This issue represents papers presented at the 3rd European Conference on Information Management and Evaluation. The conference was held in September 2009 at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
Keywords: accounting firms, adoption, adoption barriers, business case, case study, cluster analysis (CA), collaborative technology (CT) business education, competitive advantage, complexity, computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL), developing countries, developing countries, diffusion of innovation, e-Business adoption, e-government, e-Government portal, enterprise, ERP, European Union (EU) members, EUS, evaluation, executive information system, health informatics, HealthCare information systems, ICT, information and communication technology (ICT), information technology, integration, IT management practices, Jordan., mixed research, performance strategic value, post-implementation evaluation, RFID, satisfaction, small business, supply chain management, sustainability, TAM, technology-organizational-environment (TOE) framework, video conferencing, video-ethnography
Evaluation of Awareness and Acceptability of Using e‑Government Services in Developing Countries: the Case of Jordan pp1‑8
Similar to other developing countries, Jordan started a national e‑Government initiative aiming to streamline government procedures and make information and government services available to business and citizens online. This paper presents the results of a pilot study that aims to assess factors which could influence the awareness and use of e‑Government services in Jordan. It investigates issues such as: accessibility of e‑government, citizen's attitude toward various privacy and security, the required services and costs. The data was collected using quantitative and qualitative methods including a survey and interviews with e‑Government officials. The results of this preliminary study suggest that awareness of e‑government did not reach the required level. These findings are hoped to be useful for researchers, practitioners and policy makers.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) project managers require accurate and reliable evaluation to allocate and control project resources. In addition, many private hospitals indicate that a number of their projects have failed; and between one and two thirds of ICT projects exceed their budget and time. Further, about half of the expensive ICT projects at the end will be considered out of control and cancelled. Justifying ICT investments is a long standing problem, and managers for the past decades have expressed concerns about the value they are getting from their investments, and they have been searching for ways to evaluate and justify these projects. Hence, evaluation of ICT is therefore becoming an important issue for both managers and practitioners. This paper aims to investigate the current practice of both types of evaluation: Prior Operational Use evaluation ‑POUe‑ and Operational Use evaluation ‑OUe‑ in Jordanian private hospitals to better understand what is required for the evaluation process and its associated benefits; secondly, to collect information about how hospitals carry out the evaluation process. In doing so, we attempts to answer specific questions, such as: How prevalent is POUe and OUe? What criteria are being used in both types of evaluation? What are their main benefits and uses of each type of evaluation? Results suggest that most decision makers do not place much importance on OUe of their IT/IS. Most managers tend to think of it only as a formality rather than a proper evaluation process. Without adopting a formal OUe the cost of future health informatics would seem likely to be less accurately estimated.
Keywords: healthcare information systems, health informatics, evaluation, developing countries, Jordan
Towards a Model for Determining the Scope of ICT Integration in the Enterprise: the Case of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems pp17‑26
The question of integration of information systems (IS) into the planning and execution of operational activities has been the focus for researchers from different constituencies. Organisational theorists recognise the need for integrating mechanisms for co‑ordinating the actions of sub‑units within an organisation. Centralisation has been seen as a defensive reaction by organisations when placed under increasing external control , and also as a way to improve the efficiency of information processing, at least for routine tasks. In the meantime, researchers have been sceptical about the ability for structured information systems to deal with the complexity of the information flows within the organisation. Frameworks have also been identifying characteristics of the tasks themselves that have a bearing on the amount of information processing required. The real world is complex and moving, thus managers require flexibility in their interpretation of the mixed signals arising from this complexity. However, managers are working in environments where highly integrated information systems blur the distinction between what is real and what is virtual. There is a need for an integration approach allowing organisations to question which areas of activity are worth integrating, and conversely which areas are better left under local control. Where integrated, managers require processes for the maintenance of data integrity (people, tools, procedures). Based on field work involving two multi‑national manufacturing companies, this paper proposes a framework for ERP integration, which describes the evolution of functionality gaps as an ongoing and inevitable process that requires management.
There is evidence in the IT literature indicating that IT management is one factor that influences IT success. In addition, there is much literature indicating that IT management is important in the SME context. However, much of this literature has focused on the important role of the owner and/or other senior managers. For example, Thong et al (1996) focused on top management support and its influence on IT success. This paper argues that top management support is only one aspect of IT management and other aspects of IT management have received little attention in studies of SMEs. The study commenced with a review of the literature which identified many different definitions of IT management. However, the broader management literature indicated that the classical functions of planning, organising, controlling and leading provide an excellent way of conceptualising the many activities involved in managing (Carroll and Gillen, 1987). The management literature also provided working definitions for the four management functions. A multiple‑case study approach was then used to collect evidence from four SMEs (with between four and 50 employees). The data identified IT management practices associated with each of the four IT functions, ie, IT planning, IT organising, IT controlling and IT leading. For example, one firm had an IT committee made up of staff from different levels of the firm. Some on the committee would be assigned specific IT responsibilities, eg, training of other staff. This practice provided an example of IT organising, ie, of defining tasks and assigning personnel. Similarly, many other IT management practices were both identified and classified. The results provide a significant foundation for researchers of IT management in SMEs. For example, the conceptualisation indicates four IT management functions. Also, the definitions clarify important aspects of IT management. The study also indicated that some aspects of IT management have received little attention in prior studies. For example, while IT planning has received considerable attention, IT leading in SMEs has only been examined in the narrower context of top management support. Furthermore, few studies have examined the role and importance of IT organising and IT controlling in the SME context. Thus the study also indicates directions for future research, including the identification of IT management best practices.
e‑Government has the potential to improve public administration efficiency by increasing convenience, performance and accessibility of government information and service to users. But knowledge about e‑Government remains limited. To realize its potential, e‑Government needs to be grounded on in‑depth understanding of target users needs, perceptions and other factors influencing its uptake. This cross‑sectional study identifies and examines factors influencing e‑Government portal satisfaction and adoption by individual citizens in Macao, three years after its inauguration. It is an adaptation to the e‑Government context of a model developed for assessing e‑commerce websites. To understand the determinants of e‑government portal adoption, an integrated model of user satisfaction and technology acceptance is empirically tested. The integrated model involves four success factors: information quality, system quality, perceived effectiveness and social influence, which impact user satisfaction with the e‑Government website, influencing intention to reuse. Overall, the study proposes that user perceptions about the e‑Government portal influence user attitude towards the portal. An Internet survey collected data from 464 online users of Macao’s e‑government portal. The model was found to explain a large proportion of the variance in citizen’s intention to reuse the portal. The portal partially mediates the relationship between success factors and intention‑to‑reuse. The results provide evidence that Information Quality, System Quality and Social Influence (but not Perceived Effectiveness) are success factors influencing user satisfaction and adoption. It is recommended that portal management needs to ensure ease‑of‑use, currency and accuracy of the supplied information. Timely information updating is a major concern for the e‑Government portal in Macao. The content an e‑government portal that is perceived by users to be easier to navigate is likely to facilitate satisfaction and reuse. Finally, the importance of social influence justifies, managerial actions aimed at improving e‑Government portal acceptance by individual users and government employees.
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
Over the past few years, information technology has grown so rapidly that businesses had to adjust very quickly to keep abreast of fast growing technologies and international trends. An increasing number of South African companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) have implemented Executive Information Systems (EISs) that have resulted in the widespread use of computers in companies. Users of EISs need systems that provide them with access to diverse types of information in order to take decisions, to solve problems and to compete with competitors. This article discusses whether South African companies create strategic value through the use of EISs. The strategic value of the business is explained as an advantage to improve businesses’ performances firstly, by gains in profitability and financial strength and secondly, gains in the businesses’ competitive strength and market standing. Executives and top management need to be aware of the opportunities available to them by using information technology as a business tool to analyse their businesses’ performance and competitiveness. This study is an exploratory study and the research method is quantitative of nature. A structured questionnaire was designed and was sent to 334 listed JSE companies in order to investigate the existence of an EIS, the gathering, selecting and use of information in companies in order to make decisions and to solve problems. Many businesses have chosen EIS technology to provide relevant and accurate information to top management and executives. Currently the EIS provides information that is only available to executives and top management, but the need exists to expand EISs to other users in the business. The research questions investigated in this study are to establish what EISs offer to fulfil the needs of users and to determine the impact on creating strategic value within the business in order to keep pace with on‑going changes in technology. In addressing these problems the existence of EISs was investigated to debate, express, and understand the role and use of an EIS and resulted in creating strategic value for businesses. The value of the study explains the vital importance of executives influence towards the adoption, commitment and use of EISs at strategic management levels, creating and adding strategic value in companies. The findings of the study add to the current understanding and awareness of EISs in listed JSE companies and therefore create an environment in which the business can enhance sustainability and strategic competitiveness. Responses were favourable since respondents requested a report on the outcome of the results as they expressed an interest in the underlying motivation of the study and how their company compares with their competitors in the industry. Conclusions drawn from the results are that EISs need to incorporate all the unmet needs of users in order for EISs to add strategic value and to be used as effective business tools in companies.
Keywords: competitive advantage, executive information system, information technology, performance, strategic value, sustainability
Post‑Implementation Evaluation of Collaborative Technology: a Case Study in Business Education pp77‑86
To be successful in their future careers students need to develop diverse skills and qualifications. Firstly, in addition to understanding the course content and the underlying theories, students need to explore the implications that emerge from their practical application and develop their critical thinking and analytical skills. Secondly, students need to gain experience and confidence in working effectively within multidisciplinary and multicultural groups that mirror the situation they are likely to face in their future work environment. Thirdly, they need to familiarise themselves with collaborative technologies (CTs) since these are increasingly used in the workplace to facilitate communication and collaboration between distant co‑workers. To address these learning needs it is essential to incorporate CTs (such as videoconferencing systems) in the curriculum and provide well‑organized opportunities for students to gain hands‑on experience. Nevertheless, what technologies are used does not make the difference between motivated and unmotivated students; it is how these technologies are used that matters. Whilst innovative technologies can be fascinating, they must be properly evaluated and adjusted to specific educational, individual, and group needs in order to be successfully adopted by students. This evaluation entails taking into consideration the context within which the technology will be used (appropriateness evaluation) and the social‑psychological motives for user acceptance (evaluation of user satisfaction). This paper reports the findings from an interpretive case study in postgraduate business education where students were using a state‑of‑the‑art videoconferencing system as part of their workshops and group discussion sessions. This setting provided a suitable social milieu for post‑implementation evaluation of this collaborative technology. Qualitative methods were employed including participant observation, focus groups, and analysis of videoconferencing sessions captured on video. The findings indicate that computer‑supported collaborative learning (CSCL) helps students become confident with using CTs, learn best practices for communicating and collaborating effectively in technology‑mediated settings, and appreciate the impact that technology has on everyday social endeavours. The videoconferencing exercises also engaged students to actively participate in the learning process. Given the duality of technology presence (in educational and business contexts alike) the findings can inform the design of new pedagogical models that maximize the learning potential of CTs.
Keywords: computer-supported collaborative learning, CSCL, videoconferencing, collaborative technology, CT, business education, post-implementation evaluation, video-ethnography, case study
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Adoption in the South African Retail Sector: an Investigation of Perceptions Held by Members of the Retail Sector Regarding the Adoption Constraints pp87‑96
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is a method of identifying unique items using radio waves that communicate between RFID tags and readers without line‑of‑sight readability. Application areas include person identification, logistics, pharmaceutical, access control, security guard monitoring and asset management. One of the areas where RFID promises excellent potential is in the retail industry for the tracking of goods and products throughout the supply chain. There are concerns around numerous RFID adoption barriers. Decision makers in the South African retail sector seem to be adopting a wait‑and‑see approach. In an attempt to identify and explore these barriers, a literature review was conducted identifying 29 unique barriers to RFID adoption. A survey instrument, informed by these barriers, was constructed and administered to members of the retail sector in South Africa. The research reveals that the South African retail sector is aware of the benefits in adopting RFID technology, however, they have identified numerous adoption barriers that will need mitigation before they will commit to adopting RFID. The research confirms six main categories with several adoption barriers in each, needing to be addressed. The main categories include, RFID skills shortage, a lack of standardization, high costs of RFID devices, the difficulty of integrating with current legacy systems and a lack of familiarity with RFID systems.