing to stay competitive and viable. Consequently, many need to review their current market position, product and/or service offering, and their competitive landscape (Mc Laughlin, 2012). Companies are faced with significant business challenges and are increasingly focused on survival and on remaining competitive in this very volatile economy (PWC, 2013; Rosenberg, 2012). They are challenged in building and maintaining customer loyalty and relationships (PWC, 2013; Cisco, 2013), are challenged in effective budget management (Cisco, 2013) and in ensuring that they have the right talent required to succeed (PWC, 2013). It is purported that what made firms successful in the past may no longer hold true for the future. ″For those organizations that are determined to succeed in this hypercompetitive and dynamic market, the need to better sense and respond to market forces becomes a survival imperative“ (Mc Laughlin, 2012, p.4). With the many significant advancements in IT, taking into account Moores Law (Curley, 2004), an effective IT capability enables organizations to overcome the many diverse business challenges, traditional barriers to market are eased creating opportunities for ″newer, smarter, more agile organizations to gain a dominant position against well known and established organizations“ (Mc Laughlin, 2012, p.1). A significant amount of research has focused on how IT can address the many business challenges facing organizations. These include addressing issues pertaining to relationships with trading partners (Tan et al, 2010), enabling cost savings (Harrigan, 2008), improvement in levels of productivity, efficiency (Harrigan, 2008), improved access to extensive market information and business knowledge (Tan et al, 2010; Xu et al, 2007), enhanced capacity to target clients on a local, regional or global level (Tan et al, 2010; Kotelnikov, 2007; Alam et al., 2005) and improved competitive
Eileen Doherty et al. advantage (Mora‐monge et al, 2010; Harrigan, 2008). IT also facilitates improved SME co‐operation and competition with larger firms in a wide range of markets (OECD, 2008). Findings also suggest that the value or benefits derived from IT may vary depending on the particular sector and size of the organization (Micus, 2008). So how can the organization harness maximum business value from its IT or address the many diverse business issues it is confronted with? It is purported that for IT to move up the value ladder, it must achieve a specific level of performance within the organization (Curley and Delaney, 2010). Figure 1 depicts this notion and illustrates how firms at a lower level of sophistication focus on issues surrounding their IT infrastructure. It further illustrates that as their level of sophistication improves this IT focus incorporates the operational issues of the firm.
Source, Cooney, 2009 Figure 1: IT value proposition At the highest level of sophistication organizations are concerned with issues pertaining to IT strategy such as how best to align or partner with business and in delivering maximum value from the IT capability of the organization. There are a number of frameworks that support improvements in the IT performance of the organization and enhance the value gained from IT (Cooney, 2009). There are two distinct lens through which these frameworks can be viewed in order to determine which approach is most appropriate to a specific organization. These can be termed “Process centric“ or ″Capability centric“ frameworks. ″Process‐centric frameworks are focused on developing an ability to produce a desired, repeatable output to a predetermined quality and quantity. Capability‐centric frameworks are designed to understand what organizational abilities can, and should be developed to support and build a unique and sustainable competitive advantage. Process‐centric frameworks are very much focused on systemizing internal activities, whereas capability‐centric frameworks effectively respond to (as yet undefined) external challenges″ (Mc Laughlin, 2012, pp.3‐4). This research will build upon a capability centric framework namely the IT‐Capability Maturity Framework (IT‐ CMF), (IVI, 2013). The framework:
Maps IT organizations onto a capability maturity curve based on empirically derived industry best practice across 33 different capabilities of IT management.
Provides practices, outcomes and metrics to improve capability maturity and therefore consistency of output.
Enables organizations to assess and benchmark performance over time.
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Enables creation of roadmaps with actionable metrics to improve maturity with best practice guidelines.
Provides capability accelerators and building blocks for improvement (IVI, 2013).
The IT‐CMF purports that IT is used as an innovation resource, helping improve the probability, predictability and profitability of IT‐enabled innovations. The framework is developed based on five levels of IT maturity across 33 critical capabilities and four interrelated macro‐capabilities within the organization (see Figure 2), which can be employed to maximise information technology for business value. Using the IT‐CMF “CIOs can help drive four types of improvement shifts for IT capability:
Move the business model of the IT capability from a cost centre to a value centre.
Move the IT Budget from a runaway scenario to a sustainable economic model.
Move the value focus from purely measuring total cost of ownership to demonstrating optimized value.
Move the perception of IT from that of a supplier to that of a core competency”. (Curley and Delaney, 2010, p.4)
Figure 2: The IT capability maturity framework However, while the value of the IT‐CMF is clear for the organization, it has been developed with the large firm in mind and similar to a lot of ICT related research pertaining to the organization (Loebbecke et al, 2012; Iyer and Henderson, 2010; Gronroos, 2004), the focus is on the larger organization with scant attention paid to the SME (Doherty, 2012; Spurge and Roberts, 2005). SMEs have historically been the hidden engine of many national economies, but they have not necessarily operated on the ′bleeding edge‘ of technology (BCG, 2010, p.24). SMEs are recognised as being inherently different (Street and Meister, 2004) and cannot be seen through the same lens as the larger organization (Ballantine et al, 1998). They form a cornerstone of the EU economy representing 99 percent of all enterprises (European Commission, 2012). Given this instrumental role played by SMEs in contributing to socio‐economic development (Tan et al, 2010) and recognition of the value that IT can bring to any organization in ensuring it can compete in today’s challenging business climate (Mc Laughlin, 2012b), development of an IT framework to help support this value generation is warranted. Previous research has highlighted this gap in that previous attempts to develop guidelines to govern IT in SMEs, such as the Cobit Quick Start (IT Governance Institute, 2007) have proved disappointing (Devos et al, 2012). In essence, this paper endeavours to highlight the key IT Business challenges currently facing SMEs. It will also identify the key areas or Critical Capabilities which will best address these challenges. This will form the basis for the development of the SME IT‐CMF.
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2. Methodology 2.1 Research approach A quantitative research approach was adopted through the employment of an online survey instrument (questionnaire). The unit of analysis in this research is the Small to Medium sized Enterprise (SME). The sample frame was developed through the use of a stratified random sampling technique and was ultimately driven by the nature of the research questions (Saunders et al, 2007). This technique helped gain representation from all sectors (Harrigan et al, 2008). The sampling frame was stratified according to one main criterion in that firms must be considered an SME (having less than 250 employees). The research adopted an equal sectoral focus based on previous research (Grosso, 2006) which found the adoption of Internet technologies to have a positive impact on SME business activities. The study’s sample consisted of 1500 SMEs. The researchers aimed for a response rate of 7 percent in order to achieve 100 usable responses which is deemed a suitable minimal level in a large population (Harrigan, 2008). Resultantly, the data collection process generated 134 usable responses achieving a response rate of 9 percent.
2.2 Instrument development The survey questionnaire was designed and developed following an extensive review of the pertinent literature in this area. In essence, the questionnaire served to inform the following key research questions: RQ1. Identify the key IT business challenges facing SMEs RQ2. Determine the key IT related areas (Critical Capabilities) for SMEs
2.3 Operationalization of constructs Considerable influence was drawn from other frameworks which focus on maximising the value gained from IT for the larger firm, namely the IT Capability Maturity Framework (IT‐CMF) (IVI, 2013). Further, key IT challenges were identified from the literature (Cisco, 2013, PWC, 2012. Rosenberg, 2012, Protiviti, 2011) in order to ensure the SME framework effectively captured and identified the real issues faced by SMEs in the current climate. However, whilst considerable value was derived from this review of the literature, as aforementioned, the majority of this research focused on the large firm and as such there was a need to refine the constructs to enhance their relevance and comprehension in the SME environment. This was achieved through employing a pre‐test phase in the research process, where a sample of 20 SME owner/ managers and a number of senior academic and industry experts helped streamline the final questionnaire. As a result of this pre‐test process, constructs and the language used were refined to enhance relevance and comprehension in the SME environment. In terms of the constructs themselves, the survey instrument consisted of a combination of open‐ended, closed questions and 5 point Likert scales. The small number of open ended questions invited free comments where it was not always possible to predict the range of responses to a particular question (Frary, 1996). Use of closed questions served to generate and gather information quickly by the researcher (Boynton and Greenhalgh, 2004). Five point Likert scales were used in the survey instrument where an expression of either a favourable or an unfavourable expression was required in response to a particular statement (Blumberg et al., 2008). The five point scale was adopted as it is purported that respondents have a preference for numbers that can be divided by ‘five’, it facilitates greater information gathering and increased accuracy (Saris and Gallhofer, 2007) with ‘strongly disagree’ associated with number ‘1’ on the scale and ‘strongly agree’ associated with number ‘5’. Many SMEs tend to be controlled by the owner managers in a highly personalised with a greater diversity of owner objectives. As such the motivation of the owner manager is increasingly recognised as a key factor in small firm performance (Fillis and Wagner, 2008), they were selected as the main point of contact in this research and were recognised as being in the best position to comprehensively answer questions relating to most business issues (Carson and Gilmore, 2000).
2.4 Quantitative data analysis The data analysis techniques employed in this study were driven by the nature of the research questions. Given the exploratory nature of these questions, both univariate and bivariate data analyses techniques through descriptive statistics (Onwuegbuzie and Leech, 2005) proved to be meaningful and illuminative. Analyses were conducted using the program SPSS for Windows™ (Version 19). This analysis provides the
Eileen Doherty et al. researcher with a deeper insight into the area under investigation and provides a direction for further research (Cameron and Price, 2009). The key findings are now presented in the Findings and Discussion section below.
3. Findings and discussion This section presents the key findings in respect of the earlier outlined research questions (section 2).
3.1 Profile of SME respondents The survey provided 134 usable responses. Each respondent organization employs less than 250 people. More specifically, in terms of the size of the respondent firms, 29 percent (n=39) are micro firms (1‐9 employees), 28 percent (n=37) are small (10‐49 employees) and 43 percent (n=58) are of medium size with 50‐249 employees (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: Respondents by firm (size n+134) In terms of industry sectors, the respondents are broken down as follows (see figure 4): the largest sector, represented by more than half of all respondents (52 percent, n=69), are those firms from the Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS) sector. Included in this category are those industries that rely heavily on the use of professional knowledge, for example, computing/ IT, accounting and tax consulting, marketing, advertising and legal activities (Muller and Doloreux, 2007). This is followed by a significant number of firms (27 percent, n=36) from the service sector, which include those firms from retail / wholesale, and the hospitality sector. Finally, the minority of respondent firms are from the manufacturing sector (22 percent, n=29).
Figure 4: Respondents by sector (n=134) In summary, these findings illustrate that in line with previous research (Micus, 2008) this research is of particular importance to SMEs from the KIBS sector and to those ′larger‘ SMEs who have in excess of 50 employees, as their needs for such a framework may be more pronounced.
Identify the IT business challenges facing SMEs
This section presents and examines the key IT business challenges that were identified by respondents. A list of 19 IT business challenges (informed by the literature) was presented. SMEs, in general, display moderate agreement to the existence of business challenges relating to IT (mean=3.06), the top 10 challenges as
Eileen Doherty et al. identified by respondents are outlined below (figure 5). Figure 5 shows the considerable range of agreement to the IT business challenges faced by SMEs. What is apparent from the findings is the prominence of perceived IT business challenges, (in fact 50 percent) that relate to internal day‐to‐day management and operational issues facing the SME. The key challenge highlighted is in improving business processes (mean 3.39), this is followed by the perception by SMEs that they experience challenges in improving information and / or knowledge management (mean = 3.26) and in the selection, resourcing and management of IT projects (mean=2.92), in managing the ‘tension’ between encouraging IT innovation and day‐to‐day operations (mean=2.89) and in improving alignment and the relationship between business and IT units (2.84). Further, SMEs perceive additional challenges related to the management of their IT infrastructure. This is evident through firms indicating that improving IT risk management, data protection and compliance (mean=3.07) are considered key IT business challenges for them. Additionally, they are also concerned with the delivery of their IT services and solutions to meet business needs (mean=3.22). These findings show that the primary IT challenges facing respondent SMEs pertain to operational issues such as dealing with the day‐to‐day running of their IT within the organization. In addition, findings show that SMEs are challenged in the management of their IT infrastructure and ensuring that the hardware and software solutions that are in place work as they are supposed to and indeed support the needs of the IT and business units. In addition, there is also a perception among SMEs that they are challenged in their IT supporting the strategy of the firm. This is apparent through the indication by respondents that they perceive themselves to be challenged in improving IT planning to meet business needs (mean=3.14) and in them improving IT business planning (mean=2.94). These findings show how firms appreciate the importance of IT business strategy to their organization but feel they are challenged in implementing such a strategy. However, whilst this strategy is important to them it is not foremost in the minds of firms in managing their overall IT capability. Budgeting for their IT is also a concern for SMEs as they express a perceived challenge in their IT cost and budget management processes (mean=2.98). However, it th must be noted that this ranks 6 on the top 10 Key IT business challenges facing SMEs and whilst it is recognised as a key concern it is not foremost in the mind of respondent SMEs. This is not to say that SMEs are less concerned about budget management ‐ they may, in fact, feel that they have this capability more under control than, for example, improving business processes. Overall these findings show that firms perceive they are most challenged in their day‐to‐day IT operations and in maintaining their existing IT infrastructure. Management of their IT strategy is perceived as less important to SMEs in this study. Taking into account the IT Value Proposition model put forward by (Cooney (2009) (section 1.0), it is evident that in terms of focus on gaining maximum value from their IT, organizations need to move to the next level and focus more on management of their IT strategy in order to maximise the business value or return they receive on their IT investment.
Figure 5: Key IT business challenges
Determine the key IT areas (critical capabilities) for SMEs
This section presents and examines the key IT related areas or Critical Capabilities (CCs) that were identified by respondents. A list of 35 CCs (adapted from the IT Capability Maturity Framework) was presented to respondents. SMEs, in general display moderate agreement with regard to the importance of a number of key CCs (mean=3.17), these are outlined below (Figure 6).
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T Figure 6: Key IT areas?critical capabilitiesl The area or Critical Capability (CC) deemed most important to SMEs in this study is Services Provisioning (SRP), (mean =3.59). This is followed by Strategic Planning (SP) (mean= 3.42), Business Process Management (BPM), (mean=3.32), Business Planning (BP), (mean=3.20), Solutions Delivery (SD), (mean=3.14), Risk Management (RM), (mean=3.11), Funding and Financing (FF) (mean= 3.05), User Experience Design (UED), (mean=2.98), Sourcing (SRC) (mean=2.97), and finally Relationship Asset Management (RAM), (mean= 2.92). These Critical capabilities identified by respondent SMEs as being most important to them may suggest that they are most interested in improving their capabilities in aligning IT to business in areas pertaining to (in order of importance) their operational, strategic and infrastructural capabilities. This finding corroborates and compounds the earlier findings pertaining to the key IT business challenges experienced by the SME.
3.4 Synthesis of key IT business challenges and key critical capabilities The key IT Critical Capabilities (CCs) identified by SMEs were then cross referenced with the key IT business challenges. Accordingly, a final list of critical capabilities was identified. See Table 1 below: Table 1: Description of CCs selected for inclusion in the SME IT‐CMF SME IT‐CMF Critical Capability Service Provisioning (SRP) SP (Strategic Planning) BPM (Business Process Management) BP (Business Planning) SD (Solutions Delivery) RM (Risk Management) FF (Funding and Financing) UED (User Experience Design) Sourcing (SRC) Relationship Asset Management (RAM)
Current Definition The capability to execute IT services to satisify business requirements. Services comprise a combination of people, processes and technology and are typically defined in a Service Level Agreement. The capability of formulating a long term vision and translating it into an actionable Strategic plan for the IT Organization. The capability to identify, design, document, monitor, optimize and assist in the execution of an organization‘s processes by specifying and implementing enabling policies, methods, metrics, roles and technologies. The capability to produce an approved document that describes tactical objectives and operational services to be provided, as well as the financial and non‐financial constraints that apply to the IT function for the coming planning period. The capability to specify, design, implement, validate and deploy solutions (both hardware and software) that effectively address the organization’s IT requirements and opportunities. The capability to assess, monitor and manage the exposure to and the potential impact of IT‐related risks. The capability to provide a company‐wide understanding of how, why and from where IT is funded. The capability to manage the design and evaluation of technology solutions in a way that supports the needs of the organization and the end user. The capability to evaluate, select, and integrate providers of IT services according to a defined strategy and model. The capability to analyse, plan, and enhance the relationship between the IT Organization and the Business.
4. Conclusion / recommendations This research has shed some light on an area deficient of empirical research by undertaking a study into the key IT business challenges facing SMEs and IT critical capabilities of most importance to them. Through this research, the primary IT critical capabilities of relevance to the SME have been disseminated and will form the basis for the development of an SME capability centric framework (SME IT‐CMF) designed to enhance the business value gained from the IT investment of the SME. Findings indicate that this framework is likely to be
Eileen Doherty et al. of most interest to firms within the Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS) sector and to those firms with in excess of 50 employees. The primary IT challenges and capabilities identified by respondents pertain to the alignment of the IT and business units in management of the day‐to‐day operations of the organization, with less focus on the strategic aspects of IT. It remains to be seen whether this lack of strategic focus has any impact on the value derived from their IT capability. This current phase forms the initial groundwork in the development of the SME IT‐CMF framework. The next phase will focus on the development of the existing IT‐ CMF framework to suit the SME context. Further, validation of this framework will be achieved through employing an in‐depth qualitative research approach which will provide deeper explanation and understanding of the many issues raised and will determine the relevance and validity of the framework for the SME environment. This study will also offer practical guidelines to SMEs surrounding the IT Critical Capabilities that require improvement in order to maximise the value they gain from their IT. Further, from a government perspective this research informs policy makers of the key IT challenges facing SMEs in order to ensure adequate supports and education progammes are implemented and rolled out and to help to maximise the return on investment or business value gained by SMEs from their IT.
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Organisational Politics: The Impact on Trust, Information and Knowledge Management and Organisational Performance Nina Evans ands Athar Mahmood Ahmed Qureshi University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia Nina.Evans@unisa.edu.au Athar.Qureshi@unisa.edu.au Abstract: Organisational politics, both on intra– and inter–organisational level breaks down trust and becomes a barrier to effective collaboration, information sharing and knowledge management. Literature agrees that organisational politics strongly conflicts with the interests of both employees and the organisation. Employees need to share, collaborate and learn in order to further their personal career development, whereas organisations rely on information sharing and knowledge absorption to promote an innovative culture, enhance performance and achieve competitive advantage. To enable these positive outcomes, the negative effects of organisational politics have to be eliminated or at least minimised. In this paper we investigate the impact of organisational politics on trust, information‐ and knowledge sharing. A number of propositions are developed, suggesting that organisations adopt a trust‐based approach to curb the negative effects and promote a culture of information sharing and knowledge absorption towards enhanced innovation, improved organisational performance and sustainable competitive advantage. The paper includes findings from a reverse brainstorming session with information and knowledge management practitioners and consultants, as well as an online discussion with knowledge management experts. Furthermore, exploratory case studies with semi‐structured interviews are currently conducted in the Healthcare industry of Australia. The initial data collected support the propositions and indicate the need for such a trust‐based approach in these organisations. Keywords: organisational politics, information management, knowledge management, trust, innovation, performance
1. Introduction Organisations have evolved from an era of production to an economy based on information and knowledge work where they increasingly base their success on effectively using information and exploiting corporate knowledge. Knowledge management literature refers to a “vast treasure house of knowledge, knowhow and best practices” that lies “unknown and untapped” in organisations. The ability to collaborate and share information and knowledge productively is critical for organisations (O’Dell & Grayson 1998, p.154). Marshall and Brady (2001, p.176) refer to collaboration as the “cornerstone for the creation and enhancement of the 21st century workplace”. A large number of organisations are embracing the idea that they could become more productive and innovative by improving the management of their information assets (Evans & Price 2012). It is suggested that knowledge is a significant source of added value that contributes to competitive advantage if it can be “leveraged and shared across interpersonal or digital networks” (O’Dell & Grayson 1998, p.154). Knowledge Management literature refers to the ability to leverage and share the knowledge as the ‘Absorptive Capacity’ of an organisation, which can be broken down to the ability of organisations to acquire and assimilate external knowledge and to transform and exploit the knowledge within the organisation, by incorporating it into its day‐to‐day routines and processes (Cohen & Levinthal 1990). Individual employees are also facing a significant shift in their personal and professional lives— a transition to the “culture of collaboration” (Rosen 2007). This shift is changing work styles, relationships and work habits and individuals with the ability to collaborate and share information and knowledge with others effectively will be the ones to succeed. Many collaboration initiatives fail to deliver the value expected because individuals often resist collaborating and sharing information and knowledge. This could be because they do not see the advantage for themselves, they do not have the same objectives, because they believe the cost and time will outweigh the benefits, they might have had bad prior experiences, they do not trust collaborators, or because their corporate culture does not reward the sharing of ideas, experiences, or perspectives. Furthermore, different departments or disciplines may have different viewpoints, people have hidden agendas, some people play the power game, personality conflicts can occur, people attack each other in person and some people dominate discussions.
Nina Evans ands Athar Mahmood Ahmed Qureshi Although the social character of knowledge is increasingly recognised (Jashapara 2011; Marshall & Brady 2001), there is a gap in the literature that investigates the impact of organisational politics on trust, knowledge management and therefore organisational performance. BenMoussa (2010) states that failure to account for the ‘hindering effect’ of organisational politics is an impediment to knowledge management. Another impediment that can limit information management and knowledge sharing practices is the lack of managerial leadership. The challenge to managers is to create an environment in which people both want to share what they know. Managers should also lead by example when it comes to managing information effectively and engaging in knowledge management activities. This paper examines literature pertaining to organisational politics and its impact on trust, information sharing, knowledge transfer and ‐absorption in organisations. The importance of collaboration behaviour and knowledge sharing in organisations is also explored. We build on our previous work where trust has been described as a cornerstone of information and knowledge sharing, ‐transfer and ‐absorption that can enhance innovation, organisational performance and competitive advantage (Qureshi & Evans 2013a, 2013b). Furthermore, we refer to the barriers to collaboration and knowledge management efforts, relating to organisational political behaviour. These barriers were identified in a reverse brainstorming session with more than fifty Knowledge Management practitioners (Evans 2012). A number of management interventions are suggested to curb the negative impact of organisational politics on knowledge management and therefore organisational performance. The aim is to guide management in creating a trust‐based environment in which collaboration, sharing and transfer of information and knowledge thrive to the benefit of the organisation.
2. Literature review 2.1 Organisational politics Organisational politics refers to behaviours that maximise self‐interest and conflict with the goals and interests of others. (Gove 2011, p.18) refers to such politics as a “sinister web” and “the foe, which lurks below the surface of most workplaces”. Gove adds that such ‘political games’ can destroy employee morale and waste an organisation’s time and resources, thereby impacting negatively on productivity and performance. Various tactics are used in playing the organisational politics game in the workplace These tactics include attacking or blaming others, using information as a political tool (‘currency’), controlling information channels, maintaining alliances with powerful and influential people, creating obligations (‘collecting IOUs’) and using external consultants to support their views (Jashapara 2011; Kreitner, Kinicki & Buelens 2002; McShane & Von Glinow 2000). Workplace politics often take subtle forms of malicious gossip, rumours, or criticism through which the office politician controls the flow of information. For example, office politicians may spread information that discredits and damages the reputation of a colleague whom they perceive as threats to success, or they might exploit the weaknesses of others to make them appear less competent (Gove 2011). Ivancevich and Matteson (2002) refer to this as ‘ingratiating tactics’. At its worst, office politics manifest as outright manipulation and sabotage for the sake of an individual’s own upward mobility, power, or success. Instead of honest, professional relationships, office politicians often build relationships through dishonesty and deception (Gove 2011). Organisational politics can also manifest in behaviours such as ‘workplace bullying’ described as “the repeated and persistent negative behaviour, which involves a power imbalance and creates a hostile work environment” (Salin 2005, p.1). Work‐related bullying may also include withholding information, exclusion and isolation. Another form of information related politics is ‘deception’, which is defined as ‘‘a message knowingly transmitted by a sender to foster a false belief or conclusion by the receiver’’. This manifests itself in spreading of rumours or making false allegations (Connelly, Zweig, Webster et al 2012; Salin 2005). This behaviour is referred to as ‘knowledge hiding’ (Connelly, Zweig, Webster et al 2012). Knowledge hiding is not simply the absence of knowledge sharing; it is the intentional attempt to withhold or conceal knowledge that has been requested by another individual. In terms of personal characteristics, effective ‘politicians’ are often articulate, sensitive, socially adept, competent, popular, extroverted, self‐confident, aggressive, ambitious, devious, highly intelligent and logical (Ivancevich & Matteson 2002). McShane and Von Glinow (2000) add that they have a strong need for personal
Nina Evans ands Athar Mahmood Ahmed Qureshi power, an internal locus of control and strong Machiavellian values, i.e. they seldom trust co‐workers and use power to manipulate others. Ivancevich and Matteson (2002) refer to them as ‘organisation people’. Employees play political games regardless of their education, intelligence, or position of authority. Intelligent, confident people who will do anything to climb the promotional ladder often adopt such tactics. On the other hand, those who perceive themselves as less competent may also resort to political games to compensate for their shortcomings (Gove 2011). Organisational political behaviour is triggered by uncertainty (Kreitner, Kinicki & Buelens 2002) and thrives when objectives are unclear, performance criteria and measures are ambiguous or vague, goals are inconsistent, rewards are uncertain, resources are scarce, workflows are interdependent and decision processes are ill‐defined. Political behaviour is exacerbated by‐ and in turn also leads to lack of trust among organisational members. This is mainly a result of inadequate communication, authoritarian personalities or organisational participants that are highly competitive on individual and group level (Cook & Hunsaker 2001; Kreitner, Kinicki & Buelens 2002).
2.2 Trust Trust is considered as an important determinant for successful interpersonal relationships. Literature uses a number of terms that directly or indirectly refer to trust, such as cooperation, confidence and predictability (Mayer, Davis & Schoorman 1995), reliability, competence, benevolence, integrity and honesty (Kocoglu, Imamoglu & Ince 2011). Sitkin, Rousseau, Burt et al (1998) are of the opinion that trust is not a behaviour (e.g. cooperation) or a choice (e.g. taking a risk) but an “underlying psychological condition that can cause or result from such actions”. Mayer, Davis and Schoorman (1995) defined trust as “the willingness of a party to be vulnerable to the actions of another party based on the expectation that the other will perform a particular action important to the trustor, irrespective of the ability to monitor or control that other party”, i.e. the willingness to take risk. Rosanas (2009) agrees that organisational‐trust is “the relationship between two people where one takes an action making him vulnerable to the other”. The three antecedents of trust, as identified by Mayer, Davis and Schoorman (1995), are widely accepted. These antecedents are ability (essential skills, competencies, traits and characteristics), benevolence (the degree or level to which the first person believes the second person wants to do good to the first person) and integrity (a judgement whether or not the second person will adhere to acceptable principles). On the other hand, distrust is often defined as “a lack of confidence in the other, a concern that the other may act so as to harm one, and that the other does not care about one’s welfare, intends to act harmfully, or is hostile” (Jashapara 2011). There is a substantial body of research showing that trust predicts risk taking, task performance, citizenship behaviours and, more important for this paper, information and knowledge sharing, ‐transfer and ‐absorption (Qureshi & Evans 2013a, 2013b) in organisations.
2.3 Information and knowledge sharing, ‐transfer and ‐absorption Firms came into being in order to enable human beings to achieve collaboratively what they could not achieve alone. Early research focused on organisation level knowledge embedded in routines. Recently research increasingly stresses the role of individual‐level knowledge and the importance of knowledge sharing and transfer between teams and organisational units. There is growing acknowledgement that employees must be motivated to share their knowledge with others (Connelly, Zweig, Webster et al 2012). As knowledge resides with the knower and not some hardware or software; knowledge must flow among knowers (Friesl, Sackmann & Kremser 2011). Cohen and Levinthal (1990) and Zahra and George (2002) have focused on the firm’s ‘absorptive capacity’, referring to the capability to search, acquire and assimilate knowledge from external sources and absorbing it into the internal processes and routines. Absorptive capabilities have four dimension, namely acquisition (the capability to identify and acquire externally produced knowledge), assimilation (the examination, interpretation and understanding of the information), transformation (the capability to develop and refine the routines that facilitate combination processes) and exploitation (routines that allow firms to refine, extend, and leverage existing knowledge by incorporating it into to its operations (Guzman & Wilson 2005).
Nina Evans ands Athar Mahmood Ahmed Qureshi Knowledge sharing may occur through formal collaboration or informal everyday interaction and Riege (2005) comments that the challenge lies with the willingness of an employee to ‘donate’ knowledge. Riege (2005) adds that failure factors for knowledge sharing can be classified into personal (e.g. job security, loss of power, perceived image), group (e.g. politics, lack of trust) and organisational levels (e.g. management commitment, lack of recognition). Over the last years, research tried to shed light on the antecedents of knowledge sharing and Friesl, Sackmann and Kremser (2011) suggest that perceived trust positively influences knowledge sharing. Despite the growing number of studies in the area of knowledge sharing and related information systems, organisations still experience various difficulties in deploying effective information and knowledge sharing strategies among their organisational units. These difficulties are often social problems relating to organisational culture and organisational power (Cook & Hunsaker 2001). The main problems associated with knowledge sharing and transfer is therefore related to the complexity of the social processes that occur during the transfer process and the low trust level that might exist among sending and receiving organisational units. Its realisation depends mainly on people who interpret, organise, plan, develop and execute and use the knowledge (Guzman & Wilson 2005).
2.4 The impact of organisational politics on trust and collaboration Organisational political behaviour is an important impediment to information and knowledge sharing which has a negative impact on collaboration in organisations. In a reverse brainstorming session with a group of more than fifty knowledge management practitioners and consultants (Evans 2012) various organisational political behaviours were suggested as reason for a lack of collaboration and knowledge sharing in organisations. Participants commented that organisations that ‘foster back‐stabbing’, ‘suspicion’, and ‘break confidentiality’, that allow people to ‘criticise ideas’ and ‘play the blame game’, ‘respect the loudest opinions’, where ‘saboteurs’, ‘nosey‐’ and ‘ego‐driven’ people are tolerated, will have a hard time encouraging staff to collaborate with each other and share knowledge. Table 1 summarises the inhibitors to collaboration and knowledge sharing that relate to organisational politics: Table 1: Organisational political behaviour restricting collaboration and knowledge flow Criticise ideas Playing blame game Rewarding lone rangers Create competition No guidelines Foster back‐stabbing Leadership imbalance Identify who’s at fault and publicly ridicule them Ego‐driven people Allow saboteurs Too much authority Ignore opinions Nosey people
Getting personal Being offensive Don’t listen Criticise people Not letting everyone talk Only accept excellent input Public ridicule for questioners Respect loudest opinion Publish bad ideas Misinformation Over‐competitive people (type‐A) Culture clash Personality clash
What’s in it for me? I don’t like/trust them Distribute negative stories Corporate Ninjas “I’m always right” Bad mouthing Breaking confidentiality Lack of courtesy Lack of communications Suspicion Centralised power Create mistrust No goals
An online (Linked‐In) discussion was also conducted with six knowledge management practitioners (cited as Participant1‐Participant6) on the topic of organisational politics and its impact on knowledge management and organisational performance. The comments that were made are in line with the literature and findings from the reverse brainstorming session. P1 referred to three specific dimensions that are likely to be impacted by “corrosive organisational politics”, as mentioned by Robert E. Quinn in 1999 in his book Pressing Problems in Modern organisations (That Keep Us Up at Night). These dimensions are i) dynamic capabilities, ii) collaborative potential and iii) employee contract. In this paper we are especially interested in the second aspect, namely collaborative potential. P1 added that all of these dimensions are critical to knowledge management and referred to trust as “a linchpin in all three dimensions”. Trust is therefore also a foundational part of Knowledge Management. According to P1 trust is the biggest causality of organisational politics and knowledge‐sharing intentions and behaviour very much depends on a sense of trust. P3 is of the opinion that “trust must come first and that it is slow and difficult to develop and easy to lose. He added that without trust one must use an adversarial approach to
Nina Evans ands Athar Mahmood Ahmed Qureshi interacting with others such as negotiating agreements and commented that this is unlikely to lead to synergy and emergent knowledge”. P6 commented that culture is definitely one of the most important strategic pillars of KM, while P5 added that “it is very difficult to shift a non‐trusting culture to a more genuine reciprocal culture”. In the online discussion P2 commented that organisational politics badly damages KMs effectiveness, “as it results from competitive behaviour amongst business units, which also reduces the value of KM efforts” (P2). Non‐rational dynamics factor into how people behave in organisations, particularly regarding knowledge and knowledge programmes (P1). For instance, organisational politics could also stem from the fact that people don’t have a job for life and their personal success is not linked to their company anymore (P2). P2 added that “if people think their jobs might be at risk they don’t share if they believed it makes them more valuable to the organisation”. P3 agreed that “organisational politics is right next to culture in trumping KM” and added that trust is an individual attitude. “You can’t see it or measure it, but it is a key determinant of external behaviour that you can see and measure. So trust is one of the attitudes that must be in place for KM to flourish”. The role of management in curbing the effect of political behaviour should not be underestimated. P2 commented that “people do share knowledge informally – that is knowledge sharing. Knowledge management is when knowledge is shared because of effective management action. That does depend on trust” (P2).
2.5 Curbing organisational politics: Management recommendations The more energy is spent on politics, the less energy and time people have to do real work. Unfortunately organisational political behaviour is part of every organisation (Riege 2005) and the main focus should therefore be on how to foster collaboration within the company. In order for Knowledge Management to be successful, an open culture where each individual shares his knowledge without restrictions and fear has to be promoted. People often do share their knowledge but they do so through informal means. The challenge of Information and Knowledge Management is to tap into those informal knowledge flows. Although organisational politics cannot be eliminated, political manoeuvring should be managed (Kreitner, Kinicki & Buelens 2002). Managers who wish to curtail the incidence and impact of damaging political behaviours should attempt to increase employees’ perceptions of the trustworthiness of their colleagues, by emphasising a shared identity, or by highlighting instances where trustworthiness has been demonstrated. It would also be important to avoid providing incentives for employees to ‘betray’ their co‐workers. Further, managers can endeavour to change their organisation’s knowledge sharing climate by demonstrating managerial support for knowledge sharing, and by increasing employees’ opportunities for social interactions (Connelly, Zweig, Webster et al 2012). Further to this, managers should ensure a sufficient supply of critical resources, establish a free flow of information so the organisation is less dependent on a few people, use effective organisational change management practices ‐ such as communication and involvement ‐ to minimise uncertainty during change. They should also restructure team and organisational norms to reject political tactics that appear to interfere with the organisation’s goals. Employees can also monitor the workplace and actively discourage co‐workers who engage in political tactics (McShane & Von Glinow 2000). Leadership ultimately determines the culture of an organisation and collaboration and knowledge sharing should therefore be entrenched in the culture from top down. Managers should act as champions, share a clear vision, be committed and lead by example. From the research the following propositions are formulated: Proposition 1:
Organisational politics occurs in all organisations.
Organisational political behaviour breaks down trust in relationships.
Trust is a cornerstone of knowledge sharing, ‐transfer and ‐absorption.
Organisational politics limits knowledge sharing, ‐transfer.
Proposition 5: capacity.
Decreased knowledge sharing and transfer leads to decreased absorptive
Proposition 6: performance.
Decreased knowledge absorption leads to decreased organisational
Nina Evans ands Athar Mahmood Ahmed Qureshi Proposition 7: Managers need to curb the negative impact of organisational politics by implementing a trust‐based knowledge management approach.
3. Conclusion Political behaviour, namely the intentional acts of influence to enhance or protect the self‐interest of individuals or groups (Kreitner, Kinicki & Buelens 2002) and attempts to influence others using discretionary behaviours and promote personal objectives (McShane & Von Glinow 2000) exists in every organisation (Ivancevich & Matteson 2002). Political behaviours in organisations can lead to distortion and suppression of information. Major organisational changes lead to political behaviour where people do not respond to rational argument, but more to egotistical motives such as personal security and career advancement. As change and learning is people‐dependent, power and politics play an important role and it can lead to managers making decisions based on irrational grounds (Jashapara 2011). Many political tactics reduce trust and the motivation to collaborate. When people operate in a tense political environment they have difficulty relating to other employees. This undermines the conditions for active knowledge sharing (McShane & Von Glinow 2000). Employees may engage in knowledge hiding in order to protect their own interests or they may hide knowledge to undermine or retaliate against another employee (Connelly, Zweig, Webster et al 2012). The mechanisms that were identified by Guzman and Wilson (2005) as crucial for effective knowledge management are to i) install a vision of knowledge and to ii) manage politics, in order to minimise fear and trust barriers. Sharing across the boundaries of the organisation enhances know‐what and know‐how and by sharing information and data, companies can promote innovation and collaboration. Policies that restrict access to information and knowledge can foster a culture that rewards secrecy and internal competition. In such cultures, information hoarders thrive. A collaborative and sharing culture is promoted if people are allowed to positively challenge other’s ideas, clear and simple rules exist, collaboration and knowledge sharing is not enforced, shared group objectives are created and group achievement rewarded. Effective knowledge information and management also requires feedback mechanisms in an environment where people are encouraged to listen, openness is promoted, there is transparency in communications, decision making is encouraged, mixed discipline program teams are used and people are free to act and be heard. A general characteristic of such a collaborative workplace is a high level of reciprocal trust (Evans & Price 2012).
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Opportunities and Risks of the use of Social Media in Healthcare Organizations Ginevra Gravili University of Salento, Economic Department, Ecotekne, Lecce, Italy firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract: The process of interaction between individuals, through the use of social media, is one of the most complex problems that theorists have had to analyse in recent years (Richards, 2007; Kolbitsch and Maurer, 2006; Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010; ecc.). Social media tools are becoming important in healthcare, transforming it in the process. Today many organizations, in the health sector, are facing a challenge: they must either choose to allow their operators to use this new method of communication with patients and their families or forbid it. The rapid changes that the diffusion of social media has had in the communication processes would undoubtedly impose a drastic change: the use of social media allows an instant sharing of ideas, opinions, knowledge and experiences, creating a new “space‐time” dimension that would be translated in a new way (additional) to "cure" the patient (Hawn, 2009). Although there are many benefits and promises from social media, several risks are associated with their use. The ambiguity related to legal and ethical issues (for example the patient’s privacy) of social media at the same time contains the enthusiasm related to the potentialities that social media offer. In this paper we are going to analyse the risks and benefits of social media perceived in healthcare. Through an empirical study conducted on a sample of Italian physicians and patients we are going analyse some items (measured with Likert’s technique) that will allow us to define an "utility function" to measure and compare what they perceive as beneficial and what they perceive as a limit. This work can be useful for managers of healthcare organizations to understand that, if the perception of the presence of Health organizations on social media by doctors and patients is positive, the challenge is due and it must not only be organizational but, above all, cultural (Normann, 1996). Keywords: social media, healthcare, Information technology, Facebook in health organizations
1. Introduction Social media is changing the nature and speed of healthcare interaction between patients and health organizations. The first step of this change began some years ago, when patients gained access to medical information online as well as self‐diagnosis. Now the use of social media has allowed for a vast array of users to exit from the condition of passive recipients of information to arrive at the opportunity of making comments and working to change information, "creating a more distributed form of authority in which the boundaries between the creator of the site and visitors are blurred" (Oberhelman, 2007). The processes of change taking place require renovating and redesigning healthcare organizations who now find themselves having to decide whether to change the traditional organizational systems, characterized by strict and rigid sequences of information, to becoming new organizations that are able to recombine the global needs with local, developing intelligence simultaneously characterized by the ability of processing more information at the same time not without creating a sequence, a hierarchy, and a precise order. They have to develop new partnerships between physicians, hospitals and patients to coordinate and deliver efficient care, expanding the boundaries of the site of care and going outside the hospital and the clinic, setting and moving towards the patient’s home. New technologies are certainly playing an important role and will be decisive for the transition from a “clinical‐centered” towards a “patient‐centric” approach. Effective, patient‐centered communication is the key to quality care, because it allows individual patient preferences to be respected and responded to as well as evaluated, to have information and education, access to care; emotional support to relieve fear and anxiety; involvement of family and friends; continuity and secure transition between healthcare settings; physical comfort and coordination care (Pikert Institute Research, 2008). It is a means to avoid errors, improve quality, save money and achieve better health outcomes. In this scenario, hospitals have to develop effective communication processes, fostering clinici‐patient relationships, implementing and exchanging information; responding to patients' emotions; managing uncertainty; making decisions; and enabling patient self‐management. Our study pays more attention on how social networks (Facebook in particular) represent a useful communication instrument so that the health organizations may be more and more orientated towards the patient. In this phase, physicians’ attitudes can decide to either favor or not the achievement of such objectives, imposing a major challenge on hospitals pursuing a patient‐centric model. Today hospitals and health systems should assess their capabilities of using social networks for patient education, to develop team‐building capabilities, to create strong relationships with physicians.
Ginevra Gravili It's important to note, however, that to be a “social hospital” (that is hospitals in which social networks are used), it isn't sufficient to have a page on social media channels but it's necessary to implement a new thriving and self‐sustaining online system that includes patient‐centric information architecture, direct access to the hospital’s information systems, and an integrated social support layer, through the use of social media. In this perspective many organizations are challenged: allowing an instant sharing of ideas, opinions, knowledge and experiences, creating a new “space‐time” dimension that , that would be translated in a new way (additional) to "cure" the patient (Hawn, 2009). Although there are many benefits and promises from social media, several risks are associated with their use. The ambiguity related to legal and ethical issues (for example the patient’s privacy) of social media at the same time contains the enthusiasm related to the potentialities that social media offer.
2. Social media and healthcare: opportunity and risks The medical world is experiencing a period of evolution of particular relevance. A recent survey of “Pew Research Center” has shown that the social media are second only to one's physician in health matters, and they are often utilized as a first resource for medical information. Today “if healthcare organizations want to regain control of their own names, they need to get in the mix and use social media to establish themselves as transparent by authentically engaging patient. The linger they wait, the deeper the hole gets that they’re going to have to climb out of” (Haverhale, 2010). It’s the time to rethink the healthcare organizations across all levels promoting a culture of clear communication using social media. In this way, communication becomes a strategy which is used in all healthcare organizations: physician‐patient, physician‐physician and physician‐ manager relationships. There are several benefits in the use of social media. The use of social media as a communication tool enables healthcare organizations to interact with the patient and the doctor of the structure, building relationships which are more transparent and faster, they facilitate communication, and the sharing and processing of information. Sending targeted messages, communication is realized in a cost‐effective, fast and above all clear way. In this way, the relationship management‐doctor and patient‐physician focuses on the real needs of the users. Patients, for example, are able to get detailed information even before knowing the doctor and the structure. On the other hand, the doctor, for example, can know and share the decisions that the health facility is facing in terms of managerial handling and that will have an implication on the entire organizational structure. All this translates into saving time for the healthcare organization (consider, for example, the long queues at the offices of primary care) and money (think of investments that a company must make to motivate its employees), so too in terms of competitive advantage. The benefit you get is very high. In fact, the messages, perceived as authentic, that is, with a high level of credibility are low cost so organizations can increase the number of messages to be sent. Thanks to the simple registration as "fan" to the Page of the healthcare organization you will be informed on the flow of the activities of each member, which are visible to friends on its network. This mechanism, therefore, encourages word of mouth and the distribution of content published on the page. Patients, who recognize that in reality there is a place where healthcare is professional, where the atmosphere and relationships are good, where they are at the center of medical care, will speak positively of the organization. Today, the healthcare company is not just the curriculum of those who work there, but also the surrounding services that can make the patient's stay more or less pleasant. The healthcare company administrator of the page has nothing else to do rather than encouraging quality content that can entertain and trigger off discussions on the social web (buzz marketing). The benefit will be twofold: first, it will directly improve the visibility and image of the health organization and the perception of the service offered, secondly, it will indirectly improve the prevention of diseases. By implementing the communicative relationship between patients and patients or between patient and doctor through the sharing of information, there is a dissemination of information that is extremely useful in the prevention of particularly prevalent diseases (think of the flu virus or the more serious AIDS). In the case in which the disease is contracted and needs to be cured, the patient will come to the meeting with the doctors being more informed and aware of the disease that he has, and this will allow him to take more updated decisions. Furthermore, the interaction with other patients or physicians will allow the patient to have social and emotional support, that in specific diseases is a critically important element in the cure. The exchange of information will, then, allow the medical staff to constantly monitor the patient's clinical situation,
Ginevra Gravili and to modify their decisions and conduct, if necessary. All this for the benefit of the service offered by the healthcare system. Another benefit that emerges from the use of social media, in the doctor‐doctor relationship, is the constant updating to which individual physicians can access without the use of significant financial resources on the part of the healthcare system or of the doctors themselves. The use of social media allows each doctor to be in constant contact with other doctors in the same area with which to exchange information on clinical cases, on drug prescription, but also on scientific updates on new laws on healthcare. The paper that is going to be published is experiencing an unprecedented crisis and many newspapers have invested in highly interactive web sites, able to offer high quality medical content. In fact, doctors need a network even without social media. These connections are, however, too often linked to geographical proximity (Keating et al., 2007) or previous reports (same university, etc.) (Gulati, 1998). Getting out of this trap, through the use of these new tools, can only improve and simplify communication. Although there are many benefits and promises from social media several risks are associated with their use. The use of social networks in healthcare may raise some issues. Perhaps the greatest fears health organizations have about social media are the inability to control conversation. The healthcare organization, agreeing to be on social networks, accepts the possibility of being exposed to criticism or praised without any guarantee of the truth behind that specific information. Organizations using social media risk losing control of their message. Once a comment or “tweet” is posted, anyone can respond. While some users may share positive feedback, the door is also open to negative comments, which, however unfounded, can upset an organization’s reputation. However, it is true that patients can talk about hospitals, for example, even if they are not online. Some risks are internal: the information that can be inserted by doctors on patients may unintentionally be also of a personal nature so that unauthorized access could violate the rights of the individual. Consider, for example, information on rare diseases: discussions of a patient case on social media could violate a patient's privacy, even if no names are used and no harm is intended. In accordance with current legislation, the information entered on the social networking sites are considered public domain (Kochman, 2009) and unauthorized access is not punishable by law. Moreover, if you consider that any user can "tag" a photo, even indiscreet, linked to the profile of healthcare organization or of a doctor or a patient, you can easily guess why healthcare is still very skeptical about using these tools. Lorenz (2009), among the reasons that may damage the image of an individual (be it an individual or an organization) cites inappropriate photos, comments on drinking or drug use, negative judgments on the property or the doctor, discriminatory remarks, sharing confidential information, qualifications that are not adequate. In fact, a patient may come to wrong decisions based on inaccurate and false information. But what chiefly matters it is not only the legal problem, as its ethical‐moral aspects. The information published on the websites are viewed primarily by friends and relatives, so their use for other purposes would be to "dig" into the lives of others. In fact, some argue that those who do not want you to know something should not publish it (Cuesta, 2006.) This observation, however, is not readily applicable to the present generation, who have grown up on‐line and are unable to discern what is public from what is private. So, some information ‐which is for them naturally public‐ becomes for those who have not grown up in this virtual dimension reprehensible and inappropriate. It is, therefore, a true generational and cultural clash. The fact remains that, even when you are sure that the information of a profile will be seen only by specific people, there is the risk that, because of a mere technical error or a deliberate violation, such information may come into unwanted hands for the wrong purposes. Seale (2009) then sets off a second ethical issue calling it "bias creeping" Through the social network the healthcare manager may become aware of facts relating to his doctors, although insignificant, in contrast with its stereotypes, calling doctors to act more responsively to the values of 'healthcare business. Some physicians also fear that interactions with patients on social media sites could expose them to malpractice lawsuits if their comments are misinterpreted. Finally, there is the problem of access (digital divide). Patients with limited culture or limited knowledge on informatics or older people have a lot of comprehension difficulties in communicating with clinicians through social networks (Schillinger et al., 2004). There is still no doubt a large part of the population who does not have, either access to fixed broadbands, or to mobiles.
3. Conceptual model analysis: Objectives and hypotheses In real life it’s usual for patients with chronic health to build close relationships with physicians; but this has a different significance when it happens "in on‐line life" ‐ legal, ethical and practical issues emerge. The ambiguity related to legal and ethical issues (for example patient privacy) of social media contains the enthusiasm related to the potentialities that they offer, prompting many health organizations not to exploit their potential. Considering that "the key to success is the intelligent use of the relationship with the customer" (Normann, 2002:22) we have studied the effectiveness of the use of social media in Healthcare through the risks and benefits perceived by patients and doctors. Starting with the model of Diffusion of Innovation (Rogers, 2003), we have analyzed the decision making process of the adoption of Facebook, as a new instrument of communication. This process (Figure n.1) includes five stages (knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation, and confirmation) in which an organization passes from gaining initial knowledge of innovation, to forming an attitude toward the innovation, to taking a decision of whether to adopt or reject, to the implementation of the new idea, and to the confirmation of this decision” (Rogers 2003:168). In our analysis in the knowledge stage, individual characteristics are permanent features because we have defined them ex‐ante (see the composition of our sample). We have analyzed a sample in which individuals use often use social networks – in particular Facebook‐ to communicate. In the persuasion stage, we have considered the relative advantages and disadvantages that the Health organizations on social media have to communicate, compared to traditional systems (face to face comminucation), defining 25 items divided in 5 categories. In the decision stage we have analyzed if doctors and patients accept new ways of communication and we have studied the importance that they give to the use of Facebook, classifying them in advantages/disadvantages. This has enabled us to understand whether they are likely to use or reject the innovation. During the implementation stage we have determined the usefulness that Facebook has for doctors and patients and consequently if doctors and patients believe that it is a useful and necessary communication tool for hospitals,that is, the confirmation phase. READAPTATION OF DIT MODEL
Pre condi ons of our study ¾ Socio‐ economic characteris c ¾ Personal Variables ¾ Norms of social systems
Object of our study HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS
DECISION PERSUASION Characteris c of Innova on All memebers of our sample know intrinsic characteris cs of innova ons : Rela ve Advantage, Compa bility, Complexity or Simplicity, Trialability, Observability
ACCESS CONNECTION COORDINATION INFLUENCE SHARING PATIENTS
Figure 1: Conceptual model analysis
4. Empirical research The research was developed directly on the Internet by distributing a questionnaire among physicians, randomly selected from the list of doctors published by professional organizations at a national level on the Internet, and patients, selected among doctors' patients. The Internet is a territory of millions of social media, such as blogs, social networking, forums, etc. with different subject s, for this reason we have selected only a field of research: Facebook. In order to facilitate the accurate and consistent acquisition of information, two steps were followed:
Identify users who were active on Facebook (number of messages posted in a day and in a month)
the questionnaire posted on the message form. The questionnaire was initially tested on a limited number of users, in order to understand at which point the questions were correct and the presentation form was accepted. Then it was posted on the entire sample.
Sample The samples of this study consisted in 5000 members, made up of 2.500 physicians and 2.500 patients. They were divided equally between 18‐24 years old; 24‐34 years old; 35‐54 years old; over 55 years old while there were 65% of men and 35% of women for physicians and 68% of women and 32% of men for patients. Of these (patients) 84% were married or engaged and 79% of the individuals had children. This characteristic is important because a lot of mothers and fathers looked for information on the health of their children. Their main occupation is a full time job (75%), and 25% part time. For physicians 74% are married or engaged and 72% of the individuals have children. Their main occupation is in a hospital structure (72%), and 28% in Health private structures ians . The remaining part of users visit the group a few times a week. About 80% of physicians and 85% of patients have seen the questionnaire and accepted to fill it in. The sample was finally made up of N=1.960 physicians and N= 2.019 patients. The data analisis The data on opportunities and risks of the use of social media in Healthcare organizations has been obtained by comparing the analysis of the physicians and patients’ observations. In order to facilitate the accurate and consistent acquisition of information we have used 5 categories for a total of 25 items, measuring them with Likert’s technique, in which there are 5 potential answers: 5= strongly agree; 4= Agree; 3=Neutral; 2=disagree; 1= Strongly Disagree, to evaluate the perception. We catalogued (Figure n. 2), then, the answers in a range between a and b, where a is the minimum value of the score attributable to the evaluation (1 = Strongly Disagree) and b the maximum value attributable (5 = strongly agree). Relative advantage (definited Opportunities) refers to the degree to which the adopter perceives the innovation to represent an improvement in either efficiency or effectiveness in comparison to traditional methods. Relaive disadvantage (definited Risks) refers to a deterioration. The opportunities create a perceived positive utility, while risks a negative utility.
Figure 2: Value of opportunities and risks
Ginevra Gravili The sum of the benefits perceived by doctors and patients represent the total Utility deriving from the use of social networks in hospitals as means of communication (Figure n. 3).
Figure 3: Total utility Therefore, in order to obtain such values, we have analyzedthe values of each item selected and we have created a score for each respondent. In order to create such utility functions that may represent perceptions perceived by doctors and patients for each single item, the average value of the answers given by the individuals interviewed was calculated. By so doing,a matrix was created which simply highlighted the resulting evaluations. Total utility (Utility by health organizations) is positive each time the result of the algebra sum of the Utility by patients and by doctors becomes positive, however, it will be negative when the algebra sum becomes negative (Table 1). Table 1: Values of hospitals’ utility U h =Hopitals’ Utility + + + ‐ ‐ ‐
Ud= Doctors’ Utility + + ‐ ‐ + ‐
Up= Patients’ Utility + ‐ + ‐ ‐ +
5. Research results In the questionnaire of patients and physicians we have analyzed 25 items to which interviewees were given a rating from 1 to 5 (Table 2). Each item falls into one of five categories. The first category is Influence. It concerns the ability of Facebook to influence the choice of users in Health decisions. The second category is Connection. It includes metrics that measure the ability to connect users with the same health problems to each other. The third category is Access. It examines all the items that minimize barriers between patients, doctors and health organizations. The fourth category is Sharing. It analyzes the capability of Facebook to support psychological care. The last category is Coordination. It includes items that improve patients‐patient, patient‐doctor, doctor‐doctor and doctor‐organization coordination. In each category we have identified the single value of Doctor’s Utility and Patient’s utility, and the total Utility for Hospitals listing it as an opportunity, when the Uh values, given by the arithmetic sum of Ud and Up, are positive and superior to 0,5; as a risk, when the Uh values are negative and inferior to ‐0,5; or as an opportunity/risk, when the Uh values are between 0,5 and ‐0,5 – in this case it’s necessary to analyze the value with caution. For example, in communication, the use of simple language can be opportunities or risks…it depends on the accuracy of information. Table 2: Perception of the presence of Health organizations on Facebook with predefined items CATEGORIES
Information on prevention Information on pathology
2.1 Personal info on patient who has a pathology 2.2 Medical info
Information on health structure
Up DOCTORS (Average ) + 4,7
Ginevra Gravili CATEGORIES
Information on doctors
4.1 Personal info 4.2 Professional info
7.1 Personal info on patient who has pathology 7.2 Medical info
Information on medicines Information on experimental treatments Information on similar cases
Video or photos of patients Video or photos of physicians Support a health‐related causes Improve patient care Comment about your health experiences Communication = use of simple language by physicians to explain a pathology Communication = use of simple language by patients to explain a pathology Reviews on line of doctors Reviews on line of a health structure Sharing of anxiety Psycological sharing Trace or share your health symptoms or behavior
Up DOCTORS (Average ) ‐ 2,1
Ginevra Gravili CATEGORIES
Follow some friends’ personal health experience Coordination with public health department Transfer of personal health information to patient Notification of quick information Ask a doctor a new question Ask for an appointment
Up DOCTORS (Average ) + 2,9
Using this information we have built two “utility functions” that compare the perceptions of the respondents. The first and the second graph (Figure 4 and Figure 5) highlight the perceptions that doctors and patients have of the 25 items tested, divided into categories. In principle, the perceptions of physicians and patients regarding the items that fall into the category "Influence", “Coordination” and Access are similar, while for the other categories a much more positive perception from patients is evident rather than from physicians, this being particularly evident in the category "Coordination" in which the perception is positive for patients and negative for physicians.
Figure 4: “Utility function” categories/patients Figure 5: “Utility function” categories/doctors Of particular importance is the graph (Figure 6) that analyzes the average evaluation of patients and doctors deriving from the algebra sum of the two partial Utilities. This analysis indicates that both doctors’ and patients’ perception of the opportunities that the use of social media can offer in Healthcare is positive.
6. Considerations The use of social media in health contexts is growing and there is no sign of it slowing down. The purpose of this study is to measure the perception of the use of Facebook in health organizations. The list of opportunities and risks for healthcare organizations included in this paper is not thorough, but it represents a good starting point.
Figure 6: Utility of hospitals – medium value of patients/physicians utility Research demonstrates that the perception that doctors and patients have is positive, therefore, if hospitals were to decide to use this new system of communication, the resulting utility would be positive (Figure 7). Healthcare organizations can better meet the needs of patients and they can connect people to experts of healthcare services and physicians with colleagues. They can connect different departments and can be transparent, communicative, and fast. With the use of social media, they can streamline medical procedures,by offering a better service, a patient‐centric service. But still there are unknown factors that have emerged amongst those items which we have referred to as opportunities / risks and hazards. This data must not deceive, but rather, make people think. In fact, the items listed as Opportunity / Risk, are those requiring serious consideration by managers and institutions. Only with investments and laws that clearly define the roles, duties and responsibilities of Facebook users (patients, physicians and health organizations),can the possible risks be transformed into enormous opportunities for all users. By encouraging a correct social media communication, healthcare organizations can implement their support to patients and their families.
Figure 7: Utility function In this scenario only health organizations that redefine business (Normann, 1996), on line, can be competitive. The DIT model intends proving that organizations are ready to change even if there is still a subtle line
Ginevra Gravili between caution and fear (as results from our research). It is the fear of change so common in healthcare that one hopes will be overcome. According to the writer, it is most important for organizations to develop a policy that guides social media use within them. Medical staff members should receive training and education to encourage responsible use of their social media sites. Organizations must also monitor the social media sites to ensure that information posted there does not violate privacy regulations and other laws. There are important roles for policy makers in supporting social media in healthcare. They have to ensure investments to guarantee the security of the information presented in social media, in order to teach the Health Organizations how to be present on social media. Only in this way can we be sure that information is accurate, timely, relevant and useful for patients and physicians.
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Social Media Marketing: An Evaluation Study in the Wellness Industry Kerstin Grundén1 and Stefan Lagrosen2 1 School of Business, Economics and IT, University West, Trollhättan, Sweden 2 School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract: An evaluation study focusing the use of social media in six Swedish wellness companies is described and analysed. The study is a part of the research project “Efficient learning for quality in the wellness industry”. Social media have become increasingly popular the last few years, and are rapidly changing the ground for marketing activities. The field is, however, still immature and there are hitherto very few studies focusing the actual use by service organizations and the efficiency and quality effects of social media for marketing. The research method in this evaluation study is qualitative in‐ depth interviews carried out with employees responsible for the social media activities in the studied companies. The interviews are analysed according to the contents analysis method. The main results are that the initiation of the use of social media in the organizations generally was started by an “enthusiast” in the organizations. The enthusiast could be very good at initiating the use, but it could be dangerous to rely on only one employee in the long run. However, most often the use spreads to more employees in the organizations after some time. Social media and the shift towards relationship marketing have affected the marketing profession substantially. According to the interviews, the work of the respondents had become more hectic and difficult to plan due to fast technological changes and rapid feed‐back from the customers. New skills and competencies are needed due to this change of the profession. There is also a need to develop clear policies regarding the use of social media by the employees. Unclear policies tend to contribute to misunderstandings and misbehaviour by some employees, such as confounding the private and professional use of social media, which could lead to negative consequences for the organization. According to the results most of the studied organizations express uncertainty concerning planning and evaluation of social media for marketing. They also experience lack of time for this work. They argue that using social media for marketing is important; but the benefits are often unclear. Formulating and monitoring the goals, management could develop social media into powerful marketing tools which also contribute to the organization’s efficiency and quality. Developing skills and practices for this is a challenge as well as a potential. Keywords: social media marketing, wellness industry, evaluation study, social media policies
1. Introduction In this article an evaluation study focusing social media marketing in the wellness industries, is described and analysed. The study is part of the research project “Efficient learning for quality in the wellness industry” (2012 – 2013), financed by the research financier Knowledge Foundation of Sweden. Recent years, there has been an upsurge in the use of social media for private purposes, as well as for companies and governments as a marketing tool. The technological development is fast, and new communication patterns are constantly developed and adapted. However, there is still a lack of empirical research studies in this field. The aim of this evaluation study is to describe and analyse the use of social media marketing in some wellness companies. Qualitative interviews are made with marketers in six wellness industries about their use of social media marketing. Social media have revolutionized our social contacts and have quickly become very popular both for private use, and as a professional communication tool used by opinion leaders and entrepreneurs, for example. Social media enables digital contacts with large social networks that can enrich both the individual and social life, and also be an important tool for marketing activities for a business. With the use of social media, we generally mean the use of “web‐services where you can converse, read and share information, establish contacts for example.” (Carlsson, 2010, p. 10). The social web is also referred to as Web 2.0. Social media marketing is related to “word of mouth‐marketing”, which is the intentional marketing influencing consumer‐to‐consumer communications by professional marketing techniques. Word‐of‐mouth is originally defined as “informal communication among consumers about products and services” (Liu 2010), but has now become “on‐line word‐of‐mouth” (Hennig‐Thurau, Gwinner, Walsh & Gremler (2004). Some researchers have even argued that word‐of‐mouth is the most influencing aspects that affect the consumers before they make a purchase (Day
2. Research method In the evaluation study six wellness companies were studied regarding their use and experience of social media marketing. Qualitative interviews were made with the marketers that were responsible for the social media marketing at each organization. Five of the interviews were made face‐to‐face at the work‐places, but one was made as a telephone interview. Five of the interviews were made in 2012, and the sixth was made in January 2013.The interviews were tape‐recorded and transcribed. Contents analysis was carried out on the data from the interviews. Table 1: The spa‐hotels that participated in the study Spa‐hotel Sankt Jörgen Park Resort Stenungsbaden Yacht Club Ystads Saltsjöbad Varbergs Kurort Hotel Tylösand Bokenäs Hav Spa
Comments Spa‐hotel in Gothenburg with many day guests and an integrated golf course Spa‐hotel with a relaxed American east coast image A seaside spa‐hotel on the south coast A seaside spa‐hotel with a focus on traditional Swedish treatments A seaside spa‐hotel with focus on art and music A spa‐hotel in a serene rural coastal setting
3. Results 3.1 The organization of social media for marketing In most of the studied organizations, the use of social media for marketing started by a marketer who can be characterized as an "enthusiast" and had personal interest in writing and using social media. More employees are then usually also integrated into the writing on social media for the company. At one of the organizations, even a restaurant manager has started to write on Facebook, and load up pictures of evening activities. It is common that different employees write in different media such as blogs, Twitter or Facebook, depending on their interests and skills. One marketing manager stresses that it is important that many voices from the business are heard, and the goal is to involve even more members of staff in the use of social media activity. “The staff is the core of the brand to an ever larger extent”, argues the respondent. Some of the organizations also plan to recruit new employees, specifically for social media marketing.
Kerstin Grundén and Stefan Lagrosen In addition, it seems fairly common in the studied companies to use external assistance such as subcontractors and/or consultants. For instance, one of the hotels uses, subcontractors specialized in film and audio. One company contracts a web agency working with the website. Using web tools such as newsletter modules and modules for image processing is also common. Several respondents stress that it is more difficult to plan marketing efforts in social media compared to the planning of for example radio or television campaigns because there is so much happening in the field. Working in this way can be difficult for those marketers, who have an extremely planning personality, one respondent points out. Social media provide a great planning tool in the short term, while they are more difficult to use for long‐term planning. One respondent is aware that older people often do not use Facebook much, but they are trying to reach them through e.g. newspapers or television commercials. One of the respondents avoids advertising in magazines, as this has "zero" effect, in his opinion.
3.2 Use of different types of social media Facebook is the most common type of social media for the studied companies, but it is increasingly supplemented by other social media such as blogs and Twitter. It is common to link Facebook to the website and also to include links to YouTube, for example. Some companies publish "guest feeds" directly on the home page, directly from TripAdviser and similar channels. Another "guest‐review site" that often is used is reita.se. Contests aiming to increase the number of "fans" on a Facebook page are common, and they usually result in a conspicuous increase. The prize may be a spa weekend, which is usually much appreciated and contributes to further spreading of the offer by the "fans". But customers do not like "being bombarded by offers", says a respondent. One of the companies has developed a mobile app. When you check into the mobile app you simultaneously check into Facebook. Via the mobile app, you can see the entire day's program at the resort, ranging from free treatments, the opportunity to play in the Golf Academy to tonight's menu in the restaurant and evening drink in the bar. Via the mobile app offers to come back are also communicated. The use of e‐mail is very common. One of the companies communicate a lot with email mailings to the customers, such as confirmation and welcome email before the visit and thank you‐mail after the visit which announces that it wishes to continue communicating in this way.
3.3 How to write on social media? For one of the hotels a blog on the website was the first channel in which the respondent expressed his private opinion. However, it was a very difficult balance writing in a personal (like the style in a personal diary), but not too personal way, according to the respondent. In addition, the text should be professional, but not contain pure "sales aspects," the respondent explained. The respondent wrote on average every other day to update the blog regularly. For a while they used both the blog and Facebook, but it was too demanding to consistently write in different ways in the two channels, according to the respondent. It became increasingly difficult to write in a personal way. The blog was thus closed for three years. According to one of the companies they have the ambition that their Facebook page should be cheerful and pleasant and describe fun activities going on. It is important to adjust the "tone" in the writing of various social media such as Facebook and Twitter. It is a matter of keeping the right personal tone, and not to write in a too “correct” manner, a respondent mentioned. It seems that some employees have performance anxiety when they are supposed to write on social media. “Then you have to encourage them in order to try to increase their self‐esteem”, a respondent stresses. The main focus is on the use of Facebook. Twitter can be a little more "cocky and cool," continues the respondent, “but it's not often you put the comments there because of lack of time”. The respondent points out that it is important to have a real commitment to using social media to make it good: "You really must like it from your heart."
Kerstin Grundén and Stefan Lagrosen One difficulty with social media is judging how privately you should write, one respondent stresses. The respondent emphasizes that the use of images is good on social media, because they express a lot of emotions and information. Images are widely used in communication via Facebook. You can always compare with your private use of social media if you think about different advantages and disadvantages of social media marketing. The time of day when the post is published on social media could be crucial. The best time to post is when most customers are active on social media, usually late afternoon or evening, or possibly early morning, according to a respondent. The respondent argues that it would look unprofessional to publish posts in the middle of the night, even if it would come from the restaurant. The hard part is to be visible in this industry, one of the respondents stresses. There is no point in just following what everyone else does, but to have courage to change strategy if you notice an exhaustion effect of any activity. To monitor competitors' social media activities is part of the job, according to the respondent who stresses that you can be both inspired and discouraged by the competitors’ use of social media The use of social media is mainly adapted to Swedish conditions, and the Swedish language is used by most companies. One of studied organizations has a fairly high proportion of foreign guests, but does not use English on social media. A difficulty in social media marketing is to keep up with all the incoming news and all changes that are made. Today you cannot only copy text from the blog and put it on Bambuser for example and on to the various micro‐blogs, so that you get all keywords. Google engines notices this by now so that you will be demoted in Google's search results. This means that the texts must be rewritten, and not just copied, when you want to publish it on various social media. Social media activities take time and energy, and require interest. In one of the studied companies the writer is never anonymous, but publishes both with picture and name: "Otherwise you lose a lot of this personal touch," the respondent explains. The younger generation is skilled in handling fast communication using social media. It is important that those who are networking have social skills. It is vital from a business perspective, that the language used on social media is relevant, as it reaches many customers. Culture is crucial when it comes to how we express ourselves. Employees that are trusted by the companies to write on social media often had reached 35 years of age. The most important thing is that the person who expresses himself through social media, do have social competence and a refined language, according to a respondent. One of the companies has developed the concept “the Digital Reception”, where social media is integrated with other IT‐tools such as a large reservation system. The vision is to build a "digital box", which all of the staff is working with. This is expected to facilitate the work substantially. They try to imitate a reception in everything they do, and want to get the customer to check in digitally as soon as possible. A reward for this could be a better price on the reservation, for example. A part of the concept is to try to create a conscious segregation so that other guests who checked in the traditional way become aware of the advantages to check in digitally instead. It should also be easy to become a member, and have enough digital data, without filling in a paper document, according to the respondent. Twitter and Facebook are more and more expected to replace the traditional telephone communication. The goal of the Digital reception is obviously increased profitability, the respondent stresses. The time required for the social media activities varies widely among the hotels, from less than one hour per day, to a full‐time employee. One respondent uses "spare time during work" for this work, but points out that he could put much more time on social media activities: "It could take more or less the whole of my working day, but that time I do not have". A disadvantage of the use of Facebook is that it "sucks up working," said the respondent. The respondent also writes on Facebook for work during holidays: "I'm never relaxed". Social media for marketing has contributed to change the profession much the last two years, a respondent stress. The pace of work has also increased drastically, according to the respondent: "It's full speed all day." Work is much more "24‐7" compared to a few years ago”, emphasizes one respondent: "Now you should have
Kerstin Grundén and Stefan Lagrosen a constant dialogue”. The respondent describes that on the one hand, the work with social media is demanding, but on the other hand it contributes to increased possibilities of direct contact with the guests.
3.4 Feedback from the customers Communication with customers via social media can mean that customers share their personal experiences, but this is not perceived as a problem, according to one respondent. This often becomes evident when the customers are supposed to write motivations when they participate in a contest on social media. "Social media becomes like a living scrapbook”, the respondent stresses. One respondent describes the customers' activities on the company's social media as a "gossip square". The respondent argues that there is a human basic need to communicate with one another. The difference is that today we can communicate with many more people than before through social media. One of the companies has invited guests to blog in a special digital guestbook “Special Guest Room”. It is a small tight group, and they write mostly positive comments, according to the respondent. You generally get a lot of tips from customers through their postings on social media: "The tips are worth gold. It can be anything from something they feel is missing from the breakfast buffet to the opening hours of the spa", a respondent stresses. You can see both trends of dissatisfaction and trends of joy on social media, more clearly compared with market surveys which are usually more concrete, a respondent continues. It seems to be relatively rare that the customers express criticism via social media. One of the respondents thinks that it is predominantly women who write on business social media, because it is most women who visit the spa. But men would still often talk clearly about what they think. Maybe somewhat more men write negative posts compared with women, a respondent suggests.
3.5 Policies for social media Policies for social media are quite usual in the participating organizations. It is common to recommend that the guests should not be commented on social media, or that you should not write about the work place when you use social media for private use for example. Neither should you write negative aspects about your work, according to the policies of most of the companies. One respondent stresses that you should write on social media in a way that is acceptable to all readers: "When you are out on social media, even your grandmother should accept to read what you have written ... actually it is all about common sense". One of the participating companies has a "secret group" on Facebook, used only by employees. The communication on this page can only be seen by the employees, and is not exposed to guests. It is also important to have an open work climate so that the employees can talk to the management, about problems that arise, instead of writing on social media. This is also a generation‐related issue when young people today more widely communicate via text and media compared with the older generation.
3.6 Monitoring and evaluation of social media A respondent points out that it is part of the business service to communicate with guests via social media: "It would have been really weird if we had not communicated through Facebook, so we must do it”. It seems however, not to be common in the studied organizations to monitor the use of Facebook and other social media and analyse how much they contribute to the turnover. One respondent assumes that social media contributes to the turnover, but it is very difficult to define in measurable terms. Generally, there seems to be some uncertainty regarding how to monitor the use of social media in a meaningful way. The lack of time for such activities also contributes to the lack of evaluation. A major weakness is that we know too little about the guests, one respondent stresses. Only when we know which guests that are often visiting us, is it possible for us to reward them in a relevant way. It would be good
Kerstin Grundén and Stefan Lagrosen if you could focus most on these "ambassadors", the guests that visit the hotel on several occasions, a respondent claim. It is more difficult to plan marketing efforts in social media compared to the planning of radio or television campaigns because there is so much happening in the field, one of the respondents claims. It can be difficult to work in this way for someone who has an extremely planning personality, the respondent continues. Social media provides a great tool in the short term, while it is more difficult to make long‐term planning.
4. Discussion 4.1 The importance of “enthusiasts” for social media marketing The use of social media for marketing in the studied organizations had often started by a marketer who can be characterized as an "enthusiast" and who had a personal interest in writing and using social media. Gradually, the use of social media spread in the activities. It can mean both advantages as disadvantages for the companies that development is initiated by an enthusiast. One advantage is that there is a commitment that is a driving force in the development and may seem motivating for the other operations. Enthusiasts build important expertise in the development of social media. One risk is being too dependent on individual persons' skills and interest, if the person leaves their job, for example.
4.2 Changes in the marketing profession The changing marketing strategies (transition from push to pull communication and relationship marketing) and the increasing use of social media has contributed to changing the nature of the marketing profession. Today, greater demands are placed on personal commitment of those employees who write on social media, for example. To monitor and write on social media often takes much time, and sometimes the employees also use part of their leisure time to write for the companies, which can push the boundaries between work and leisure. Social media marketing creates new demands for the marketers to write and communicate on social media. Personal commitment seems to be important, and the ability to write with “the right attitude and tone” on different types of social media such as blogs, Twitter or Facebook. This requires management to identify staff with the appropriate skills, and to ensure that they also are able to develop their competencies in relevant ways. The technical development in the field is fast, and you need to "keep up". It seems that the monitoring and analysis of use of social media often have to stand back for the time spent on actual usage, according to the results. It is a challenge for companies to integrate and organize the use of social media for marketing with more traditional marketing activities and the business plans, and to find employees that have competence to use social media properly. An example of a high degree of integration and business orientation was at one of the organizations that developed the concept of a "digital reception", where social media and other information technology systems were highly integrated. The same IT tools were used for all registration needed, for example, which made the work more efficient, and also understandable, both for the employees and the customers.
4.3 Planning and monitoring social media According to the results, the marketers of social media experienced considerable uncertainty regarding how best to monitor the use of social media for marketing in a meaningful way. It seems difficult to specify contributions to business sales in quantitative, measurable terms. Probably there is a need to specify both quantitative and qualitative aspects for the evaluation of social media. New evaluation approaches and methods are needed in order to define "value" as well as follow‐up values (Carlsson, 2009). Qualitative aspects such as commitment and attention of those who write on social media, both employees and customers, rather than focusing too much on the number of "likes" for example, may be needed. Committed customers are potential ambassadors for the company, which spread reputation through "word‐of mouth".
Kerstin Grundén and Stefan Lagrosen A starting point might be to take advantage of free software such as Google Analytics (http: / / www.google.com/analytics/) or Clicly (http://getclicky.com/) containing various opportunities to produce statistics from operational use of social media.
5. Conclusion The initiation of social media marketing was often started by an “enthusiast” in the studied organizations. An “enthusiast” can contribute substantially to social media marketing in the companies, but it could be dangerous to rely too much on one employee in the long run. Social media marketing and the shift to relationship marketing has affected the marketing profession to a large extent recent years. The work had become more hectic, and more difficult to plan in the long‐term, according to the respondents. The feed‐back on social marketing activities comes quickly from the customers requiring fast measurements in order to meet the requirements. The social media technology changes rapidly, which creates challenges for the competence development of the staff. It seems important to formulate relevant policies for the internal use of social media, according to the study. There is otherwise a risk that the employees confuse their private use of social media with the professional work, if the policies are unclear, which can lead to negative consequences for the companies. There seems to be an uncertainty among the studied organization how the following‐up of social activities could be done in the best way, and the respondents also express lack of time for follow‐up activities. The respondents mean that it is important for the companies to be visible on social media, but the benefits for the companies are often unclear. Formulating and monitoring the goals, management could develop social media into powerful marketing tools which also contribute to the organization’s efficiency and quality. Developing skills and practices for this is a challenge as well as a potential.
References Brown, R. (2009) Public Relations and the social web. How to use social media and web 2.0 in communications. Kogan Page, LondonBurton, S. & Soboleva, A. (2011), Interactive or reactive? Marketing with Twitter. Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 28, No.7, pp. 491‐499. Carlsson, L. (2010) Marknadsföring och kommunikation i sociala medier. Givande dialoger, starkare varumärke, ökad försäljning. Kreafon, Gothenburg. Day, G. S. (1971) Attitude change, media and word of mouth. Journal of Advertising Research, Vol 11, No. 6, pp. 31‐40. Hennig‐Thurau T., Gwinner K. P., Walsh, G. & Gremler D.D. (2004). Electronic word of mouth via consumer‐opinion platforms: What motivates consumers to articulate themselves on the Internet? Journal of Interactive Marketing, Vol 18, No 1, pp. 38‐52. Katz, E. & Lazarsfeldt, P. F. (1955) Personal Influence; The part played by people in the flow of mass communication. Free Press: Glencoe, IL. Lagrosen, S. & Josefsson, P. (2011), Social media marketing as an entrepreneurial learning process. International Journal of Technology Marketing, Vol. 6, No. 4, pp. 331‐340. Liu, Y. (2010) Word of mouth for movies: Its dynamics and impact on box office revenue, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 70, July, pp. 74‐89. Palmer, A., and Koenig‐Lewis, N. (2009) An experimental social network‐based approach to direct marketing. Int. Journal of Digital Marketing, Vol 3, No. 4, pp.162‐176. Pierson, J. & Heyman, R. (2011), Social media and cookies: challenges for online privacy. Info, Vol. 13, No. 6, pp. 30‐42. Ström, Per (2010) Sociala medier. Gratis marknadsföring och opinionsbildning. Liber AB, Malmö. Zarella, F. (2009) The social media marketing book: O’Reilli, Sebastopol, CA
Building the Persuasiveness Into Information Systems Marja Harjumaa and Salla Muuraiskangas VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Oulu, Finland email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract: Often the purpose of personal health and wellbeing systems is to change users’ behaviour. Many theoretical frameworks have been developed to support the design and evaluation of these persuasive systems for behaviour change, but their design remains challenging. No systematic way yet exists by which to put the information into practice and build in persuasiveness effectively. The aim of this study is to investigate how the Persuasive Systems Design (PSD) model can be utilised to support an identification of persuasive aspects in the early stages of iterative, user‐centred, information systems development. To do this, the study integrates the PSD model into the development of two health‐related behaviour change support systems. In Case 1, the purpose of using the PSD model was to identify new persuasive functionality within a fall risk assessment and fall prevention system. In Case 2, the purpose of using the PSD model was to identify new persuasive functionality and new service concepts within an existing smartphone application for mental wellbeing. The study reveals that the PSD model can be successfully applied during the user requirements analysis and concept design phases to identify new potential persuasive functionalities. In both Case 1 and 2, this resulted in having more variety in persuasive functionalities compared to those in the initial user requirements or existing application. It should be pointed out however that the high number of persuasive functionalities does not necessarily guarantee an effective system nor the users’ adherence to the intervention delivered through the system. Keywords: behaviour change support systems, persuasive systems design, design process, evaluation, framework, health, well‐being
1. Introduction Huge challenges exist in treating a large population using traditional reactive healthcare. Therefore a need exists to develop more proactive patient‐centred models. Personal health technology can be delivered at low‐ cost to large groups of people and it can be a competitive alternative to traditional care (Murray, 2012). Often the purpose of personal health and wellbeing systems is to change users’ behaviour. Behaviour change support systems (BCSS) provide content and functionalities that engage users with new behaviours, make them easy to perform and support users in their everyday lives. A BCSS can be defined as “a sociotechnical information system with psychological and behavioral outcomes designed to form, alter or reinforce attitudes, behaviors or an act of complying without using coercion or deception” (Oinas‐Kukkonen, 2012). There already exist a number of theoretical and practical approaches to the design and evaluation of persuasive systems for behaviour change. Regardless of the abundance of various approaches, however, designers and researchers struggle with limited understanding of how behaviour change support systems should be designed. There is therefore room for a study that addresses how to integrate persuasive design approaches into the development of personal health and wellbeing systems. The concept of BCSS suggests that information systems (IS) can be treated as the core of research into persuasion, influence, nudge and coercion, whether they are web‐based, mobile, ubiquitous applications, or more traditional information systems (Oinas‐Kukkonen, 2012). One of the key constructs of the BCSS concept is the Persuasive Systems Design (PSD) model (Oinas‐Kukkonen and Harjumaa, 2009) which can be used to analyse the persuasive potential of the system. It is a framework which discusses the process of designing and evaluating persuasive systems, i.e. systems designed for changing users’ attitudes, behaviour or both. This study describes experiences from two health‐related system design cases. The objective of both of these systems is to deliver an intervention which seeks to make positive change in the health behaviour of the users. Case 1 involves a fall risk assessment and fall prevention system to deliver an intervention designed to reduce fall risk. Case 2 involves an existing smartphone application designed to increase mental well‐being by teaching skills that boost psychological flexibility and mental wellness. Web‐based and mobile technologies provide opportunities for persuasive interaction and open a whole new world for delivering an intervention. Barak et al (2009) define such web‐based intervention as: “...a primarily self‐guided intervention program that is executed by means of a prescriptive online program operated through a website and used by consumers seeking health‐ and mental health–related assistance. The intervention program itself attempts to create positive change and or improve/enhance knowledge, awareness, and understanding via the provision of sound health‐related
Marja Harjumaa and Salla Muuraiskangas material and use of interactive web‐based components.” It is important to plan interventions carefully in order to ensure the information system becomes a successful intervention. The aim of this study is to investigate how the Persuasive Systems Design (PSD) model can be utilised to support the identification of persuasive aspects in the early stages of iterative, user‐centred IS development. The PSD model and a Persuasive Technology Design Canvas, which was created especially for this study based on the PSD model, were used as theoretical frameworks in both cases. The PSD model provides 28 design principles for persuasiveness under four categories: primary task, dialogue, system credibility and social support. The model was selected since it has been applied in the evaluation of the persuasiveness of information systems, but there are few reported instances where it would have been used in the design phase.
2. Background Development of personal health and wellbeing systems is often characterised by a multidisciplinary design team, customer orientation, and iterative development. In the past when traditional waterfall‐oriented process was used, it led to a long development cycle. Customers and users were very often involved only in the beginning to write the requirements and then at the end to accept the software, which did not work very well (Cohn, 2004). In agile software development methods, such as Extreme Programming and Scrum, the process is iterative and customers and users remain involved throughout the duration of the project. The benefits of this kind of approach are that it helps to prioritize the functionalities and to describe the intended behaviour of the product. (Cohn, 2004) However, when the product is designed for health behaviour change, also its persuasive aspects should be considered. There are many approaches to the design of persuasive systems. These approaches can be roughly grouped based on their focus on 1) users, 2) technology or 3) the whole design and evaluation process (i.e. holistic approaches). In a design process, it is possible and even favourable to use a combination of guidelines and principles from each approach to form a successful persuasive system. When the focus is on the users and their behaviour change processes, there are plenty of theories addressing this aspect of human behaviour. These include the Theory of Reasoned Action (Fishbein and Ajzen, 1975), Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen, 1991), Self‐efficacy Theory (Bandura, 1977) and Elaboration Likelihood Model (Petty and Cacioppo, 1986). More recent approaches include the Fogg Behaviour Model (FBM) which states that the behaviour is a product of three factors: motivation, ability and triggers (Fogg, 2009). There are also models for understanding general health behaviour, such as the Health Belief Model (also known as the Health Action Model). According to this model a person takes action to alter their health‐related behaviour for specific reasons: if they regard themselves as being susceptible to a particular condition; if they believe it to have serious consequences; if they believe that the anticipated barriers to (or costs of) taking the action are outweighted by its benefits (Strecher and Rosenstock, 1997). There are also approaches that distinguish different stages of behaviour change. They can be used for adapting the system to react in the most beneficial way in relation to the present behaviour change stage the person is in. Examples include the Transtheoretical Model which describes six stages of health behaviour change (Prochaska and Velicer, 1997). Recently, Li et al (2010) have presented a five stage process of behaviour change when people turn from passive into active behaviours. When the focus is on the technology, designing the product and its features are at the core. Most design principles and heuristics fall into this category. Fogg (2003) defines three roles for persuasive computer technology; they serve as tools, media or social actors. The Design With Intent Method provides 101 ideation cards with questions to induce ideas for the design, keeping the intent in mind (Lockton et al., 2010). Many others have also presented design principles, guidelines or strategies to design technology for behaviour change. Nawyn et al. (2006) list three types of strategies for behaviour modification: user experience strategies, activity transition strategies and proactive interface strategies.
Marja Harjumaa and Salla Muuraiskangas When the focus is on the whole process, the objective is to analyse the big picture and guide the entire process from idea creation to the final product. The approach described by Oinas‐Kukkonen and Harjumaa (2009) provides an overview of the stages in persuasive systems development. The stages include: 1) understanding the issues in the background, 2) analysing the context with its intent, event and strategy and 3) defining the software requirements using design principles. Van Gemert‐Pijnen et al. (2011) describe six principles for a participatory eHealth development process. According to these principles eHealth technology development is one that: 1) is a participatory process, 2) involves continuous evaluation cycles, 3) is intertwined with implementation, 4) changes the organization of health care, 5) should involve persuasive design techniques and 6) needs advanced methods to assess impact.
3. Research setting 3.1 Research method In order to integrate the PSD model into the systems development it was necessary to select real life practice‐ based problems where this kind of design approach was needed and to use the PSD model in them. Thus, the case research strategy was selected as the research method. The selected cases represent typical, information‐ rich cases from which it is possible to learn from the persuasive system’s development. According to Yin (2009) case study is an empirical enquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon in depth and within its real‐life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident. In case study there can be many variables of interest, it relies on multiple sources of evidence, and it benefits from the prior development of technological propositions to guide data collection and analysis. If the same study contains more than a single case, it is defined as a multiple‐case study. It can be considered that single‐ and multiple‐case designs are variants within the same methodological framework and no broad distinction is made between them. The advantage of multiple‐case designs is that they are often considered more compelling than single‐case designs. It should be noted however, that single‐case designs have their place in solving research problems related to unusual or rare cases, as an example. (Yin, 2009) The goal of the multiple‐case study was to find out how the PSD model can be utilised to support the identification of persuasive functionalities that would increase the persuasiveness of the system. Because one of the objectives of the PSD model is to show examples of how the suggested persuasive design principles can be transformed into software requirements and further implemented as actual system features (Oinas‐ Kukkonen and Harjumaa, 2009), the PSD model was applied during the user requirements analysis and concept design phases. In practise this meant that a co‐creation session was organised for the people working in the two selected cases. In a co‐creation session people work in collaboration and aim to explore potential directions and gather a wide range of perspectives in the process to be used as inspiration of the core design team (Stickdorn and Schneider 2011). The first co‐creation session was organised in November 2012 (Case 2) and the second in February 2013 (Case 1). In total nine people participated in the co‐creation sessions and they all were working as researchers in their respective projects. Their expertise ranged from psychology to engineering. The material from the co‐ creation sessions was subsequently analysed. It included the notes of the two researchers who facilitated the designs of each project, and adhesive notes which contained new functionalities envisioned by the participants during the co‐creation sessions. Individual case reports were written after the analysis and cross‐case conclusions were drawn and reported.
3.2 Case 1: Fall risk assessment and fall prevention system Case 1 is a fall risk assessment and fall prevention system for elderly care. It is called Aging in Balance system and it is aimed at preventing falls amongst older people by assessing the fall risk probability and providing a personalised care plan to reduce the likelihood of a fall. The target user group of the system includes older people, their possible carers and health care professionals (Immonen et al., 2012). The system has several components, partly grounded on existing components used by the various stakeholders developing the system together. The requirements analysis and concept design of the whole system included the creation of five scenarios for the use of the prospective system and their evaluation via focus group interviews with older people in Finland and Spain. In this study, the design work analysed is
Marja Harjumaa and Salla Muuraiskangas limited to a home exercise programme which will form part of the overall system (see Figure 1). Before the co‐ creation session one of the designers defined a preliminary list of the user requirements which was intended to describe the most important functionalities of the system.
Figure 1: The aging in balance system
3.3 Case 2: Smartphone application for mental wellbeing Case 2 is a smartphone application for learning skills related to psychological flexibility and wellbeing (Ahtinen et al., 2012). It is called Oiva and is targeted at working age people who suffer from stress and declined mental and physical well‐being. The application has been created with the cooperation of experts in psychology, user‐ centred design and technology, and it delivers an intervention program in bite‐sized daily sessions. The intervention program is based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which aims to increase psychological flexibility: “the ability to contact the present moment more fully as a conscious human being, and to change or persist in behaviour when doing so serves valued ends” (Hayes et al., 2006). The application contains four intervention modules called “paths”. Three of the paths are aimed at teaching the user the six core processes of ACT (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: The main menu of Oiva The design process had already included many iterative cycles. The initial idea of the application had been created based on a needs assessment with a multidisciplinary team, and a model of the therapy process had been created and used to define the structure of the application. ACT‐based content and exercises were adapted for the mobile phone by creating audio and video versions of exercises and abbreviating textual
Marja Harjumaa and Salla Muuraiskangas content in order to support short daily usage sessions. Users were involved in several phases of the design to ensure that the application would be easy to operate and engage them in its use across several weeks (Ahtinen et al., 2012)
4. Results 4.1 Integrating the PSD model into the development process In both Cases, the human‐centred design process was implemented according to a prototyping paradigm where ‘quick design’ occurs after a requirements analysis. It aims to represent those functionalities that will be visible to the user and leads to the construction of a prototype. The prototype is evaluated by the user and is used to refine requirements. This iterative cycle is repeated until the prototype satisfies the requirements. During the iterative process the designers are able to develop a better understanding what needs to be done (Pressman, 2000). The PSD model was integrated into the process by using it in the requirements analysis and concept design phases. In Case 1, there were no existing prototypes of the software. In Case 2, the design process was already much further advanced. There was an existing prototype, a smartphone application, which already had the basic functionality implemented and it was under validation in randomized controlled trials to prove the effectiveness of the intervention when delivered via the mobile channel. Figure 3 describes the development processes of the two Cases (darker colours represent the completed phases).
Figure 3: Development processes of cases 1 and 2 In this study the PSD model was integrated into the development work by organising a co‐creation session for the people working in both of the projects. The PSD model was brought closer to practice by outlining a design canvas which aimed at facilitating the ideation work. The basic building blocks of the resulting Persuasive Technology Design Canvas are: 1) Analysis of the intention, 2) Design of the content and 3) Design of the functionalities (see Figure 4). To analyse the intention, it is useful to ask: “who, what, when, where and why”. To design the content it is useful to ask “what”, i.e. what theories, methods or assumptions the technology relies on, what kind of content is provided and what kind of content could be provided. To design the functionalities it is useful to ask: “how”, i.e. how the technology has been implemented and how the technology could be implemented. The four categories under the functionalities contain the design principles of the PSD model. The Persuasive Technology Design Canvas is not limited to any particular theoretical model of behaviour change; it can be used across many kinds of design work. At the start of both co‐creation sessions, the PSD model was introduced to the participants and the original article including detailed descriptions of the design principles was distributed to them. The Persuasive Technology Design Canvas was drawn on a large board. The researchers discussed and created a shared understanding of the intention and content of the behaviour change support system and wrote it down on the board. Then they worked independently to envision new functionalities based on the design principles and wrote their ideas on adhesive notes. In Case 2, the participants identified first the existing persuasive functionalities using the Persuasive Technology Design Canvas, and then potential future functionalities. After the participants had gone through all categories, the adhesive notes were grouped and analysed. The result
Marja Harjumaa and Salla Muuraiskangas was an affinity diagram comprised of all of the new potential functionalities that could be included in the design of the system. Analysis
3. Functionalities Primary task
Figure 4: The persuasive technology design canvas Because there was empirical material collected from a previous small‐scale field study in Case 2, this was also used to identify new functionalities and create new concept ideas for further discussion and development. This material was already analysed and reported but not published. After participants had identified existing and future persuasive functionalities with the Persuasive Technology Design Canvas, they used this empirical material to identify new functionalities and create new service concepts.
4.2 The outcome of the integrated process Material from the co‐creation sessions was analysed afterwards. The adhesive notes from Case 1 were written up and the quantity of new persuasive functionalities envisioned by the participants was compared with the quantity of persuasive functionalities in the initial user requirements document. Initially there were 15 different persuasive functionalities applying principles from three categories: 1) primary support, 2) dialogue support and 3) social support. After the co‐creation workshop there were 39 different functionalities from applying principles from the four PSD model categories (see Table 1). Adhesive notes from Case 2 were also written up and the quantity of new persuasive functionalities envisioned by the participants was compared with the quantity of the existing persuasive functionalities. Participants in the co‐creation session identified that in the current application there were 17 different persuasive functionalities applying principles from three categories: 1) primary support, 2) dialogue support and 3) credibility support. After the co‐creation workshop there were 27 different functionalities applying principles from the four PSD model categories (see Table 1). In addition, dozens of new ideas were identified based on the empirical data. These included not only new requirements but also improvement ideas and service concepts. Overlapping items were removed in both Cases. Table 1: Quantity of the persuasive functionalities before and after the co‐creation session Case one Case two
Before 15 17
After 39 27
Increase 160 % 60 %
4.2.1 Case 1: Fall risk assessment and fall prevention system: persuasive functionalities In Case 1 the basic functionality of the personalised training program had many similarities with the initial user requirements, which had been defined earlier. It was expected that a personalised training programme with goal‐setting, self‐monitoring and feedback features would motivate older users to exercise and thus, the likelihood of fall would be reduced. A concrete plan and schedule of performing the intended balance exercises should be provided for the users and they should be reminded at opportune moments to perform the exercises. The system should offer instructions for how to perform the intended behaviour in practice, provide motivational information related to the exercises and give positive feedback when users reached their goals. As a consequence of using the PSD model new functionalities were identified. It was discovered that simulations of the consequences of exercising (or not exercising) should be used to increase exercise
Marja Harjumaa and Salla Muuraiskangas motivation. The system should provide links to external websites providing useful and trustworthy information. It was also found that the exercise instructions should adapt over time as users would require more challenging exercises. Regarding the four categories within the PSD model, the credibility and social support categories were the least taken into account in the initial user requirements. It was found that the system should provide information about the validity of the training program, show third party endorsements and logos in order to increase the credibility. The end‐users should be provided an opportunity to send feedback to the developers of the solution. The potential for including group functionalities was recognised to be important, although in the first phase the system was targeted for individuals. End‐users could have a club, as they might in real life, and they should have shared goals. The system should monitor the group’s progress and give feedback accordingly. Club members should have an opportunity to send suggestions about useful exercises to other club members, discuss with the others, share their exercises with the others, have public recognition of their achievements, know when the others are performing their exercises, and to volunteer to help others to achieve their goals. New, non‐functional requirements were also identified in addition to the persuasive functionalities mentioned above. To list a few, the system should be error free, easy to use, and the user interface should be “pleasant and credible looking” from an older person’s viewpoint. Although one of the postulates of the PSD model states that the system should aim at being both useful and easy to use (Oinas‐Kukkonen and Harjumaa 2009), these aspects are general software qualities and not specific to persuasive systems only. 4.2.2 Case 2: Smartphone application for mental wellbeing: persuasive functionalities In Case 2, the existing application already followed many persuasion principles. It provided thorough opportunities to rehearsal, which can enable people to change their attitudes or behaviour. Exercises were in both textual and audio format and users had self‐monitoring potential through keeping a diary and activity log showing how many exercises were carried out. It suggested a program, “a path”, to follow, had reminders of exercises, and reduced barriers to the user performing the exercises when compared for example to a book with written instructions. It provided expertise by showing video presentations by a real therapist and stated the evidence‐based theory behind the application. It motivated users by giving a virtual reward for performing an exercise. As a consequence of using the PSD model, new functionalities were identified. The system should provide feedback on the user’s progress with regards to their goals, skills and committed actions. It should also give recognition via praise for performing the target behaviour. The system should adopt the role of a therapist, or virtual coach, who is always available to help. The content should be tailored to the interests and needs of the user, and the users should be provided with testimonials from other users who have been helped by using the application. Many of the functionalities related to creating a more engaging user experience, such as providing a more attractive look and feel. The system should also provide opportunities to rehearse difficult situations in role play and provide animations, pictures or mini movies to emphasize of the benefits of the exercises. Similarly to Case 1, the credibility and social support categories of the PSD model were the least taken into account in the existing design. To increase credibility, the system should provide information on who provides the application, evidence of the effectiveness of the therapy method, third party endorsements and logos as well as the means to verify the accuracy of the content. Regarding “social functionalities” it was discovered early in the design session that although it is possible to identify them, they might not be applicable in the context of mental wellbeing. As an example, “competing with others in performing exercises” is not useful, but on the other hand, it could be useful to provide opportunities to follow other users’ progress at some level, because this might encourage people to perform their own exercises. In Case 2, new improvement ideas and functionalities were identified also based on the empirical material collected from a previous study. Many of them concerned ways to better integrate the solution into the everyday lives of the users, where a typical barrier amongst the field trial users was being too busy to carry out the exercises. Similarly to the requirements gathered using the PSD model, the need for a virtual coach and a more engaging user experience were suggested. While the principles of the social support category were not
Marja Harjumaa and Salla Muuraiskangas earlier considered especially applicable, it was identified that supporting communication or sharing exercises with friends and family could be useful.
4.3 Observations from the process When participants began the co‐creation session looking at the definition of intention, it was found that the intention part of the Persuasive Technology Design Canvas was not self‐explanatory. One participant commented that there can be different kinds of intentions, such as theory‐driven or more practical ones, and it was not clear what was meant in the Canvas. In persuasive design, ‘intention’ refers less to the ‘design objectives’ in general, than to a focus on the intent to change attitudes or behaviours. Fogg (1998) has stated that persuasion requires intentionality, i.e. intent to change attitudes or behaviours. It was observed that the PSD model was more useful in Case 1 than Case 2, which may be due to the fact that in Case 1 the participants had less understanding and experience of the users and use context and thus, the participants were more open to new ideas. In Case 2, the designers had already had frequent contacts with the potential end‐users and were armed with findings from a prior field trial, and thus, their experience was more evident when making comparisons using the PSD model. In both Cases it was observed that some principles were overlapping, and participants found these somewhat confusing. They also commented that there were many principles in credibility and social support categories that overlapped. In both Cases participants doubted the efficacy of virtual rewards. They stated that improvements in health are the best motivation for continuing the suggested behaviours and the system should make these improvements more obvious, e.g. by providing more personalised feedback rather than virtual rewards or praise. In Case 2 it was identified that the application could provide more guidance, but it was difficult to include this in any of the four categories of the PSD model. The ability to adapt was also considered to be important for the persuasiveness of the system, but it was difficult to find a corresponding principle from the PSD model.
5. Discussion and conclusions The aim of this study was to investigate how the Persuasive Systems Design (PSD) model can be utilised to support the identification of persuasive aspects in the early stages of iterative, user‐centred IS development. It was integrated into the development process by using it in the requirements analysis and concept design phases through organising a co‐creation session where a Persuasive Technology Design Canvas was used. It was found that where the PSD model was utilized, participants of the co‐creation sessions were able to identify more persuasive functionalities compared to their existing preliminary user requirements or designs. The most important result is, however, the increased awareness of the features needed to accomplish a personal health and wellbeing system that changes users’ behaviour. The earlier the different requirements are identified and communicated to the development team the easier and cheaper it is to integrate them into the final system. This study has some limitations. Although the research approach was a multiple‐case study and thus, the study was once replicated, it is not guaranteed that the use of the PSD model would lead to a larger set of persuasive functionalities in every case. The scope of the project and the characteristics of the workshop participants might influence on the results as well as the starting point where the process outcome is compared. Also, it is important to remember that adding persuasive functionalities to a system does not make it automatically persuasive. According to Fogg (1998) actually the “persuasive nature of a computer does not reside with the object itself; instead, a computer being classified as ‘persuasive’ depends on the context of creation, distribution, and adoption”. The PSD model does not suggest what kind of content is provided for the users or what kind of value will be created as a consequence of system use, which is also important to consider in the design. Thus, the customers and users should still be involved throughout the duration of the project. This study contributes to the IS field by demonstrating how persuasiveness can be built into systems. It also specified the purpose of the PSD model; it clearly helps to identify new requirements for persuasive systems.
Marja Harjumaa and Salla Muuraiskangas
Acknowledgments We want to thank our colleagues who took part in the co‐creation sessions, people who kindly provided their comments to the manuscript, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation and AAL JP for financially supporting this research.
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Communications Management in Scrum Projects Vered Holzmann and Ilanit Panizel Faculty of Management of Technology, Holon institute of Technology ‐ HIT, Holon, Israel email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract: The last decade is characterized, in many IT companies, by changing the system development life cycle methodology from the classical waterfall or prototype methods to the agile methodology of development. The agile methodology, developed in the beginning of 2000's, encourages the development of working software within a defined framework, while accepting changes and keeping the customer involved during the whole project. The present paper examines the relationship between the project management‐customer's communication and the project success. The agile software development methodology was introduced in February 2001, when the Agile Manifesto was conceived, based on four values: (1) Individuals and interactions over processes and tools; (2) Working software over comprehensive documentation; (3) Customer collaboration over contract negotiation; and (4) Responding to change over following a plan. The scrum model for developing software applies the agile values and methodology while presenting a framework, terminology, roles and ceremonies to perform successful projects. The core roles include the development team, the scrum master, and the product owner who represents the customer and the users. Effective communication with the various stakeholders in a scrum project, aimed to develop a new product or software, is essential. The scrum method defines a series of sprints, of two to four weeks, in which the team performs the tasks to be completed. The current paper presents a quantitative research, where 61 managers and customers of IT scrum projects, answered a reliable questionnaire. The study investigated the perceived success of agile projects as measured by meeting schedule, budget and performance requirements, as well as customer satisfaction and long term achievements such as business objectives and development of core competencies. Findings reveal that effective communication is a dominant factor in a success scrum project. Furthermore, the communications with the customer was characterized by the following items: face‐to‐face conversations, telephone and email correspondences, and accepting changes following conversations with the customer. Analysis of the virtual communication tools effectiveness shows that although the project team members are satisfied with the use of these communication media tools, the tools are usually not evaluated on an economical basis but rather based on a convenience of use. The study highlights the importance of communications management in IT project management as applied these days. Professionals and project managers should be aware to the impact of effective communications on the project success and to be able to identify the weak areas in their arena of communications. Keywords: communications management; agile; scrum; project management; project success
1. Introduction Information Technology (IT) companies tend to change the methodology of developing new products, from the well‐established and known waterfall methodology, which was introduced in the 1970's by Winston Royce (1970), to a dynamic approach that fits to the short, intensive product life cycle of the 21st century. In 2001 the agile software development approach was form, based on the understanding that the current software and information technology industry is energetic and changing as opposed to the solid known industry of construction and engineering. The agile approach is focused on developing, within a defined short timeframe, a quality product that is aligned with the changing requirements, while considering the customer's needs and preferences and maintaining effective and open communication with the customer. The methodology is based on four values: (1) Individuals and interactions over processes and tools; (2) Working software over comprehensive documentation; (3) Customer collaboration over contract negotiation; and (4) Responding to change over following a plan. Communications management is a core concept in agile because it is required to communicate with the customer and with the project team throughout the project in order to achieve the best product, therefore to achieve project success. Several studies examined waterfall vs. agile project management over the years. They report that waterfall teams invested more time in documentation while agile teams coded and documented design. They also found that short duration projects with small development teams achieve similar results although worked with different methodologies. However, all these studies support the identification of communications and coordination as a key success factor in software development projects (Feng & Sedano, 2011; Tsun & Dac‐Buu, 2008; Andersen et al., 2006).
Vered Holzmann and Ilanit Panizel The current study aims to explore the relationship between the project management‐customer's communication and the project success. It is focused on investigating IT projects, developing software based on the agile methodology. We investigated the perceived success of agile projects as measured by meeting schedule, budget and performance requirements, as well as customer satisfaction and long term achievements such as business objectives and development of core competencies. The research independent variable is a composed variable which represents the perceived communications. The following part reviews the communication processes in general and its implementation in agile projects in particular. The next part describes the study method, including the sample and the questionnaire which was used to collect data. Then, the research findings are presented and the paper is concludes with recommendations and directions for future research.
2. Project communications management "Communication" is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as "the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium . . . means of sending or receiving information, such as telephone lines or computers. . ." The communication is an interpersonal process that enables the transmission of messages, ideas, and meanings between persons. In the 1940s the communication researcher, Harold Laswell, presented a basic model which divides the communication process into five major components: the sender, the message, the channel, the receiver, and the outcome of the process. The basic model, based on the mechanistic approach, emphasized the technical aspect of the communication process. The model’s foremost shortcoming was that it represented a one‐direction transfer of information, and neglected the two‐direction, circular, characteristic of communication process. In 1949, Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver presented an advanced communication model, based on the model presented by Laswell (Shannon & Weaver, 1963). The new model introduced feedback as an additional important component of communication, which enriched the basic model by converting it to two‐direction, circular, process presentation. This communication model is presented in the following exhibit.
Noise . . .
Figure 1: Basic communication model The elements presented in the model include: sender/receiver, message, channel, encoding/decoding, feedback, and noise (Gibson et al., 1991). The Sender refers to the individual who initiate the communication process. The Receiver typically refers to the individual who accept the message and acts as the message’s destination. The sender and the receiver may change their roles during the communication process. Message typically refers to the verbal and nonverbal signals that conveyed by each communicator in the communication process. Channel is the vehicle or the medium by which the message is transferred. Encoding is the procedure of encryption of the message into common symbols and signs. Decoding refer to the procedure of interpretation of symbols and signs while giving them meaning. Feedback creates a two‐directional, circular, process in which the receiver approves he received the message and ensure he assign it the right meaning. And the Noise refers to any barrier that may interrupt the message exchange process and cause to a communication failure. Hartley (2001) elaborates on interpersonal communication where face‐to‐face communication between two people is not mediated by any medium or channel; it includes only a small number of participants who are physically close to each other, which enable them to maintain eye contact and immediate response. In this type of communication both parties can express themselves actively and they can provide verbal and nonverbal feedback. Interpersonal communication is considered to be a "rich" communication channel to transfer the message as it facilitates understanding by receiving an immediate and multi‐layers feedback that improves software team work. Huang, Kahai, & Jestice (2010) investigated decision‐making in virtual teams
Vered Holzmann and Ilanit Panizel and found that leadership depends on media richness, where richer communication takes less time and improves trust among the project team members. These findings are supported by another study, by Purdy, Nye & Balakrishnan (2000) who compared four communication channels for negotiation and found that media richness affects required bargaining time, outcome satisfaction and the desire for future negotiation interaction. Therefore, interpersonal communication is preferred to other communication channels such as written documents, videoconferences, telephone conversations, and computer‐mediated communications (& Daft & Langel, 1988; Downs & Adrian, 2004).
3. Agile project communications The main processes in any development project are concept and requirements analysis, architecture design, detailed design, coding, debugging, testing, installation, and maintenance. The traditional waterfall model is based on sequential progress where the beginning of one stage depends on the completion of previous stage and on the documentation that was produced during the former stage. However, this long‐established approach was found, at least in several cases, insufficient for the dynamic technological environment. Therefore, in 2001, the agile methodology was developed by a group of software projects professionals (Rossberg, 2008; Sliger & Broderick, 2008). The four basic values of the software agile approach are: (1) Individuals and interactions over processes and tools; (2) Working software over comprehensive documentation; (3) Customer collaboration over contract negotiation; and (4) Responding to change over following a plan. The agile manifesto was published in 2001 to define the guidelines and principles, as presented in the following exhibit. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.
Customer satisfaction by rapid delivery of useful software Welcome changing requirements, even late in development Working software is delivered frequently (weeks rather than months) Working software is the principal measure of progress Sustainable development, able to maintain a constant pace Close, daily cooperation between business people and developers Face‐to‐face conversation is the best form of communication (co‐location) Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done—is essential Self‐organizing teams Regular adaptation to changing circumstances
Figure 2: The 12 principles of the agile manifesto These principles direct the agile project team to work with the understanding that customer satisfaction is the highest target and the software should be delivered as working product as soon as possible. The team accepts changes as they improve the final product and make it more suitable for the customer’s needs. Three of the manifest principles deal with communications, cooperation and collaboration, and are aimed to support a creative and effective environment. The agile approach laid the foundations for several models of software development, when the most popular are XP (Extreme Programming) and Scrum (Leffingwell, 2007; Shore & Warden, 2008). The Scrum, which is the focus of the current study, is an iterative, incremental and rapid process for software project management. The process starts with a vision of the software system, which is later defined by the Product Owner, who is responsible to maximize the ROI (Return on Investment), into a Product Backlog. The Product Backlog includes a list of requirements, ordered by priority. The work is progressed by sprints, where each sprint is an iteration of 1 to 3 weeks. Each sprint starts with a sprint planning meeting where the Product Owner describes the vision and the backlog tasks to the Team, and the Team replies with an estimation of what can be completed within the sprint timeframe. Every day during the sprint, the Team meets for a Daily Scrum meeting, which is a 15 minutes gathering where each team member answers three questions: (1) what have you done since the last Daily Scrum meeting? (2) What do you plan to do until the next Daily Scrum meeting? and (3) What
Vered Holzmann and Ilanit Panizel impediments interfere in your work and limit you from meeting your commitments? This meeting is administered by the Scrum Master who is responsible to remove all impediments and enable effective work by the Team. The Sprint ends with a Sprint Review meeting where the Team presents what was developed. They conduct a Retrospective meeting that is dedicated to lessons learned (Schwaber, 2004; Rossberg, 2008). The following diagram represents the Scrum process.
Figure 3: The Scrum Skeleton (Rossberg, 2008) The Scrum Team usually includes 5 to 9 members from various professions. In order to complete all the backlog tasks within the defined schedule, i.e., during the Sprint, the Scrum Team should work efficiently and effectively. These professionals are skilled, experienced and responsible workers. They collaborate as a coherent team that takes responsibility on the project success or failure. Therefore, communications in an agile team is a core competence. The need to exchange information in an agile project is crucial as the closure of one task serves as inputs for the next task and the intensive work processes require accuracy, completeness, and openness. Management of successful agile projects includes a communications plan that details the communication processes between the team and the customer. As the relationship with the customer is established on trust and understanding, changes are welcome throughout the development process and the final product is delivered to the customer’s satisfaction. An effective communication plan includes answers to what should be communicated, to whom, when, and how. It aims to coordinate expectations, thus makes the customer a partner in any decision making process in the project (Craig, 2004).
4. The study method In the current research we investigated the following two hypotheses:
There is a positive correlation between the communications with the project’s customer and the project success.
There is a positive correlation between the communication richness and the project success.
The data was collected by an Internet anonymous questionnaire, which was sent to 100 professionals. The questionnaire was distributed to project manages and other stakeholders involved in agile software development projects, that are executed based on the Scrum model. The sample includes 56 respondents who are experienced software project managers, team managers, and subcontractors in Scrum projects. The questionnaire was composed of three sections. Section A: Communication characteristics, which deals with mediums and timing of communication between the team and the customer; Section B: Project success, which evaluates the perceived success of the project; Section C: Project characteristics, which provides informative data regarding the project and the management style. It included statements on a Likert scale of 1‐6, where 1 stands for do not agree and 6 stands for totally agree, as recommended by Chomeya (2010), to which the respondents were asked to provide their perception regarding a specific Scrum project.
Vered Holzmann and Ilanit Panizel Table 1: The research questionnaire Do Not Agree Section A: Communication characteristics 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Totally Agree 3
The information is documented in a way that all the project stakeholders can read it. The customer is updated with all relevant project’s aspects We can talk freely with the customer about any issue Management meetings are taking place as planned The customer is present at every status meeting The customer is involved in the decision making process We communicate with the customer by face-to-face meetings We communicate with the customer by mail/phone conversations The project has a dedicated portal The customer has an access to all project information layers The customer is totally involved in the project planning The customer is totally involved in the project tracking and control The customer asks for changes after joint meetings The customer asks for changes after mail correspondence or phone conversations The customer provides ongoing feedback throughout the project Customer’s changes requests are welcome by the project team The customer approves change requests before development progress The customer approves acceptance of version before a new version is developed Do Not Agree
Section B: Project Success 1 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
The project meets its schedule plan The project meets its scope plan The project meets its budget plan The project team is responsive for any change request The customer is satisfied with the project’s results The project contributes to the team development The project team is satisfied with the project’s results The project contributes to the organization’s business objectives The project improves the organization’s technological capabilities The organization management is satisfied with the project’s results The final product satisfies the customer’s needs
Section C: Project Characteristics Number of team members: 1-5 / 6-10 / 11-30 / 30-50 / over 50 Project Budget: Less than $100k / $100k-$500k / $500k-$2M / $2M-$10M / over $10M Project Duration: Less than 3 months / 3-6 months / 6-12 months / 1-2 years / over 2 years Geographical dispersion of project team: local / country / global Project Technology: extend an existing product line / replicate a product / develop a new product with existing platform / develop a new product new platform / upgrade an existing product / develop new technology Development model: XP / Scrum / Spiral / Prototype / other Your position in the project: Project Manager / Project Officer Master Team member / Other
/ Product Owner
Vered Holzmann and Ilanit Panizel The questionnaire was validated by two professional experts and two academic researchers who evaluated the relevance and the explicitly of each question on a scale of 1‐6, where 1 stands for irrelevant/not‐clear at all and 6 stands for very relevant/very clear. The following table summarizes the average values for each of the evaluators’ assessments regarding the questionnaire. Table 2: Inter‐judge questionnaire assessment Judge Number 1 2 3 4 Average
Average Relevance Assessment 5.59 4.62 5.34 5.42 5.24
Average Explicity Assessment 4.42 5.42 5.88 5.75 5.36
The questionnaire’s reliability was tested by Alpha Cronbach. The overall questionnaire reliability coefficient is 0.807, which is considered to be sufficient for social sciences studies (Bland & Altman, 1997).
5. Research findings and results The questionnaire respondents are project managers and team members as displayed in the following chart.
Figure 4: Respondents’ distribution by position and project duation The above data reveals that 50% (28) of the respondents represent relatively long period scrum projects of 1‐2 years, and the majority of respondents are project managers (35, 62.5%). The research major variables are project communication and project success. The project communication was calculated by weighting 4 questions with 15% each, as the literature indicated that these are the most important issues regarding customer communications (questions 7,8,13,14), and 14 questions with 2.85% each, as these are indications of indirect assessment of the communication. The project success variable was calculated by weighting 3 questions with 20% each, as the literature indicated that these are well‐established basic parameters to evaluate project success (questions 19,20,21), and 8 questions with 5% each, as these are indications of indirect assessment of the project success. The research hypotheses were tested using the Pearson correlation coefficient to measure the linear dependence between the research variables. The results are presented. Table 3: Project communication and project success
Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N
**Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2‐tailed). * Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2‐tailed).
Project Success ** .564 .000 56
Vered Holzmann and Ilanit Panizel Table 5: Face‐to‐face communication and project success Project Success ** Pearson Correlation .603 Sig. (2-tailed) .000 N 56
**Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2‐tailed). * Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2‐tailed). Table 6: Face‐to‐face communication and project schedule, budget and scope
Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N
The project meets its schedule plan ** .517
The project meets its budget plan .233
The project meets its scope plan * .278
The results reveal that there is a positive correlation between project communication and project success, and that this relationship is gets stronger when the communication is richer, i.e., it is based on face‐to–face.
6. Discussion and conclusions One of the four values in agile software development projects concerns a continuous and effective collaborative relationship with the customer. Sliger & Broderick (2008) explain that this relationship enables the project team to accept frequent changes and implement them successfully, which eventually leads to a successful project. The importance of effective communication between the agile project team and the project customer was confirmed by the results of the current study, and it is aligned with previous studies (Cockburn & Highsmith, 2001; Tengshe & Noble, 2007; Chow & Cao, 2008). Although the correlation between project communication and project success was found to be significantly positive (0.564) and stronger when regarding face‐to‐face communication (0.603), it should be noted these results are moderate. A possible explanation would be that there are intervening variables that were not measured in the current research. Therefore, future study should evaluate the impact or the relationship of additional factors such as organization and team culture, and project and product complexity. The agile approach is focused on delivering a working product that the customer needs and evaluates (Schwaber, 2004). Thus, Tengshe & Noble (2007) argue that customer communication processes including timing and channels of communication should be defined in order to achieve customer satisfaction. In a successful project, the customer is a partner that takes active part in creating the vision and in making decisions. This study was limited by the small number of respondents and their experience in specific type of agile projects. Further research that will be based on massive data collected from an array of agile projects, including scrum model and XP model, will provide sustainable infrastructure for analysis. In addition, although measurement of communication is not an easy task, we recommend on developing more precise technique to assess different communication factors. The question of how to implement the agile methodology in software projects is present in many IT organizations, especially when managers have to consider how to justify extremely expensive customized software like SA, Oracle an s on. We believe that effective communication is a key success factor in any project and especially in agile software development project and as soon as we will be able to provide specific guidelines for effective communication, we will be able to guarantee project success.
References Andersen, E, Birchall, D., Jessen, S. & Money, A. (2006) Exploring project success. Baltic Journal of Management, 1(2), 127‐ 147. Bland, J.M., & Altman, D.G. (1997) Statistics Notes: Cronbach's Alpha. BMJ 1997; V.314:572
Vered Holzmann and Ilanit Panizel Chomeya, R. (2010) Quality of psychology test between Likert scale 5 and 6 points. Journal of Social Science, 6(3):399‐403. Chow, T. & Cao, D. B. (2008) A survey study of critical success factors in agile software projects, Journal of Systems and Software, 81(6), 961‐971. Cockburn, A., & Highsmith, J. (2001) Agile software development, the people factor. Computer, 34(11), 131‐133. Craig, L. (2004) Agile and Iterative Development: A Manager's Guide .Addison‐Wesley Boston, MA. Downs, C. W., & Adrian, A. D. (2004) Assessing Organizational Communication: Startegic Communication Audits, Guilford Press, New York, NY. Feng J., & Sedano, T. (2011) Comparing extreme programming and waterfall project results. Software Engineering Education and Training, 24th IEEE‐CS Conference 22‐24 May 2011, 482‐486. Gibson, L., Ivancevich, M., & Donnelly, H. (1991) Organizations: Behavior, Structure, Processes, Business Publications, Plano, Texas. Hartley, P. (2001) Interpersonal Communication 2nd ed., Taylor & Francis e‐Library, New York, NY. Huang, R., Kahai, S., & Jestice, R. (2010) The contingent effects of leadership on team collaboration in virtual teams . Computers in Human Behavior, 26(5), 1098–1110. Leffingwell, D. (2007) Scaling Software Agility : Best Practices for Large Enterprises. Addison‐Wesley, Upper Saddle River, NJ. Lengel, R.H., & Daft, R.L. (1988) The selection of communication media as an executive skill Academy of Management Executive, 2(3), 225‐232. Oxford Dictionary (2013) Oxford University Press, Available at: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/communication Purdy, J.M., Nye, P., & Balakrishnan, P.V. (2000) The impact of communication media on negotiation outcomes . International Journal of Conflict Management, 11(2), 162‐187. Rossberg, J. (2008). Pro Visual Studio Team System Application Lifecycle Management .Apress, springer‐ verlag, New York, NY. Schwaber, K. (2004) Agile Project Management with Scrum. Microsoft, Redmond, WA. Shannon, C. E., & Weaver, W. (1963) The Mathematical Theory of Communication, University of Illinois Press, Urbana, Ill. Shore, J., & Warden, S. (2008) The Art of Agile Developemnt, O’reilly, Media Inc., Sebastopol, CA. Sliger, M., & Broderick, S. (2008) The Software Project Manager's Bridge to Agility .Addison‐Wesley.Pearson Education Tengshe, A., & Noble, S. (2007) Establishing the Agile PMO: Managing Variability Across Projects and Portfolios. AGILE 2007:188‐193, August 13‐17 Tsun, C., & Dac‐Buu, C. (2008) A survey study of critical success factors in agile software projects. The Journal of Systems and Software, 8(6), 961–971. Winston, W. R. (1970) "Managing the development of large software systems", Proceedings of IEEE WESCON 26 (August), 1–9.
The Development of an Introductory Theoretical Green IS Framework for Strong Environmental Sustainability in Organisations Grant Howard1 and Sam Lubbe2 1 School of Computing, University of South Africa (UNISA), Florida, South Africa 2 INF Department, North‐West University (NWU), Mafikeng, South Africa Howargr@unisa.ac.za Sam.Lubbe@nwu.ac.za Abstract: There is overwhelming scientific consensus that human activities are degrading the Earth’s environment, which is vital for human survival and well‐being. Symptoms of environmental degradation include anthropogenic climate change and global warming, loss of biodiversity, deforestation, water scarcity and pollution, air pollution, and depleted fish stocks, all of which are exacerbated by a burgeoning global human population. In response, environmental sustainability is the most feasible solution to environmental degradation. In particular, strong environmental sustainability is an imperative, and is contrasted with the other degrees of environmental sustainability, namely very weak, weak or intermediate, and very strong or absurdly strong. Strong environmental sustainability states that the waste emission rates must not exceed the environment’s waste assimilation rates; the consumption rate of renewable resources must not exceed the environment’s regeneration rates; and the depletion rate of non‐renewables must not exceed the development rates for renewable substitutes. Crucially, the concept and importance of strong environmental sustainability has not been addressed in IS literature. Particularly, organisations are responsible for much of the world’s environmental degradation, being the social structures that drive the world's economies. Nevertheless, organisations have considerable resources, technology, knowledge, global reach, motivation, power, and innovative capacity for addressing environmental degradation. Importantly, it is Information Systems (IS) that have played a pivotal role in enabling and transforming the world’s contemporary organisations and business models. Therefore, IS present considerable opportunities to enable and transform organisations for environmental sustainability; such IS are termed Green Information Systems (Green IS). Green IS include Green Information Technology (Green IT), which focuses primarily on the Information Technology (IT) life cycle. Further, Green IS present solutions to organisational environmental degradation by facilitating and producing the necessary changes for environmental sustainability. Significantly, the conceptualisation of the enabling and transforming capabilities of Green IS for strong environmental sustainability has not been exposed in IS literature. However, researchers have developed numerous Green IS and related frameworks, each with particular and significant perspectives. Notably, the existing frameworks do not address the enabling and transforming capabilities of Green IS for strong environmental sustainability in organisations. This exposes a pressing research gap which this paper sets out to address, by developing an introductory theoretical Green IS framework that conceptualises the enabling and transforming capabilities of Green IS for strong environmental sustainability in organisations. The framework also provides an explicit foundation for further theoretical elaboration and empirical research. This paper is theoretical and exploratory in nature, and employs a systematic literature review process, based on a systematic data processing approach comprised of three high‐level phases. Keywords: environmental sustainability; green computing; green information systems (Green IS); green information technology (Green IT); theoretical framework
1. Introduction The research problem is that there is no existing theory or framework that conceptualises the enabling and transforming capabilities of Green Information Systems (Green IS) for strong environmental sustainability; and this is evident in an analysis of the numerous Green IS and related frameworks that exist in the Information systems (IS) literature (Howard & Lubbe 2012). Therefore, the objective of this paper is to develop an introductory theoretical Green IS framework that conceptualises the enabling and transforming capabilities of Green IS for strong environmental sustainability in organisations. The framework also provides an explicit foundation for further theoretical elaboration and empirical research. To achieve the objective this paper introduces the salient concepts and their proposed relationships, and explains why these salient concepts and their proposed relationships are so significant. Importantly, strong environmental sustainability is a key concept and needs particular focus to contrast it with other contemporary, comparative concepts in the literature. Strong environmental sustainability is mandatory for long‐term human survival and well‐being. This paper answers the following research questions:
What is strong environmental sustainability, and why is it so important?
What are the high‐level IS capabilities for achieving strong environmental sustainability?
Grant Howard and Sam Lubbe
What high‐level moderating concepts affect the high‐level IS capabilities for achieving strong environmental sustainability?
Following this introduction, the paper continues with a methodology section that explains the research philosophy and process. Thereafter, the introductory framework is developed by explicating the salient concepts in the sections titled strong environmental sustainability, enabling and transforming capabilities of IS, environmental strategy and management, Green Information Systems (Green IS), and introductory theoretical Green IS framework. The paper ends with a conclusions section and a references section.
2. Methodology This paper is theoretical, exploratory, and philosophically based on interpretivism, which corresponds to ontology about existence being dependent on human perception and to epistemology where knowledge about existence is obtained subjectively (Lee 2004). Interpretivism supports a qualitative research approach using textual data (Newman et al. 2003); and supports information systems research focussing on organizational and managerial problems (Myers 1997). In this regard, the paper develops an introductory theoretical Green IS framework for strong environmental sustainability in organisations using quality and relevant literature produced by a systematic literature review process (Webster & Watson 2002); (Levy & Ellis 2006). A systematic literature review process is necessary to facilitate theory development; enable the advancement of knowledge; facilitate meaning from the accumulated knowledge on the research topic (Webster & Watson 2002); (Levy & Ellis 2006); uncover the key variables, relationships, theories, and phenomena (Randolph 2009); determine the extent that other researchers have addressed the research problem (Klopper & Lubbe 2011); prevent duplication and errors of previous research; and produce a rigorous and auditable literature review (Kitchenham 2004). The systematic literature review process is based on a systematic data processing approach comprised of three high‐level phases (Levy & Ellis 2006). The three high‐level phases are phase 1 or the inputs phase, phase 2 or the processing phase, and phase 3 or the outputs phase. Phase 1, the inputs phase, involves a systematic literature search strategy with the objective of uncovering a thorough and comprehensive set of relevant and appropriate literature. Phase 2, the processing phase, evaluates the opinions, theories, and established facts within the retained literature; and results in a concept‐ centric literature matrix. The concept‐centric literature matrix maps the major concepts relating to the study’s problem statement against each retained literature item (Klopper & Lubbe 2011). Phase 3, the outputs phase, is the actual written literature review, presenting critical analyses of all the literature contained in the concept‐ centric literature matrix from phase 2. Phase 3 develops the introductory theoretical Green IS framework by introducing the framework concepts; providing a descriptive representation of the framework; and explicating the relationships among the concepts (Sekaran & Bougie 2009). Notably, theoretical frameworks are conceptualisations of particular complex research phenomena, include salient concepts and their interrelationships (Levy & Ellis 2006), and enable understanding (Webster & Watson 2002).
3. Framework development 3.1 Strong environmental sustainability This discourse begins with the concept of capital; capital exists in four types, namely human capital including peoples’ capacity for work; manufactured capital including material tools; social or organisational capital including the organisations and networks that enable human capital; and ecological or natural or environmental capital that includes atmosphere, water, land, flora, fauna, and habitats (Ekins et al. 2003). Notably, natural capital performs unique environmental functions, being the sink function; the source function; the life‐support function including climate stability; and the amenity services function including open natural areas (Ekins et al. 2003). The four types of capital sustain human existence and welfare (Ekins et al. 2003). In particular, it is the maintenance of the four types of capital and their substitutability that are crucial when discussing environmental sustainability. There are four degrees of environmental sustainability based on the assumed substitutability among the capital types, these degrees are termed very weak, weak or intermediate, strong, and very strong or absurdly strong (Goodland & Daly 1996). Very weak views the different types of capital as perfect substitutes and maintains the aggregate capital only; similarly, weak maintains the aggregate
Grant Howard and Sam Lubbe capital, but has the precondition that minimum critical levels of each capital type must be maintained; in contrast, strong maintains levels of each capital type and regards the capital types as complements not substitutes; and very strong states that no capital type can be depleted in any way (Goodland & Daly 1996); (Ekins et al. 2003). Very weak environmental sustainability is not feasible (Goodland & Daly 1996), because converting all natural capital into artifacts or manufactured capital will adversely affect human welfare and survival (Goodland 1995). Likewise, very strong environmental sustainability is not feasible, because it dictates that no natural capital can be depleted in any way, which also applies to non‐renewable resources, and only net growth increments of renewable resources can be consumed (Goodland 1995); (Goodland & Daly 1996); (Ekins et al. 2003). In particular, weak environmental sustainability is problematic because it is almost impossible to define minimum critical levels of each capital type (Goodland & Daly 1996). Nonetheless, weak environmental sustainability has extensive support in the business domain (Goodland 1995), and accommodates current economic practices (Manzini et al. 2011); (Jenkin et al. 2011). Weak environmental sustainability is also termed ecological modernisation and involves combining the contradictory principles of infinite GDP or economic growth and environmental sustainability, due to the finite physical environmental limitations (Milne et al. 2006). Indeed, weak environmental sustainability promotes sustained capitalism and business at the expense of the environment (Laine 2010). Many implementations of sustainable development are characterised by weak environmental sustainability, where business‐as‐usual or small, incremental changes are promoted, while environmental degradation continues (Laine 2010); (Diedrich et al. 2011). In contrast, strong environmental sustainability illustrates the non‐substitutability of manufactured capital for all natural capital (Ekins et al. 2003); and the necessity for strong environmental sustainability is substantiated by the irrefutable scientific evidence on environmental degradation (Ekins et al. 2003). To elaborate, the fundamental principles of strong environmental sustainability indicate that the consumption rate of renewable resources cannot exceed the environmental regeneration rates; the waste emission rates cannot exceed the environmental assimilation rates (Manzini et al. 2011); and the depletion rate of non‐renewables cannot exceed the development rate for renewable substitutes (Goodland & Daly 1996). In addition, seven principles relating to the unique environmental functions guide strong environmental sustainability, these are the protection of the life‐support functions, for instance biodiversity; the prevention of destabilisation to the life‐support functions, for instance climate patterns and the ozone layer; the harvesting of renewable resources at rates that do not degrade the environment; the depletion of non‐ renewable resources at rates that are balanced with substitute development rates; the preservation of landscapes for amenity services; the adherence to the precautionary approach for emission limits; and the termination of technologies that cause lasting damage to the environment and severe damage to human health (Ekins et al. 2003). Thus, strong environmental sustainability is the only degree of environmental sustainability that protects people from the impacts of environmental degradation (Ekins et al. 2003). Strong environmental sustainability is mandatory for long‐term human survival and well‐being. However, strong environmental sustainability requires fundamental business changes as contemporary business exhibits weak environmental sustainability.
3.2 Enabling and transforming capabilities of IS From an operations perspective, IS have enabled massive productivity gains, efficiencies, and services (Watson et al. 2010); (Tambe & Hitt 2012). From a managerial perspective, IS have enabled shared understanding, planning, implementation, evaluation (Elliot 2011), monitoring, controlling, and decision making (Chen 2012). Further, IS have enabled information management for improved decision making and effectively responding to uncertainty (Aral et al. 2012); (Mithas et al. 2011). IS have enabled organisational performance (Wang et al. 2012); (Roberts et al. 2012), and organisational strategy (Grover & Kohli 2012); (Sako 2012). In addition, IS have enabled competitive advantage (Roberts & Grover 2012); (Dao et al. 2011), and innovation (Han et al. 2012); (Xue et al. 2012). Additionally, IS are viewed as one of the key factors in organisational transformation, transforming the nature of work, and transforming organisational structures (Pitt et al. 2011); (Kuo 2010). Moreover, IS have brought
Grant Howard and Sam Lubbe about organisational transformation with business digitisation, disruptive IT innovations, and cross‐ organisation and systemic effects (Besson & Rowe 2012); all of which have produced fundamental changes to business processes and practices, management structures, and even employee attitudes (Melville 2010). Further, mobile commerce (M‐commerce), Internet‐based commerce (I‐commerce), and ubiquitous commerce (U‐commerce) have profoundly changed traditional business models and strategies, and have accessed value far exceeding traditional commerce (Grover & Kohli 2012). Indeed, IS are unique in their ability to create, modify, transmit, and store information; and this uniqueness is key to any organisational transformation (Mithas et al. 2011). Thus, IS demonstrate both enabling and transforming capabilities, which are associated with fundamental business changes; and fundamental business changes are necessary for achieving strong environmental sustainability. In addition, the information component of IS is an important factor affecting such business changes.
3.3 Environmental strategy and management Organisational greening is hindered by uncertainty, ambiguity, few proven solutions and guidelines, few instant pay‐offs (Kanarattanavong & Ruenrom 2009), and complexity (Lin & Ho 2011). This necessitates innovation based on human creativity and technology (Senge et al. 2001), including information management and decision making capabilities (Herremans et al. 2009); (Hu & Bidanda 2009). Greening necessitates changing organisational routines, which constitute organisations and their operations (Berkhout et al. 2006). Notably, changing the organisational system and its decision making structures entails the development, interpretation, and dissemination of new information; and action based the new information (Hoffman 2010). Importantly, organisational greening must still conform to the current economic rules for survival, which can be a force against greening (Tzschentke et al. 2008). Strategically, organisations have responded to environmental degradation with a number of relatively similar and often overlapping approaches. Such approaches include corporate social responsibility (CSR) (Doh & Guay 2006); corporate citizenship and corporate environmental citizenship (CEC) (Özen & Küskü 2009); corporate social performance (CSP) and corporate social responsiveness (Doh & Guay 2006); corporate sustainable development (CSD) (Chow & Chen 2012); triple bottom line (Carter et al. 2009); the natural step, the ecological footprint, sustainable emissions and resource usage (Berthon et al. 2011); environmental social responsibility (ESR) (Siegel 2009); corporate sustainability (CS) (Dyllick & Hockerts 2002); (Harmon & Demirkan 2011); corporate ecological responsiveness (Bansal & Roth 2000); and ecologically sustainable development (ESD) (Bergmiller & McCright 2009). In addition, environmental management is part of corporate responsibility (Walker et al. 2007), and environmental commitment is illustrated by the development of environmental policies, which form the basis for environmental management systems (EMSs) (Roy et al. 2001). An EMS involves all the management activities of an organisation’s environmental policy (Wilmshurst & Frost 2001). Further, integral to strategic environmental management is green supply chain management (GSCM) (Cai et al. 2008). Indeed, there are many and varied strategic and managerial responses to environmental degradation. Nevertheless, an organisation’s environmental strategy and management has an impact on its environmental sustainability. In addition, organisations are bound by current economics, which mandates economic value; and currently the consequence is a balancing of economic, environmental, and social objectives that produces weak environmental sustainability.
3.4 Green information systems (Green IS) There is a pressing need for Green IS to transform work systems and business practices (van Osch & Avital 2011); (Bengtsson & Ågerfalk 2011). The difficulty of solving environmental degradation necessitates new ways of technological thinking, where technology and the environment are emergent and evolving entities, and IS are an integral part of the transformation to environmental sustainability (Berthon et al. 2011). Green IS offer solutions to the highly complex problem of environmental degradation, comprised of systemically interconnected and interdependent features, by addressing the socio‐technical aspects, and by supporting bottom‐up, localised, and emergent approaches (Dwyer & Hasan 2012). Further, Green IS enable environmental sustainability to be integrated into daily operations, and positively impact compliance, costs, reputation, new products and services, and revenues (Curry et al. 2011). Green IS involve business and IS in
Grant Howard and Sam Lubbe transforming business activities and enabling sustainable business processes (Loos et al. 2011). Essentially, Green IS are enablers of environmental sustainability and agents of transformation for environmental sustainability (Ijab 2011); (Jenkin et al. 2011). Notably, Green IS facilitate the measurement of complex environmental sustainability indicators, to reduce uncertainty and risk in environmental sustainability decision making (Corbett et al. 2011); (Watson et al. 2012); (Holmström et al. 2010). However, environmental data is particularly problematic (Volkoff et al. 2011); (Moldan et al. 2011), due to their ambiguity, complexity, heterogeneous hardware and software, distributed data, inconsistent spatial and temporal scales, and inherent fuzziness and uncertainty (El‐Gayar & Fritz 2006). Green IS, being IS, possess both enabling and transforming capabilities, which are necessary for fundamental business changes and strong environmental sustainability. In addition, the environmental information quality significantly affects any Green IS.
3.5 Introductory theoretical Green IS framework The preceding sections have exposed the salient high-level concepts and their interrelationships; which form the introductory theoretical Green IS framework, shown in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1: Introductory theoretical Green IS framework Importantly, the following propositions are evident from the introductory theoretical Green IS framework:
The enabling capabilities of Green IS are positively related to the internal strong environmental sustainability or an organisation’s own strong environmental sustainability, and are further explained by or mediated by fundamental business changes.
The enabling capabilities of Green IS are positively related to the external strong environmental sustainability or the strong environmental sustainability of other external organisations and the general economy, and are further explained by or mediated by fundamental business changes.
The extant IS literature shows that the enabling capabilities of IS have facilitated major advancement and progression in organisational operations, information management, management, strategy, performance, innovation, and competitive advantage. Such advancement and progression is evident as fundamental business changes, which is a necessary manifestation of the enabling capability of IS for strong environmental sustainability. So, the enabling capability of IS improves the strong environmental sustainability of the same organisation, and of other external organisations and the general economy through the organisation’s business interactions with the other external organisations and the general economy.
The transforming capabilities of Green IS are positively related to the internal strong environmental sustainability or an organisation’s own strong environmental sustainability, and are further explained by or mediated by fundamental business changes.
Grant Howard and Sam Lubbe
The transforming capabilities of Green IS are positively related to the external strong environmental sustainability or the strong environmental sustainability of other external organisations and the general economy, and are further explained by or mediated by fundamental business changes.
The IS literature provides evidence that the transforming capability of IS has resulted in transformed organisations, such as transformed structures, strategies, boundaries, business models, processes, practices, stakeholder relationships, nature of work, and value that far exceeds traditional commerce. In today’s organisations, the transforming capability of IS produces emergent and complex fundamental business changes that often involve the Internet and the Web. Such fundamental business changes are a necessary manifestation of the transforming capability of IS for strong environmental sustainability. So, the transforming capability of IS improves the strong environmental sustainability of the same organisation, and of other external organisations and the general economy through the organisation’s business interactions with other external organisations and the general economy.
The internal strong environmental sustainability is positively related to the external strong environmental sustainability and vice versa.
It is proposed that where an organisation’s strong environmental sustainability has been improved by the enabling and/or transforming capabilities of IS then the strong environmental sustainability of other external organisations and the general economy will also be improved, and vice versa. It is expected that at least some of any internal improved strong environmental sustainability will affect the external, and vice versa, instead of none.
Environmental strategy and management affect or moderate the relationships between the enabling and transforming capabilities of Green IS and the internal and external strong environmental sustainability.
The environmental strategy and management of each organisation influences the allocation of resources and the direction of activities, including an organisation’s IS. Therefore, an organisation’s environmental strategy and management affect or moderate the relationships between the enabling and transforming capabilities of Green IS and the internal and external strong environmental sustainability. Environmental information quality affects or moderates the relationships between the enabling and transforming capabilities of Green IS and the internal and external strong environmental sustainability. Information is core to IS, so the quality of the information influences any IS and influences its effect on an organisation. Given that environmental information can be particularly ambiguous, complex, uncertain, and fuzzy; the environmental information quality has a moderating effect on the relationships between the enabling and transforming capabilities of Green IS and the internal and external strong environmental sustainability. Economic value affects or moderates the relationships between the enabling and transforming capabilities of Green IS and the internal and external strong environmental sustainability. Corporate organisation’s must produce economic value or perish, this is mandatory. Such economic value occurs in the form of current or expected financial benefits. This imperative also applies to business changes within organisations, and therefore, economic value affects or moderates the relationships between the enabling and transforming capabilities of Green IS and the internal and external strong environmental sustainability.
4. Conclusion This paper makes an original contribution to the academic body of knowledge by addressing a research gap with the development of an introductory theoretical Green IS framework that conceptualises the enabling and transforming capabilities of Green IS for strong environmental sustainability in organisations. In addition the paper provides an explicit foundation for further theoretical elaboration and empirical research. Additionally, the research questions have been answered by explicating strong environmental sustainability and its importance; by exposing the high‐level enabling and transforming IS capabilities for achieving strong environmental sustainability; and by explaining the high‐level moderating concepts that affect the high‐level IS capabilities for achieving strong environmental sustainability, namely environmental strategy and management, environmental information quality, and economic value. Notably, the introductory theoretical Green IS framework functions as a descriptive framework as it is internally consistent, parsimonious, and covers the domain; as an analytical framework as its establishes a foundation for further empirical research; and as a prescriptive or normative framework as it provides salient focal points for management concerning the enabling and transforming capabilities of Green IS for strong environmental sustainability (Bensaou &
Grant Howard and Sam Lubbe Venkatraman 1996). For academics, the introductory theoretical Green IS framework elucidates the significant high‐level concepts and their interrelationships for subsequent elaboration and operationalization into measurable research variables and hypotheses. A limitation of this study is the introductory nature of the framework and the lack of empirical organisational data for verification; however, these limitations provide valuable research opportunities.
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Functional Consultants’ Role in Enterprise Systems Implementations Przemysław Lech University of Gdańsk, Faculty of Management, Poland Przemyslaw.Lech@lst.com.pl Abstract: Although Enterprise Systems (ES) implementations (and formerly Enterprise Resource Planning systems) literature is extremely wide, most of it takes the perspective of the implementing organization and its employees: project managers, key‐users and users. The fact that one of the possible ways of conducting such a complicated, time and money consuming project is to use functional consultants is largely omitted and therefore the role of these consultants in the ES implementation projects is not yet well discovered. This paper explores the role of functional consultants by analysing the detailed lists of activities, performed by them in five projects, led by five different consulting enterprises. The analysis of project documentation, followed by coding resulted in a consistent task list in each of the project phases as well as its assignment to one of the project participants: consultants or implementing company. Generalization of this list allowed for the formulation of the conclusions on the consultants’ role in the analysed projects. Keywords: enterprise systems, ERP, implementation, project, consultants
1. Introduction Enterprise Systems (ES) were formerly identified with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications (Davenport, 1998; Sedera and Gable, 2010). Rosemann (1999) defines an ERP system as ‘a customizable, standard application software which includes integrated business solutions for the core processes (e.g., production planning and control, warehouse management) and the main administrative functions (e.g., accounting, human resource management) of an enterprise.’ These systems have evolved into application suites, including ERP, CRM, Business Intelligence, Workflow, Content Management and other functionalities, which are required to support information and workflow in organizations. Generalizing the above definition, one can state that an Enterprise System is a standard, customizable application suite that includes integrated business solutions for the major business processes of an enterprise, with the ERP system remaining the central component of this suite. Enterprise Systems are the backbone of most global manufacturing and service enterprises (Muscatello and Chen, 2008) and they continue to draw attention of the researchers. Though ES is a popular piece of business software, its implementation failure rate is constantly high (Aloini et al., 2007; Wu et al., 2007; Poba‐Nzao et al., 2008). This fact has yielded much research on Enterprise Systems’ implementation summarized in ERP literature reviews like the one by Esteves and Bohorquez, 2007. Majority of this research, however, takes only the perspective of the organisation that adopts the new Enterprise System, while the classic project setup involves three stakeholders: the adopting organisation, the system vendor and the consultants that perform the implementation (Haines and Goodhue 2003, Koch and Mitlöhner 2010, Lech 2011, Simon et al. 2010, Vilpola 2008, Wang and Chen 2006). The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of the consultants by analysing the activities they perform in Enterprise Systems implementations.
2. The role of consultants in an Enterprise System implementation project – literature review Enterprise Systems are a complicated component of business software, which affects most of a company’s busines processess and takes from half a year to several years to implement. To succesfully complete such an implementation a specialised knowledge of the system (product knowledge) is needed. Combined with the company‐specific knowledge (Chan and Rosemann 2001) and other knowledge types, it allows to obtain the final outcome of the implementation project, which is the system configured and customized according to the requirements of a specific organization (Esteves et al. 2003). As the knowledge about the system is highly specialized and extensive, it should be provided by dedicated experts (Haines and Godhue 2003). These experts may originate from inside the organisation if a specialised ES unit is available there or may be hired for the project from a consulting enterprise, not necessarily being the system vendor at the same time. A look at the web pages of the Tier 1 Enteprise Systems vendors SAP, Oracle and Microsoft reveals that all of these vendors maintain a partner network of independent consultancies, offering expertise in implementing the Enterprise Systems that they sell. The role of these partners, as perceived by vendors, is depicted in Table 1:
Przemysław Lech Table 1: Role of consulting partners according to corresponding ES vendors SAP Source page: http://www.sap.com/our‐ partners/index.epx “SAP partners play a critical role in helping organizations of all sizes identify, purchase and implement the ideal solution to address their unique business needs. [...] SAP partners deliver the exceptional value, purchasing choice, consultation and implementation services [...]”
Oracle Source page: http://www.oracle.com/us/solutions/ midsize/partners/index.html “Together, Oracle and our network of more than 19,000 partners provide customers around the world with industry‐leading solutions and services that address the needs of fast‐growing companies and government entities with limited budgets.”
Microsoft Source page: http://dynamics.pinpoint.microsoft. com/en‐US/home “The Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace helps you discover innovative applications and professional services from Microsoft partners worldwide.”
As it can be concluded from Table 1, for the systems mentioned there, the solution/service provider and the system provider tend to be the two independent entities. Therefore for Tier 1 Enterprise Systems, the typical project landscape consists of three parties (Haines and Godhue 2003; Ko et al. 2005): the adopting organisation (implementer, client), the system vendor and the consulting enterprise (consultant) that helps the adopting organisation successfully implement the system. There may be variations from this model, such as when the consulting services are delivered either by the internal IT department of the adopting organisation or by the vendor itself. In an independent setting however, the system vendor provides the ‘vanilla’ system, and the implementation project is run by the adopting organisation and the consulting enterprise. Haines and Godhue (2003) describe the interrelations between the three parties in the following way: ‘Each of these three parties contributes in different ways to the project. The implementer has the detailed knowledge of its own particular business processes, organizational context, and competitive situation, which is essential for successful implementation. The vendors provide the implementer with hardware and software and offer training programs in connection with their products. The consultants are brought into ERP implementation projects to provide additional skills, knowledge, or simply manpower that is not available at the implementer or the vendor, or is too expensive if procured from the vendor.’ Surprisingly, the involvement of consultants in an Enterprise System implementation project is emphasised only by a small number of authors (Chan and Rosemann 2001, Chang et al. 2013; Haines and Goodhue 2003; Ko et al. 2005; Lech 2011) and omitted by others. Haines and Godhue (2003) state that the large portion of a project’s cost is attributed to the consulting fees due to the fact that the implementing organization does not have the internal knowledge and skills to implement the system successfully. They mention three main roles the consultant may play in a project: the role of a project manager, role of a mentor/trainer and the role of a technical implementation assistant. The consultants’ role as a knowledge source is also stressed by Chan and Rosemann (2001). Chang et al. (2013) highlight the importance of consultants in the implementation due to breadth and complexity of the system and the one‐time nature of the project that limits the desire to invest in a permanent workforce with necessary knowledge. They state that ‘consultants provide technical and business expertise, reduce the learning burden of clients, configure appropriate ERP systems, and train users to fully exploit the technology.’ Their research concentrates on the control mechanisms imposed on consultants due to possible agency problems. The outcome controls were identified as the main control mechanism used by the client organization due to the fact that the client organization lacks knowledge on the implementation process to be able to apply behaviour controls, while both outcome and behaviour controls were applied by the consulting enterprises to control their consultants. Ko et al. (2005) state that enterprises typically use external consultants for ES implementations and in their research they concentrate on the factors affecting knowledge transfer from consultants to clients during the implementation project, while Lech (2011) studies the knowledge transfer procedures basing on ten case studies. The work split between the consultants and clients as well as activities performed by the consultants, throughout the ES implementation phases are briefly described there also. These activities include running analytical workshops, preparing the system design document, configuring the system, providing modification (customization) specifications to programmers,
Przemysław Lech testing the system (together with the adopting organisation team members) and occasionally training the end‐ users. Concluding the literature review, consultants are considered to be the necessary actor in the Enterprise System implementation project due to the fact that implementing organizations usually lack knowledge about the system to be implemented and have limited incentive to gain this knowledge internally due to non‐ repetitive character of the project. The main role of the consultants is to supply the client with the necessary system knowledge and perform the tasks, necessary to configure and customize the system according to the business needs of the customer but they may also play the role of a project manager or mentor/trainer. The Enterprise System implementation project is the constant interaction between the client’s employees and consultants, which involves, but is not limited to knowledge transfers in both directions. None of the papers cited above has considered the analysis of a consultant’s role in the project as the primary research focus and therefore the aim of this paper is to fill this gap. A role can be defined as: ‘a set of activities that are carried out by an individual or group with some organisationally relevant responsibility’ (Huckvale and Ould 1995). Therefore the main attribute that describes a role is a set of activities performed by a person or a group that holds that role. The observation of work, performed by this person or a group leads to understanding of that person’s or group’s role in the organization (Barley and Kunda 2001). Barley and Kunda (2001) also distinguish between non‐relational and relational aspects of role: relational elements of work require interpersonal interaction, while non‐relational ones do not. As it was already stated before, the Enterprise System implementation project is a complicated undertaking which requires tight cooperation between the parties involved. Therefore the study of the consultants’ role cannot be separated from its interactions with the client. The following sections present the results of the empirical study of the activities, performed during the ES implementation projects.
3. Research results 3.1 Methodology The research question posed in this paper was the following: What activities are performed by the functional consultants (and their Project Manager) during the Enterprise System implementation? Five ES implementation projects were included in the study. In one of the cases the consultants originated from the system vendor organization and in the other four, the implementation was done by the consulting enterprises independent from the vendor. Every of the five projects was done by a different consulting company. The source of evidence was project documentation, determining the task split between the client and the consultants: appendixes to the contracts and Project Charters, depending on the project. The activities’ descriptions were extracted from the documents and the coding procedure was used to form one consistent list of activities. In four projects the documentation provided lists of activities on a similar level of detail (and for the remaining one – only a general level activities were indicated). If an activity existed in more than one project, usually only slight alignment in naming was needed. The activities were grouped by project phase and general level activity. Although there are many models of the Enterprise system lifecycle available in the literature (for the overview see e.g. Soja and Paliwoda‐Pękosz 2013), all the enterprises being subject to the study used the phases definition according to the SAP ASAP methodology. This way a full list of project activities with the assignment to the responsible party was created.
3.2 Project activities analysis The results of the study are presented in Table 1 and 2. The activity was included in the list if it was detected in at least one project. Activities were divided into sub‐activities whenever possible. The frequency was assigned to lowest possible activity level (the general activity for one project in which there was no detailed information and to sub‐activities for the remaining four projects). As it was stated above, the ES implementation project is a highly interactive process which requires tight cooperation between the client and the consultants on all stages. This fact was reflected in the documentation of all the five projects: for each activity a leading and
Przemysław Lech supporting stakeholders were mentioned. The below tables show only the actors identified as leading for each activity. Table 1: Project activities divided into phases and responsibility split General activity
Project activity Sub‐activity
Preparation of the project plan Definition of project organizational structure and team formulation Preparation of project procedures
Preparation of project charter document Key users initial training Preparation of project infrastructure (rooms, computers, etc) System hardware preparation Kick‐off meeting Installation and preparation of development and test systems Preparation of system administration procedures Definition of a company structure Definition of business
Phase 1: Project preparation: 2
Responsibility (frequency) Client Consultant and client
No informatio n
Definition of project roles Implementation teams onboarding Key‐users/process owners identification and onboarding Decision‐making grant to the key users
Risk management procedures preparation Communication procedures preparation Change management procedures preparation Quality management procedures preparation Problem escalation/open items management procedure preparation Status reporting procedure preparation ‐
1 Phase 2: Business Blueprint ‐ 2
Company structure definition Company structure reflection in the system
Project activity Sub‐activity
processes Master data definition Interfaces specification Data migration specification Reports, forms (printouts) and extensions specification Authorization concept End‐users training plan Preparation of the Business Blueprint document, containing the above design items Business blueprint approval System configuration Preparation of the test environment System unit (modular) tests Development of extensions, forms, reports and interfaces Master data conversion preparation Master data migration tools preparation Integration tests Authorizations definition in the system System
Responsibility (frequency) Client Consultant and client
No informatio n
Business processes definition Business processes reflection in the system Master data definition Master data reflection in the system ‐
Definition of roles in the organization Design of authorization profiles in the system ‐
Phase 3: Realization 5 4
Test scenario template preparation Test scenarios preparation Test execution Test supervision ‐
1 1 4 3
4 4 1 ‐
‐ ‐ ‐ ‐
‐ ‐ ‐ 2
Test scenarios preparation Test execution Test supervision ‐
1 0 4 2
3 4 ‐ 2
‐ ‐ ‐ ‐
1 1 1 1
Project activity Sub‐activity
End‐users training Productive system preparation Preparation of the productive start plan Master data migration to productive system Preparation of the after go‐live support plan Productive use of system Support of daily activities Problem reporting Problem solving
Configuration documentation 3 Customization documentation 4 (for extensions, reports, interfaces, forms) End‐user manuals 4 System administration 2 procedures Phase 4: Go‐live preparation 1 3
Responsibility (frequency) Client Consultant and client
No informatio n
Master data preparation Master data input to productive system with the use of interface Manual master data input ‐
Phase 5: Go‐live and support ‐
Table 2: Cross‐phase project activities and responsibility split Project task/activity General activity Sub‐activity Project management activities Change management (scope and organizational changes)
Project status meetings Risk analysis and mitigation Steering committee meetings ‐
‐ ‐ ‐ ‐
Responsibility (frequency) Client Consultant and client ‐ 1 ‐ ‐ ‐ ‐
3 3 3 4
No information ‐ 1 1 1 1
The results will be discussed by project phase: Project preparation Project preparation is a phase which results in the final confirmation of project scope, budget and schedule (which are usually defined in the pre‐implementation phase) as well as definition of the project plan (split into phases together with the definition of products and milestones, and detailed schedule), project organisation (project sponsorship, project management, implementation teams, roles definition and assignment), and procedures (communication, risk management, change management, problem solving and escalation). The project methodology is also agreed during that phase. The product of this phase is Project Charter document, which includes all of the above mentioned items.
Przemysław Lech Two of the client companies left the preparation of the project plan to the consultants, while two others participated in the formulation of the plan (in one project there was no information regarding project plan preparation). As the consultants have experience from previous, similar projects and possess knowledge on the implementation methodology, they play the leading role in the preparation of the project plan, although the input from the client organization, regarding specific circumstances, that may alter standard approach is also necessary. The definition of project organizational structure and team formulation was done together by the clients and consultants. The detailed information on the task split for this activity is available from four projects. Definition of project roles was done by the consultants in three out of four cases. As the knowledge on what has to be done to successfully implement the system is possessed by the consultants it is justified to assign this task to them. The client had to identify the team members for each role, taking into consideration the necessary knowledge and decision‐making power. Preparation of the project procedures was done mostly by the consultants, who also performed the key user trainings. Clients were responsible for the preparation of the technical infrastructure for the project. Summing up, during the project preparation phase the consultants were responsible for the supply of the project methodology and knowledge from previous projects, which was codified in the form of project plan, organizational structure, and procedures. They were also responsible for the initial knowledge transfer regarding the system in the form of key‐users training. Business Blueprint During the Business Blueprint phase the detailed analysis of business processes and requirements is made by the consultants, who later design the way these requirements will be reflected in the system. The main outcome is the Business Blueprint document, including the definition of system configuration, as well as RICEF (reports, interfaces, conversions, extensions and forms). The main activities in this phase are related to the company‐specific knowledge transfer from the clients to consultants, who ‘translate’ this knowledge into the system design. The clients were responsible for the company structure, business processes and master data definition. Later the consultants designed how the company structure, business processes and master data will be reflected in the system. Interfaces specification, as well as reports, forms, and extensions specification was done by the consultants (there is data regarding that step only in the documentation of one project, although it definitely had to be done also in other four). Interfaces specification was done either by the consultants or the client. In one project the consultants also prepared the system administration procedures and training plan in that phase. Other activities included installation of the system (done either by the consultants or the client), and authorization concept, which consisted of the definition of roles in the organization done by the client and design of the authorization profiles which reflect these roles in the system, done by the consultants. Preparation of the final document was left to the consultants in four projects and to the client in the remaining one. The main role of the consultants in this phase is therefore absorption of company‐specific knowledge from the key‐users and preparation of the system design (Business Blueprint). Realization The result of the realization phase is the configured system, together with RICEF, ready for testing. System configuration was done by the consultants in all five projects. Preparation of the test environment was done by the consultants in four, and together with the client in one project. The test scenarios was done by the consultants and the tests were executed by the clients in four project, under the supervision of consultants. One company left the testing to the consultants. Consultants also developed all extensions and prepared master data migration tools. Master data conversion was done by the clients in two projects and by the consultants in one. The consultants were also responsible for the system documentation. The authorizations were done either by the consultants or by the clients. This phase involved non‐relational
Przemysław Lech activities, performed by the consultants, namely system configuration, RICEF development and system documentation. The only relational task was tests,��done by the clients and supervised by the consultants. Go‐live preparation Go live preparation should result in the system ready for productive start and users trained and ready to work with the new system. End user training was done by the consultants only in one project. The other four projects applied the train‐the‐trainer approach. This means that the key‐users acquired the necessary knowledge by participating in the project and they were responsible for the preparation of the training materials and execution of the trainings for the end‐users. Preparation of the system for the productive start as well as development of the productive start plan (including the detailed sequence of activities, required to start the work in the new system) was done by the consultants in three and by the client in one project. Regarding master data transfer to the productive system, clients were responsible for preparation of the data and consultants for data upload to the system. In two cases the consultants also prepared the plan for post go‐ live activities. Therefore the main role of the consultant in this phase was preparation of productive start plan, master data migration, and productive system preparation for go‐live. Go‐live and support In the last phase of the implementation project the system is launched. All the users start working with the system and the role of the consultants, was to support the daily activities of the users, as they may still lack knowledge regarding the new system, as well as solve problems reported by the users. Cross‐phase activities In addition to the above, some activities were performed repeatedly in each phase. These included project management activities and change management, and were performed jointly by the consultants and the clients.
4. Conclusions The purpose of this paper was to explore the role of the consultants by analysing the activities they perform in Enterprise Systems implementations. The list of major activities was prepared by combining and merging data from five ES implementation projects. Then the task split between the consultants and adopting organization was analysed and presented. The role of the consultants in the project preparation phase was to supply of the project methodology and knowledge from previous projects, which was codified in the form of project plan, organizational structure, and procedures, as well as deliver the initial knowledge about the system to the key users. Then they had to absorb the company specific knowledge to be able to combine it with the system knowledge and deliver the project design in the Business Blueprint phase. Realization phase involved system configuration, RICEF development and system documentation as well as test preparation and supervision. In most projects the knowledge about the system was gradually delivered to the key‐users during the project, so that they were able to test the system and train the end‐users by themselves, but in one project the testing and training was done solely by the consultants. Then the consultants prepared the system for the productive start, migrated the master data provided by the clients and supervised the daily work of the users, resolving the emerging issues at the same time. Throuthought the whole project the project management activities were jointly performed by the clients and the customers. Comparing to the roles, identified by Haines and Godhue (2003), this research confirms that the main role of the consultants was to be the technical implementation assistant, project manager and trainer. The role of a mentor was not identified in this study. The contribution of this paper is the definition of detailed activities, that form the above mentioned roles.
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Przemysław Lech Chan, R. and Rosemann, M. (2001) “Managing knowledge in enterprise systems”, Journal of Systems and Information Technology, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp.37–54 Chang, J.Y.T. et al. (2013), “Controlling ERP consultants: Client and provider practices”’ Journal of Systems and Software, 86(5), pp.1453–1461. Davenport, T. (1998) “Putting the Enterprise into the Enterprise System”, Harvard Business Review, July – August, pp. 1‐11 Esteves J.and Bohorquez V. (2007), “An Updated ERP Systems Annotated Bibliography 2001‐2005”, IE Working Paper WP07‐04 Esteves, J., Chan, R. and Pastor, J. (2003), “An Exploratory Study of Knowledge Types Relevance Along Enterprise Systems Implementation Phases”, 4‐th European Conference on Organizational Knowledge and Learning Capabilities, pp. 13– 14 Haines, M.N. and Goodhue, D.L. (2003), “Implementation partner involvement and knowledge transfer in the context of ERP implementations”, International Journal of Human‐Computer Interaction, Vol.16 No. 1, pp.23–38. Huckvale, T. and Ould, M. (1995), “Process Modelling – Who, What and How: Role Activity Diagramming, in Business process change : concepts, methods, and technologies”, in: Grover, V. and W. J. Kettinger, (Eds), Harrisburg, Pa. Idea Group Pub Ko, D.‐G., Kirsch, L.J. and King, W.R. (2005) “Antecedents of Knowledge Transfer from Consultants to Clients in Enterprise System Implementations”, MIS Quarterly, Vol. 29, No.1, pp.59–85 Koch, S. and Mitlöhner, J. (2010) “Effort estimation for enterprise resource planning implementation projects using social choice – a comparative study”, Enterprise Information Systems, Vol. 4 No.3, pp.265‐281 Lech, P. (2011) “Knowledge Transfer Procedures From Consultants to Users in ERP Implementations”, Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 9 No.4, pp.318–327 Muscatello J. and Chen I. (2008) “Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Implementations: Theory and Practice”, International Journal of Enterprise Information Systems, Vol. 4, No 1, pp. 63‐77 Poba‐Nzao P., Raymond L. and Fabi B. (2008) “Adoption and risk of ERP systems in manufacturing SMEs: a positivist case study”, Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 11, No.4, pp. 530 – 550 Rosemann, M. (1999) “ERP software characteristics and consequences”, Proceedings of the 7th European Conference on Information Systems, Copenhagen Simon, A., Schoeman, P. and Sohal, A.S. (2010) “Prioritised best practices in a ratified consulting services maturity model for ERP consulting”, Journal of Enterprise Information Management, Vol. 23, No.1, pp.100–124 Sedera D. and Gable G. (2010) “Knowledge Management Competence for Enterprise System Success”, Journal of Strategic Information Systems, Vol. 19, pp. 296‐306 Soja P. and Paliwoda‐Pękosz G. (2013) „Impediments to Enterprise System Implementation over the System Lifecycle: Contrasting Transition and Developed Economies”, The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, Vol. 57, No. 1, pp. 1‐13 Vilpola, I.H. (2008) “A method for improving ERP implementation success by the principles and process of user‐centred design”, Enterprise Information Systems, Vol. 2 No.1, pp.47–76 Wang, E.T.G. and Chen, J.H.F. (2006) “Effects of internal support and consultant quality on the consulting process and ERP system quality”, Decision Support Systems, Vol 42, No.2, pp.1029–1041 Wu J‐H., Shin S‐S., Heng M. (2007, “A methodology for ERP misfit analysis”, Information & Management, Vol. 44, pp. 666‐ 680
A Systematic Literature Review on Business Cases: Structuring the Study Field and Defining Future Research Dimensions Kim Maes, Wim van Grembergen and Steven De Haes University of Antwerp, Antwerp Management School, Antwerp, Belgium email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Abstract: Many organisations perceive business cases as a valuable instrument for the justification and evaluation of information technology (IT) investments. This attention from practice has been ascertained by academic scholars resulting in a growing number of publications in both top academic and practitioner journals since 1999. However, most researchers only mention some aspect of a business case somewhere in the course of their article and few include the business case concept in their main research scope. As a result, much knowledge on business case research is scattered throughout literature and a clear definition of what actually constitutes a business case is still missing. The fact that the study field on business cases is emerging stimulates misunderstanding and may cause discouragement for future research endeavours. Therefore, the present paper aims to understand and integrate the current state of research on business cases in an attempt to realise two objectives with clear contributions. First, we tackle the problem of scattered knowledge by organising fragmented knowledge into a newly developed Business Case Research Framework that clearly structures the study field into six dimensions. Second, we identify what constitutes the business case concept and provide a clear definition to resolve the misunderstanding among scholars. Based on the literature findings, we share interesting observations suggesting promising opportunities for future research. A systematic literature review methodology is performed in a selection of top academic and practitioner journals. Keywords: business case, framework development, systematic literature review, concept definition, future research
1. Introduction According to both business and information systems (IS) researchers, a business case can help to evaluate an investment endeavour before large resources are invested (Erat and Kavadias 2008; Kohli and Devaraj 2004). Since the turn of the century, a growing number of scholars are becoming more interested in the topic of business cases. Figure 1 provides a year‐by‐year overview of the number of articles mentioning business case, which are published in a selection of top academic and practitioner journals. Since 1999, a noticeable increase can be ascertained in both journal types. Some of these publications have business case within the scope of their research or address considerable attention to the subject (e.g. Franken, Edwards and Lambert 2009; Krell and Matook 2009; Ward, Daniel and Peppard 2008). Most however, mention some aspect of a business case in the course of their article such as its importance, its purpose, its content or who is involved in its development without further elaboration on the business case concept (e.g. Hsiao 2008; Lin and Pervan 2003). Hence, much knowledge on business case research is scattered throughout literature. Only a handful of scholars provide some definition on what constitutes a business case, but a clear definition is still missing. For instance, a business case is more than just “a formal summary of benefits that a firm anticipates from an IS investment” (Krell and Matook 2009). Post (1992) was among the first calling for additional research on business cases in order to develop a deeper understanding of their impact. Yet, so far few have answered this call to focus on business cases within their research. The lack of a clear definition and the fragmentation of knowledge may stimulate misunderstanding and consequently discourage further research. The present paper addresses the call for additional research, as business cases are an important instrument in value creation through (IT) investments. As a result, we want to understand, accumulate and integrate the current state of research on business cases. This fragmented knowledge is organised into a newly developed Business Case Research Framework that clearly structures the study field. An improved definition on what constitutes a business case is proposed. Interesting observations suggesting promising future research opportunities are shared as well. By doing so, the systematic literature review contributes in two ways (Webster and Watson 2002). First, it shows that little research has substantially addressed the topic of business cases so far. Second, it provides a new theoretical understanding on a research topic in which the current knowledge is dispersed over numerous academic and practitioner publications.
Kim Maes, Wim van Grembergen and Steven De Haes
Figure 1: Distribution of articles by year over the past twenty‐one years
2. Methodology A comprehensive description of the literature review process is desirable according to Vom Brocke et al. (2009). The objective of the systematic literature review is to understand and accumulate the current state of research on business cases with the aim to organise the fragmented knowledge into a newly developed framework. It focuses on publications dealing with business case as a management practice only in passing or in a considerable manner. An exhaustive search is performed in top academic and practitioner journals which have been selected based on journal ranking publications (e.g. Vom Brocke et al. 2009; Mylonopoulos and Theoharakis 2001) and the ISI web of knowledge 5‐year impact factor in the business and finance category (only for finance journal selection). The search is executed in multiple e‐databases (EBSCO, JSTOR, ScienceDirect, Swetwise, WILEY) and on journal websites with “business case” in full text and a time frame between 1990 and 2011. Unfortunately, for some journals the time frame was not entirely available.��Yielding 495 initial results, each paper was thoroughly analysed to understand the context in which the term ‘business case’ is being employed. All irrelevant papers only mentioning ‘business case’ in the reference list, journal advertising or as in “proving the business case of...” have been omitted. This step has led to a final list of 169 relevant papers including one paper (Sarkis and Liles 1995) that has been added through backward searching. All relevant publications were then analysed through qualitative content analysis to structure and interpret individual text fragments (Mingers 2003). Based on these findings, we identified six dimensions that characterise an aspect of the business case concept. Each dimension is a way to perceive the business case from a certain angle: its application area, goals, content, stakeholders, as a process or the risk factors if a business case is not employed in a adequate manner. Together, these dimensions constitute the Business Case Research Framework displayed in Figure 2. (Bryman 2001)
Figure 2: Business case research framework
3. Dimensions defining a holistic business case research framework The Business Case Research Framework reflects the versatility of the business case concept as a research topic. To accumulate and structure the study field, the content of each dimension is discussed hereafter. In line with Elo and Kyngäs (2008), sub dimensions were created to structure text fragments within each dimension.
Kim Maes, Wim van Grembergen and Steven De Haes Alternatively, some of them have been directly linked to three stages of an investment life cycle: before, during and after implementation (Hitt, Wu and Zhou 2002).
3.1 Business case application area The literature findings show a wide variety of investments in which a business case can be employed. This insight has led to a first business case dimension titled the business case application area and defined as the specific type of investment for which the development of a business case can be beneficial to achieve one or more of its goals. As portrayed in Table 1, this dimension is further divided into two major sub dimensions. On the one hand, a business case is developed for investments with a technological orientation incorporating both software applications (e.g. e‐business, data warehousing system) and infrastructure (e.g. broadband development, RFID). On the other hand, a diverse set of investments with an organisational focus can benefit from a business case as well. These investments can range from a strategic alliance to corporate social responsibility and gender diversity. For instance, the latter provides an argumentation to get more women into leadership roles (Wellington, Kropf and Gerkovich 2003). Table 1: Business case application area
Business case application area Software reuse E‐business Software repositories Software product line adoption Offshore sourcing Material requirements planning E‐health records Global data synchronization network Group decision support systems Point‐of‐sale debit services Data warehousing system Broadband development E‐government RFID Strategic vision for IT Global shared service centres Strategic alliances Effective global business teams Executing strategic change Project management office Corporate social responsibility Collaborative innovation Gender diversity Business rules New product development Business processes Supply chain integration Quality management IT and service‐oriented architecture
3.2 Business case content A business case document is considered to be a structured overview of specific elements that characterise an investment, such as objectives, costs and benefits (Hsiao 2008). During the literature review, multiple of these elements have been identified in various publications. To integrate this fragmented representation of what should be included in a business case, this paper has clustered all elements into one business case dimension that is defined as the business case content. The content is further structured through sub dimensions clarifying content elements that are related to each other as presented in Table 2. Over the years new insights have been put forward in this dimension. For instance, the need to determine intangible or qualitative benefits next to financial and quantitative benefits has been suggested (Gregor, Martin, Fernandez, Stern and Vitale 2006; McAfee 2009). Furthermore, a simple enumeration of the investment objectives and which tangible and intangible benefits can be expected does not suffice anymore (DellaVechia, Scantlebury and Stevenson 2007). Table 2: Business case content Investment description Investment objectives Investment requirements Investment
Business case content Project planning and roadmaps (tables, figures) Drivers for change Project description Explicit project objectives Align and link objectives of: ‐ business and IS Performance goals ‐ investment and organisation Business goals Requirements Technical needs Resource requirements Market needs Customer needs Strategic requirements Organisational needs Benefits and costs (business and technological) Cost‐benefit analysis
Kim Maes, Wim van Grembergen and Steven De Haes impact
Investment risks Investment assumptions, considerations and scenarios Investment governance
Business case content over consecutive years: Financial investment justification ‐ tangible and intangible Financial plan / benefits plan ‐ monetary and non‐monetary Feasibility study ‐ quantifiable, measurable and observable Organisational changes ‐ certain and uncertain Link investment metrics to business ‐ direct and indirect performance ‐ realistic Business variables and measures are Clear benefit definition targeted against baselines prior to investing Investment risk factors (technical and business‐ Risk management plan change risks) Realistic assumptions Intervening variables Organisational, strategic, operational, Best practices research technological issues Investment options Time / organisational constraints Realistic technology scenarios Qualitative considerations Roles and responsibilities Compliance Accountability
3.3 Business case process While most scholars perceive a business case as a document, some have built a process to guide its development. Sarkis and Liles (1995) are first to develop a high‐level business case process including five interrelated steps: identify system impact, identify transition impact, estimate costs and benefits, perform decision analysis, and audit decision. Ward et al. (2008) extended the seminal process incorporating critical tasks such as the identification of business drivers and investment objectives, the recognition of financial and non‐financial benefits, the identification of benefits owners and the linkage between investment changes and benefits. In addition, various scholars mention the use of a business case casually during some stage of an investment life cycle. De Haes, Gemke, Thorp and van Grembergen (2011) add that the development of a detailed business case can be preceded by a high‐level business case in which a first rough outline of the investment purpose and implications is delineated. According to Franken et al. (2009), a business case can assist in the performance monitoring during investment implementation. Once the investment has been finalised, the business case helps to independently evaluate the investment outcome during the post‐ implementation review (Jeffrey and Leliveld 2004; Shang and Seddon 2002). We identified various tasks within literature with regard to a business case and linked them with the investment stages as presented in Table 3. Table 3: Business case process tasks BEFORE implementation
Business case tasks Understand investment relevance Split business case: ‐ into high‐level and detailed business cases ‐ per sub investment Assess investment: ‐ feasibility (organisational, financial, technical) ‐ viability (economic, marketability, strategic) Identify, structure and determine explicit metrics and values of: ‐ benefits, costs and risks (if successful and in case of failure) ‐ resource requirements (financial, timing, staff) ‐ user requirements ‐ critical success factors Link benefits and changes explicitly Develop a: ‐ work plan, action plan, roadmaps ‐ benefits‐delivery plan Develop and validate: ‐ proof‐of‐concept, prototype Perform and determine: ‐ what‐if analyses and failure analysis ‐ preferred solutions ‐ investment alternatives
Kim Maes, Wim van Grembergen and Steven De Haes
Business case tasks Assign responsibilities and accountabilities: ‐ investment team ‐ investment sponsor ‐ benefit owners in relation to investment objectives and benefits Identify and assure: ‐ stakeholder opinion (via workshop, …) ‐ stakeholder ability to achieve investment change ‐ stakeholder confirmation of business case ‐ stakeholder commitment (e.g. top management) Evaluate the business case Communicate business case (stress investment vision, objectives, stakeholder commitment) Approve the business case or stop the investment Audit investment decision Allocate investment resources Establish evaluation team Monitor, evaluate and report on: ‐ investment progress, budget and performance ‐ investment changes Review and update business case based on: ‐ investment progress and performance ‐ new insights from stakeholders ‐ organisational, technical and, market changes Identify and assure: ‐ stakeholder opinion (via workshop, …) ‐ stakeholder ability to achieve investment change ‐ stakeholder confirmation of business case ‐ stakeholder commitment (e.g. top management) In case of investment failure, reassess business case, assumptions and feasibility Evaluate investment performance against stated investment objectives, industry benchmarks or an ideal performance level Understand failure reasons Acquire lessons learned Audit investment performance Determine further investment opportunities and business cases Reward in relation to performance
3.4 Business case goals The development and use of business cases can help to achieve multiple objectives. For instance, it facilitates the collection of basic information and clear responsibility assignment (Smith, McKeen, Cranston and Benson 2010). It can also be utilised as a communication instrument as well to convince people and to get top management commitment (Peppard and Ward 2005; Davenport, Harris, De Long and Jacobson 2001). Investments can be compared and prioritised through a business case to identify high‐priority and quick winning investments (Smith et al. 2010; LeFave, Branch, Brown and Wixom 2008). It can be an objective instrument to evaluate the investment outcome and to demonstrate its impact (Ward et al. 2008). During the literature analysis, this wide variety of objectives has been integrated into a business case goals dimension which is defined as any particular reason why a business case should be developed and which tangible and intangible contributions it can bring to the organisation. The business case goals are organised through the investment stages and presented in Table 4.
3.5 Business case stakeholders Literature findings indicate that a diversity of people are involved with a business case. Some of these people are responsible for its development or to give approval and provide funding to the investment while others are only consulted (Avison, Cuthbertson and Powell 1999; Smith and McKeen 2008). This multitude of people has been categorised into a dimension focusing on business case stakeholders which is defined as those people that can affect or are affected by the business case and have a stake in one or more business case tasks and in the achievement of the business case goals. Most stakeholders can be found in the business and not in IT. The
Kim Maes, Wim van Grembergen and Steven De Haes business is responsible for the development and communication of the business case through its business unit executives or the investment sponsor (Beatty and Williams 2006; Teubner 2007) whether or not assisted by a business architect (Fonstad and Robertson 2006). Ross (2003) states that this responsibility should be shared with IT. Stakeholders from business and IT are put together to assess investment feasibility and its potential added value to the organisation as this requires in‐depth knowledge on social, economic as well as technological implications (Charette 2006). A devil’s advocate is added to the evaluation team to objectively critique the business case and depersonalise the discussion (Frisch 2008). Literature demonstrates that the business case is primarily a business responsibility. Although IT people are explicitly involved before implementation as portrayed in Table 5, they seem to be no longer involved after the investment decision has been made. Literature only mentions the finance organisation and post‐implementation review team in these phases. Table 4: Business case goals
DURING implementation AFTER implementation
Business case goals to ensure an investment owner is assigned to ensure basic investment information is collected to identify how IT and business changes will deliver the identified benefits to increase the investment success rate to link benefits to organisational changes and to investment objectives�� to convince people to ensure involvement, support and get commitment to increase motivation and stimulate action to obtain investment resources (funding, staff, time…) to obtain additional investment resources (funding, staff, time…) to remove unattractive investments to execute a post evaluation to objectively evaluate investment outcome
to improve the relationship and develop trust to communicate an investment's concept, status and results among its stakeholders to transfer knowledge to compare investments to balance risks between investments to filter out unattractive investment ideas to identify "low‐hanging fruits" to identify high‐priority investments to prioritise investments to get investment approval to make well‐founded investment decisions to successfully launch an investment to disallow additional resources for an unattractive investment to demonstrate an investment's impact
Table 5: Business case stakeholders
DURING implementation AFTER implementation
Business case stakeholders Board of directors Executive committee CEO / CFO / CPO / CIO Strategy management group Senior management Business executives / managers together with IT managers and business architects Business unit manager Business / investment sponsor Business planning board Portfolio management team Project investment department Capital IT project management board Project centre of excellence Project manager
Finance organisation / staff Capital control group IT steering committee IT management team Business demand office on IT side Internal/external end users from business and IT Division information managers Designers Operation managers Uninvolved project leaders and auditors Human resources/organisation department A devil’s advocate
Post‐implementation review team
Kim Maes, Wim van Grembergen and Steven De Haes
3.6 Business case risk factors Based on the previous five business case dimensions, an organisation should be able to understand how to build a sound business case (content, process, goals and stakeholders) and for which investment types such a business case can be applied. However, if an organisation does not adequately employ these guidelines impending unidentified risks may negatively impact the investment outcome. Therefore, the literature analysis has led to the identification of a last dimension focusing on the risk factors in relation to the business case and which potential results this might deliver, as presented in Table 7. Some risk factors are linked to investment stages such as lack of financial knowledge among IT staff, growing complexity due to inter‐organisational investments and weak partnership between business and IT (e.g. Jeffrey and Leliveld 2004). Other risk factors give insight into important aspects that are worth attention during the business case process. For instance, organisational culture, personal characteristics of a manager or top management turnover can negatively impact the business case quality and the resource availability during the investment (Earl and Feeny 2000). Table 6: Business case risk factors and impact
Business case risk factors Potential impact Difficulties to formulate and position a business ‐ not developing a business case case because: ‐ developing a weak business case ‐ IT staff lack working knowledge of financial ‐ an ad hoc approach to execute investments concepts ‐ benefits cannot be managed effectively ‐ a weak partnership exists between business ‐ systems development for the sake of and IT technology ‐ it is hard to calculate strategic and tactical ‐ progress is difficult to measure benefits ‐ evangelists set their own targets ‐ inter‐organisational investments increase ‐ investment approved by elbow grease (based complexity on effort to convince people instead of on ‐ investment is perceived as IT and not as quality) business ‐ stakeholders are not included from the beginning Business case not presented: ‐ stakeholders do not understand investment BEFORE ‐ in appropriate language objectives implementation ‐ with realistic, neutral, complete and valid ‐ risks are described to persuade rather than to arguments inform ‐ with investment alternatives or options ‐ creating a narrow yes‐or‐no framework ‐ with strong leadership to convince decision‐ ‐ too much focus on financial arguments makers ‐ an 'IT‐doesn't‐matter' management attitude ‐ with clear accountabilities and according rewards The business case evaluation and approval: ‐ overspend of time and money ‐ is based on technical instead of business ‐ under‐delivery of benefits criteria ‐ slow down or annulment of an investment ‐ focus on short term benefits instead of long ‐ less initiative will be taken to build and term needs present a business case ‐ is not executed thoroughly and quickly ‐ target the business case presenter and not the investment A business case is not: ‐ investment not adjusted to market changes DURING and ‐ not further employed after its development and needs AFTER ‐ regularly reviewed ‐ lessons learned cannot be collected and implementation understood A business case can be influenced by: ‐ inconsistent business case quality ‐ organisational culture ‐ changing sponsorship Environmental ‐ decision‐makers ‐ changing resource availability influences to ‐ personal characteristics (e.g. CIO role / business case influence behaviour) ‐ top management turnover A business case's project framing diminishes ‐ enabling project escalation Business case flexibility ‐ additional approaches should be employed limitations Investment justification based only on a including executive level allocation and annual business case CIO allocation
Kim Maes, Wim van Grembergen and Steven De Haes
4. Discussion The systematic literature review reveals multiple observations on upcoming research evolutions and interests in the study field of business cases. In this discussion we will focus on the most interesting suggesting promising opportunities for future research. As a starting point, we contribute with a new definition of the business case concept based on the literature findings: A business case is a dynamic, formal document specifying all relevant information of an investment, which is purposefully used throughout the entire investment life cycle by key stakeholders. Observation 1: Business cases are applicable in variety of investments, organisations and industries The business case application area is wide and diverse indicating that its use is not only useful in the implementation of IT investments but also in organisational investments or social changes throughout the organisation. Moreover, business cases can be used in different types of industries such as the insurance industry or the fashion industry (Nelson, Peterson, Rariden and Sen 2010), as well as in different types of organisations ranging from SMEs to multinationals and governments (Ballantine, Levy and Powell 1998). However, the literature does not describe whether a business case should be developed or managed differently in relation to the type of investment, industry or organisation. Hence, it could be interesting to investigate whether the implementation of other business case dimensions should be adjusted accordingly. Observation 2: A business case is more than financial numbers The content of a business case document is no longer limited to financial numbers. Today, both quantitative and qualitative benefits should be identified and defined. Smithson and Hirschheim (1998) argue that an organisation taking only quantifiable benefits into account will have no strategic alignment between investment and organisational objectives whereas business cases built with only monetary impacts are questionable (Urbach, Smolnik and Riempp 2010). Ward et al. (2008) found that qualitative benefits provide a more complete image of the potential business value of an investment. These benefits are frequently omitted due to their political sensitivity, difficulties in handling them and their potential to hinder in the approval procedures (Farbey, Land and Targett 1999). Furthermore, researchers call (i) for a link between the investment objectives and organisational goals (Bruch and Ghoshal 2002; Ward et al. 2008), and (ii) for a link between the impact of anticipated changes and their respective benefits (e.g. Avison et al. 1999). Only these linkages can consider a clear understanding of the investment impact during evaluation and decision‐making. As many of these new insights have not yet been integrated and explicitly linked in the business case literature, we ask for future research to develop an innovative business case template. Observation 3: It is not just about developing a business case Many scholars present a business case as a useful and valuable instrument at the beginning of an investment to get a thorough understanding of the investment application (e.g. Balaji, Ranganathan and Coleman 2011; Davenport et al. 2001. This has been perfectly captured by the multi‐step approach for business case development by Ward et al. (2008). Nevertheless, the steps to develop a business case do not equal the business case process as a whole. A business case can be purposefully employed in case of major changes affecting the investment or project escalation, which might require a review of the business case to be in line with the prevailing reality or to justify the continuation of the investment (Brown and Lockett 2004; Flynn, Pan, Keil and Mähring 2009; Iacovou and Dexter 2004). After implementation, a business case can help to evaluate the investment outcome, and to understand failure reasons and lessons learned for future business case developments and investment implementations (Fonstad and Robertson 2006). Until today, these additional tasks surpassing business case development have not been integrated. As Al‐Mudimigh, Zairi, Al‐Mashari and others (2001) argue that a business case is a useful and effective instrument throughout all investment stages, such integration should lead to a full business case process in parallel with the investment life cycle. Observation 4: Business case knowledge is scarce and limited to case development Current knowledge on business cases is largely concentrated on the development of a business case (e.g. Ward et al. 2008), thus before the investment decision is made. This applies to the business case process tasks, its
Kim Maes, Wim van Grembergen and Steven De Haes goals, the stakeholders and the identified risk factors. For instance, only six goals and four stakeholders are identified during and after the investment implementation. Hence, we can conclude that research on these dimensions of a business case during and after the implementation of an investment is still in its infancy. Although many scholars mention its usefulness during these investment stages (e.g. Al‐Mudimigh et al. 2001; Franken et al. 2009), none have specifically drawn attention to this during their research. We argue that future research is necessary to build new theoretical knowledge that can further enhance our understanding in order to help practitioners willing to apply this knowledge. Observation 5: Finance scholars have yet to discover business case research Next to senior management, people of the finance organisation are closely involved in many tasks of the business case process. For instance, they execute the financial analysis, provide business case templates and train people on how to employ these, fund the investment idea, monitor the investment budget and business case, and facilitate the post‐implementation review (Smith et al. 2010; Westerman and Curley 2008). Consequently, one could argue that the study field of business cases might be of great interest to finance scholars yet no relevant article mentioning ‘business case’ has been found in finance journals. This might imply that business case research is still not on the radar of finance scholars publishing in top finance journals, so we would like to invite them to enrich this emerging study field. Observation 6: Stakeholders are an integral part of business case usage Various publications identify multiple stakeholders that can be involved with a business case (e.g. De Haes et al. 2011; Fonstad & Robertson 2006), yet none provides a complete list of who should really be involved. Hence, we are interested to know how many stakeholders should be involved in the business case process to achieve an optimal result. Including too many stakeholders will become difficult to organise and the new information provided by each additional stakeholder diminishes gradually due to information saturation. Future research could also investigate the implications of positioning particular stakeholder responsibilities in another hierarchical level or business area. For instance, with regard to a customer relationship management investment, what might be the impact of changing the business unit executive by the marketing manager as an investment sponsor (i.e. changing seniority for relevant domain expertise)?
5. Conclusion Although the interest in business case research is growing, the study field is still in its infancy: business case knowledge is scattered and a clear definition is missing. Therefore, the present paper integrated the current state of research on business cases into a newly developed Business Case Research Framework and developed a new definition of the business case concept. We have also found multiple interesting observations based on literature findings that suggest promising opportunities for future research. The applicability of a business case is broader than just IT investments. Researchers tend to shift from document thinking to a process approach on business cases and urge to enrich its content with qualitative information. Stakeholders are key in business case usage yet further research could investigate their role and impact from new angles. In addition, the knowledge base on business cases is scarce especially in the finance field and in their use beyond the development phase.
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Integrating Green Information Systems into the Curriculum Using a Carbon Footprinting Case Carolyn McGibbon and Jean‐Paul Van Belle University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa Carolyn.McGibbon@uct.ac.za Jean‐Paul.VanBelle@uct.ac.za Abstract: This research aims to advance the discourse on how universities can achieve sustainable campus operations by integrating sustainability in research and teaching. In particular, this paper explores the issues around incorporating sustainability into the undergraduate curriculum. Integrating Green Information Systems (Green IS) theory and practice into the curriculum of students majoring in Information Systems and Computer Science brings a multi‐disciplinary and holistic thinking aspect to the curriculum whilst sensitizing both staff and students to sustainability issues. The uniqueness of this paper is that it explores how Green IS can be integrated into the curriculum, using an approach based on the theory of coherent practice, which enables students to become empowered through direct exposure to real‐world problems, such as sustainability. The theoretical framework is based on the Green IS model proposed by Butler (2012) and the paper aims to extend the institutional influences of Green IS to include a network element. This research paper is exploratory in nature but should be of particular interest to practitioners, IS educators, as well as furthering research of monitoring and evaluating carbon footprints. Keywords: sustainability, green information systems (green is), carbon footprint, is curriculum, coherent teaching practice
1. Introduction Although scholars in Information Systems were initially reluctant to engage with environmental sustainability (Melville 2010) an increasing number of researchers have engaged with the topic and traction has been gained by the fast emerging field of Green Information Systems (Green IS). A number of frameworks have been developed for energy informatics (Watson, Boudreau and Chen 2010), carbon footprinting (Butler 2012) and other sustainability issues, leading to a rich but somewhat incoherent source of theory for teaching and learning. Incorporating the Green IS body of knowledge into the curriculum of Higher Education began recently, both in Africa (Scott, McGibbon and Mwalemba 2012) and elsewhere. However, as will be demonstrated below, Green IS provides a wealth of material for IS educators to enrich their teaching (Topi 2012). Our understanding of Green IS derives from the idea of an integrated and co‐operating system of people, processes and technology aimed at supporting sustainability objectives (Watson et al. 2010). This paper focuses on how this may be integrated into the curriculum. We believe sustainability is one of the greatest challenges of our time (Giddens 2009; Hansen 2011) and it is incumbent upon educators to prepare the next generation for this challenge (Cortese 1992). The multidisciplinary nature of information systems, positions it as uniquely able to cultivate sustainability awareness, innovation and holistic systems thinking in the higher education context (Elliot and Lavarack 2012). This case study was undertaken at the University of Cape Town (UCT), arguably Africa’s leading institution of Higher Education in a number of areas of excellence. UCT has committed itself to reporting its carbon footprint and other sustainability metrics on a regular basis, through the International Sustainable Campus Network / Global University Leadership Forum (ISCN 2010; UCT 2011). The theoretical underpinning of this research is Butler’s (2011) model for Green IS, which draws on institutional theory and presents a frame for exploring the factors which influence the adoption of Green IS by an institution. This paper commences with a literature review, followed by a description of the project, including a teaching case. Finally, an adaptation to the theoretical framework is proposed and directions for future research are indicated.
2. Literature review 2.1 Green IS The field of Green IS has gained traction, thanks to a plethora of Green IS research agendas developed by a variety of scholars (Chen, Watson, Boudreau, and Karahanna 2009; Elliot and Lavarack 2012; Melville 2010; Pitt, Parent, Junglas, Chan, and Spyropoulou 2011; Watson et al. 2010). The challenges include going beyond
Carolyn McGibbon and Jean‐Paul Van Belle the motivation of cost‐cutting (DesAutels and Berthon 2011; Molla and Abareshi 2012) to elaborating how sustainability may be a strategy for gaining competitive advantage (Orsato 2006). Much of the recent research draws on institutional theories to frame a Green IS research agenda (Butler 2011; Parker and Scheepers 2012) and challenge researchers to greater levels of active engagement and advocacy in shaping green policy. Researchers have shown how Green IS can be developed through a practice perspective (Ijab, Molla and Cooper 2011) while others argue that information systems can be potent change actors in pursuit of sustainability (Bengtsson and Agerfalk 2011). The theoretical framework for this paper articulates what we believe is a coherent explanation for the forces at play in the organizational diffusion of Green IS. The framework is grounded in the paradigm of institutional theory, which has seen many other useful applications in IS research (Orlikowski and Barley 2001). The value of a conceptual framework is that it provides a sense of order to understanding the context of a research topic (Leshem and Trafford 2007). The relevant territory to this investigation includes the following concepts: stakeholders, institutional pressures (regulative, normative and cultural‐cognitive), and social mechanisms (Campbell 2005). The framework also includes Green IS comprehension, adoption, implementation and assimilation, to lower emissions as shown in Figure 1 (Butler 2012).
Figure 1: Green IS theoretical framework (source: Butler 2012)
2.2 Sustainability in higher education The confluence of Green IS and Sustainability in Higher Education research has led to the development of a model of IS‐enabled innovation for universities (Elliot and Lavarack 2012). This research is built upon considerable earlier scholarship, including the seminal work on education for a sustainable future by Cortese (1992) and significant calls by academics for systems‐wide changes to universities for sustainable goals (Ferrer‐ Balas et al. 2010). Much research has been done to link sustainability to curricula (Lozano 2010) although limited work has been done in the African context (Scott et al. 2012). The role of educators as facilitators of conceptual change has been documented in the literature, including the need to make students aware of the critical role of the IS actor (Byrne and Lotriet 2007). This has led to new theory development, including work by Scott (2012) who developed an innovative educational philosophy, which she termed a theory of coherent practice ‐ an integrated and interactive learning experience for students majoring in Information Systems. Support for this developmental approach comes from the approach of Cockburn (2002) who described the learning experience as consisting of three stages of skill development: “following”, “detaching” and ultimately becoming “fluent”.
Carolyn McGibbon and Jean‐Paul Van Belle
3. Methodology A teaching case for UCT was developed using the forementioned philosophy to initiate integration of carbon footprinting into the curriculum. This was used as an educational device although it must be noted that a teaching case is not as rich or complete as a fully‐fledged case study (Darke, Shanks and Broadbent 1998). There is a rich history of case study research in the IS discipline, dating back at least thirty years (e.g. Markus 1983), since this method allows for the study of phenomena in their real world context. Further support comes from the emerging field of research on Education for Sustainability (EfS) where case studies are the predominant research approach, as they offer meaningful insights and rich data to describe context‐specific educational praxis (Barth and Thomas 2012). Archival evidence as well as student reflective essays were employed and content analysis and coding of the empirical data was conducted using ATLAS.ti, a data analysis software tool. Support for this is found in the literature (e.g. Ngwenyama and Nielsen 2013).
4. Project description As part of the competence development of Computer Science students majoring in Information Systems, interventions were structured according to the stages of behaviour described as following, detaching and becoming fluent by Cockburn (2002).. The participation in a real‐world sustainability project challenged students to consciously perceive projects from multiple perspectives and move towards fluency by the integration of theory and practice. This iterative process of integrating theory and practice resonates with Lewin’s (1952, p 169) view that: “[t]here is nothing so practical as a good theory”. Using Butler’s framework for Green IS, the students were challenged to explore the relevance of the elements underlying institutional order (regulative, normative and cultural‐cognitive pressures). Although there were no regulations coercing the university to monitor its carbon footprint, it was argued that normative pressures from peer universities provided the impetus for implementation. Furthermore, an informal network of researchers, consultants, students and lecturers provided a social structure underpinning the intervention. The project extended the baseline carbon footprint research previously conducted by postgraduate students (Letete, Mungwe, Guma and Marquard 2011. This set the scene for the curriculum for the IT Project Management course being used as our teaching case. The cohort of 23 students were organised into groups, each with the responsibility of measuring specific elements of the carbon footprint and recommendations to reducing emissions – the ultimate goal of the theoretical framework (Butler 2012). This process was in line with one of the key principles of the ISCN/GULF Charter: to integrate sustainability into the curriculum (ISCN 2010). Students were taught to apply project management principles using Scott’s philosophy of coherent practice. Additional educational goals were to create awareness of the issue of environmental sustainability and to embed green values into their consciousness. The course content was enriched by guest lectures on the theory of Green IS and carbon footprinting. Data was collated by the university’s sustainability consultant. Motivated to make a difference in the world through IS (Walsham 2012), the students were organised into different groups corresponding to the sources of diverse scopes of greenhouse gases (Figure 2).
Figure 2: University sources of GHG emissions (Curry and Donnellan 2012)
Carolyn McGibbon and Jean‐Paul Van Belle Data was collated from a range of sources across campus. For example, electricity consumption monitored by Smart meters across campus yielded data which could be used with the application of an emission factor to obtain part of the Scope 2 contribution to the total footprint. The next section outlines the teaching case which was given to students during the “Follow” process (Cockburn 2002).
4.1 Teaching case Situated on the spectacular slopes of Devil’s Peak of the iconic Table Mountain range, UCT is a symbol of hope for the future, holding the dreams of the next generation of scientists, artists, managers, professionals and other leaders of tomorrow. It faces a serious challenge: it is committed to reporting on its Carbon Footprint, yet it does not yet have the capacity to do this. Can you help the Vice‐Chancellor to deliver on his promises? The university is committed, through innovative research and teaching, to engagement with the key issues of the natural and social worlds. One of these is environmental sustainability, as seen in its strategic plan: “Our country faces a number of critical threats to the success of its development. … UCT will appoint experts to lead and co‐ordinate intellectual projects that draw on the strengths of individual departments across the university to enhance our impact in addressing the problems of public schooling, climate change and sustainable development, violent crime, poverty and unemployment” (UCT Strategic Plan 2010‐2014, p14). UCT had a history of engaging with environmental issues, particularly in the Science Faculty, which produces a consistent body of research to highlight biodiversity concerns. However, it was not until 1990 that an official institutional response was formulated, when the V‐C of the day, Dr Stuart Saunders, was a signatory to the document which became known as the Talloires Declaration, the first official commitment by university administrators across the globe who pledged to incorporate sustainability and environmental sustainability into higher education (Adlong 2013). The document has since received commitments from more than 350 university presidents in more than 40 countries. However, the 1990s were the dying days of the Apartheid era, and the university’s political commitment to oppose the government was a high priority, drawing many of its slack resources, and thus leaving the implementation of the Talloires Declaration on the back burner. It was not until after political transformation had been achieved and a programme for the subsequent social transformation developed that sustainability found its way back onto the agenda when the incumbent V‐C Njabulo Ndebele recommitted UCT to environmental sustainability. Student activism on the issue coalesced around 2007 when students in the Department of Botany took a leadership role to develop the Green Campus Initiative (GCI). They noted predictions that a three degree increase in temperature would lead to extinction of extensive parts of the country’s flora and wildlife by 2050. UCT had historically led social change, and had the potential to lead the way in addressing this issue (Hall 2008). The GCI vision was to create a Green Campus Unit, an independent connection point between academic and administrative staff and students. The role would be to determine the GFG footprint of UCT, set reduction targets, prepare and implement reduction projects, according to international standard and develop the use of UCT as a living laboratory for educational purposes (Hall 2008). The innovative plan envisaged bringing together a team to develop and implement sustainability related plans and it was proposed that the energy saving reductions incurred would cover the costs of running of the unit. Deputy V‐C Martin Hall advised the university to adopt a methodology for implementing an integrated Green Campus Policy Framework (which was adopted by the senate and council in 2008). In his recommendations, he advised the university to partner with external expertise ‐ the Carbon Trust’s Higher Education Carbon Management Programme (Hall 2008). The vision was a comprehensive one, involving raising awareness and a systemic analysis of the university’s carbon footprint. The Energy Research Centre (ERC) in the Engineering Faculty succeeded in obtaining funding from the European Union for an internship programme to measure the campus carbon footprint. Thapelo Letete was doing his Master’s in Chemical Engineering and was the lead author. He remarked that the 2007 project was “long overdue” (Letete et al 2011). He and his team faced numerous challenges, particularly with regard to data gathering. He said that establishing the university’s carbon footprint was critical for two reasons: to have
Carolyn McGibbon and Jean‐Paul Van Belle a value to compare against other academic institutions, but also to have a baseline against which future mitigations could be measured. The operational areas which the team examined are discussed below. Electricity The campus has two electricity substations ‐ one on the lower campus and the other at the Medical School. Electricity is also supplied by the municipality to the Hiddingh campus, the Graduate School of Business and the residences. Data for the two substations as well as the GSB was obtained from UCT’s Properties and Services department, while satellite residence data was obtained from the Finance Office of the Student Housing Department. The team was unable to obtain electricity consumption data for the Hiddingh campus or the non‐residential satellite campuses. Another challenge was that the GSB had a joint electricity bill with the Breakwater Lodge, which offers tourist accommodation, so assumptions had to be made with regard to the GSB’s electricity consumption. To estimate the carbon footprint arising from the use of electricity on campus, the amount of electricity in kWh was multiplied by the CO2 emissions factor obtained from Eskom, the sole supplier of electricity to the City of Cape Town. A transmission loss factor of 5.58% and a distribution loss factor of 1.74% were applied. As a result, the emission factor used was 1.054 kg CO2/kWh. Not surprisingly, electricity consumption proved to be by far the largest contributor to UCT’s carbon footprint (Figure 4) since electricity consumption contributed a total of 68 300 tons to the campus carbon footprint.
Figure 3: Overall UCT CO2 emissions determined in 2007 (Letete et al 2011) Commuting Staff and student commuting was analysed with a transport survey to determine different modes of transport. More than 2000 students and staff members responded to the survey. This represents a significant proportion of the campus population and also served to raise awareness. However, it was found that only 16% of the commuters used bicycles or walked, effectively commuting to campus carbon free. Assumptions had to be made for each mode of transport. For example, it was assumed that buses carried 60 passengers and taxis could carry 15 commuters. Fuel consumption was assumed to be 9.5 l/100km for private cars, and 4 l/100km for motorbikes and scooters. Emission factors for diesel and petrol were used for cars, taxis and buses. The distribution of GHG emissions due to daily commuting to campus is shown in Figure 4. Note that the UCT‐provided “Jammie Shuttle” service has been included in the figures for completeness.
Carolyn McGibbon and Jean‐Paul Van Belle
Figure 4: Distribution of GHG emissions due to daily commuting. Jammie Shuttles Diesel consumption for the Jammie Shuttle (a free campus bus transport service for staff and students) was obtained from the Production Manager in the University’s Properties and Services Department. Emission factors were then used to determine the resulting carbon emissions. The contribution of Jammie Shuttles to the carbon footprint was estimated to be only just under 1%, less than one‐thirteenth the contribution from private car commuting. Official flights Academics at the university travel to present papers on the national and international stage as part of their work commitments. Since academics use different travel agents, Letete wrote that the challenge of obtaining flight data for the entire university was “an impossible task”. Instead he obtained travel insurance data which was administered centrally by the travel insurance office to estimate official flights. To calculate the emissions, distances were obtained using Travel Math and a long‐haul flight emission factor of 0.15 tCO2‐eq per passenger per 1000 km. Solid Waste The Carbon Footprint exercise by Letete predated the current waste disposal system, in which an external contractor, Wasteman, started a contract with Properties and Services to remove waste from the campus, recycle all recyclables and deliver non‐recyclable material to landfill sites. Estimations were made in this regard, using data from three months in 2009. A global warming factor of 25 was used for methane. Liquified Petroleum Gas Liquified petroleum gas (LPG) is used in the residences for cooking food and also used in laboratories, for burners and heaters. Data was obtained for these deliveries from the Finance Department and it was calculated that a total of 259.3 t of LPG was used over the course of the year, contributing 755.2 tonnes of carbon‐equivalent emissions. Letete observed that the total carbon emissions which his team estimated at 84 900 tCO2‐eq per year was an underestimation due to the unavailability of data and it could well be much higher. Serious emissions include the lack of data on local flights as well as the guestimate of waste. This underestimation is a serious shortcoming, as it implies that it may not be an accurate baseline.
Carolyn McGibbon and Jean‐Paul Van Belle A more robust method of collating the data, using Green IS (integrated information systems to enable environmental sustainability objectives) could go a long way to enable the campus to meet its mission.
5. Early findings from the empirical analysis Our empirical analysis shows that network cultivation was the dominant mechanism used in the process of collating the carbon footprint. A systematic analysis of reflexive essays written by students yielded 112 observations (as shown in Table 1 below) of which 47 related to network cultivation. A co‐occurrence analysis seeking linkages between pressures and mechanisms failed to draw strong correlation between network cultivation and the current three institutional pressures, suggesting that there may be a gap in the framework, a fourth pressure. Table 1: Empirical observations about institutional pressures and social mechanisms Pressures and Mechanisms
6. Theoretical elaboration The empirical analysis showed that the three institutional pressures described by Butler (regulative, cultural‐ cognitive and normative) did not adequately explain the overwhelming network cultivation mechanism used during the project. Although the university was not coerced by regulative pressures to monitor its GHG emissions, there were strong normative and mimetic mechanisms at play, resulting from pressure applied by other universities. However, this did not explain endogenous drive for a Green IS. Requests to the university hierarchy to invest in new technology to enable the automation of carbon footprinting met with resistance. Currently, the key actor appears to be an informal network, consisting mainly of staff but with some post‐ graduate students, across different sections of the campus who are driving a Green IS research agenda. It was their initiatives which prompted an official invitation from the sustainability co-ordinator to the IS Department to use student manpower for modelling the GHG footprint of the university, as well as to investigate other Green IS. A network of this sort is accounted for by the theory of the embeddedness of social relations (Granovetter 1985). Support for this comes from Campbell (2005), who argues for the recognition of four types of embeddedness – network, regulatory, normative and cognitive. We thus propose that a fourth pillar – network pressures – be added to Butler’s model. Other proposed enhancements to Butler’s model are to examine not only the factors involved, but also the linkages between these concepts, as well as the possibility of feedback loops, as it is possible that the linear pathway of the model is over‐simplified. Support in the literature for this may be found in elements of actor network theory (e.g. Callon 1986) as the university currently does not have sufficient momentum to adopt a Green IS and researchers needed to use the process of interessement to lock student actors into new roles. Figure 5 below summarizes our experiences so far with a first iteration of introducing Green IS into the curriculum as a way of raising the profile of the issue of GHG at a higher educational institution. The blue circles represent those factors which have played a significant role in the early phases. We believe that the dynamic aspects of the multiple phases (of gradually increasing awareness and engaging additional stakeholders) are reflected better by adding feedback loops (here indicated by the double arrows). The enrolment of additional stakeholders (especially government and suppliers) will activate additional pressures
Carolyn McGibbon and Jean‐Paul Van Belle i.e. increase the existing normative, cultural‐cognitive and network as well as possibly adding regulative pressures. This will, in turn, lead to the further deployment of institutional and social mechanisms as Green IS is fully diffused across the university and becomes permanent and fully embedded component of UCT’s operations. This would then lead to achievement of the ultimate goal of lowering UCT’s greenhouse gases significantly.
Figure 5: Revised framework for early introduction of Green IS in a higher education context. The limitations of this study must be recognized. It was noted at the outset that this research project is exploratory. Another major constraint of this project is the limited scope: integration has been largely restricted to one course, whereas for sustainability projects to succeed, a more holistic, synergistic, transdisciplinary approach is needed (Lozano 2010).
7. Conclusion The purpose of this research was to explore how a university could achieve sustainable campus operations by integrating sustainability into its research and teaching. This was done by incorporating Green IS theory and practice into the curriculum of UCT students majoring in Information Systems. Doing a first calculation of the university’s carbon footprint (Letete et al 2011) provided the essential baseline for further studies of carbon footprinting and against which future mitigation of GHG emissions on campus could be measured. It also provides a basis for comparison with other academic institutions, though climatic, environmental and other regional differences must be taken into account in such comparisons. Finally, it enabled the production of a teaching case which allowed subsequent students to “follow” what had previously been done (Cockburn 2002). The research thus provides a unique study not only of how Green IS can be integrated into the curriculum, but also of how to enable students to become involved in carbon footprinting. Our theoretical contribution is the recommendation for extending the institutional influences of Green IS in Butler’s framework to include a network element; adding a dynamic view with feedback loops and explicating which model components appeared to play a leading role in a first iteration of the process at a higher education institution.
Acknowledgments The authors thank Dr Elsje Scott and Gwamaka Mwalemba for their invaluable contributions.
References Adlong, W. (2013). "Rethinking the Talloires Declaration." International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol 14, No. 1, pp 56‐70.
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Carolyn McGibbon and Jean‐Paul Van Belle Scott, E., McGibbon, C. and Mwalemba, G. (2012). Attempts to embed green values in the Information Systems curriculum: a case study in a South African setting. Paper presented at the ECIS, Barcelona. Topi, H. (2012). "Wealth of Information for IS educators: education tracks at key conferences." ACM Inroads, Vol 3, No. 4, pp 12‐13. UCT. (2011). University of Cape Town (UCT) ISCN‐GULF Sustainable Campus Charter Report 2011. Cape Town. Walsham, G. (2012). "Are we making a better world with ICTs? Reflections on a future agenda for the IS field." Journal of Information Technology, Vol 27, No. 2, pp 87‐93. Watson, R. T., Boudreau, M.‐C. and Chen, A. J. (2010). "Information Systems and environmentally sustainable development: Energy Informatics and new directions for the IS community." MIS Quarterly, Vol 34, No. 1, pp 23‐38.
Electronic Health Record Requirements for Private Medical Practices in Namibia: A Pilot Study Julius Oyeleke1 and Meke Shivute2 1 Department of Business Computing, Polytechnic of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia 2 Department of Information systems, Faculty of Commerce, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa firstname.lastname@example.org Meke.email@example.com Abstract: Patient’s medical history in the private sector in Namibia is commonly recorded in paper‐based systems. Paper‐ based systems are usually limited to one medical institution and this leads to isolated and scattered patient information amongst several private medical practices. The purpose of this study was therefore to investigate how medical practitioner’s capture, manage and access patient data. User requirements were elicited to identify practitioner’s needs and further determine if there is a need for a centralized electronic health record system to enable them to communicate with other practitioners in the private health sector. A pilot study was conducted with four private medical practices, in order to identify practitioner’s needs. Structured Interviews were used as method to elicit user requirement from health practitioners. Findings from this study reports intensive use of paper‐based system and the current system lacking standardized medical records, leading to inconsistencies and integrity issues in data storage. The significance of this study is to identify practitioner’s needs as a first step to systems design. The aim is to improve access to patient data and ensure delivery of efficient and effective health services to patients. Future studies should look into designing or recommending electronic health record systems that can be used to answer to the needs of practitioners in the Namibian private health sector. Keywords: electronic record system, Namibia, requirements gathering, e‐health, healthcare, Southern Africa
1. Introduction Highly complex amounts of confidential information that must be communicated between different health institutions characterize healthcare. The current paper‐based system used by many private practices in Namibia has limitations and it significantly impacts the quality of care and services delivered to patients and in severe cases, it can even lead to death of patients. For this reason, the health sector including public health institutions and private institutions should look into technology related investments to improve quality of care. There are increasing investments in the use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems and private medical practices are seeking for ways to enhance efficiency and effectiveness to render quality services to patients. The healthcare industry has taken a new wave in the use of technological applications for medical care, data processing and overall management of health institutions. Electronic health records (EHR) in healthcare are considered to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of processes in medical practices. Furthermore, EHR aim to improve the quality of healthcare, empower medical practitioners decision‐making and improve healthcare delivery to patients. In their paper, (Car et al, 2011), discusses benefits ranges from cost savings, greater patient involvement in healthcare, secondary use of data, improved quality and improved data exchange between healthcare settings. Efficient access to patient medical records by medical practitioners is of utmost importance to the practitioner’s job. Because delayed access or lack thereof may result in loss of life, which could have been easily prevented, considering readily available information to assist practitioners in preventing such a loss. Delay or inability to access patient information could occur when patients visit a different physician than their regular or family doctor where their medical history and files are kept. Silos of patient data is scattered amongst different practices, leading to data redundancy and inconsistencies. Most medical practitioners in the Namibian private sector use paper‐based medical records system to capture and store patient data. Processing and transferring this information to other practitioners for referrals proves to be difficult needless to undertake important clinical decisions. Despite the aforementioned benefits, implementation of Information systems in health care have been characterized by numerous challenges such as technical problems, resistance to change from medical staff, poor communication and fit of systems and users (Cresswell et al. 2011; Ammenwerth et al. 2006). Evaluations
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and requirements gathering is therefore an important phase in EHR systems because it helps to identify user needs and in turn avoid resistance to change when the system is ultimately implemented. The first section of the study provides a background setting for the study; literature is further discussed on electronic medical records use in developing countries. The final section reports on user requirements and recommendations are made for future studies.
2. Background The Namibian health sector is divided into public health care, which primarily provided by state health institutions through the Ministry of Health. On the other hand I the private sector services are provided by Faith based organizations and the private health institutions. This study focused private medical institutions with special focus on physicians running private medical practices to supply services to patients. Most private medical practices in Namibia are using paper‐based systems to capture and store patient data. Paper‐based system are known to be ineffective and contribute to a number of inefficient and in some cases low quality health care rendered to patients. Most developing countries are still using paper‐based system for patient record keeping and hamper the performance and quality of health care. Despite the difficulties in deploying health information systems a number of developing countries have invested in integrating EHR into their workflow system. EHR systems streamline activities of practitioners by facilitating easy access to and better management of patient records. Research by (Nucita et al. 2009), demonstrates the use of an electronic medical record system called DREAM (Drug Resources Enhancement Against AIDS and Malnutrition) for HIV/AIDS patients in sub ‐ Saharan African. The software efficiently manages patient and clinical data in the health organization. DREAM is currently in use in 10 (ten) sub‐Saharan Africa the system can host and maintain over seventy Three thousand (73,000) patients data which help in improving the effectiveness of therapy based on epidemiological research. DREAM is currently implemented in 10 countries in Africa, with 31 centers and 18 molecular biology laboratories. Amongst the countries that are part of the DREAM project are Mozambique, Malawi, Angola, Tanzania and Kenya. The DREAM software is focused and limited to HIV/AIDS and the private health institutions needs more diversified software that focuses on other functions such as administration, patient records and other patient related data. Other benefits of EHR systems highlighted in (Sf et al. 2005) study are namely; Improvement in legibility of clinical notes, Decision support for drug ordering, including allergy warnings and drug incompatibilities, Reminders to prescribe drugs and administer vaccines, Warnings for abnormal laboratory results, Support for programme monitoring, including reporting outcomes, budgets and supplies, Support for clinical research, and management of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and heart failure. (Menachemi & Collum 2011), classifies benefits of EHR as organizational, societal and clinical. Clinical benefits are discussed to include improvements in the quality of care and more effective handling of patient data (free from errors), contrary organizational benefits are more focused on operational and performance benefits. Lastly societal benefits are more related to research and population health. Physicians running private practices can reap the same benefits given appropriate use of such systems in their health. There have been a number of developments in the area of EHR systems standards. In their paper (Hilbel et al. 2007) describe how (Digital Imaging and Communication in Medicine) DICOM ECG facilitates digital viewing, exchange and archiving of medical images. This can be classified under clinical benefits of using EHR in private medical practices. Other benefits of using EHR systems are improve eligibility of clinical notes (Gp et al. 2003), Decision support for drug ordering, including allergy warnings and drug incompatibilities and Reminders to prescribe drugs and administer vaccines (Hunt et al. 2013). Electronic Health records systems are also used in the following countries and they have proved to deliver the benefits mentioned above. In Haiti, an HIV‐EMR system is used for History, physical examination, social circumstances and treatment recorded. The case of Haiti demonstrates use of EHR in a remote area with no infrastructure and limited technical expertise ((Gp et al. 2003). Uganda also uses a careware HIV system that provides comprehensive tools for tracking HIV patients and their treatment that includes billing data of
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patients, their medications and clinical assessment. Malawi on the other hand also makes use of EHR which focuses administration of patient demographics, medication, laboratory tests and X‐rays (Gp et al. 2003). A study by Chon, Nishihara and Akiyama (2011), discusses the importance of automating manual documents, to foster a common definition for clinical and business transactions. Their study classifies medical records by types, namely; Level one (1) focusing on the department level i.e. medical data can be shared between same divisions in same department. Level two (2) is interdepartmental this means clinical or patient data can be shared between different department. Level three (3) is a hospital wide sharing of information or patient data. Level four (4) is sharing information within different facilities i.e. sharing of patient information with other service provider’s i.e. between different hospitals and Level five (5) this level involves inter‐facility including care management information. i.e. a form of extension of level 4. Namibian private medical practices could emulate the use of the above EHR systems as used Japan. Levels of EHR systems highlighted in their study (Chon, Nishihara and Akiyama (2011) fits in with requirements collected in this survey. These requirements covey importance of physicians essentials as they relate to types of electronic records that caters departments, inter‐departmental, facility and hospital wide. Given the benefits discussed above, there are potential disadvantages that can hamper the implementation of EHR especially in developing countries. These challenges are namely basic infrastructure, financial constraints, changes in workflow, adoption issues and privacy and security concerns (Menachemi & Collum 2011). The above studies are a demonstration that EHR systems are useful for developing countries and there are immense benefits to health institutions that deploys such systems. This study therefore aims to identify practitioner’s needs as a first step to systems design. A qualitative approach is used in analyzing practitioner’s needs. “Theoretically‐informed research is needed to help informatics both researchers fields organizational, successfully believe to and practitioners understand and institutional implementing applications in health care settings” (Chiasson et al. 2002). Theories provide lenses through which to look in order to diagnose a problem and focus attention on various aspects of data. This study draws on the design science theory where focus is drawn on the first research cycle (Hevner 2007). Hevner’s framework proposes design science research cycles as, relevance cycle, design and rigor cycle. The relevance cycle features context that provides user requirements for research as inputs and also looks at criteria for evaluation of research results (Hevner, 2007). The rigor cycle offers past knowledge to the research and design cycle is dependent on the two previous cycles, as this is the phase where the design of artifact is done. User requirements are collected in this study and focus is drawn to the relevance cycle where opportunism and problems are identified in the actual application environment. Techniques used to elicit user requirements are described in the next section. 3. Elicitation techniques There are different types of elicitation techniques used to collect user requirements. (Young 2002), explains that there are over 40 elicitation techniques and not all of them are effective. In his study he listed and explained a number of effective techniques and explained that they can be used in combination. Interviews were identified as one of the effective elicitation techniques and this study therefore used surveys to collect information from physicians using structured questionnaires. Methods of capturing and storing data were examined in order to understand physician’s needs. Interviews were administered using a questionnaire with both open and closed ended questions. The interview questions were designed with sections that cater for different area of specialties selected for case studies. In order to get representation, physicians were classified in terms of medical specialty ranging from general practitioners, a dentist and a pediatrician. Other interviews were conducted with healthcare organizations namely NMC (Namibian Medical Council) and NHP (National Health Plan) to acquire further details. The data collection was sourced from three general practitioners, one pediatrician and dentist. Since most private practices normally have only the practitioner and a clerk or nurses, the maximum people interviewed per institution were two and in some cases the receptionist was included. Interviews were used, as an elicitation technique because it was deemed the most convenient method compared to observation as
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majority of physicians were not comfortable being observed by an external researcher. This was due to confidentiality issues surrounding patient information. Even though there were other techniques such as prototyping that could be used for elicitation, it was too costly for a pilot study. Therefore considering all other elicitation methods, interviews were the best method to use for a pilot study. Future studies can use modeling and prototyping to expand on the requirements collected in this pilot study in order to eliminate ambiguities and inconsistencies. Convenience sampling was used to select the sample of physicians and Castillo and Joan (2009) define convenience sampling as “a non‐probability sampling technique where subjects are selected because of their convenient accessibility and proximity to the researcher”. The majority of physicians targeted for interviews could not participate in the survey due to busy schedules and lack of interest in participating in the survey. As a result, convenience sampling was chosen as a sampling method on the basis of availability of key informants (Struwig & Stead 2004).
4. Survey results Results from the physicians surveyed indicated that most of them were familiar with the existence and use of Electronic health records, but however the majority of them still were using manual processes in capturing and storing patient information. An interesting finding was that most practitioners maintained a separate software application that they primarily used for billing purposes. Most physicians dominantly used the manual filing system by writing down the patient’s information for diagnosis and these notes are kept in the patient file. All the practitioners interviewed indicated that they capture and store patient data using the manual filing system. Every file consists of an identification number based on the individual clinic practitioner’s choice. The number on the file was later used is used to uniquely identify patients in a given practice. Challenges identified with the paper‐based medical system were, data redundancy, inconsistencies, security and confidentiality of patient information. Data redundancies and inconsistencies were mainly a cause of misplaced files leading to opening new files for the patients. As a way of handling this challenge, all physicians agreed that their paper‐based records are assigned unique numbers to uniquely identify the patients and they further arranged in alphabetical order on the shelves and they have to page through each file based on the patient surname to trace the file when patients come for consultation. All Physicians also indicated that developing and implementing Electronic Record system would improve efficiency and facilitate mobility of medical data within their own practices and other Doctors. Apart from the realizing the benefits offered by EHR, they motioned a great concern regarding the security and sensitivity of medical data in accordance with medical ethics; patient medical information should not be revealed without the patient consent. Therefore the access issue would also be a concern i.e. who has access to patients medical records and to what extent the access should be granted. This concern would be handled by setting and ensuring roles are assigned in electronic, to grant privileges only to doctors that are allowed to view certain data. According to practitioners, lack of confidentiality compromise the standard of services offered to their patients. Cases where patients have access to details of the doctor’s diagnostic note creates problem. Doctors at times write their findings using abbreviations and some summarize their diagnosis. Since the notes are meant for the individual doctor, therefore it is against the ethics of the practice to expose patients’ medical information. Amongst other challenges identified during interviews, were silos of patient information in the private sector. The main concern was how to get physicians to share and collaborate to share patient information. They explained that in situations where patients change doctors or relocate to other town, it was very hard tracing the patient history, and this lead to incomplete patient data for diagnosis purposes. In emergency situations, the current doctor would have to repeat the same exercise to acquire the patient history from the previous doctor. This could have been easily accessible by the current doctor if a centralized system was in place, as this promotes data sharing amongst medical practitioners in different locations. Other shortcomings with the current paper‐based system are miss‐filed documents i.e. a situation whereby the receptionist or the nurse swaps the file or misplaces it which takes ages to trace. Following up on shortcomings, physicians were asked to suggest what the EHR system needs were to address the above challenges. Most physicians supported the idea of using the system as a solution to addressing current challenges and improving health service delivery. They further pointed out that using a system that has an email functionality enable them to instantly email
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basic patient data such X‐ray images to other institutions or colleagues seamlessly and further pulling reports from the system based on the patient records.
5. Requirements and discussion This section reports on the information gathered from the sample groups namely: general practitioners, dentist and a pediatrician. The data gathered was analyzed and reported based on the different aspects of the medical practitioner’s day‐to‐day business operations and processes. Views from the above respondents will be summarized into perceived user requirements for an EHR system. The needs identified by physicians were centered around functional and systematic needs. The requirements were therefore split into functional and systems requirements and requirements were linked to Clancy (2003), core functionalities of an electronic health system. The requirements specified by the surveyed practitioners fit in the core functionalities proposed by Clancy (2003). Physicians specified that they require an administration feature to maintain general patient data such as personal details and other administration related functions. This is closely related to the Health Information and data and administration process core functionalities mentioned in Clancy’s study. Table 1 shows a brief description of the requirements collected from practitioners. Table 1: Requirements from practitioners Requirement Category Administrative
Reporting Appointment scheduling
Requirement General references
Description Maintain General References
Nationality User access Users details Static report Parameterized Report In patient Outpatient Hospitalized patients
Maintain Nationality Maintain Users Maintain User Access Standard reporting Ad hoc reports Record of Inpatients Record outpatients Record of admitted patients
The Administration function will aid practitioners to capture patient data and maintain patient health history. It is therefore important that the patient information is recorded in a way that will add knowledge to clinician and other user of the data e.g. pharmacist and other related health bodies (Bates et al., 1999). The administrative aspect of healthcare is one of the areas that require careful attention, as this is the point of data entry into any medical practice. Electronic records will be more efficient in handling daily healthcare processes like hospital admission, booking of appointment of inpatient and outpatient client (Petrick et al., 2002). This is relevant to order entry as EHRS provide interface for practitioners to enter patient’s demographic information on the computer directly instead of paper‐based record. Reporting is an integral and crucial part of every organization, and healthcare is not an exception. Therefore different functions of healthcare require different reports based on the needs of patient and other external bodies that might need the report for referral needs and any other purposes. This would facilitate report and make research easier to be carried out I the medical field, as the EHRS would provide different kind of readily available report. This is another way to prove the effectiveness and efficiency that the healthcare provider will have with the EHRS. The appointment‐scheduling requirement is closely linked to the decision support function. Decision support helps practitioners to take appropriate clinical decisions (Rollman et al., 2002). This would help reduce medical errors and patients will receive effective and quality care. Use of decision support systems greatly enhances services rendered to patients. Other functionalities enable management of results from laboratories and other clinical entities by maintaining electronic records and it promoting efficiency and cost of healthcare services (Bates et al, 2003). Most private health institutions in Namibia are still using paper‐based systems and running orders as part of the administrative function would allow practitioners to do away with paper and take all order transaction directly on the system this would in turn improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the healthcare services rendered
Julius Oyeleke and Meke Shivute
to patients (Bates & Gawande, 2003). Furthermore, it will help practitioners to enter orders, drugs, and laboratory test and other clinical related data on the EHR system. Finally, Management of electronic communication plays an important role in facilitation health data between practitioners, medical staff and patients. It is of utmost importance that there are supporting applications to promote interaction between various entities in the health domain. Communication tools like messaging, mail and chat applications demonstrates the ability to share and send electronic files which in turn escalate the and efficiency of practitioners (Kuebler & Bruera, 2000). This would facilitate communication and sharing of medical data as well, which is a way to improve access to medical information for practitioners. Not only do physicians need good electronic communication but also to maintain good patient support. Physician’s testimonies and dialogue has proved that using electronic systems to handle patient data will improve their processes in control of chronic illness and other related clinical data (Finkelstein et al., 2000). The survey results supports (Clancy’s 2003) study that the important core functionalities the list above though during the process of data gathering, the dentist mentioned he would like the system to keep patients photographs, print a report on patient prescriptions to pharmacists directly from the system, print medical certificates that can be sent to the employer of the patient as part of the functions which fit perfectly under the reporting module. Concluding recommendations are discussed in the next section.
6. Conclusion Private medical physicians in Namibia are using paper‐based systems to capture and store patient’s medical data. Paper‐based systems pose a number of challenges that hampers effective service delivery from physicians. The purpose of this study was to investigate how medical practitioner’s capture, manage and access patient data. A pilot study was conducted with four private medical practices, in order to identify practitioner’s needs. Structured Interviews were used as method to elicit user requirement from health practitioners. Findings from this study reports that the current paper‐based system is inefficient in capturing and retrieving patient medical records. The current system does not support standardized medical records, leading to inconsistencies and integrity issues in data storage. The significance of this study was to identify practitioner’s needs as a first step to systems design in order to improve access to patient data and ensure delivery of efficient and effective health services to patients. The survey reported administrative, reporting and appointment related requirements as some of the important systems requirements. The above‐mentioned user requirements were centered around functional and systematic needs .The different core functionalities were then explained and it was indicated that Administration, report and appointment scheduling requirements were indicated as the most important needs. The challenge in developing a new system lies in cost issues, and practitioners will have to look at options of acquiring existing applications in the market and have it customized to suit the needs. Private health institutions could alternatively look into deploying Open source EHR systems such OpenMRS to attend to their needs. This study was pilot study and was a first step to explore current methods used to capture, store and disseminate patient information. Further research should therefore look into detailed analysis and using the identified requirements to recommend an existing EHR application or alternatively design a new system to suit the Namibian healthcare industry. Consideration of requirements from other regions should be regarded since system requirements could differ based on geographical location.
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Selected Factors Influencing Customers' Behaviour in e‐Commerce on B2C Markets in the Czech Republic Michal Pilík Tomas Bata University in Zlín, Faculty of Management and Economics, Zlín, Czech Republic firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract: The influence of the new media, predominantly the Internet and mobile technologies, on customers' behaviour is increasing steadily every year. One of the basic functions of the Internet beside its high information, communication and entertainment value is the possibility of trading. Europe is currently the biggest e‐commerce market in the world and on‐ line markets are becoming an essential part of the economy in most countries and contribute significantly to their GDP. The development of e‐commerce at the same time increases the demands and expectations of the customers regarding the quality of the service offered, security, and general trust in on‐line shopping. The article presents the results of the Czech Grant Agency research P403/11/P175: The factors influencing customers' on‐line behaviour in e‐commerce environment on B2C and B2B markets in the Czech Republic, which was conducted between June and November 2012 and which involved almost one thousand participants. The aim of the research was to analyze customers' behaviour in on‐line purchases on B2C markets in the Czech Republic. Based on these results, 88 % of Czech customers use on‐line shopping, 33 % of whom shop on‐line regularly and 55 % irregularly. Keywords: consumer behaviour, e‐commerce, e‐shop, security
1. Introduction Electronic commerce has become a large and important segment of the new digital economy over the last ten years. (Hostler et al., 2012) Rapid development of the Czech Internet market is confirmed by the figures showing numbers of shoppers and sales of e‐shops. 84% of Czech Internet users had some experience with shopping online in 2011 and the majority of them spent less than 4,000 CZK per month on online purchases. (Gemius.com, 2011) Data from 2012 indicated that 90 % of internet users in the Czech Republic already have some experience with purchasing online, which is an increase by 6 % compared to 2010. (Mediaguru.cz, 2012) At the beginning of 2013, we can conclude that the number of Internet users who shop online is still increasing and has exceeded 90 %, which is also proven by the research. Czech users mostly shop online in e‐shops which have already been used by three‐quarters of respondents. More than half of the users have tried a comparison shopping website and nearly a third of them used a deal of the day aggregator. (Mediaguru.cz, 2012)
Figure 1: Number of Czech internet users who have used e‐commerce services (Mediaguru.cz, 2012) The economic situation has a significant influence on the amounts spent on the Internet. Customers use the Internet to save money, but the amounts being spent are decreasing. Czech users shop online more frequently but in smaller quantities. "The average value of the customer´s cart at the checkout is declining as customers get used to shopping on the Internet. It has decreased by about 40 % in the last 3 years and is now below
Michal Pilík 2,000 CZK. We expect it to continue to decline," says David Antić from BerZbozi.cz and the Association of mass shopping portals. (marketingovenoviny.cz, 2012) "Czech Internet retailers were able to maintain revenue growth even in the worst years of the crisis. One of the main reasons for this was their flexibility and ability to continuously offer lower prices than brick and mortar shops. However, Czech customers have already learned, that even though the price is one of the key factors, it is preferable to choose among proven and trusted e‐ shops“ points out Pavel Kulhavý, director of the Audit Department, PwC CR. (pwc.com, 2012) In 2012, B2C e‐commerce sales grew 21.1 % to top $1 trillion for the first time, according to new global estimates by eMarketer. This year, sales will grow 18.3 % to $1.298 trillion worldwide, eMarketer estimates, as Asia‐Pacific surpasses North America to become the world's No. 1 market for B2C e‐commerce sales. Sales in North America grew 13.9 % to a world‐leading $364.66 billion in 2012. B2C e‐commerce sales in Asia‐Pacific grew more than 33 % to $332.46 billion in 2012. (eMarketer.com, 2013) PwC conducted a study titled “Customers take control” which has brought some interesting results. According to this study more than a fifth (22 %) of e‐shop customers around the world made their first online purchase in life during 2011. The study also revealed a significant room for further increase in activity of customers on the Internet. Chinese, being the most active, shop online on average more than eight times a month. Europeans shop online less than three times per month with the exception of the British (four times per month). (pwc.com, 2012) China, unsurprisingly, is the primary growth driver in the region. The country will surpass Japan as the world’s second‐largest B2C e‐commerce market this year, taking an estimated 14 % share of global sales, as its total reaches $181.62 billion, up 65 % from $110.04 billion in 2012. (eMarketer.com, 2013) The Czech market registers around 21.000 active e‐shops which only last year generated a turnover of approximately 37 billion CZK. If we compare the size of the Czech market with the size of the British market, which has roughly 30000 active e‐shops, then the Czech Republic is with its number of active e‐shops truly an “e‐shop superpower”. The main reason for being so appealing to 73% of Czech e‐shop customers is the motto to “save time”. For 64 % of customers it is important that they can easily compare prices, 59 % praise greater selection of goods. For 23 % of customers it is just simply "shopping without a crowd". The greatest demand is for clothes, electronics and books, about 17 % of e‐shops focus mainly on fashion and style. (Uďan, 2012)
2. E‐commerce definition and description Electronic commerce is the use of advanced electronic technology for business. Both parties of business information, product information, sales information, service information and electronic payment and other activities are achieved with mutually agreed trading standards through the network, the advanced information processing tools, and the computer. Online shopping or online retailing is a form of electronic commerce whereby consumers directly buy goods or services from a seller over the Internet without an intermediary service. (Tao, Li, Dingjun, 2011) Ramanathan et al. (2012) describes previous interpretation of e‐commerce simply as transactions over the Internet. However, over the years, e‐commerce has been interpreted to include a variety of organisational activities including selling, buying, logistics, and/or other organization‐ management activities via the Web or doing business over information networks. (Ramanathan et al., 2012) In the last decade, the growth and generalization of Internet use has made it possible to increase sales through e‐ commerce websites. (Iglesias‐Pradas et. al, 2012) All marketers try to identify consumers’ buying behaviour. But they are in opposite to sophisticated customers who are able to use and analyse more information sources than before and to make the best buying decision. They are more comfortable than in previous years because they are used to having better services now. The effectiveness of advertising is decreasing and it is more difficult to persuade customers to buy company’s products. The combination of these factors can influence the final price. The analysis of consumer behaviour is a key aspect for the success of an e‐business. However, the behaviour of consumers in the Internet market changes as they acquire e‐purchasing experience. (Hernándes et al., 2010) Hernándes et al. (2010) claims that the growth of e‐commerce has made it clear that customer behaviour has evolved. Customer behaviour does not necessarily remain stable over time since the experience acquired from past purchases means that perceptions change.
Michal Pilík Consumer decision process is so generic that it can be applied to consumer behaviour in any channel, including the Internet. (Roberts, 2008)
3. Factors influencing on‐line buying behaviour: security, privacy, satisfaction and trust Each customer decision is influenced by many factors. Figure 2 shows the chosen groups of factors influencing on‐line buying behaviour. These factors were analysed during the research. There are many factors shaping online behaviour and this article describes the most significant ones. In an online market, issues such as security, privacy and risk perceptions are important factors affecting consumers´ purchasing decision. Unlike the physical market, consumers may be dealing with remote vendors they have never met and products that cannot be touched and felt (Teo, Liu, 2007). Trust is a fundamental principle of every business relationship. (Hart, Saunders, 1997; Corbitt et al., 2003) In e‐commerce, consideration of security refers to customer perceptions of the security of the transaction as a whole (including means of payment and mechanisms for the storage and transmission of all personal information). A lack of perceived security is a major reason why many potential consumers do not shop online because of common perceptions of risks involved in transmitting sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, across the Internet. (Chang, Chen, 2009) Satisfaction is the consumer’s fulfilment response. Further a fulfilment, and hence a satisfaction judgment, involves at the minimum two stimuli—an outcome and a comparison referent. Szymanski and Hise (2000) and this study conceptualize e‐satisfaction as the consumers’ judgment of their Internet retail experience as compared to their experiences with traditional retail stores. (Evanschitzky et al., 2004) Satisfaction is an affective response to purchase situations. Oliver (1997) defines satisfaction as the summary psychological state resulting when the emotions surrounding disconfirmed expectations are coupled with the prior feeling of consumers about the consumer experience. (Chang, Chen, 2008)
Figure 2: Factors influencing on‐line buying behaviour (own survey)
4. Factors influencing on‐line shopping in the Czech Republic The on‐line questionnaire survey during the period June ‐ November 2012 was used. The questionnaire includes 41 questions and the main goal was to get know the current situation on field of on‐line buying in the Czech Republic focused on factors influencing on‐line buying behavior. SPSS software was used for data evaluation. Pseudo random selection of respondents was used. 925 respondents attended the research and 706 completed questioners were evaluated. As we can see in Table 2 the sample includes 283 men (40,1 %) and 423 women (59,9 %). It almost follows the sex structure in the Czech Republic.
Michal Pilík Table 1: Sample demographics (own survey) Gender Age
Level of Internet Literacy
Male Female 16‐24 25‐34 35‐44 45‐54 55‐64 65+ Primary education Secondary school without graduation Secondary school with graduation University degree
N 283 423 195 243 128 77 38 25 25
% 40.1 59.9 27.6 34.4 18.1 10.9 5.4 3.5 3.5
Common user Advanced user Professional
452 165 25
64.0 23.4 3.5
4.1 Research questions The following research questions were set prior to the research:
RQ1: Internet users who are concerned about security also have great distrust in online shopping and at the same time fear the loss of privacy and misuse of personal data.
RQ2: According to the customers, security is a significant technical factor influencing online shopping.
RQ3: Confidence in the e‐shop as a psychological factor affecting behaviour during online shopping is perceived by more than 40 % of online customers as an important factor in choosing an e‐shop.
RQ4: Experience with using the Internet has a significant influence on the behaviour during online shopping.
4.2 Research goals and methodology Quantitative marketing research was used for collecting primary data. A structured on‐line questionnaire survey was used during the period June ‐ September 2012. The questionnaire included 41 questions and the main goal was to get to know the current situation in the area of on‐line buying in the Czech Republic focusing on factors influencing on‐line buying behaviour. SPSS software was used for data evaluation. The primary goal of this paper is to present selected factors influencing customers' behaviour in e‐commerce on B2C markets in the Czech Republic. The research goals for purpose of this paper are:
to analyse basic demographics characteristics and their influence to on‐line buying;
to describe what are the main fears by using on‐line shops in the Czech Republic and their relations;
to analyze technical and psychological factors affecting online shopping.
5. Basic demographics characteristics and their influence on on‐line buying Figure 3 describes the current situation on Czech on‐line market. As we can see 87.5 % of Czech Internet users use this media for purchasing products or services. But only 32.7 % buy on‐line regularly. It means that most Czech Internet users buy on‐line but only irregularly and still use traditional shops for majority shopping.
Figure 3: Internet buying in the Czech Republic in % (own search) We can see the comparison of online shopping with the age of users in Table 2. It is obvious that respondents in the 25‐34 category buy online regularly more often than the other age categories. They are active online more often than others and work very well with the latest technologies and PCs. As we can see, 54 % of respondents buy online but irregularly and 43 % of respondents in the age category 25‐34 buy online regularly. Only 3 % of respondents don't use Internet for buying products or services in the age category 25‐34. The general trends which are illustrated in the same Table 2 are: all age categories are active online, they buy online but we can see these consequences: (1) number of people who do not purchase online is increasing, depending on the growing age, (2) people aged 25‐34 buy online most regularly, (3) all age categories are active shopping online, (4) most people buy irregularly online. Table 2: Age Categories and on‐line buying (own search)
16-24 years 34 %
25-34 years 43 %
35-44 years 32 %
45-54 years 22 %
55-64 years 3 %
65+ years 4 %
As we can see in Figure 4 age and level of Internet literacy has the biggest influence on on‐line buying. The relationship between on‐line buying and age is weak (0,383, p = 0.01). Correlation is significant at 0.01 level. There is a weak positive relationship between these two variables. Determination coefficient is 15 % and it represents weak tightness of these variables. The relationship between on‐line buying and level of Internet literacy is weak as well (‐0,407, p = 0.01). Correlation is significant at 0.01 level. There is a weak negative relationship between these two variables. Determination coefficient is 17 % and it represents weak tightness of these variables. Based on this result we can reject the research question 4 (RQ4) that experience with using the Internet has a significant influence on the behaviour during online shopping. Dependence was proved to exist, but as mentioned above, it is weak.
Figure 4: Basic demographics characteristics and their influence to on‐line buying (own search)
6. Fears connected with internet shopping in the Czech Republic All on‐line users have some worries about purchasing on‐line. It does not signify if they purchase on‐line regularly or irregularly. The main worries are presented in Figure 5. We can see that most people are afraid of complaints products or their testing (61 %). 37 % of respondents marked misuse of personal data and security as an important barrier against Internet shopping acceptance. It is surprising that only 44 % of respondents marked misuse of personal data as a relevant worry because the fear of security and personal information is generally very high in the society. On the other hand, this information is also positive because it seems that Czech on‐line customers start to trust this medium. If we compare the approach of regular, irregular and non‐ online buyers, we can see that all of these segments have the same worries. The impossibility of product testing, problems with complaints, problems with product return and misuse of personal data are the main worries about on‐line purchasing.
Figure 5: Fears by Internet shopping in the Czech Republic (own survey) The correlation between the concern about security when shopping online, distrust, loss of privacy and misuse of personal data can be seen in Table 3 below. Based on these results, we can confirm the research question 1 (RQ1: Internet users who are concerned about security also have great distrust in online shopping and also fear the loss of privacy and misuse of personal data). These factors do not show a very strong correlation, but there is a weak positive correlation. The strongest positive correlation is between the fear of loss of privacy and concerns of misuse of personal data (0.370, p = 0.01). Based on a statistical analysis, the correlation can be
Michal Pilík considered moderate at 0.01 level. The determination coefficient is 14 % and it represents a weak tightness of these variables. Other results are shown below. Table 3: Correlation between security, distrust, loss of privacy and misuse of personal data (own processing using SPSS) Security
Pearson Correlation N Pearson Correlation N Pearson Correlation N Pearson Correlation N
Loss of privacy
Misuse of personal data
Misuse of Loss of privacy personal data .305** .262**
**Correlation is significant at 0.01 level (2‐tailed). Table 4 presents technical and psychological factors considered to be the most important according to online customers. Individual factors are rated on a scale of 1 to 4 where 1 expresses the most significant influence and 4 expresses the least significant influence. As we can see, having the Internet access is considered the most significant technical influence on online shopping. Technical equipment and security when using the Internet is considered to be also very important for online shopping. Table 4: Factors affecting online shopping according to the opinion of online customers (in %)
Available technical equipment
Security when using the Internet
Possible loss of privacy
Trust in the Internet as a medium
Confidence in a given e‐shop
Experience with using the Internet
Based on the results we can conclude that confidence in a given e‐shop is perceived by the customers as significant. Nearly 47 % of respondents found it to be the most important factor and 45.3 % perceived it as a significant factor. This result tells us that that nearly 93% of respondents perceived confidence in an e‐shop as very significant. Therefore, we can confirm the research question 3 (RQ3). Online customers perceive the issue of security similarly. 88% of respondents perceive it as a significant factor in deciding whether to choose the Internet as a place for their purchases. Therefore, we can confirm the research question 2 (RQ2). As the results in Table 5 and 6��show, overall Cronbach's alpha is 0.700 / 0.679, which is very high and indicates strong internal consistency among the six psychological factors items. Essentially this means that respondents who tended to select high scores for one item also tended to select high scores for the others. Table 5: Reliability statistics – psychological factors Cronbach's Alpha .700
N of Items 6
Michal Pilík Table 6: Reliability statistics – technical factors Cronbach's Alpha .679
N of Items 3
7. Conclusion and discussion The Internet and its tools no longer feel unfamiliar. Still the majority of its users are afraid of online purchases even though there are a number of advantages. Young generation is an exception. The Internet enables (together with new marketing approaches) customers as well as companies to quickly, efficiently buy and sell goods or services. The area of e‐commerce is still a new phenomenon in the Czech Republic, which is worth exploring and developing. Czech people use the Internet as a medium for purchasing products or services but they are still a little bit sceptical because they do not use it regularly. The impending second wave of the economic crisis gives rise to new e‐shops. About 800 new e‐shops are created each month in the Czech Republic out of which 200‐300 best survive. Customers obviously benefit from this situation. There is a very strong competition on the Internet, as well as in the traditional business environment. As a result of this competition, prices of goods and services are constantly decreasing benefiting the customer. We can also observe that the prices no longer seem the most crucial factor influencing customers’ behaviour. More frequently, online shoppers follow other criteria, such as security, trust, satisfaction, privacy and others typical for this particular shopping environment.
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Information Asset Management: Who is Responsible and Accountable? James Price1 and Nina Evans2 1 Experience Matters, Adelaide, Australia 2 University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract: The key resources that are inputs to the production process of an organisation are Financial Assets, Human Assets, Physical Assets and Information Assets. Each of these sets of assets needs to be effectively deployed to meet business objectives. Information, which is a critical business resource for most organisations, is typically poorly managed and the potential, tangible benefits from improving Information Management (IM) practices are seldom realised. Business governance refers to the decisions that must be made to ensure effective business management and also to who makes these decisions, i.e. who is responsible and accountable. Qualitative research via confidential interviews was conducted with C‐level executives and Board members of Australian and South African organisations in both private and public sectors, to identify their perceptions of the issues preventing the effective management of Information Assets in their organisations. A significant finding is that a key issue preventing effective information management is a lack of business/corporate governance. Questions about what information management decisions must be made – and by whom ‐ are not being raised. If they are, responsibility and accountability is often inappropriately imposed. This paper aims to address this concern. Keywords: information assets, governance, responsibility, accountability
1. Introduction To achieve their corporate objectives, organisations provide products and services through the conduct of their daily business activities. These business activities are enabled by the deployment of the organisation’s available and typically scarce resources, namely their Financial (money / budget), Physical (plant, equipment, IT), Human (people) and Information Assets. How efficiently and effectively organisations deploy their resources determines their business performance. In the modern knowledge‐based economy intangible assets such as data, documents, content and knowledge are critical to the operation of every organisation (Freeze & Khulkani, 2007; Wilson & Stenson, 2008; Salamuddin et al., 2010; Jhunjhunwala, 2009). These intangible assets are referred to as Information Assets in this paper. Information Assets drive, record and enforce organisational strategy and growth. They also help leaders to make informed decisions to improve customer acquisition and retention, employee recruitment and retention and enhance employee motivation and loyalty (Steenkamp & Kashyap, 2010). Organisational knowledge is regarded as a key factor in management practices (Garcia‐Parra et al., 2009) and the capacity to create, transfer and employ knowledge contributes to organisational success and sustainable competitive advantage (Drucker, 1994; Spender, 1994; Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995; Davenport & Prusak, 1998; Teece, 2007). Practitioner experience and anecdotal evidence in the form of numerous failed Information Technology (IT) initiatives, ineffective business practices and a lack of understanding of the cost, value and benefit of effectively deploying information in all levels of organisations, generated a lack of confidence that Information Assets are being effectively managed (Experience Matters, 2012). For example, a major energy retailer nearly killed an excavator driver by providing him with an obsolete site plan that did not show the whereabouts of an 11,000 volt cable. A major oil and gas producer declared that if they managed their money in the same way that they managed their information they would “be broke in a week”. In response, the authors initiated this research project to investigate the reasons for poor decisions regarding Information Assets and lack of accountability for their deployment. Whilst there is copious academic and industry material on various aspects of Information Management, the first phase of this project, namely the Literature Review, shows that very little research has been done on why Information Assets are not better managed.
James Price and Nina Evans The second phase of the research was conducted in Australia and South Africa (Evans et al., 2011; Hunter et al., 2011), to determine whether organisations recognise Information Assets that are of value to their operations and how these assets are managed. Preliminary findings indicate that every organisation acknowledges that it has Information Assets that are of value to its operations. Data, information and knowledge underpins and enables every business activity encompassing both value chain / productive activity and support activities including Finance, HR, Legal, IT, Treasury etc. Participants commented that all they have in their business is information and knowledge and that the business would grind to a halt without these assets. Despite this, few organisations manage these assets with the same rigor as they manage their other scarce resources and not one of these organisations could claim exemplary practice in the deployment of those assets. The findings of these phases of the research were sufficiently compelling to justify further investigation. The third phase focused on the reasons why Information Assets are not effectively deployed in organisations. Multitudinous reasons for poor Information Management were proffered, categorised as Executive Awareness, Business Governance, Leadership & Management, Justification and Tools. The Business Governance related aspects of our findings are reported in this paper. The remaining three phases of this project are as follows. Phase 4 will be a quantitative analysis to interrogate, validate and prioritise findings. This will allow a more granular investigation and enable comparison between industries, geographies, cultures etc. Phase 5 has commenced and will determine the business impact to organisations of poor Information Management. Anecdotal evidence suggests that benefits to organisations from improving their Information Management practices is conservatively estimated at $20,000 per person per year. Finally, building on existing work, Stage 6 will address the ultimate objective of this project by developing a methodology to resolve the barriers that we have identified to effective Information Management. The format for the remainder of this manuscript is as follows. In the next section, terms are defined for the purpose of this paper. Then, literature which relates to the deployment of Information Assets is discussed. Then the presentation of the research approach and methods provides a context for the project. The identified governance related barriers are then addressed, followed by conclusions and suggestions what future investigation might entail.
2. Terms and definitions Available literature highlights the lack of precision prevalent in the language of this topic. Terms including business or corporate governance, information assets, information governance, IT governance and management are defined here to provide clarity for this discussion. There is a clear distinction between governance and management. Governance refers to what decisions must be made (decision domain) and who makes the decisions (locus of accountability for decision‐making) to ensure effective business management. Management involves making and implementing these decisions (Khatri, 2010; Evans & Price, 2012). A clear distinction is also made between business / corporate governance, information governance and information technology governance. A common definition of business / corporate governance is “the system by which companies are directed and controlled” (Cadbury, 1992; Gregory & Simmelkjaer, 2002). Information governance is defined as “the specification of decision rights and an accountability framework to encourage desirable behaviour in the valuation, creation, storage, use, archival and deletion of information. It includes the processes, roles, standards and metrics that ensure the effective and efficient use of information in�� enabling an organisation to achieve its goals” (Logan, 2010). Based on the analysis of 60 different articles, IT governance is about “IT decision‐making: the preparation for, making of and implementation of decisions regarding goals, processes, people and technology on a tactical and strategic level” (Simonsson & Johnson, 2005). Finally, various terms and definitions can be employed to describe Information Assets. These assets are intangible and, for the purpose of the project described in this paper, Information Assets include all explicit, codified data, documents and published content, irrespective of medium (e.g. hard copy, soft copy, microfiche
James Price and Nina Evans and head‐space) and format (e.g. Word document, spreadsheet, email, drawing and HTML), as well as tacit knowledge. These intangible assets are inputs to the business. Intangible assets such as relationship capital, brand awareness and goodwill, that are typically outputs of the business, are excluded. Tangible assets such as Financial Assets (money), Physical Assets (buildings, plant and equipment, computer hardware and software) and Human Assets (people) are also excluded from this definition (Evans & Price, 2012). This paper addresses business / corporate governance (as opposed to information and information technology governance) related issues associated with the effective deployment of Information Assets.
3. Literature review 3.1 Information assets Various authors refer to non‐tangible assets as intangibles, information assets, knowledge assets, intangible capital (Fincham & Roslender, 2003b; Lev, 2001; Tomer, 2008), intellectual capital, intellectual assets (Bismuth & Tojo, 2008; Litschka et al., 2006; Robertson & Lanfranconi, 2001), intangible resources (Bontis et al., 1999) and knowledge resources (Grover & Davenport, 2001). Steenkamp and Kashyap (2010) describe Intangible Assets as those assets that contribute to the organisational strategy, but are not recognised and disclosed in the balance sheet. Knowledge Assets are described as “the only meaningful resource” (Drucker, 1993), the “indisputable value drivers to success” (Jhunjhunwala, 2009: 211), the “most important production factor” (Steenkamp & Kashyap, 2010) and according to Bontis et al. (1999) it is “today’s driver of company life”. Chen and Lin (2004: 116) emphasise that the value created by intangible assets (such as human capital) prevails over that created by tangible assets (such as machines). Rodgers and Housel (2009) suggest that modern day organisations need to more actively identify and measure these key resources and drivers of value in the organisation. The ability to drive value from Information Assets depends on organisations’ governance and management practices. It is, therefore, critically important that these assets are well understood, properly managed and that they play a major role in the strategic management process (Swartz, 2007).
3.2 Governance Modern debate concerning business governance is mainly informed by three publications, namely Sir Adrian Cadbury’s Financial Aspects of Corporate Governance (Cadbury, 1992), the OECD’s Principles of Corporate Governance (Johnston 2004) and the US Congress’ Sarbanes‐Oxley Act (Sarbanes and Oxley, 2002). The Cadbury Report and the Principles of Corporate Governance present general principles upon which to base business governance to run an organisation effectively. The Sarbanes‐Oxley Act embodies several of the principles proposed by Cadbury and the OECD in US legislation. In his report titled Financial Aspects of Corporate Governance, Cadbury (1992) refers to corporate governance as being a driver of business performance that is achieved at both micro and macro levels. He asserts that a country’s economy and competitive position depend on the drive and efficiency of its companies, and the effectiveness with which their boards discharge their responsibilities. “They must be free to drive their companies forward, but exercise that freedom within a framework of effective accountability” (Cadbury, 1992). Anecdotal evidence suggests that the business benefit to companies of improving their information management practices is significant (Experience Matters, 2012). Governance of Information Assets for the purpose of business performance is therefore important. However, more recently and in the light of the failures of Enron, WorldCom and others, business governance appears to have shifted its focus from improving business performance towards reducing business risk by preventing corporate misbehaviour. Corporate governance has been defined as "a system of law and sound approaches by which corporations are directed and controlled focusing on the internal and external corporate structures with the intention of monitoring the actions of management and directors and thereby mitigating agency risks which may stem from the misdeeds of corporate officers” (Sifuna, 2012). Whilst important, this focus on corporate misbehaviour necessarily reduces attention on improving business performance and this theme emerged strongly from the research. When corporate governance is applied to the management of information assets, it is done via the usual lenses of Strategy, Internal Controls and Risk (Information Technology Advisory Committee CICA, 2002). However, it is predominantly applied to the management of IT (Trites, 2003), rather than to the management
James Price and Nina Evans of information; the organisation’s focus is therefore on its infrastructure rather than its content. Recent articles addressing the role of the CIO still refer mainly to IT (Peppard, 2010) and current job descriptions still refer to the Chief Information Officer (CIO) as a job title for the Head of Information Technology within an organisation. In and of itself, the infrastructure adds no value, it only adds risk if it doesn’t work. It is the content that contributes the business value. By focusing on reducing the cost of IT and the risk of IT failure, organisations potentially impose responsibility and accountability on the wrong people. This theme also emerged strongly from the findings. There is little evidence to suggest that the management of Information Assets ranks high on the Board’s agenda. This topic is also discussed in this paper.
4. Research The research method was based upon the qualitative Narrative Inquiry technique, in which research participants’ recollections and interpretations of personal experiences were captured one hour interviews and documented (Tulving, 1972; Scholes, 1981:205; Bruner, 1990; Czarniawska‐Joerges, 1995; Swap et al., 2001). The narratives or stories proffered by interviewees invariably reflected observations gained from real business experience, ranging from demonstrable success to manifest failure. The participants included Board members and C‐level executives, such as Chief Executive Officers (CEO), Chief Financial Officers (CFO), Chief Information Officers (CIO) and Chief Knowledge Officers (CKO) of predominantly large Australian and South African organisations in both private and public sectors (refer to Table 1). Table 1: Research participants PARTICIPANT NUMBER
Banking, Finance and Insurance
Banking, Finance and Insurance
Various, mostly banking
Banking, Finance and Insurance
Banking, Finance and Insurance
Banking, Finance and Insurance
Resources (Oil and Gas)
Banking, Finance and Insurance
An interview protocol was used to provide a consistent approach across a number of interviews (Swap et al., 2001). Planned prompts (predetermined) and floating prompts (an impromptu decision to explore a comment in more detail) enabled the researchers to delve into detail as required. The interviews were audio recorded and the interview transcripts were thoroughly reviewed to identify categories of data and emerging themes. As data gathered from qualitative interviews were compared it either supported the creation of new categories or provided support for existing categories. A large number of issues ‐ that support the findings from the literature review ‐ were identified in a thorough data analysis. These issues were subsequently clustered into five different categories, namely Awareness, Governance, Leadership and Management, Justification and Tools. The business governance related issues are discussed in the next section.
James Price and Nina Evans
5. Research findings The researchers took care to achieve sufficient granularity to draw meaningful conclusions. Root cause analysis can be applied to the point where all identified barriers are attributable to poor business governance. However, that approach does not provide the insight required for pragmatic problem resolution which, as explained in the Introduction, is the ultimate objective of this project. The researchers paid attention only to what was said, rather than what wasn’t said. For instance, not a single executive identified a fundamental difference between an organisation’s Information Assets and its other assets, namely that information is managed by every person whereas the other assets are managed by a small group of people. Similarly, no executives identified that their organisations are unable to determine the cost of managing their information assets. The research findings showed a lack of business governance applied to the management of Information Assets. One executive emphasised the lack of governance of Information Assets by declaring that if his organisation managed its Financial Assets with same lack of accountability, discipline and rigor as it manages its Information Assets, the company “would be broke in a week”. Many reasons were advanced for why there is a failure of governance in most organisations, discussed below and summarised in Table 1. Managing information is an enterprise wide activity, yet very few people in an organisation are able to take an enterprise wide approach resulting in a lack of ownership and accountability. As managing and using information is done by every person in an organisation, information management should be an enterprise function. The Chief Executive sits at the nexus between the Board above and the divisional heads below and is often the only person who can take such an enterprise wide view. The CFO of an automotive association said, “The Chief Executive …is the only one who has the true enterprise view of this whole organisation… he sets the strategy and the vision of the organisation”. The Board of Directors often does not understand the value of the organisation’s information or in their opinion they have bigger issues to deal with. A Director of a financial institution said, “From a Director's point of view, there are two main things we get involved with. The first thing is setting the strategy and providing oversight of that strategy. The second thing is when things go wrong, working out what to do. This stuff doesn't fit into the strategy and it usually doesn't fit into the ‘things gone wrong’ because you don't see it. Unless something goes wrong, [information management] is outside the framework of what we're there for which is setting in place the strategy and oversight of the strategy of the organisation. Is there a better way of doing it? Maybe, but it's just not on the agenda”. However, an inherent contradiction exists because the same Director said, “Who is in trouble if [things go wrong]…, if the contract gets lost or the insurance policy can’t be found? Ultimately the board does…It's ultimately the board”. It may be that the communication about information management is ineffective. A CKO said, “The communication about information management didn’t get to the board in the last organisation I was in. It just didn’t. I’m not sure why, I think they just dealt with bigger picture stuff and more around business development and operations.” Management doesn’t see Information Management as a problem and there is a profound lack of interest in determining and allocating ownership and accountability for the management of information. An Australian banking executive said, “Who is responsible for managing information hasn’t been nutted out in this organisation”. The CIO of a South African financial institution said, “You need rules, and the question is, who the heck is going to make the rules?” The CKO of a State Government Agency said, “Our information assets are important, but are we going to have a division of people looking after our information? No, none; there is no one really. I mean, there's personal responsibility but we all have our fingers in the information.” To have an effective information management environment, the appropriate governance and management tools need to be implemented. A banking executive said: “At board level and at CEO level do they see information and knowledge as a critical business asset? I think they do but it’s the connection between what they believe, and the middle layers of management who put that into effect…If it doesn’t get credited, nothing gets done, it’s got to be in your scorecard. If it’s not in your scorecard, you can talk about it at the top but it never gets connected down to the bottom. So at the coalface it will never get resolved, we’ll just keep spinning our wheels.”
James Price and Nina Evans Without responsibility and accountability at executive level, KPIs are not imposed throughout the organisation and measurement is not possible. A CKO said, “I don't think we've got a strong culture of value, measuring value and I think we think about benefits, but even that's not really ‐ we talk benefits but we don't necessarily measure benefits very well. We measure output.” Often finding an appropriate Information Management owner is difficult. A CKO said, “There was nobody who would take ownership. We're still in our infancy on how the governance will work. Our big win at the moment is getting company secretary to get this as part of his portfolio.” A CFO said, “At the end of the day the general manager of risk has the responsibility. So the risk actually has got final say.” A CEO said, “We don’t have such a thing as our knowledge or our valuable information. What we do have is owned by the various department owners as they choose to own it. We don’t have any cross functional or cross organisational information owner. How do I make an excuse for not doing that ‐ it doesn’t seem sensible does it?” A CKO said, “Is there one person who is ultimately responsible for the management of the information and knowledge of the Agency? Is [information management] high on the executives’ agenda? I don't think the executive thinks about it.” Typically organisations do not understand the difference between Information Management and Information Technology and Information Management responsibility is often assigned to the Chief Information Officer (CIO) who is effectively an IT Manager with neither the interest nor the skills to address Information Management. A CKO said, “The CIO was no use. He wasn't my person. He didn't help me at all. He knew, he understood, but he couldn't fight my battle for me. He wasn't interested because it wasn't an issue to him. Nobody had come to him and said you need to get information in order. For him, his biggest issue was speed and access. It wasn’t until they’d fixed up the speed and access problems that it became apparent that there were issues with the information that people were accessing.” As everyone manages information and much of Information Management is behavioural, the person responsible has to be a strong change agent. This is often not an IT Manager’s strength. A South African CEO said, “Sponsorship needs to come from … strategic level because otherwise you've got no success rate ‐ there just won't be any success rate. However, sponsorship usually from the IT division,…not from the value chain. A South African CIO said, “Change needs a change champion and needs somebody that's strong enough to pull you through that low part in the change cycle, and that person needs to be a visionary. He needs to understand where you're going, needs to see the longer term objectives. If you haven't got one of those, you'll lose your way when things start to get a bit tough, and that's when most change initiatives just peter out and stop.” Table 1: Observation and quotation Observation IM is an enterprise wide activity, yet few people have an enterprise wide remit The Board isn’t interested
Management isn’t interested
Management tools are not implemented Benefits are not measured
Responsibility is lacking
IM is confused with IT Information Management generates behavioural change requiring sponsorship and management
Quotation The CEO is the only one who has the true enterprise view of this whole organisation Is there a better way of doing it? Maybe, but it's just not on the agenda You need rules [but] who the heck is going to make the rules? If it doesn’t get credited, nothing gets done We don't necessarily measure benefits very well. We measure output. We don’t have any cross functional or cross organisational information owner [The CIO’s] biggest issue was speed and access There just won't be any success rate
6. Summary and conclusions The findings of this research supports the literature that organisations have demonstrated governance and management proficiency in the administration and deployment of their Financial, Human and Physical assets, but that most fail to implement the accountability, frameworks, management structures and measurement required to effectively deploy the other vital input to their production process, namely Information Assets.
James Price and Nina Evans Every organisation consulted in this research recognised that their information is a vital business input, yet they acknowledge that their information management practices should be improved. The evidence, that a key issue preventing effective information management is a lack of business / corporate governance of one of four critical business assets, namely information and knowledge, is overwhelming. Boards and management do not appear to understand information management, they don’t know how the cost, value or benefit of their information and they don’t see it as a high priority for their organisations. Governance of the organisation with respect to its information and knowledge is neither designed nor implemented and responsibility for the management of information is often given to people who are neither skilled nor interested. Questions about what information management decisions must be made – and by whom ‐ are not being raised. If they are, responsibility and accountability is often imposed inappropriately. As every executive interviewed acknowledges that their Information Assets are of value, even critical to their organisation’s success, it is important to know why the correct governance questions are not being asked and what the implications are. The evidence of significant barriers to the effective management of Information Assets, including a lack of governance, is compelling. The authors have decided to continue with the project and have planned in detail the following activities. Firstly, a detailed examination of the Board and its role in Information Management will be conducted. Next, a significant validation exercise will exhaust and prioritise barriers. Then, Business Impact Assessments will be done to determine the lost value to organisations from their failure to effectively manage their Information Assets.
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An Integrated Model for Evaluating ICT Impact in the Education Domain Mirja Pulkkinen Department of CS&IS, Faculty of IT, University of Jyväskylä, Finland email@example.com Abstract: New technology enablers as the cloud computing paradigm, the Web 2.0 tools and learning games, seem to carry strong potential to tackle the challenges of the education sector: Employment market requires flexible competency development, social skills, lifelong learning, while public resources are diminishing. ICT and information management in educational institutions is a continuously developing area. New software and systems offered for the domain should be considered with a portfolio approach to systems and technologies. This paper investigates the questions of how to evaluate the value created with ICT, and how to assess the value of solutions proposed for the education sector. This requires research collaboration across disciplines, but also attending to the relevant bodies of knowledge both in pedagogy, didactics and institution management, but also, and to a greater extent, in ICT management and solution development. This paper investigates the possibilities to evaluate the value of ICT in education, taking as starting point existing evaluation models. These are adapted for the education domain, supported with case evidence from individual solutions (consisting of hard‐ and/or software) currently offered to educational institutions. These range from software applications to infrastructure solutions. A guiding frame for the impact evaluation is constructed for different stakeholders making decisions on ICT deployment. The research method, design science (DS) applied here, supports an effort that requires collaboration of different fields of research in both education and in information systems (IS). In this study, the reference discipline is the IS field of inquiry, and it adds to the knowledge of IS in education domain with proven approaches for ICT value evaluation. Keywords: value of IS, ICT impact, education, design science, DSRM
1. Introduction The problem addressed in this study is the evaluation of software based solutions (information systems, IS) offered for the domain of learning and education. The research on learning technologies has both tradition, and a lively current discussion, around concepts like e‐Learning or the more recent variety m‐Learning, the technology enhanced learning (TEL, especially in Europe, Duval&Klamma 2008), coming up the e‐Education especially in the context of developing economies but in general giving a broader view and putting emphasis on the institutional aspect instead a single classroom. New developments in software, systems and devices (hardware) and their applications have sooner or later found their way also into the practices of the education domain. This seems typically to be driven by the enthusiasm of both individual teachers and pioneering institutions (market pull) but also market push (Phaal et al. 2004) by solution developers. As a key problem area, found at a joint event Summit on TEL Innovation and TEL Futures (organized by the TELMap www.telmap.org project with two other EU initiatives: Visir http://visir‐ network.eu/ and HoTEL http://hotel‐project.eu/) is the lack of large scale adoption of ICT in education. All of these EU funded activities delve into this problem, and the challenge of turning the now existing technology potential into the 21st century education environment. However, another point emphasized is, that despite heavy investments in ICT R&D at the EU level, and also national engagement in equipping educational institutions, the ICT in teaching and learning are diffused too hesitantly to become mainstream. If regular educational institutions still operate to the most part in the ways of past millennium, how can they be turned into flexible environments playing the new game of the social computing and cloud services era? A national project, SysTech http://www.systechlearning.fi/?lng=en is studying new solutions for education to support this change. Putting emphasis on the impact and value co‐created by technical solutions and pedagogical enhancements might advance both new solutions and the mainstreaming of mature technologies. Learning technologies are deployed in other settings as well (e.g. by employers at workplaces, commercial training providers etc.), but here, we think of a European setting where education institutions, mostly run by public governments make decisions on their ICT assets and procurement. We especially focus on the tertiary level, and aim at developing recommendations for higher education institutions (HEIs). However, these insights for the stakeholders can be applied to all institutional education. The digital literate generations enrolling are welcomed, but institutions are puzzled with the choices of technology and application, and under the limitation of diminishing public funding. This study aims at giving a frame for decision making on
Mirja Pulkkinen institutional ICT developments, and is a reflection of burning practical questions in the education administrations.
2. Research method With this study, the Design Science (DS) paradigm (Hevner et al. 2004) is presented and recommended, since it adapts well to a multidisciplinary effort which learning technologies require. The DS process (Peffers et al. 2008) has similarity to the software process (Sommerville 1998), i.e. solution design and development. Research rigor and the interchange with bodies of theoretical knowledge (Hevner et al. 2004) are the distinct features in research. Knowledge bases in both the domain (e.g. education) and ICT (with sub‐areas) account for constructing solutions for the domain and can simultaneously be tested and maybe extended. A research effort leaning of the Peffers et al. (2008) process model (Simon et al. 2011, Pulkkinen&Simon 2013) suggests the deployment of theoretical frames from different areas of expertise to elicit requirements and to evaluate the construction of solution artifacts. Plainly: the teacher community develops their activity with learners, providing input into the software process, whereas developers of prototypes use the knowledge but also provide input into the learning designs. This co‐creation process takes the six steps (Figure 1), and for the present study this process is used for the evaluation framework creation as follows:
Problem identification. A development opportunity is identified as the research focus area. The significance of the problem and the potential benefits of the solution provide the motivation to project a research effort. The problem discussed here is how to capture and evaluate the impact of new ICT solutions, of which there are five examples.
Definition of the objectives of the solution. The projected solution combines knowledge from different disciplines. However, the knowledge bases should be appreciated in their own right. In empirical work, the observations are guided by the theoretical background in the chosen discipline. Both the pedagogical approach and the technology application can be developed in one effort. This study builds on the IS evaluation theories, and aims at contributing with a domain specific evaluation framework for this discipline.
Design and Development. Supported by the theoretical knowledge from the previous phase, the defined problem is studied to construct a solution, or to answer the research question(s). Knowledge on existing tools, techniques and practical know‐how (of the solution domain, and regarding the technologies deployed) are taken in into the process to enable the solution construction. Sometimes one of the fields (education or technology) is represented only as theory or as practical knowledge, thus theory building (or testing) contributes only to one discipline. Here, the contribution is an adaptation of the evaluation models to the education domain.
Demonstration is a step typical for research involving software development. At this phase, a prototype solution is demonstrated for the target audience (or a substitute), and it is ensured that with the theoretical starting points, and with the selected techniques and tools as well as practical knowledge, it is possible to build a functioning solution. Here, the IS evaluation framework is demonstrated by testing it against the five solutions under study.
Evaluation phase gives feedback on the solution constructed, and validates the theoretical developments if such occur in the undertaking. Evaluation of a constructed solution is different from the evaluation of created new knowledge. A software application (prototype) is best evaluated by real users, but the evaluation of a theoretical construct is evaluated in a peer review and in follow‐up research.
Communication. To qualify as research, both the process and the outcome are reported in discipline specific way, bringing out the line of argumentation of the chosen discipline.
The iterative process can be triggered at different starting points: Problem, objective, design and development, and evaluation centered approaches. The process is iterative and encourages an incremental approach. Collaborative research efforts by mixed teams of education and IS experts are guided by this process model to elicit new insight for their respective disciplines (Pulkkinen & Simon 2013). Innovations thrive at the boundary of communities of practice, but an often forgotten aspect is that knowledge thrives within (not across) a knowledge community. Communities should have the opportunity to deepen knowledge prior to exchange with another community (Boland & Tenkasi 1995). Prerequisite is new specialist knowledge, but interplay between communities makes an ecosystem for innovations.
Figure 1: Design science research method (DSRM) process model (Peffers et al. 2008)
3. Phase 1 problem area The problem area is the question of technology selection for acquisition and development of overall ICT capability in educational institutions. The present study arises from twofold need. The TELMap project sets the task to elicit recommendations to HEIs. TELMap target is to construct a technology roadmap (Phaal et al. 2004) method for education sector. The question:
How to make decisions on ICT developments for HEI technology roadmap: select products/services, prioritize developments?
A national project called SysTech, aims at systemic research and development of education technologies, nine ICT providers as project partners offer solutions for different levels, primary to higher education. In search for (positive) ICT impacts, the question to ask is:
How to define the value or benefit of the solution in use for educational institutions?
This study focuses on the SysTech work package on impact evaluation, so we leave out questions covered in e.g. the WP on user experience (UX), operatin at the individual level while the focus in this study is the organizational impact. Collaboration with the experts of the education domain (pedagogy, didactics and educational institution administration) – is a general requirement in impact studies. However, information systems (IS) knowledge provides the foundation for impact evaluation. The solutions may require new approaches, think of e.g. a game solution or an evaluation with an e‐portfolio. Thus there are several knowledge communities (Earl 2001) who should contribute and also build their knowledge for the evaluation of a solution reflected on their knowledge of the domain field. In an institutional setting, software is to most part not used in isolation, but as part of the ICT assets and their management. Thus the information management (IM, also an IS sub‐discipline) is the main user of the targeted Framework for ICT evaluation in educational institutions. The benefit from a new procurement depends among other things on the already existing systems, covering a number of functionalities. This overview is largely missing in learning technology studies, that tend to look at narrow scopes with one system at a time, rather than considering the enterprise architecture (Bernard 2005) of the institution. The analysis frame suggested as a result opens a research agenda for an enterprise architecture (EA) approach for education solution evaluation. As the research questions, we have two sides of the same coin: The educational institution decisions and the software industry offering. Minting the sides together is the user experience, offering tools and techniques to elicit the utility, usefulness and usability of the offered solutions and their fit for the field of application (Bannister 2001). However, before the choices, justifications for a new asset should be there.
4. Problem definition, theoretical starting points The prevalent emerging ICT trends with maybe the most impact and proposed value for organizational ICT currently are the cloud services and social computing. Especially distance education has been a forerunner in
Mirja Pulkkinen the use of Internet services. Universities were among first institutions to develop global data networks and VLEs since the 90’s. In pedagogy, this boosted new approaches as well, as networking stimulated e.g. the social aspects of learning. More recently, systems and software for all domains are undergoing what has been described a ‘tectonic change’: the emergence of cloud services (Antonopoulos & Gillam 2010). These enable both individuals and enterprises to access over portals sophisticated application functionalities without initial implementation cost. Enabled by growing bandwidths, network transfer capacities, as well as large scale computing capabilities the users may rely on SaaS (software as a service) solutions. Instead of licensed software running on in‐house data centers, enterprises may hire capacities (infrastructure as a service, IaaS and computing platforms as a service, PaaS) paying only per usage of capacity they need (Figure 2). Communication and group work support functionalities come usually with the cloud services, which the education domain embraces. However, for the evaluation of these, or alternatives needs a systematic approach. It already happened, that only after purchasing tablets for whole age groups, a school finds out that their WiFi does not handle the network traffic: a failure of managing interplay between the levels. Whereas the cloud represents the technological facet, at the application side the new developments in ICT are summarized as the Web 2.0 phenomenon (Andersson 2007), or social computing. The service consumers make use of the services that provide support for distributed groups, a key enhancement for education. New behaviors emerge with the technology enablers. Cloud services and web platforms enable easy networking, sharing and publishing. With a myriad of portable devices, cloud services, platforms, learning games are in offering, but public sector funding is shrinking. Evaluation of them is crucial.
Figure 2: Cloud stack simplified: Service types (Khasnabish et al. 2010, Antonopoulos&Gillam 2010) When planning developments, the value, i.e. desirable impact of the ICT capability created (Melville et al. 2004), should be established. This is (or should be) a prerequisite for any procurement or service contract. Moreover, there should be a roadmap for concerted, stepwise development of activities and the needed ICT developments to support them. To capture the mechanisms how impact is realized and measured requires an analysis of the activities and their development prospects. ICT impact models have been created to capture the generated business value, and how measuring the financial balance of the value and the involved cost. Weill and Broadbent (1998) model for the measuring of the value of an ICT investment shows the dependencies of diverse ICT assets, and highlight the difficulty to single out one of them to determine value. The cloud stack (Figure 2) helps to interpret the model (Figure 3), as the service conceptualizations correlate with the representation of different levels of assets. ICT infrastructure and applications bring value to individual users, user groups and the whole organization only through use in the organizational activities (Soh & Markus 1995, Ward and Peppard 2002, Bannister 2001). The measures for value in the capability level of the ICT evaluation model deal mostly with cost of implementation and roll‐out in organization as well as foreseen cost of maintenance. Any adoption of a novel technology implies use of resources (Melville et al.20014). An approximation can be elicited by looking at Total Cost of
Mirja Pulkkinen Ownership (TCO, Mutschler et al. 2007) models, which suggest several cost points in the context of ICT related solution deployment. To a TCO sum resources are taken that may in given contexts be even scarcer than money: The human resource development for use and maintenance, time required etc. The more diversity there is in the systems portfolio, the more resource goes into maintenance of a number of systems instead the few necessary with sufficient functionality. With cloud services, a marketing argument is that no investment into infrastructure is needed. However, if an infrastructure is in place, fees for new level 2 SaaS are simply an additional cost, and no tier 1 costs are reduced.
Figure 3: ICT value in organizations (Weill & Broadbent 1998) The operative level (Level 3) and performance of individuals (Level 4) of an area of activity creates the actual value that can be supported and enhanced by ICT assets. Levels 1 and 2 are a prerequisite, but the value is created at the third and fourth, in other words in the use, quite as proposed by Soh & Markus (1995). This is where the institution is carrying out its mission. The way to analyze the activities is to model the activity as e.g. business processes that allow analyzing and measuring how resources are turned into outcomes in the activities. In an educational institution, there may be other aspects that are looked at in relation to technologies, but learning, a concept that is assigned a myriad of facets (Ford 2004) remains the core. Institutional development means change at this level: Change in the way how processes are understood and executed to enhance the activity and outcomes, or the student/learner activity and all direct and indirect support for it (activity of teacher/facilitator and the administration).
5. Solution design and development The next DSRM step is the artifact construction to guide the evaluation of ICT solutions at educational institutions. To capture and evaluate ICT value (i.e. desirable impact on organizational activities and goals), the institution needs to point where in their activities the ICT artifact (an IS, software system or application) the impact should appear, to be able to know what indicators to measure. For this phase, besides theoretical knowledge, we also take knowledge of the domain and of the practical knowledge to create the solution (Pfeffers et al 2008). In an investigation of HEI activity, four main areas of activity (process areas) were established for the respective ICT support affordances (Simon et al. 2011). Theories of organization studied for enterprise ICT management discern three types of decision making (Bernard, 2005:51): institutional, (operations) management and the (practical) operation itself. The following table (Table 1) lists the activity areas, their meaning at the organization levels. The ICT support functionalities established in educational technologies (Levy et al. 2003) are in the last column. The main activity areas in evaluating ICT benefit realization (value) are the functions performed in institutional education. The indicators for the impact of a
Mirja Pulkkinen new ICT solution implementation must be derived from these areas. Table 1 shows the areas by organizational level and the system or software functionality to support the area. The areas explained: Planning learning: Going through the above mentioned levels, this means setting up a learning opportunity at the institution level, i.e. a curriculum, broken down to learning units (courses), which is then planned as an instantiation by a teacher in as a series of classes, exercises, study materials etc. The student is, following the guidelines of the chosen target degree and curriculum, planning the courses to take, the exams to take, the assignments to write etc. Learning and learning facilitation activities which are mostly carried out by the students and teachers in the settings planned in the curricula and learning units, and also supervision and guidance. The institution side of the activity can be summarized as ‘facilitating learning’. (Levy et al. 2003: Course materials, reference materials, other components; “delivery” of learning units; evaluation at learning unit level; student and tutor “feedback”) Evaluation and assessment. At the institutional level, the evaluation means managerial control and quality management. In teaching and learning, it is besides assessment of student achievements, also the students giving feedback on teaching and the institutional arrangements. Administrative activities entail managing the student life cycle information from application to degree certificate: student selection and enrollment to curriculum programs, managing the student information and administrative guidance. For the education domain, the due diligence is to establish and evaluate the current state of enterprise architecture (Bernard 2005). The recommendation to give e.g. HEIs are the following questions:
What is presently in their systems (and technology) portfolio?
Do the existing assets support all main activity areas sufficiently (to be analyzed more detailed)?
Do the systems support information flows between the activities? I.e., when admission is granted, and a student’s information entered into a database, is it accessible by other systems (e.g. LMS, VLEs, other learning solutions like online games) as well?
Does the achievement information pile up to be accessible at a glance in a LMS?
What is the required resource to run and maintain the current systems?
And what is the short, mid, and long term investment prospect for infrastructure and platforms, what targets and priorities guide the development roadmap?
Is there a need for in‐house data center or could all‐round cloud services be the solution?
Are the users left free choice between free (i.e. advertisement funded) Web 2.0 services with no institutional guidelines and information security policy?
Some learning management systems (LMS) or learning platforms support all four of the activity areas from planning to evaluation including the communication (Computer mediated communications, CMC) functions (Levy et al. 2003), but there may be several LMS or other software for a part of these functions. Building capabilities in ICT, the institution must take into consideration all activity areas, the application portfolio, and analyze gaps in the system support (seamless flow and accessibility of information). Secondly, the technology enablers should be considered: New solution procurement, renewal of solutions (enhancing maintenance measures), cloud service use. Feasible solutions should be considered to be implemented in the order of priority, which is derived again from the analysis of the activities. The interplay of the areas (administration, planning, and carrying out learning and support activities) should be kept in mind. A guiding model is suggested to relate the outcomes (impact on the activities and their results) to the resources spent for the solution.
Mirja Pulkkinen Table 1: Categories of education activities and functions of supporting systems Level of organi‐ zational activity ‐> Main activity area
Institutional level Educational institution management Set up a learning opportunity: Curriculum, learning units
“Operations management” Learning facilitation / (Teacher)
Operation Learning / Study (Student)
Elements of educational systems (Levy et al. 2003)
Instantiation of a learning unit, series of class activities, plan the materials and resources
Curriculum design Design and specification of the VLE
Learning support / learning activities
Facilitating the teaching delivery
Evaluating the operations (teaching, learning achievements at general level) Student data account management Administrative guidance and supervision
Facilitating learning: delivery of learning units (teaching) feedback, supervising, tutoring Assessment at learning unit level
Planning what opportunities to take, sign up for units (relevance grows with level of education) Learning activities
Updating student achievement information
Being assessed, giving feedback
Manage personal account of achievements
VLE Course materials, Reference materials, Other components, CMC Evaluation Feedback
(Not covered in Levy et al. 2003): E.g. Student data management
6. Demonstration and evaluation of the construct In this phase, the construct that is based on the theoretical knowledge, the matrix presented above, and the know‐how for organizational ICT management and evaluation, is demonstrated against real solutions. These represent “the other side of the coin”, i.e. the software solutions and services offered to the education domain market. Five types of software solutions:
Learning games (offered both offline and online),
A portfolio and training support system,
Enhanced LMS built on MS Sharepoint and MS office tools
A mobile publication system
A learning solution based on GPS (for e.g. the study of the environment).
To define the value proposition of the solutions, and the impact measurements for each of these solutions, the value creation/measurement chain is suggested (Figure 4) derived from the model by Soh and Markus (1995) further developed by Ward&Peppard (2002) and Bannister (2001). The value indicators should emerge from the activity (administrative, learning facilitation, learning in the areas planning, executing, evaluating and administering) presented in Table 1. In Table 2, the software solutions studied are assigned to these areas. Benefits generally realize in three areas, for which relevant indicators should be established. 1) Resource related. A solution may make tasks redundant, or reduce the needed resource (e.g. time, effort spent by teacher or administrative staff) for a task; e.g. automated data collection and processing. 2) Quality related. It is improving the quality of the information and its accessibility (e.g. student information and achievement records, enables enhanced data analytics on student data for quality management purposes)
Mirja Pulkkinen 3) Enhancing learning. It is impacting the learning and learning facilitation, improving the student activity (e.g. the use of social computing features, publishing features etc.). This type of benefit relates to the ‘soft values’ included in the TCO models, meaning perceived intangible benefit of the system that makes it preferred by the users.
Figure 4: Measuring the value proposition of educational ICT assets: Indicators derived from activity Table 2 shows a tentative placement of the solutions studied into the activity areas at the organizational levels as defined in Table 1. To revise their systems portfolio, an institution should develop their institution specific instantiation of this scheme. Functionality of systems and applications has to be known for the analysis. A systems portfolio tool helps in that. In the SysTech project, we have the case of novel solutions presented for the domain. The solutions introducing further functionality improve the system performance. This has been indicated in brackets () in Table 2: as an example, if the “Platform solution” hosts public pages, where the learner may obtain information and apply for admission, it supports the student/learner in their ‘Planning learning’ phase. If it also had a functionality to support the teacher’s preparations of the learning delivery, it supports as well the learning facilitating staff at this phase. With a systematic analysis, the new features enabled by technologies as cloud software and Web 2.0 applications can be analyzed in the education context. If e.g. covering data analysis feature is implemented and the solutions developed to support interoperability, future assessment of learner achievements might take place implicitly, by tracing the learner activity from i) games, ii) the GPS based learning solution, besides the assessment with a iii) portfolio tool and the records of iv) a LMS. For the school administration, the data analysis features of the online platform tool might enable multi‐faceted analytics of the activities in the organization, supporting the administration and management. Learning may also be subtle: networking with online games could enable the assessment of teamwork and social skills. Activity logs provide evidence for training these. The constructed framework gives an initial answer to the problems of the educational institution and the solution provider. However, this is only a beginning, and a closer study of the activity areas as education inquiry to provide the insights what to look for in a single solution. For the holistic evaluation of an institution’s ICT assets the construct can be used as a guiding frame. It also shows where there is innovation potential as opportunity to enhance the software with new features or to improve existing ones. The conception of new software proposed for education domain aims at more efficient or effective resource use, improvement of the quality of outcome, or enhancing the user experience for e.g. improved motivation extra‐curricular learning.
7. Conclusions Value and impact of information systems is as necessary to evaluate in the education domain as it is evaluated in commercial organizations. A systematic way to evaluate the ICT support for an educational institution is suggested in this study, with a constructed evaluation scheme to analyze the coverage of the ICT support for the activities of an educational institution. Much further work is needed, thus the tentative scheme provides also a research agenda for focused studies of domain specific functionalities and features in software provided
Mirja Pulkkinen for different activity areas. New ways to support assessment across solutions was taken as an example of enhancement with great potential. Table 2: The solutions studied and the area of value creation Level of organi‐ zational activity /
Main activity area
Educational institution management
Learning facilitation / Teaching The learning facilitators
Learning / Study
Educational systems / functionalities thereof
Public pages on platform for study planning
Administrative tools Design and specification of the VLE
Learning support /
Mobile publication solution
Portfolio solution GPS solution
VLEs / Learning platforms / LMS [External] material repositories, CMC
Games Evaluation and assessment
(Platform solution, with data analysis function)
Portfolio solution (Embedded assessment functionality:
(Platform solution, with feedback functionality)
Evaluation & Feedback functionalities
The platform solution;
as part of VLE/LMS
Offline & online games, GPS learning solution)
(Portfolio solution, with student data administration functionality)
(Portfolio solution, with student data administration functionality)
Administrative databases / LMS administrative functionalities Portfolio management systems
The potential benefits of cloud services, Web 2.0 applications and learning games should be evaluated as part of the ICT asset management. An enterprise approach would greatly help to simplify and rationalize the ICT support at educational institutions.
Acknowledgements This paper was firstly inspired by the TELMap project (EU) and I wish to thank Vana Kamtsiou for inspiring discussions. Secondly, the SysTech project (Finnish National Agency for Technology and Innovation) for funding this research and the impact evaluation team for giving the idea for this study.
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Swedish and Indian Teams: Consensus Culture Meets Hierarchy Culture in Offshoring Minna Salminen‐Karlsson Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden Minna.Salminen@gender.uu.se Abstract: This article describes how the employees and managers in the Swedish and Indian offices of a European‐based MNC work towards new governance models in IT offshoring relations. The focus is on the differences in organizational cultures between Sweden and India and their impact on the management of and cooperation within distributed teams. Most research on IT offshoring has been conducted on US–Indian and British–Indian cooperations, where the US and British organizational cultures are more similar to the hierarchical Indian one. As a complement to the existing research, the flat and consensus‐oriented Swedish organizational culture is of particular interest when studying organizational issues in IT offshoring to India. The empirical material consists of 103 qualitative interviews with employees and managers at different levels in the Swedish and Indian offices of a European‐based MNC. The results show that in addition to problems commonly faced in IT offshoring, such as resistance to offshoring and language problems (accentuated in the non‐English‐ speaking context of Sweden), the differences in organizational cultures caused particular problems. Swedish managers were used to delegating work to subordinates who work independently towards an internalized goal, while Indian team members expected more guidance and control. As their proven management methods did not function well in the Indian context, Swedish managers needed to invent a management style that worked. The differences in the cultures also led to conflicts concerning recruitment and attrition issues. However, the Swedish company culture, where the Swedish team members viewed the Indian team members as colleagues, facilitated mutual organizational learning which led to satisfactory cooperation. This article uses the framework of Wenger (1998) to explain 1) what problems members of communities in practice in the consensus‐oriented Swedish organizational culture encounter when cooperating with India, and the solutions they find and 2) what kind of prerequisites are needed for an on‐site team of ‘old‐timers’ to be willing to integrate offshore ‘newcomers’ for cooperative work and transfer of tacit knowledge. Keywords: organizational culture, organizational learning, management styles, ICT offshoring, India, Sweden
1. Introduction This article looks at the cooperation between Swedish and Indian teams in one multinational IT company in the light of social learning theory, more precisely Wenger’s theory of learning in communities of practice. Swedish and Indian company cultures are vastly different. Swedish company culture is characterized by equality, qualitative assessment of performance, consensus orientation, conflict avoidance, teamwork, ‘soft’ management (which means not giving orders but trusting the employees to act on their own sense of responsibility) and control that is more implicit than explicit. (Gustavsson, 1995; Wieland, 2011). Wieland finds ‘lagom’ (moderation) to be an important characteristic of theSwedish company culture.According to Wieland, ‘lagom’ implies that the employees take care of each other’s well‐being and resist managerial pressures by conforming to this cultural norm. Styhre, Börjesson and Wickenberg (2006) exemplify the special characteristics of Swedish company culture in describing the reactions of the Swedish employees in two cases where Swedish companies merged with Anglo‐American ones. The main concerns of the employees were the perceived emphasis on top management control, the perceived lack of trust by management towards employees, the inequality of co‐workers, the short‐term financial focus and the individualist culture, which were seen as being in opposition to the collectivist Swedish organizational culture. In these circumstances the Swedish employees strived to preserve their personal responsibility, their pride in their work and their cooperative working methods. In contrast, Indian company culture is described as hierarchical and paternalistic. Upadhaya (2009), Matthew, Ogbonna and Harris (2012) and Gertsen and Zølner (2012) all describe how the multinational companies working in India do not openly adhere to traditional hierarchical company models, but in fact work in a controlling and paternalistic way. In particular, Gertsen and Zølner describe how the company value of employee empowerment in a Danish headquarters was interpreted in the Indian office: while the Danish vision was independent employees acting on their own responsibility, in the Indian context the vision was translated into managers fostering, nurturing and empowering their employees in a clearly hierarchical relationship. Matthew, Ogbonna and Harris maintain that organizational rhetoric and even organizational values in software companies are a mixture of modern Western management techniques and traditional Indian company cultures
Minna Salminen‐Karlsson of hierarchy, paternalism and rigidity. Upadhaya, however, takes a more critical stance and asserts that, in spite of an empowerment rhetoric and concerns for employee welfare, employees believe that ‘“traditional Indian” organizational culture persists in the form of hierarchical structures, bureaucratic mentality and “feudal” relationships’ (p. 7). Noorderhaven and Harzing (2009) stress that a social interaction model is needed to fully explain knowledge flows between subsidiaries in a multinational corporation, and that valuable learning relationships can emerge without explicit organizational measures. The present article agrees with their assertion, and, in contrast to their statistical study, this research is based on an interview study with Swedish and Indian teams in a multinational corporation. In the present study, most mutual learning was discovered in teams which had frequent interaction. Social learning models are not often used in research into knowledge flows in multinational enterprises (Noorderhaven & Harzing, 2009). One of the reasons might be that it is difficult to find true communities of practice which are geographically dispersed. Case studies of learning and knowledge transfer in IT offshoring relations deal predominantly with teams where cooperation is problematic (Biró & Fehér, 2005; Cohen & El‐ Sawad, 2007; Hirschfeld, 2004; Kotlarsky, 2008; Sahay, Nicholson & Krishna, 2003). This is often the case, for example, because of power differences between a Western client and a provider in a country which from a Western perspective, at least until recently, has been seen as ‘second’ or ‘third’ world. Many studies deal with problems that have their origins in power differences and cultural differences—these may be national as well as organizational. The practical conclusion is often that offshoring requires a clear division of tasks which should be clearly defined and standardized and cannot be dependent on tacit knowledge (EU Foundation, 2004). In contrast, this article agrees with the observation of Sahay, Nicholson and Krishna (2003) that such standardization tends to create problems in the different local contexts and that standards do not work without extensive communication and participation. Wenger (1998) discusses the difference between reification and participation, where standards and formal documents would represent reification, while a collaboration consisting of continuous discussion would represent participation. According to Wenger, the one cannot exist without the other in the life of a community of practice. While the results of earlier research have put an emphasis mostly on reification, the aim of this paper is to broaden the research on knowledge flows in multinational enterprises by focusing on teams which perform successful IT offshoring by relying, to different degrees, on transcontinental participation and transfer of tacit knowledge. The question to be answered is, what issues do these kinds of virtual teams face in their internal cooperation and their organizational contexts?
2. The case: Capsicom teams Capsicom (a pseudonym) is a multinational IT company with headquarters in Europe and with thousands of employees around the globe. Capsicom entered the Swedish market by acquiring a previously Swedish‐owned company, and now has several local offices. The Swedish Capsicom employees were confronted with offshoring after the acquisition. Sweden offshores almost exclusively to Capsicom’s offices in India. Four different teams were studied in depth, and interviews were conducted both with managers and with a number of employees of different levels of experience, in Sweden and in India. To get more breadth in the sample, Swedish and Indian leaders from four other teams were also included. All in all, 36 people in Swedish teams and 49 people in Indian teams were interviewed. Five locations in Sweden and two locations in India were visited. In addition, people in high administrative positions in India, in particular in HR (14 persons), and people with particular responsibilities for the offshoring relations in Sweden (4 persons) were interviewed, amounting to a total of 103 interviews at Capsicom. Three researchers were involved in the interviews: one in India, one in Sweden and one in both locations. The interviews in the teams were based on two different interview guides: one for the ordinary employees and one for team leaders. The questions were the same in both locations, though the interviews in Sweden were done in Swedish. The interviews of senior managers in India and offshoring champions in Sweden did not strictly follow a guide, but were adapted to gain relevant information from the interviewees’ areas of expertise. Frequent discussions between the researchers, two with a Swedish and one with an Indian background, provided insights into interesting issues and different perspectives already during the interviewing process.
Minna Salminen‐Karlsson The interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded using Atlas.ti software. For this paper, a relevant selection of the codes and citations were used. The eight teams followed different offshoring models. This paper focuses on an integrated model where the Swedish and Indian teams form a common virtual team. This model was found in different forms in Capsicom, and it seems to have its roots in the culture of the Swedish teams before the acquisition by Capsicom and the initiation of offshoring on a large scale. These geographically dispersed teams not only worked together by means of communication technology, but they also strived to do it as if they were located at the same site. An overall offshoring ideology at Capsicom was to have blended deliveries, but the virtual teams in this study learnt that this way of working was not really supported, and in some instances the Capsicom practices did not address the needs of virtual teams. These kinds of virtual teams can be designated as ‘communities of practice’ according to the definition of Wenger, McDermott and Snyder (2002): 'groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis' (p. 4). In this study, Capsicom teams, which exhibited these characteristics in spite of being geographically dispersed, are called virtual communities of practice, or virtual CoPs. The teams at Capsicom exhibited the characteristics to different degrees, and the expression ‘pure virtual CoPs’ is occasionally used to refer to those teams which best corresponded to the characteristics.
3. Initiation phase: Creating the community The initiation of offshoring cooperation is crucial for its further development. The start of offshoring for most teams at Capsicom was not received favourably; a direct order came from above, causing anxiety and confusion. However, in the pure virtual CoPs, this situation had been tackled by the team members: after the initial confusion, there had been a common engagement for handling the situation as well as possible, including most, if not all, team members. The solution that was agreed on was to include the new members in India in the team as equal members: I think the whole team was somewhat doubtful, wondering how this would end, how it would be, because we had been working so tightly together […]. But, finally, we came up with these ideas, if we do it this way, so … I think that first we were asking ourselves, how will we solve this, for it was never a question, how can we avoid this, but we accepted it, after the surprise, and we said, yes, but then we have to do it so it will be really good. And there was this stubbornness and engagement, and now we have to set up communications, and we have to get them here, and we have to … it must not be some people who sit there far away and write code for us, and we don’t know what we get, and maybe they don’t know how, no, we must have very tight communication here. Aspects such as good personal relationships and trust seem to have been crucial for both knowledge transfer and governance. In management recommendations, relationships and trust, even if mentioned, are often overshadowed by knowledge transfer and governance models (see, for example, Carmel & Tjia, 2005). The governance and knowledge transfer, which satisfied both Swedish and Indian members in Capsicom virtual teams was reached mainly through personal relationships. In the interviews, the creation of the pure virtual CoP teams was not described as something that emanated from a team leader, but something that ‘we’ figured out. Most of the Swedish teams in the study had been working together for a long time, and were relatively ‘tight’ groups. In such situations, there is a considerable risk that the group will want to continue to be the tight group and to keep the new part of the team at a distance. One explanation for the development at Capsicom can be found in the quotation above: in general, these teams had the impression that working tightly together was crucial for the quality of the product, and having people far away would jeopardize that quality. The teams adhered to the particular Swedish informal and consensus‐based organizational culture and saw teamwork as the natural and only way to conduct successful work, in particular in IT development. Deciding to work in a manner that extended the team and integrated the newcomers was a solution to the problem created by the order from above to offshore. The most successful teams had obviously been functioning well before offshoring. Setting up routines, acquiring communication technology, and inviting, educating and entertaining Indian colleagues seems in some cases to have become something of a team project. This team effort seemed sometimes to have been
Minna Salminen‐Karlsson met with some resistance. Getting the right technical resources to facilitate tight communication was at times an initial hurdle. In those teams which managed to get permission to allow all new Indian team members to visit Sweden, both the Indians’ understanding of Swedish organizational culture and the Swedes’ understanding of English was greatly facilitated. According to Gupta and Govindarajan (2000), motivation to share knowledge between offshoring partners is often affected by the onshore staff’s anxiety about losing their jobs. Thus, an important condition for creating virtual CoPs was that generally the employees were not concerned about their own jobs. There were interviewees who were not happy about offshoring in general taking away jobs from Sweden, but the same person could express both negative and positive attitudes on different levels: In general I would say that we should give people jobs here in Sweden, and not send jobs somewhere else, but I also think that we have always done this. Throughout history, and, well, it’s not the next village we engage now, or the next country, but now it is a country far away, ok. I would also say that, in some way, I mean, they provide their services and they also need something to live from and this is their possibility to grow, so then it’s kind of ok. […]. In a way it’s much more fun to work with them than with somebody sitting in another city in Sweden. Because you learn, it’s another reality. In the virtual CoPs, many interviewees commented on how enriching it was to work with people living in a different environment. They were not sure that the company gained anything from offshoring, but they had been personally enriched. Thus, the attitude that offshoring is good for the company but bad for the employees was turned around. There were also several interviewees who viewed the global distribution of wealth from the Indian point of view, saying that Indians also had the right to sell their skills. Problems can be created when two organizational cultures meet and an adaptation process is initiated. In the Capsicom teams, by the time of the interviews, cooperation had often been running for some time and different kinds of team cultures had been developed. The team cultures of the virtual teams, including both Swedish and Indian employees, were built on the Swedish team culture which had existed before offshoring and which had typically relied heavily on informal communication. For example, being present at the workplace had been encouraged by the managers and appreciated by the employees in several teams, in spite of the MNC policy to encourage homeworking. The geographical distance was a constant problem for this culture, in particular for the Swedes, who compared this experience to the previous state of affairs, where the team could interact directly at the office. The Swedish managers and team members indicated that the problem was not that part of the work was in India, but that the work was outside the office; Swedish homeworkers or team members sitting in other offices in Sweden were cited as examples of similar problems. The Swedish teams customarily adapted their schedules so that meetings were scheduled before noon, during Indian office hours, but several Swedish team members missed the possibility in the afternoons of asking a quick question or having more casual discussions with their Indian colleagues.
4. Learning from cooperation When the Swedish employees were asked what they had learnt from the offshoring cooperation, the answers related to three aspects: being more clear and direct in communication, improving their skills in English and learning about another culture. The general approach of the Swedish managers had been to give their Indian team members the same freedom as their Swedish team members. However, they had learnt to be more specific in their requirements, asking the Indian team members such direct questions about the progress of the work that might have been interpreted as offensive in a Swedish context. The need to be detailed and explicit with the Indian team members was described as problematic and but also as a learning experience: You know, when you are in Sweden, there is consensus in the conference room, and you have talked for an hour and everybody gets up and somehow everybody understands what they are supposed to do. Of course that doesn’t work if you are working with a group who are sitting very far away and are working in a totally different manner, so I have learnt to be much more explicit. I have learnt to order people around. To say: do this, and be very clear about it. I had never done that before offshoring came up, and it was a bit difficult in the beginning, though now I think it feels quite good. I just say, ´do this’, and that’s it.
Minna Salminen‐Karlsson The comments on language problems followed the same pattern: it had been hard in the beginning, but it was a useful and rewarding learning experience to use more English at work. Language problems are one of the major stumbling blocks in daily offshoring cooperations, even when the client representatives are native English speakers. Cohen and El‐Sawad (2007) found that the ‘language barrier’ encountered by the British employees in their case study for the most part did not concern language at all, however, but cultural positioning and a form of resistance to offshoring. In Capsicom, language was seen as a problem by the Swedish employees. While the problem could be attributed partly to the resistance found by Cohen and El‐Sawad (2007), real problems of understanding were also experienced by the Swedes. Although the corporate language of Capsicom was English, many of the employees worked mainly in Swedish with Swedish customers, so daily interaction in English was a problem in itself. Even those employees who felt confident about their skills in English found that the Indian pronunciation made it sometimes difficult for them to understand their new colleagues. Some teams solved the language problem by interacting mainly through e‐mail. The Indian colleagues were not entirely happy with this form of communication, but had learnt that this was the way the Swedes wanted it. However, in some teams, many people stated that they were happy to have a reason to refresh their English skills, and asserted that if one was interested enough, the language problems were manageable. Learning about another culture was described positively from the very beginning. The employees described their satisfaction with learning to interact with different kinds of people, their interest in any news from India in the media and their experiences when they had visited their colleagues in India.. The Indian team members, when asked what they had learnt from the cooperation, mentioned issues related to working methods, in particular working with less hierarchy, planning the work with realistic estimates, and job culture. In her review of Swedish offshoring firms, Hovlin (2006) found that the Swedish self‐image emphasized such strengths as ‘complex problem‐solving, teamwork, management, knowledge of system operations etc.’. A number of the Swedish interviewees in the Capsicom study also stated that they had taught the Indians modern work methods. We have made them work with modern processes of systems development, like those that have emerged after the year 2000. … It is important that every employee puts their foot down, every employee makes time estimates. It’s not the boss who says that this will take three weeks. That boss doesn’t have the faintest idea, but he says something because he has to say something … First, you have to time estimate together, and when you start developing, it’s again the developer who has to say how long it will take. … And these models lead to better products and better quality. And we have taught them to work this way. So they have moved forward almost 30 years. This would likely have been refuted by the higher‐level Indian managers, who spoke positively about the Indian processes of IT development. However, the ordinary Indian team members seemed to partly confirm the Swedish opinions. For example, one of the Indian interviewees gave this perspective on learning what the Swedes called modern systems development: I learnt how to plan the project, how to plan a single task. … how to plan the things, what are the responsibilities you have. You should know completely what responsibilities you have and when work comes across, then you should plan before you start. The non‐hierarchical interaction pattern and the Swedish way of expressing criticism in a soft and sometimes concealed manner were approaches that the Indian team members appreciated from the start. They embraced the model where they could directly contact their Swedish colleagues, instead of getting only single tasks from an Indian team leader. They did not perceive any problems with the Swedish approach. However, it took some time before they understood these practices and could react to them in an appropriate way. There had been a mutual process, where the Swedes had learnt to be more explicit and detailed in their requirements and somewhat more open with their criticism, and the Indians had learnt to take greater
Minna Salminen‐Karlsson responsibility for their work tasks and, to some extent, to discern the edge that could be concealed in the Swedes’ ‘soft’ criticism.
5. CoPs, recruitment and attrition The recruitment of staff was a clear source of conflict between on‐site and offshore employees, with respect to power and ownership. The Swedish team leaders and Swedish employees stressed that, to find the right people, they should be allowed to take part in the selection process. If I’m going to employ somebody or hire somebody, of course I interview them, for, I mean, one person is not like another. I need to have somebody who can speak my language and I have to know that he knows how to do what he has to do. … But there was this attitude that if you are going to have somebody Indian, you just take one off the shelf. The general attitude among the Indian HR managers was that on‐site personnel should stipulate skill specifications and that HR would supply the team with a qualified person from the Indian job market. For Swedish on‐site managers, listing detailed qualifications was not only a new exercise, but the Swedish terminology was not always understood by the Indian HR managers. This process did not work well. In a hierarchical organizational culture, personal characteristics are not that important, as long as the work gets done, while in a virtual team, personal characteristics such as taking responsibility and being proactive, helpful and communicative are important as well as the technical skills. The fact that virtual teams consist of persons rather than competencies was often not taken into account in the recruitment and staffing practices of the Indian offices. In the most successful CoP teams, the Swedes had been able to take part in the selection of the key members of the Indian team. However, later hiring was often left for the Indian team leader to manage, after he and his selection criteria had been influenced by the Swedish experience. These team leaders did not always follow the standard staffing procedures of the HR department, but identified people they thought would best suit the team. In this way, the virtual team felt that the new employees were recruited according to the team’s needs, and the HR department did not have to deal with direct interference from on‐site. The Indian attitude towards attrition was also a cause of conflict. Again, it was an issue of power and ownership, and this was of more concern to the Indian managers than the issue of recruitment. Some of the managers in Sweden feel that X, Y, Z resources belong to me in India. If they do not do the work or if they leave and go then my quality suffers. My point is, you offshore some work to us. Now, whether X, Y, Z, is doing it or A, B, C is doing it, it is none of your concern. If the quality is bad talk about it, … we will set right the quality, but don’t assign it to a person saying if the person is gone, my job is not happening. That is not the right way of positioning things. The Swedish managers of virtual CoPs viewed this matter differently. They were not simply offshoring some work to India; they had Indian subordinates with whom they had frequent contact. As a result of this attitude, they felt a responsibility for and an ownership of the team members. For them it was of foremost importance whether the work was done by X, Y, Z or by A, B, C. However, there were also practical aspects to the problem. For example, an onsite manager could pay for a sizeable salary increase to prevent a key person from leaving the team, while the Indian office had a salary and promotion system, and diverging too much from it would be problematic for the organization. The Indian office also had a practice of encouraging rotation between teams to provide professional development opportunities for, in particular, their junior employees. This, in turn, led the Swedish team leaders to believe that the attrition rate for the company was much higher than it actually was—a low 13%, which the Indian managers proudly mentioned in the interviews. The Indian managers asserted that the quality of the products delivered did not suffer from attrition, that they had learnt to handle attrition in relation to production and that they had back‐ups and structured knowledge transfer. This was not the opinion of the Swedish managers working in virtual CoPs, where the reified and codified knowledge was only part of all the knowledge that the team used, while the rest was acquired by participation in daily interactions. Losing a person meant that another person had to be introduced by ‘working alongside experts and being involved in increasingly complicated tasks’ (Li et al., 2011).
Minna Salminen‐Karlsson Transferring tacit knowledge is impeded by staff turnover (Hirschfeld, 2004). This was not seen as an issue in the Indian offices, which viewed themselves as supplying explicit and definable competences, while it was a major problem for virtual CoPs.
6. Conclusions As communities of practice, the Capsicom teams reflected the characteristics laid out by Wenger (1998): mutual engagement, joint enterprise and shared repertoire, and by Li et al. (2011): ‘the support for formal and informal interaction between novices and experts, the emphasis on learning and sharing knowledge, and the investment to foster the sense of belonging among members’ (p. 7). The Swedish teams can be viewed as communities of practice, where old‐timers were suddenly confronted with a number of newcomers, and the Indian team members’ increasing familiarity with both the work concepts and the social interaction patterns of the group was part of the normal (according to Wenger) trajectory of newcomers in a community of practice. The Capsicom teams also seem to be a model case in the sense that there appeared to have been few power issues, and in some teams the old‐timers had made explicit decisions to integrate the newcomers into the team. However, the geographical distance hampered, in particular, informal interaction and the creation of shared repertoire, not only because the distance necessarily curtailed both formal and informal interaction, but also because the contexts where the team members acted were somewhat different in the two locations, providing different frameworks in creating repertoires. Differences in organizational contexts were reflected in recruitment practices and in the Swedes’ proximity to the customer (due to most customers’ preference for interacting in Swedish). Differences in cultural contexts were reflected in a higher turnover in the Indian labour market and in a younger work force. Language problems disturbed the formal and informal interactions, the sharing of knowledge and the creation of a shared repertoire. However, the effects varied and the difficulties could, to a certain extent, be overcome by mutual engagement and, in particular, the Swedish investment in fostering a sense of belonging in the newcomers. Are virtual CoPs a better way of organizing offshoring work than virtual teams which distribute work so that less overseas communication is needed? Our interviews indicate that employee satisfaction with offshoring was higher in those teams which were closer to the pure CoP model, and that more mutual learning was reported. It is reasonable to expect that these teams were healthier and probably had a more creative team spirit. The emergence of virtual communities of practice seems to have depended on a few conditions which were present. The basic condition was an existing, at least relatively well‐functioning, community of practice with a firm belief that dividing the work between two separate entities would result in inferior quality. That is, both a motivation to integrate the Swedish and Indian teams and a well‐grounded ability to work in teams was required. It is probably not a coincidence that such teams existed in Capsicom Sweden, in the non‐hierarchical Swedish organizational culture. It was also important that offshoring was not regarded as a threat to one’s personal employment security, or that of one’s colleagues. Capsicom had made a number of layoffs during the years, but, according to a trade union representative, these were only partly due to offshoring. In the virtual CoPs, losing jobs to India was discussed in more general terms, and not as something that affected the team in question. A third condition was that of resources. Those teams which had the opportunity to make mutual visits were generally closer to the pure CoP model. The same could be said in regard to technical communication resources. Will virtual CoPs increase in number or will they stay as a marginal phenomenon in offshoring relationships and offshoring research? The virtual CoPs at Capsicom did mostly highly qualified work, which resists standardization and commodification better than more routine tasks. The basic condition, a well‐functioning onsite team with a conviction that integrating the newcomers, rather than simply outsourcing work to them, cannot be easily created by management. It can likely only emerge in a non‐hierarchical environment. It may not continue to exist even in Capsicom, after the present employee generation, many of whom have been maintaining the culture of the original local company, has retired. Thus, virtual CoPs can be expected to remain a marginal phenomenon, in particular in large MNCs. However, work in such teams is an important
Minna Salminen‐Karlsson research area, because a community of practice is a prerequisite for transferring tacit knowledge, which, in turn, is a prerequisite for creative and efficient work in IT development teams.
Acknowledgements This study was financed by the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research.
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Project Communication Management in Industrial Enterprises Jana Samáková, Jana Šujanová and Kristína Koltnerová Slovak University of Technology, Faculty of Materials Science and Technology in Trnava, Institute of Industrial Engineering, Management and Quality, Trnava, Slovak Republic firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract: Trends in project management show an enhanced role of the project manager with focus not only on hard skills but also on soft skills (see the research (Čambál, Cagáňová and Šujanová 2012)). The ability to motivate, develop and manage project team, solve interpersonal conflicts and to effectively communicate are important skills of successful project manager. On the other hand a good project manager must be able to organize resources, to plan and prepare detailed working procedures, to approve the executed work and manage according to the project scope costs, schedule, quality and risks. All these tasks must be accomplished together with the parallel communication with all stakeholders. Therefore it is important that project managers and all parties seek for effective forms of communication. To do so improvement of communication skills, managing communication tools, techniques and methods become to be essential for the project success. The contribution deal with efficient project communication and the main research question of this paper is: "Do industrial enterprises have prepared written document (methodology) for project communication management?" Based on the theoretical knowledge an empirical research on the analysis of the current state of project management communication has been carried out in industrial enterprises in Slovak Republic. The research was conducted through qualitative and quantitative research. The main objective of the research was to analyse the utilization of the methodology for the project communication management in industrial enterprises. The research was carried out in 85 industrial enterprises that have been process, project or functional oriented. According to the research results and compared with researches and case studies published in scholarly articles we came to the conclusion that project management communication can be considered as an important area within the project management. However 66% of industrial enterprises in Slovakia have not prepared any written document (methodology, process steps) to manage project communication. Therefore, the third part of the paper presents the proposal of the framework for the project communication. Project communication framework is defined as a combination of logical related communication methods and tools for a successful initialization, planning, implementation, monitoring and administrative closure of the project communication. The basic idea of the project management communication framework is divided according to the process groups of project management (Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling and Closing Process Group). For each process group project communication process described in sub processes was developed and described. The framework was designed for all industrial enterprises, but it is best applicable for the project and process‐oriented medium and large industrial enterprises. This contribution is part of a research project VEGA 1/1203/12 ‐ Management of information quality in project management. Keywords: project, project communication management, methodology, framework
1. Introduction Slovak enterprises perceive Project Management as a way to improve their competitiveness (Brieniková et al., 2010). In the activity of present organizations unique activities – projects are becoming more and more important (Relich, 2010). The project management contains such elements as management of time, cost, communications, procurement, quality, risk or scope of project (Relich, 2012). Communication in project management and in project is very important point. The common management skill of effective communication is crucial to project access because project management involves formal and informal communication at different levels in the organization. Such communication includes all the activities and behavior by which information or ideas are transferred between the project manager and individuals working on the project. The project manager must give directions, hold meetings, and relay information and ideas to and from the project team members, superiors, clients, contractors, functional managers, other project managers and outsider personnel (Verma, 1996). Communication is the basis of everything and is thus the key to effective project management. Even in biblical times, the importance of project communication was contained in the chronicle of the Tower of Babel, whereby it was reported that God caused a construction project to fail by interrupting communication through the creation of multiple languages. Without a common basis for communication, any project is bound to fail. Communication is the basis for project performance in any organization. Information is power, and those who have it will hold the key to project success (Badiru, 2008).
Jana Samáková, Jana Šujanová and Kristína Koltnerová The term project communication is emerging in the literature on project management and has a very limited place in the literature on external corporate communication (Ramsing, 2009). Effective communication is one of the main elements of project management. Communication is a critical part between people, ideas and information. The “Triple C Model” talks about it. Triple C model symbolizes the integrated stages of communication, cooperation and coordination in a project environment (Figure 1). The model is an effective project planning and control tool. Triple C model facilitates better understanding and involvement based on foundational communication. The Triple C approach elucidates the integrated involvement of communication, cooperation, and coordination. Communication is the foundation for cooperation, which in turn is the foundation for coordination. Communication leads to cooperation, which leads to coordination, which leads to project harmony, which leads to project success. The Triple C model was first used in 1985 (Badiru, 2008).
Figure 1: Triple C model (Source: Badiru, 2008)
1.1 Functional, process and project‐oriented companies The project manager´s skills and abilities have great impact on the project communication. Communication in project management takes three forms: verbal, nonverbal and written. In a project environment, communication refers to the exchange of messages and information to convey meaning and knowledge between and among the project manager, project team, internal and external stakeholders. Project communication can be defined as the vehicle through which project stakeholders share information from different functional areas that is essential to the successful implementation of the project (Pinto and Pinto, 1990). The orientation of the company plays an important role in project communication. There are some differences in the communication in functional, processes and project‐oriented companies (Kováž, Hrazdilová and Kožíšková, 2004):
Functional‐oriented company – every employee has a supervisor. Powers and responsibilities are clearly defined. Communication is linearly vertical.
Process‐oriented company – teamwork work as well as soft methods of management and flat organization are preferred. Communication is mostly horizontal.
Project‐oriented company – individuals are grouped into working teams for a limited time according to the duration of the project, horizontal management is preferred as well as a team cooperation and horizontal communication (Kováž, Hrazdilová and Kožíšková, 2004). Project‐oriented companies have specific strategies, specific organizational structures and specific cultures for managing projects, programs and project portfolios (Gereis, 2010).
1.2 The main areas of project communication management Taking into account differences in the management of project communication in functional oriented, process‐ oriented and project‐oriented companies we have selected four main areas that should be the part of the project communication management. In each area was defined the typical elements of project communication management (Figure 2).
Jana Samáková, Jana Šujanová and Kristína Koltnerová
PROJECT COMMUNICATION MANAGEMENT
- Communication strategy - Organizational structure - Project culture
- Communication tools
- Feedback system - System of sharing and distribution of information
frequency - Support of communication
Figure 2: The main areas of project communication (Source: Author (Samáková, 2012))
1.3 Research questions – hypothesis In the contribution were chosen three research questions, which will be pursued in the following, practical part of the article:
Do the industrial enterprises in Slovakia have prepared a written document (instructions in the form of methodology, process steps) to manage project communication?
Does the level of project management communication affect the quality and success of the project?
Is sufficiently developed area of project management communication in the international methodologies and standards for project management (ICB®, PMBoK®, PRINCE2®, ISO 10006)?
2. Theoretical research ‐ analysis of the project communication according to the selected project management methodologies and standards Before we will be described and analysed project communication in Slovak industrial enterprises, we will start with the comparison of project communication processes on the basis of the theoretical research of international project management standards and methodologies. The aim of theoretical research was to analyse the designing of project communication in international methodologies and standards of project management. The aim was to determine if in the methodologies and standards are defined the templates, which showed a simple process how to manage the project communication. For the comparison we have selected: standard ICB® (IPMA® Competence Baseline) issued by IPMA® (International Project Management Association®), methodology PMBoK® (Project Management Body of Knowledge®) issued by PMI® (Project Management Institute®), methodology PRINCE2® (Project in a Controlled Environment®) issued by OGC (Office of Government Commerce) in UK and standard STN ISO 10006 (Quality management systems – Guidelines for quality management in projects) (see the research (Samáková and Šujanová, 2013)). ICB® describes the qualifications of project management. There are: technical competences, behavioral competences and contextual competences. Project communication is part of the technical competences. Communication covers the effective exchange and understanding of information between parties. Effective communication is vital to the success of projects, programs and portfolios. The right information has to be transmitted to relevant parties, accurately and consistently to meet their expectations. Communication should be useful, clear and timely. Communication under this standard may take many forms: oral, written, static or dynamic, formal or informal, volunteered or requested. This communication may use a variety of media such as paper or electronic means. Communication may take place in conversations, meetings, workshops and conferences, or by exchanging reports or meeting minutes (Caupin, 2008). ® PMBOK is the most engaged in project communication. Project communications management includes the processes required to ensure timely and appropriate generation, collection, dissemination, storage, and ultimate disposition of project information. It provides the critical links among people, ideas, and information
Jana Samáková, Jana Šujanová and Kristína Koltnerová that are necessary for success. Everyone involved in the project must be prepared to send and receive communications in the project “language” and must understand how the communications they are involved in as individuals affect the project as a whole. Project communication includes: identify stakeholders, plan communications, distribute information, manage stakeholder expectations and report performance (PMI, 2008). PRINCE2® is the least engaged in project communication. The area of project communication is described in the part “processes”, following: The communication management strategy addresses both internal and external communications. It should contain details of how the project management team will send information to, and receive information from the wider organization(s) involved with, of affected by, the project. In particular, where the project is part of a programme, details should be given on how information is to be fed to the programme (Murray, 2009). STN ISO 10006 – in this standard are described communication‐related processes. The communication‐related processes aim to facilitate the exchange of information necessary for the project. The communication‐related processes are: communication planning, information management and communication control (STN EN ISO 10006:2004, 2004). Comparison of the above mentioned project management methodologies and a standard is very difficult because of their different concepts and objectives. More they differ also terms and vocabulary. They apply different areas of knowledge, tools, techniques, procedures, material presentation and other aspects of project communication. The summary of the project communication in international methodologies and ® ® ® standards (ICB , PMBoK , PRINCE2 , STN ISO 10006) is presented in table 1. Table 1: Comparison of project communication in international methodologies and standards (Source: Author (Samáková, 2012)) Monitored elements ICB® Communication strategy Organizational structure Project culture
Communication methods Communication tools Support of communication Communication frequency
Communication differences Communication skills
Feedback system System of sharing and distribution of information
Project management methodologies and standards PMBoK® PRINCE2® STN ISO 10006 Communication environment 9 Communication channel 9 9
Communication cognitive Communication system 9
methodology or standard does not include a specific element methodology or standard describes the element only briefly 9 methodology or standard describes in detail, what the specific element addresses
On the basis of theoretical research can be concluded that international standards and methodologies of project management describe those elements only generally and characterize them very little or not at all. The analysis shows that it is necessary to deal with the project communication further. A comprehensive summary of the standards and methodologies are shown in table 1.
Jana Samáková, Jana Šujanová and Kristína Koltnerová
3. Empirical research – analysis of project communication in industrial enterprises The analytical part of this paper focuses on the analysis of the current state of project communication management in industrial enterprises in Slovakia. The analysis was realized through qualitative and quantitative research. The aim of this paper is to analyse how in industrial enterprises projects the project communication is managed and also if the companies have working version or policy document (methodology, process steps) for the project communication management.
3.1 Qualitative research of project communication management Qualitative research was used as a pilot study of project communication management. The aim was to analyse how project managers perceive the problems of project communication management in practice. For the research purpose we interviewed project managers in three medium‐sized industrial enterprises (number of employees from 50 to 249) and one in a large industrial enterprise (over 250 employees). Information about project management communication has been identified through semi‐structured in‐depth individual interviews. Data were collected during the September and October 2011. According to the qualitative research we came to the following conclusions:
Project managers frequently understand project communications management as creation of the “Communication matrix "and treatment of the "Stakeholder analysis".
Internal project communication policy documents do not contained supplementary tools like forms and templates for the project communication management.
Project managers are interested in the project communication management methodology that will take into account: communication environment, communication channel, communication cognitive, communication system.
For the management of the project communication, project managers do not follow international project management methodologies and standards.
3.2 Quantitative research of project communication management Quantitative research of the project communication management was realised by the questionnaire research. In the research participated 85 enterprises that apply the project management (project sponsor 41 %, project managers 32 %, heads of department 9%, project team members 8 %, other 10%). The research took place in January 2012. The aim of research was to analyse how in Slovak industrial enterprises is the project communication managed and applied. The proportion between functional, process and project‐oriented enterprises is presented in figure 3.
FOC – Functional Oriented Companies PjOC – Project-Oriented Companies PrOC – Process-Oriented Companies
Figure 3: Industrial enterprises in Slovak republic (Source: Author (Samáková, 2012)) The key question of the questionnaire was: "Indicate on a scale 5‐1 the extent to which you identify with these statement: “Project communication management can be considered as an important tool for improvement of
Jana Samáková, Jana Šujanová and Kristína Koltnerová the quality and success of the projects." As shown in figure 4, 95 % of respondents agree and strongly agree with the statement.
Figure 4: Project communication management: tool for improving of quality of projects (Source: Author (Samáková, 2012)) Next research problem was to determine if industrial enterprises deal in project management with areas such as: communication environment, communication channel, communication cognitive and communication system. On the basis of the survey we can conclude, that all companies do not use: communication environment, communication channel, communication cognitive, and communication system in the project communication management. We can see (Table 2) that it were the project oriented companies’ that mostly use the defined areas of the project communication management. Only in the case of the communication environment higher percentage of the process oriented enterprises (30%) as project oriented enterprises (24%) apply the communication environment. In the case of functional oriented enterprises the percentage of those that apply defined areas of the project communication management was lower than 30% only in the case of the communication system it was 41% of enterprises. Table 2: Percentage of enterprises engaged in the project communication management (Source: Author (Samáková, 2012)) Are you engaged in the project communication management in following areas? Communication environment Communication channel Communication cognitive Communication system
Functional oriented enterprise 17 % 22 % 9 % 41 %
Process‐ oriented enterprise 30 % 27 % 5 % 48 %
Project‐ oriented enterprise 24 % 28 % 10 % 61 %
From the above presented data we can conclude that process oriented and project oriented enterprises in higher ratio put their emphasis also on communication environment, communication channel, communication cognitive and communication system as an integral part of the project communication management as the functional oriented companies. Another research area of the questionnaire was to identify either the project communication is defined in the project management or not. Based on the analysis results (Figure 5) 66 % of respondents are not dealing in the project management with the project communication, 21% have a project communications as part of the project charter. Only 13% of respondents from industrial enterprises devote with the project communication. According to the quantitative research we came to the following conclusions:
Project communication should be considered as an important part of the project management.
® Enterprises does not apply international project management standards and methodologies (ICB , ® ® PMBoK , PRINCE2 ), but they have developed their own methodologies.
Majority of industrial enterprises in Slovakia (66%) do not have the written document (policy), for the project communication.
Jana Samáková, Jana Šujanová and Kristína Koltnerová
Industrial companies have recognised the importance of the project communication and are interested in the project management communication methodology.
Figure 5: Use of the project communication in the project managing (Source: Author (Samáková, 2012))
4. Project communication management framework For the improvement of the project management communication we have defined project communication framework as a combination of logical related communication methods, tools and techniques for a successful initialization, planning, implementation, control and administrative closure of the project communication. The project communication management framework define the communication process in the project management process groups (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling and closing process group) – figure 6. Each process group contains the process of project communication, which is divided into the defined sub process. Project communication management framework
Process groups of project management
Process of project communication
Tasks of sub processes
Outputs from sub process
Initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling and closing process group Initialization, planning, implemen- tation, control and administrative closure Methods, tools and techniques
Template and scheme
Figure 6: Scheme of the project communication management framework (Source: Author (Samáková, 2012)) Detailed description of the project communication framework is in the figure 7. This framework is applicable in different size of industrial enterprises, but the best results could be obtained in the project and process‐oriented medium and large industrial enterprises.
Jana Samáková, Jana Šujanová and Kristína Koltnerová
PROJECT COMMUNICATION MANAGEMENT Communication strategy
Initialization of project communicati on
Project communication organizational structure Project culture management
List of stakeholders Stakeholder expectations
Responsibility matrix of project communication
Planning of the project communicati on
Groupware Matrix Schedule for communication Minutes of meeting Communication Matrix Meeting rules Phone call rules Call phone minutes
Implementati on of the project i ti
Writing documents Rules of Email Rules of nonverbal communication
MONITORING AND CONTROLLING
Control of the project communicati on
Project communication Inspection Report
Administrati ve closure of the project communicati
Control of documents Principles of archiving
Figure 7: Scheme of the project communication management framework (Source: Author (Samáková, 2012))
5. Conclusions Project management has the particular significance. Especially, the identification of project success or failure is desirable, what is usually connected with specific methods and techniques (Relich and Banaszak, 2011).Communication plays an important role in project management. Diverse project environment in many cases cause the problems that can be considered as a communication problems. The communication skills of project managers are often proved by overlapping areas of responsibility, grey lines of authority, delegation of the problems, lack of motivation, very complex organizational structures and conflicts among the various project participants. Effective communication helps to gain interpersonal acceptance and commitment and can also serve as a good motivating factor. Because of the unique features of projects and the way project teams are organized in a matrix fashion, effective communication is vital for project success. Overlapping responsibilities, frequent changes in scope and constraints, complex integration and interface req