A Hybrid Strategic Development and Prioritization Model for Information and Communication Technology Enhancement

A Hybrid Strategic Development and Prioritization Model for Information and Communication Technology Enhancement

Madjid Tavana (School of Business, La Salle University, Philadelphia, PA, USA) and Narges Yousefpoor (Department of Commercial Management, Allameh Tabatabaei University, Tehran, Iran)
DOI: 10.4018/joris.2012100102
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Abstract

The information and communication technology (ICT) sector has fostered the growth of several developed and developing countries. Recent studies on ICT-related businesses indicate that focusing on national policies is insufficient and underlines the importance of local and/or regional policies in promoting ICT. The authors propose a hybrid strategic development and prioritization framework for ICT enhancement and use the Delphi method and strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis to assist the formulation of the ICT strategies. The analytic hierarchy process (AHP) is applied to weigh the SWOT factors and the technique for order preference by similarity to an ideal solution (TOPSIS) method is used to prioritize the ICT strategies. A comprehensive action plan with internal and external indices is derived from the strategic evaluation and assessment process to monitor the ICT enhancement progress. An application of the proposed framework is presented to demonstrate the simplicity and efficacy of the procedures and algorithms in a three-year study conducted for the State Office of Higher Education in a developing country.
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Introduction

Information and communication technology (ICT) is the combination of informatics technology with other related technologies specifically communication technology. Some researchers have referred to ICT as a term that contains software, hardware, networks and people while others have identified ICT as a process which includes sequences of phases for transforming data into information for decision making (Aldhmour & Shannak, 2009; Hwang, 2003). Nevertheless, most researchers agree that ICT overcomes the limitations of time and space and empowers people to communicate effectively. It transforms people into knowledge workers by enabling them to learn and acquire new skills and exploit new opportunities for self-improvement (Mhlanga, 2006). ICT enables the small, medium and micro enterprises networks to become more integrated and more effective across longer distances, operating with more efficiency and conducting more transactions (Chacko & Harris, 2006). There is substantial literature on the potential positive impacts of ICT on the economic growth of developing countries and most developing countries have set road maps for the integration of ICT in business and education (Seo & Lee, 2006). Several recent studies, including Arora and Athreye (2002) and Baliamoune-Lutz (2003), find that ICT has made a significant impact on the economic growth of developing countries. Addison and Rahman (2005) suggest that economies that successfully implement new ICT are able to overcome barriers that have long held them back in their contribution in global trade.

In response, governmental organizations have pushed ICT as a means to provide broad-scale training and to meet the demand for a skilled workforce. As a result, ICT has arguably become one of the most powerful agents for change in most developed and developing countries. It is evident that being a large producer of ICT is not a necessary condition for being an advanced user of ICT and the mere introduction of ICT in education does not in itself change anything (Sutherland et al., 2008). Koski et al. (2002) argue that the development and prioritization of the ICT enhancement strategies is a complex task for most developing countries and focusing on national policies is insufficient and rather underlines the importance of local and/or regional policies in promoting ICT. In this study, we propose a hybrid strategic development and prioritization framework for ICT enhancement. Delphi method and strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis are used to formulate the ICT strategies and the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) is applied to weigh the SWOT factors. The technique for order preference by similarity to an ideal solution (TOPSIS) method is used to prioritize the ICT strategies and a comprehensive action plan with internal and external indices is derived to monitor the ICT enhancement progress.

The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. The next section presents a review of the relevant literature. We follow our literature review with a detailed description of the proposed framework. We then present an application of the proposed framework to demonstrate the simplicity and efficacy of the procedures and algorithms in a three-year study conducted for the State Office of Higher Education in a developing country. The last section presents our conclusions and future research directions.

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