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Journal Article

Outsourced Information Systems Failures in SMEs: a Multiple Case Study  pp73-82

Jan Devos, Hendrik Van Landeghem, Dirk Deschoolmeester

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

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Abstract

Since the 1980s, a number of frameworks have been proposed for understanding the concept of information system (IS) failure. Two approaches to IS failures seem particularly important: the concept of Expectation Failure and the concept of Termination Failure. We argue that there is an extra dimension to the problem that is not covered by those descriptive models, which we call the Outsourced IS Failure (OISF). To explain the OISF we draw on agency theory, which views the problems that occur in outsourced environments as the results of three factors: goal differences, risk behaviour differences and information asymmetry. Although the (positivistic) agency theory has already been used to describe phenomena of failure in IT relations there is still a lack of empirical evidence. This paper brings the results of the attempts of falsification of the agency theory in situations of OISF. A positivistic case study research was conducted based on multiple cases in SMEs. The choice for qualitative research is based on the accessibility of well documented secondary data in litigation files of failed IS projects. Eight cases of IS project failures subject to litigation were selected. We conclude that the agency theory has strong prediction and explanation power for OISF. However some adjustments are needed to the agency theory. The theory seems to work in two ways, opportunistic behaviour is also observed on the side of the principal. The findings indicate that lack of trust is a prominent determinant for failure.

 

Keywords: IS outsourcing, SMEs, IS failures, Principal Agent theory, Organisational and Personal Trust

 

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Journal Article

Evaluating Motivational Factors Involved at Different Stages in an IS Outsourcing Decision Process  pp23-30

Linda Bergkvist, Björn Johansson

© Jan 2007 Volume 10 Issue 1, ECITE 2006 Special, Editor: Dan Remenyi, pp1 - 122

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Abstract

This study evaluates factors involved at different stages in an IS outsourcing decision process. From a theoretical perspective, the motivation for IS outsourcing is often described as a result of three factors: cost reduction, access to technological expertise and focus on core competence. The aim of this paper is to evaluate motivational factors in an outsourcing decision process. The study uses a literature review and a retrospective case study of an outsourcing project in a large Swedish organisation. The idea is to evaluate if there are different factors involved at different stages in an IS outsourcing decision process. It has been found that the cost perspective is often used as a way of motivating the start of the process as well as the result of the process. However, during different stages other factors are involved. The results, based upon the case study, show that the size and reputation of the provider as well as thoughts about the provider's ability to deliver required capability is more important than cost reduction. It can be argued that the impact of IS outsourcing on performance and value of an organisation's IS function can be both positive and negative. To minimise the odds of a negative result, this paper contributes with an evaluation of motivational factors involved at different stages in an IS outsourcing decision process. If they are duly addressed, the chances of a successful IS outsourcing process will improve significantly.

 

Keywords: IS outsourcing decision process, motivational factors, case study, stages in decision-making process

 

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Journal Article

IT Outsourcing in the Public Sector: Experiences Form Local Government  pp193-203

Michael Cox, Martyn Roberts, John Walton

© Sep 2011 Volume 14 Issue 2, ICIME 2011, Editor: Ken Grant, pp167 - 281

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Abstract

This paper examines the approach taken to Information Technology (IT) outsourcing in four local government councils in the UK. This is important because, whilst outsourcing has become a significant issue in the restructuring of organisations and is increasingly used within both the private and public sectors, there has been a lack of research into IT outsourcing in the public sector and particularly within local government. This paper provides an in‑depth study into how outsourcing is managed in local councils and how successful it has been; especially considering its sometimes controversial nature and the mixed press results it receives. To complete this study, interviews, containing both qualitative and quantitative questions, were conducted with key people at the four councils. These interviews examined the rationale for IT outsourcing. The findings from the interviews were then compared to the current literature on IT outsourcing to identify best practice. This research shows that, whilst cost savings remain important, councils focus on achieving best value when outsourcing IT rather than simply lowest cost. Indeed, it shows that whilst outsourcing can result in improved efficiency, councils that focus primarily on cost savings are often less successful. However, whilst the results revealed that IT outsourcing was more successful at councils who focused on long‑term strategic goals, the interviewees considered the strategic benefits of outsourcing less important than improving the service. The structured selection process that is imposed by legislation allows council managers to gain a better understanding of the outsourcing requirements and make informed decisions to achieve best value, however the need for cost efficiency can result in a more short‑term focus. The cost of the process and its inflexibility makes it more difficult for councils to focus on long‑term goals. The study concludes that, whilst councils recognise that both the contract and trust are important to ensure that outsourcing is successful, the culture of risk aversion in the public sector tends to lead to a play it safe mentality resulting in an overemphasis on the contract. This can lead to a short‑term focus that could make it difficult for the council and the provider to work together to meet long‑term goals. The councils were generally skeptical of developing partnerships; however, the research reveals that councils who focused predominantly on the contract were less successful than those who developed partnerships with their providers. The authors therefore recommend that, in order to achieve greater success, councils should develop partnerships and focus on best value and long‑term strategic goals when outsourcing IT.

 

Keywords: Information Technology, IT, Information Systems, IS, outsourcing, public sector, local government

 

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Journal Article

Management of Information Systems Outsourcing: Evaluation of Lessons Learned From a Boundary Spanning Perspective  pp63-73

Bjorn Johansson, Linda Bergkvist

© Jan 2012 Volume 15 Issue 1, ECIME 2011, Editor: Walter Castelnovo and Elena Ferrari, pp1 - 148

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Abstract

Even if outsourcing is a well‑researched phenomenon, it can be stated that evaluation studies on IS outsourcing relationships are scarce. From a description of two IS outsourcing relationship cases, a set of lessons learned are presented. A boundary spann ing perspective is then used when evaluating these lessons learned in the client‑supplier outsourcing relationships and thereby adding a newŽ theoretical perspective on outsourcing relationships. The evaluation is concluded in a set of propositions that present the boundary spanning perspective of the lessons learned. The aim of these propositions is to act as both a guiding tool for how to further develop boundary spanning roles in outsourcing relationships and to act as a base for future research on ou tsourcing relationships.

 

Keywords: boundary spanning, IS outsourcing, relationships management

 

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Journal Article

IT Outsourcing in the Public Sector Local Government: Experiences of the management and selection of IT service providers.  pp231-243

Michael Cox, Martyn Roberts, John Walton

© Nov 2012 Volume 15 Issue 3, ICIME, Editor: Dan Remenyi, pp230 - 287

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Abstract

Abstract: This paper looks at issues in Information Technology (IT) outsourcing in public sector local government in the UK, to determine how successful they have been and to establish any best practice. This is important because, whilst outsourcing has become a significant issue in the restructuring of organisations and is increasingly used within both the private and public sectors, there has been a lack of research into IT outsourcing in the public sector and particularly within local government. Thi s paper provides an in‑depth study into how outsourcing is managed in local councils and how successful it has been; especially considering its sometimes controversial nature and the mixed press results it receives. This paper focuses in particular on an analysis of the risks of IT outsourcing and the management of the outsourcing contract. The research shows that a thorough risk assessment must be completed before an outsourcing contract is agreed. Local government tends to adopt a very cautious approach to outsourcing based on risk minimisation. Hidden costs are one of the greatest risks when outsourcing. Hidden costs occur in selection, managing the contract, and making changes to the contract, all of which can offset any cost savings identified at the start of the outsourcing contract. The research shows that local councils recognise the importance of the contract and that it has the largest single impact on the success or failure of the outsourcing agreement. Having a well written contract is necessa ry to minimise the risks posed by outsourcing. However, the local government bodies recognised that it is impossible to cover every detail in the contract, particularly where needs are fluctuating, and that an element of trust is required to manage the co ntract successfully. The research suggests that contracts need to be strict enough to motivate the provider but should be realistic and achievable so that they do not inhibit the development of a working relationship. The paper also addresses issues in th e selection of outsourcing providers and more recent developments since the new UK governments austerity programme The study concludes that, whilst councils recognise that both the contract and trust are important to ensure that outsourcing is successful , the culture of risk aversion in the public sector tends to lead to a play it safe mentality resulting in an overemphasis on the contract. This can lead to a short‑term focus that could make it difficult for the council and the provider to work togethe r to meet long‑term goals. The councils were generally skeptical of developing partnerships; however, the research reveals that councils who focused predominantly on the contract were less successful than those who developed partnerships with their provid ers. The authors therefore recommend that, in order to achieve greater success, councils should develop partnerships and focus on best value and long‑term strategic goals when outsourcing IT.

 

Keywords: Keywords: Information Technology, IT, Information Systems, IS, outsourcing, public sector, local government

 

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Journal Article

Evaluating Service Quality Dimensions within e‑Commerce SMEs  pp155-170

Graham D. April, Shaun Pather

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

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Abstract

With the continued growing investment in WWW technologies by e‑Commerce businesses the measurement of Information Systems (IS) effectiveness in this business sector has become increasingly important over the last decade. As business users, especially in the SME sector, have become reliant on outsourced IS service providers for a wide range of services, the quality of service rendered by the latter is an important issue which impacts on IS effectiveness. Researchers have since the 1990s recognised the importance of service quality as a measure of IS performance. The literature suggests that IS service delivery to e‑Commerce businesses needs to be evaluated differently to that of traditional brick‑and‑mortar businesses. There is however a paucity of research regarding IS evaluation in e‑Commerce environments, including that of the application of service quality principles. It is thus difficult for managers of IS service providers in this context to develop a complete picture of the effectiveness of the IS they deliver. This paper reports on a study which investigated whether IS service quality criteria and dimensions applied in large brick‑ and‑mortar organisations, are also applicable to SME e‑Commerce businesses in the tourism sector in South Africa. In pursuit of this objective an IS‑adapted SERVQUAL instrument was tested in an e‑Commerce SME environment. The research results indicate that, although SERVQUAL principles are applicable to the e‑Commerce SME context, the service quality dimensionality is different. The research derived four new dimensions for service quality expectations of e‑ Commerce SMEs viz., Credibility, Expertise, Availability and Supportiveness. A fifth dimension is the Tangibles dimension, which is retained from SERVQUAL. Furthermore the results indicate that the Credibility dimension was the most important dimension in this research context, while the Tangibles dimension was the least important.

 

Keywords: information systems, evaluation, e-commerce, WWW, service-quality, SME, SERVQUAL, IS outsourcing

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 11 Issue 3 / Nov 2008  pp109‑212

Editor: Dan Remenyi

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Keywords: B2C e-commerce, boundary objects, business-to-business integration, Caribbean, data functionality , data ownership, DeLone and McLean, developing countries, e-commerce success, economic profit, electronic surveys, evaluation methodology, Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC), information and communication technologies (ICT), inter-organizational data integration problems, IS evaluation, IS management, IS outsourcing , IS Project Management, IS success, Middle East, multi-method, Oman, product management, project management, Project Objectives Measurement Model (POMM), service levels, SERVQUAL, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SME, success criteria, systems science, systems thinking, traceability, WWW, service-quality

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 12 Issue 1, ECIME 2008 / Jan 2009  pp1‑118

Editor: Dan Remenyi

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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

 

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