Planning and Managing ICT Change

Planning and Managing ICT Change

S.C. Lenny Koh (University of Sheffield, UK) and Stuart Maguire (University of Sheffield, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-424-8.ch005
OnDemand PDF Download:
$37.50

Abstract

Information Systems (IS) has borrowed many techniques from other disciplines. However, many of these have been borrowed from areas where the outcome from projects is more certain. Virtually all projects are liable to have changing requirements. In IS there are so many variables that need to be considered before, during, and after a project has been completed. It is one thing to identify what those variables are and another to react to the changing circumstances.
Chapter Preview

Change management is the top concern for I.T. directors for a second year running. A survey of more than 200 I.T. leaders at this year’s I.T. Directors Forum revealed that 47% believe managing change is the most important issue they face, up from 42.1% in 2006 (www.computerweekly.com/225114 - 2007)

A mission-critical I.T. project to replace hard copy intelligence on threats to United Kingdom (UK) security with a secure network that links government offices in the UK and overseas is due for completion in 2009 – five years later than originally planned (Tony Collins, Computer Weekly – www.computerweekly.com/225663).

Top

Introduction

Information Systems (IS) has borrowed many techniques from other disciplines. However, many of these have been borrowed from areas where the outcome from projects is more certain. Virtually all projects are liable to have changing requirements. In IS there are so many variables that need to be considered before, during, and after a project has been completed. It is one thing to identify what those variables are and another to react to the changing circumstances.

The question IS must address is whether it is inevitable that projects of a certain size and length will fail to deliver expected benefits. IS is trying to hit a moving target. The ‘contract’ for a new information system is agreed at a comparatively early stage. All parties agree on requirements and the project team retreats to build the system. This can be a lengthy process. For a change in the process to take place participants must agree that the change is worthwhile. The system developers would be much happier with a fixed set of requirements.

The methodologies that support this process tend to provide more emphasis on control at the expense of planning. They would be more appropriate in static business environments. Even in this situation there will be project failures. The initial premise for an IS project should be that there will be change. The methodologies should then provide enough flexibility to allow for the forthcoming changes. Ideally a vision of the implemented system should be formulated at an early stage.

One certainty of the IS development process appears to be that change will take place when the system is installed. From changing one line of code to implementing an inter-organizational information system change will occur. It is only the scale of change that will be different. This chapter will debate the issues surrounding the current way we develop information systems and attempt to identify the areas that could be changed to make the process more effective in the future.

Figure 1.

A hands-on approach to understanding the management of ICT change will be used within this chapter. It is hoped that it will pay dividends for any organization contemplating any kind of technological change.

Top

Questionnaires And Workshops

It is unlikely that all staff have the same level of competence when involved in the development of a system. People have different perceptions about the development of particular IS and these perceptions can change over the lifetime of a project. The resistance to change of staff can have a significant effect on the success or failure of an IS. There are stages of a system development where the co-operation and commitment of users is crucial - most notably during analysis, design, testing and implementation.A recent consultative document from one large organization stated that:

Any attempt to install sophisticated IS before the service has the skills to implement and operate them and to exploit their potential would only impede the very changes that they were aimed at assisting.

A methodology is required that will ensure participation, mutual agreement, and shared objectives throughout the whole organization. Many organizations have undertaken change without understanding the intricacies of the change process. It can be argued that the successful introduction of IS into organizations is largely about effective ICT change management. The successful adoption, or otherwise of ICT is a complex process and dependent on many different factors (Jensen & Aanestad, 2007).

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset