Volume 11 Issue 3 / Nov 2008 pp109‑212
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
Since the advent of the Internet, B2C e‑Commerce has grown substantially across the globe. Whilst much research has examined factors influencing adoption of e‑commerce, not as many studies have investigated the post‑ adoption phenomenon of success. Those studies that have investigated IS success and the extensions required to accommodate e‑commerce have mainly been conceptual. Few have attempted to test and validate the models empirically. The purpose of this study was to fill this gap. By drawing from the technology acceptance model, expectation‑confirmation theory and IS success theory, a revised conceptual model was derived. The model and relationships were tested and validated using data gathered from 166 online consumers in South Africa. 7 interrelated dimensions of B2C e‑commerce success were confirmed, namely service quality, system quality, information quality, trust, perceived usefulness, user satisfaction and continuance intentions. Direct relationships between dimensions were identified. These showed that user intentions to continue using an online retail site are directly influenced by perceived usefulness, user satisfaction and system quality. User satisfaction is directly influenced by service quality and perceived usefulness, whilst perceived usefulness is directly influenced by trust and information quality. Trust in the online retailer is directly influenced by service quality and system quality. The implications of these and other findings are discussed.
Partnering companies can share data via various configurations. Typically problems become evident as partnering companies seek to exchange data. These problems take a different form for different data integration configurations and are thus of great relevance when evaluating different configurations. This paper identifies issues to be taken into account when evaluating inter‑organizational data integration configurations. Eight problems are discussed: difficulties to identify which information flows to automate; to relate different viewpoints on boundary objects; to agree on data formats; to distribute investments among the parties; to deliver appropriate service levels; to preserve the value of the data sharing; to clarify data ownership and to do all of this in the frame of changing relationships. For several problems it is illustrated how they surface in a completely centralized and in a completely decentralized inter‑ organizational data‑integration scenario.
Keywords: business-to-business integration, inter-organizational data integration problems, boundary objects, service levels, data ownership, data functionality
This work introduces an evaluation model for examining organisations that in one form or another depend on modern information technology for their core activities. The evaluation model, named SUV, is based on a systems science approach and has been developed at the eHealth Institute (eHälsoinstitutet) at the University of Kalmar. The central mechanism of the model, the SUV diagram, partitions the scope of evaluation into seven categories and three levels. The seven categories have been selected on a systems science basis with inspiration from systems thinking. The rationale for making this the starting point for the evaluation model is that it may be justifiably stated that the framework provided by systems thinking truly encompasses the breadth of human activity. Making use of this general framework, the SUV diagram provides a general roadmap to guide the evaluation effort. The three levels (organisation, technological and individual) were selected to add detail to the analysis complement the categories and enrich the analysis of each category as well as to the dynamic interplay among them. The SUV methodology is based on a continuous evaluation process whose driving‑force is the wish of the interested parties to develop their own activities. It is a methodology within whose framework any and all methods for data gathering deemed appropriate for the evaluation at hand can be used. The use of multiple methods is explicitly encouraged for the purpose of gaining a multi‑perspective view of the organisationactivity under scrutiny. Based on the accumulated findings from pilot studies, the model was operationalised in the form of an IT application for electronic surveys. The application is expected to contribute in making the evaluation process more efficient and add structure to this process.
Keywords: systems science, systems thinking, evaluation methodology, multi-method, electronic surveys
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
Use and Impact of ICT on SMEs in Oman pp171‑184
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
The Project Objectives Measurement Model (POMM): an Alternative View to Information Systems Project Measurement pp185‑200
The information systems (IS) project management profession has been faced with numerous socio‑technical challenges. As part of its analysis, research has expressed discontent with the traditional measures used to assess the success or failure of these projects, i.e. conformance to time, schedule and specification requirements espoused by the project management (PM) standard bodies. Despite this, research has also revealed that industry continues to place high reliance on this approach in determining the outcome of their projects. These developments imply, in part, a misalignment between research and practice and a scarcity of appropriate measurement tools that are aligned to the realities of different project contexts. The research presents a Project Objectives Measurement Model (POMM) that attempts to address some of these concerns through the development of project measures that are aligned to key project stakeholders' values and objectives within the unique project contexts. It is argued that objectives are the key performance criteria of the project hence measures must be aligned to these criteria and formal procedures should be in place to assure that these objectives and measures are carefully developed and reflective of the persons to which the project matters, the stakeholders. The POMM is grounded on several principles of the Value Focused Thinking (VFT) and Goal Question Metric (GQM) techniques. The evaluation of the proposed model was performed in two parts: a team of industry experts examined the principles of model and provided feedback on its practicability to practice, and a case study of a Caribbean educational institution's IS graduate programme development was used to illustrate the procedures of the model. The research provides theoretical and practical implications for IS evaluation particularly within the project management and performance measurement domains. The research aims to extend the debate on suitable evaluation methods for IS projects while providing project practitioners with an alternative approach that can enhance their decision making processes during the life of the project.
Keywords: IS project, project objectives measurement model, POMM, success criteria, IS project management, Caribbean
The real values and benefits of Information Technologies are difficult to quantify and frequently even to identify accurately. Existing financial models such as Net Present Value have proven insufficient for complex products, for long‑ term corporate goals. IS projects and software‑rich products are decided upon while ignoring critical financial aspects, as the distance between the corporate product vision and the reality that engineers see may be very large. This paper maps between economics vis‑à‑vis IS‑based product management via an inter‑disciplinary approach, looking at the needs and exigencies of corporate management, IS project, products and software engineering. The basis for the article is a discussion of the difficulties in evaluation of the economic desirability of complex, software‑ rich products. It presents a dynamic corporate‑level model for economic profit evaluation designed to deal with the unique characteristics of such products, over many variants and versions, and the entire lifecycle. Given the extreme uncertainty of costs, benefits, risks and timeframes projections, the model facilitates real time reporting via an information system designed for management of Products, Portfolios and Projects. Whereas existing project management techniques such as Earned Value Management provide a general basis for managing project level activity, our model provides a longer‑term view to assess economic affects of corporate strategies over time. This is provided by a dynamic, Management Information System based aggregation of all product information, over an entire product lifecycle, with the objective to provide a knowledge base for corporate dynamic decision‑making. Concomitantly, the model fulfils Sarbanes‑Oxley Act of 2002 requirements for management assertion traceability of valid and accurate measures. These aspects co‑joined, from Sarbanes‑Oxley, back through multiple products, over myriad versions, and through automated requirements, design and testing tools, all combine to form an auditable management feedback loop that can be leveraged at multiple corporate management levels. The paper represents a significant step towards quality product decision‑making via a model that is meaningful, while also useful as it is leveraged through an automated tool set.
Keywords: economic profit, information systems, IS management, IS evaluation, product management, project management, traceability