The Electronic Journal of Information Systems Evaluation provides critical perspectives on topics relevant to Information Systems Evaluation, with an emphasis on the organisational and management implications
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Journal Article

The Effect of Information Systems on Firm Performance and Profitability Using a Case‑Study Approach  pp11-16

Mojisola Olugbode, Ibrahim Elbeltagi, Matthew Simmons, Tom Biss

© Mar 2008 Volume 11 Issue 1, Editor: Dan Remenyi, pp1 - 51

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Abstract

Beale and Cole is a company that was experiencing significant levels of growth in its business. However, its existing operational practices and ICT infrastructure were incapable of efficiently sustaining their level of growth. A thorough analysis of the operational systems was carried out covering both the manual systems and those supported by its computerised accounting system. A number of beneficial changes were made, including the implementation of a major new business system replacing the old accounting system. In all these developments, the work of a teaching company associate, now known as knowledge transfer partnerships associate supported the analysis, but the full participation and support of all key personnel within the company was essential. Although there were problems during the implementation, these have being resolved and Beale and Cole now has a fully supported and integrated IT system which will maintain their competitive advantage and facilitate their continued growth and profitability.

 

Keywords: information, communication and technology, ICT, business systems integration, SMEs

 

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Journal Article

Use and Impact of ICT on SMEs in Oman  pp171-184

Rafi Ashrafi, Muhammed Murtaza

© Nov 2008 Volume 11 Issue 3, Editor: Dan Remenyi, pp109 - 212

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Abstract

This paper presents the results of an exploratory study carried out to learn about the use and impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Oman. The study investigates ICT infrastructure, software used, driver for ICT investment, perceptions about business benefits of ICT and outsourcing trends of SMEs. The study provides an insight on the barriers for the adoption of ICT. Data on these aspects of ICT was collected from 51 SMEs through a survey instrument. The results of the study show that only a small number of SMEs in Oman are aware of the benefits of ICT adoption. The main driving forces for ICT investment are to provide better and faster customer service and to stay ahead of the competition. A majority of surveyed SMEs have reported a positive performance and other benefits by utilizing ICT in their businesses. Majority of SMEs outsource most of their ICT activities. Lack of internal capabilities, high cost of ICT and lack of information about suitable ICT solutions and implementation were some of the major barriers in adopting ICT. These findings are consistent with other studies e.g. (Harindranath et al 2008). There is a need for more focus and concerted efforts on increasing awareness among SMEs on the benefits of ICT adoption. The results of the study recognize the need for more training facilities in ICT for SMEs, measures to provide ICT products and services at an affordable cost, and availability of free professional advice and consulting at reasonable cost to SMEs. Our findings therefore have important implication for policy aimed at ICT adoption and use by SMEs. The findings of this research will provide a foundation for future research and will help policy makers in understanding the current state of affairs of the usage and impact of ICT on SMEs in Oman.

 

Keywords: Information and communication technologies, ICT, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs, developing countries, Gulf Cooperative Council, GCC, Middle East, Oman

 

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Journal Article

Firms Patterns of e‑Business Adoption: Evidence for the European Union‑27  pp47-56

Tiago Oliveira, Maria Fraga Martins

© Jan 2010 Volume 13 Issue 1, ECIME 2009, Editor: Elizabeth Frisk and Kerstin Grunden, pp1 - 96

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Abstract

Research has shown that firms using e‑business achieve considerable returns through efficiency improvements, inventory reduction, sales increase, customer relationship enhancement, new market penetration, and ultimately financial returns. However, there is little systematic research in terms of e‑business adoption patterns in firms across countries and industries. This study addresses the research gap by analysing the pattern of e‑business adoption by firms across European Union (EU) members. For that, we used the survey data from 6,964 businesses in EU27 members (excluding Malta and Bulgaria). The choice of variables that we will use in our study is based on the technology‑organization‑environment (TOE) theory. In the TOE framework, three aspects may possibly influence e‑business adoption: technological context (technology readiness and technology integration), organizational context (firm size, expected benefits and barriers of e‑business and improved products or services or internal processes) and environmental context (internet penetration and competitive pressure). We performed a factor analysis (FA) of multi‑item indicators to evaluate the validity and to reduce the number of variables. We used the principal component technique with varimax rotation to extract four eigen‑value, which were all greater than one. The first four factors explain 72.4% of variance contained in the data. The four factors found are: expected benefits and obstacles of e‑business, internet penetration, technology readiness and technology integration. These factors are in accordance with the literature review. Afterwards, we performed a cluster analysis (CA) using variables obtained from the FA and the other variables were gathered directly (firm size, employees education, improved products or services or internal processes and competitive pressure) from the e‑Business W@tch survey. In the CA we used hierarchical and non hierarchical methods. We obtained four distinct groups of e‑business adoption. The pattern of these groups suggested that in the European context the most important factor to characterize e‑business adoption is the specific characteristics of the industry and is not the country to which the firms belong.

 

Keywords: e-business adoption, information and communication technology, ICT, technology-organizational-environment, TOE, framework, cluster analysis, CA, European Union, EU, members

 

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Journal Article

A Guideline for Virtual Team Managers: the Key to Effective Social Interaction and Communication  pp109-118

Lara Schlenkrich, Christopher Upfold

© Jan 2009 Volume 12 Issue 1, ECIME 2008, Editor: Dan Remenyi, pp1 - 118

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Abstract

Globalisation has had an enormous impact on the manner in which teams operate. Traditional teams have been forced to adapt to their constantly changing environment in order to compete effectively with other business. A vast number of IT professionals work in teams, which are characterised by distribution and diversity. It is the presence of virtual characteristics that may result in numerous social problems which can negatively impact team communication and productivity, demanding more effective team management. There is much potential for conflict in virtual teams as members work across cultural, geographical and time‑bound environments. This conflict leads to ineffective communication and as soon as team members stop communicating effectively, barriers begin to form between them, which, leads to a decrease in productivity and interaction. Conflict resolution, and the extent to which it undermines performance, depends heavily on the conflict resolution approach. This qualitative research is conducted by means of a literature review only, in which several managerial models available to virtual team managers are critically analysed and combined into a proposed theoretical model of general managerial guidelines for virtual team managers. Both current and proposed models discussed within this paper should be viewed within the limitations of this research i.e., the proposed model remains untested and should be viewed as a hypothesis for future research. This research distinguishes virtual teams from traditional teams by defining characteristics that are common to virtual teams. These characteristics are: physical dispersion, crossing time boundaries, dependence on communication technologies, crossing functional boundaries, diversity, unstable team structure, non‑routine as well as interrelated tasks. The research argues that teams are neither entirely traditional (local) nor entirely Global but may be placed on a continuum of virtuality according to the virtual characteristics the team possesses. The theoretical model proposed by this research: Proposed Managerial Strategies, is intended to help IT managers overcome conflict and consequent social problems within virtual teams, which may otherwise lead to ineffective communication. The model provides managers with guidelines and strategies which may be implemented to enable effective social interaction and prevent future problems.

 

Keywords: virtual teams, globalisation, communication, distributed teams

 

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Journal Article

Changing the Communication Culture of Distributed Teams ina World Where Communication is Neither Perfect nor Complete  pp187-196

Peter Weimann, Christian Hinz, Else Scott, Michael Pollock

© Oct 2010 Volume 13 Issue 2, ICIME 2010, Editor: Shaun Pather and Corrie Uys, pp97 - 196

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Abstract

Distributed teams have been set up to work together across space, time and even organisational boundaries over the last few years, to increase the availability of scarce skills, reduce travel costs, and increase worker job satisfaction through fewer relocations. This has been due to globalisation, shorter development cycles and scarce human expert resources placing additional pressure onto project teams. Technological developments, such as various communication technologies, have helped to support this move to distributed teams. These communication technologies, including phone and video conferencing, mobile technologies and the Internet, help team members handle project tasks in a distributed or virtual team project environment. This case study based paper provides an analysis of the communication culture and tools of the distributed teams of a large German manufacturer. The communication behaviours and tools used by these real distributed teams working together in different settings on international projects are analysed. The advantages and disadvantages of the distributed work setting and the different technologies used by the teams were gathered via a questionnaire and interviews with the leader and members of the different teams. The findings show that regular face‑to‑face meetings, email and phone still play a pivotal role in team communications, even though a variety of communication tools is available. The results also indicate that, like non‑distributed teams, a need for common ground and shared meaning, or social context, are essential elements for the communications within a distributed team. Face‑to‑face meetings are still important to create a common ground and shared meaning in distributed teams. The complexity of the tasks needed to be performed by the distributed team is also affected by this social context. Team members often complain about misuse of the different tools, as well as a lack of communication rules regarding the different communication tools. The case study shows that team member satisfaction and team success can only be accomplished if the communication culture in the company takes into account the technologies used and the distributed work setting.

 

Keywords: communications culture, virtual teams, communication technology, communication pattern, change management

 

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Journal Article

Information Inadequacy: Some Causes of Failures in Human, Social and Industrial Affairs  pp63-72

Miranda Kajtazi, Darek Haftor, Anita Mirijamdotter

© Jan 2011 Volume 14 Issue 1, ECIME 2010 Special Issue, Editor: Miguel de Castro Neto, pp1 - 166

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Abstract

In this paper, we develop a conceptual model for understanding human‑related information practices and their behavioural activities. Our focus is on forging new possibilities to explore and improve the contemporary dilemma when human activities fail due to the lack of the needed information, which is here understood as information inadequacy. More precisely, information inadequacy is defined as vulnerable and inadequate information, composed by the dichotomy of information lack and/or of information overflow, which imposes complexities and unexpected behaviour on human, social and industrial affairs. By exploring the lack of needed information in human, social and industrial affairs, we conducted an inquiry into different empirical situations manifesting information inadequacy, subsequently examining the various theoretical bodies that relate to information inadequacy. The key question was: Which theories may explicate the key human behavioural patterns that cause information inadequacy? To answer this question, our paper presents initial guidance with a systematic approach that focuses on evaluating and further improving research and practice in terms of information relevance. The empirical cases are largely based on major human, social and industrial dysfunctions: the Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy 2008, and the Enron bankruptcy 2001, the disasters of the Columbia space shuttle in 2003, and the Challenger in 1986. The analyses are examined through theories of information behaviour that influence communication processes where two or more different actors are required to engage in activities of communicating information. The results include the identification of four information exchange patterns: influenced, intentional, hindered, and unaware. Furthermore, we discuss the implications of the model for practice with information. The paper concludes by reviewing the role of information inadequacy in economic, social and political contexts that remain challenging.

 

Keywords: Behavioural activities, communication processes, information behaviour, information overload, information lack

 

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Journal Article

A Citizen Benefit Perspective of Municipal Enterprise Resource Planning Systems  pp85-98

Takauya Chandiwana, Shaun Pather

© May 2016 Volume 19 Issue 2, ECIME 2015, Editor: Elias Pimenidis, pp83 - 134

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Abstract

Abstract: Over the past three decades, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems have been adopted by businesses with increasing frequency to improve organisational efficiencies and to remedy fragmentation of information systems across company function s. In the public sector as well, many governments, especially at national and regional levels, have also been recognising the benefits of ERP systems. This paper reports on a case study of a large metropolitan municipality. Qualitative methodologies were employed in the form of in‑depth interviews amongst selected respondents in the selected case. The study used hermeneutical principles of qualitative data analysis to elicit the findings. The research determined that, in addition to improving internal bus iness processes, there are clear benefits to the citizen when public institutes like municipalities implement ERP systems. This study identifies a number of resultant and potential benefits as well as the management practices that are being employed by th e municipal management to ensure maximum ERP system benefit to the citizens. These are, in fact, both indirect benefits which are found generically in any ERP system as well as direct benefits to citizens that are visible. The findings indicate that ERP s ystems promote financial sustainability, lowers overall ICT operational costs, reduce communication costs, enables an efficient budget and results in better overall governance of local governments.

 

Keywords: Keywords: ERP benefits, Information and communication technology, Information systems, Enterprise Resource Planning, ICT benefits management, municipal ERP system

 

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Journal Article

ICT Adoption and Use in UK SMEs: a Failure of Initiatives?  pp91-96

G. Harindranath, R. Dyerson, D. Barnes

© Jun 2008 Volume 11 Issue 2, Editor: Dan Remenyi, pp51 - 108

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Abstract

In this paper, we explore some of the results from a survey of 378 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) based in the southeast of England. The objective of this survey was to build a snapshot of the state of play of the information and communications technology (ICT) use by SMEs in economically significant sectors in this region. The sectors chosen were as follows: food processing, transport and logistics, media and internet services. More specifically, the survey was intended to answer the following questions: what types of ICT are in use by SMEs in this region, what prevents and facilitates the adoption and use of ICT amongst these firms, and where do SMEs acquire information on ICT related issues. Our survey suggests that most SMEs in the southeast of England are in general positively inclined towards adoption and use of ICT. However, this adoption and use of ICT is mainly focused on operational matters with few extensions into potential strategic use of such technologies in their business environments. SME ownermanagers perceive ICT to be often costly and complex and are wary of consultants and vendor organisations. We also discovered, somewhat surprisingly, that SMEs are largely unaware of existing policy instruments at the regional, national and European levels, designed to help them in their adoption and use of ICT.

 

Keywords: Information and communications technology, ICT, small and medium sized enterprises, SMEs, ICT adoption, ICT use, government policy

 

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