IS managers are being put under increasing pressure to justify the value of corporate ITIS expenditure. Their constant quest for the 'holy grail' continues, as existing methods and approaches of justifying ITIS expenditure are still failing to deliver. The decision making process is not as objective and transparent as it is claimed or intended to be. This paper discusses seven commonly used tactics used by business managers to influence IT appraisals. The paper takes a 'devil's advocate' position and adopts some irony when looking at the area of power and politics in IT evaluation. Rather than promoting the use of these techniques, this article aims to raise awareness that IT evaluation is not as rational as most IT evaluation researcherspractitioners would want it to be or indeed claim it to be. It is argued that rationalisation or counter tactics may counteract influence techniques in an attempt to get behind the cloak and dagger side of organisational power and politics, but politics and power in decision‑making cannot and should not be filtered out. Due to dissimilarities of objectives, limitations of time and information, influence techniques will always be used. However, rather than being counterproductive, these techniques are essential in the process of decision making of IT projects. They help organisations reach better decisions, which receive more commitment than decisions that were forced to comply with strictly rational approaches. Awareness of the influence and manipulation techniques used in practice will help to deal with power and politics in IT evaluation and thereby come to better IT investment decisions.
Keywords: IT Evaluation, IT Decision Making, IT Assessment, Information Economics, Decision Making, Organisational Power & Politics Information Management
Companies have been investing in integrated enterprise applications (such as ERP) for over a decade, without firm evidence of a return from these investments. Much research has centred on the factors which will lead to a successful implementation project (eg: Holland and Light, 1999; Shanks and Seddon, 2000), but to date there appears to be little research on the longer term impact of ERP systems on the organisation (Heili and Vinck, 2008). Although the greater level of system integration brought on by ERP has meant that there is more operational information available to managers than ever before, the information stored in ERP applications requires much off‑line manipulation in order to be meaningful to managers. The data held in ERP databases originate in physical processes that evolve over time, and thus inevitably a gap opens between the ERP system, and the reality it is designed to capture (Lee and Lee, 2000). Taking the evaluation of management performance against organisational objectives as research domain, and focusing on a case study in the pharmaceutical sector, this paper looks at the footprint of a global ERP system in the day to day decision making of managers both at a manufacturing site level and at Headquarters level. Although the ERP implementation resulted in major improvements in data integrity at an operational level, resulting in improved visibility of costs and traceability of transactions for head office, many of the benefits associated with exploiting the information thus collected have been compromised by the need to rely on non‑integrated tools for certain specific functions. Thus, for decision making purposes, managers must still download data to spreadsheets, where they are manipulated and combined with data from other, non‑integrated systems. Thus, this paper examines the role of ERP systems in supporting management activity in a manufacturing environment, highlighting the gap between management performance and the informational and decisional support provided by the ERP.
Keywords: benefits realisation, clinical trials, data integrity, decision making, e-government, ERP, evaluation process, evaluation results, evaluation use, government policy, ICT adoption, information and communications technology (ICT), inter-municipal cooperation, interpretative evaluation methodology, IS evaluation, IS failures, KPI, local government, NHS, organisational and personal trust, organisational goals, outsourcing, principal agent theory, public value, skills, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), software development