IT Application Maturity in China: How Do You Manage It?

IT Application Maturity in China: How Do You Manage It?

Jianping Peng (School of Business, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China & School of Management, Xinhua College of Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China), Peiwen Guo (School of Management, Xinhua College of Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China), Meiwen Guo (School of Management, Xinhua College of Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China) and Guoying Zhang (Dillard College of Business Administration, Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/JGIM.2020070106

Abstract

In order to investigate the relationship between IT application maturity and management capabilities, the authors conducted a survey study to collect related company information for analysis. Data processing was conducted to obtain valid and reliable variables representing IT application maturity, management institutional capability, and process management capability. Then, they adopted a partial differential equation approach to capture the time dynamics of these variables. The equations were solved analytically, and further empirically estimated through our processed survey data. The validated model demonstrates that both management capabilities have direct enhancement effects on IT application maturity. In addition, process management capability has a greater influence on IT application maturity in comparison with management institutional capability. Furthermore, it is found that there exist local maximums for both enhancement effects, provided that the two management capabilities are well balanced. The findings not only offer practical implications, but also supplement the literature of factors for IS success in light of the dynamic relationship between IT application maturity and management capabilities.
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1. Introduction

Information Technology (IT) has been the leading field for innovations. In the past decades, innovations in technology have brought changes to various cultural and societal activities. More specifically, information technology also changes the business world. From an organization’s perspective, the extensive use of IT applications can integrate disparate business processes, facilitate information flow, encourage employees’ contextual performance, raise customers’ satisfaction level, and generate new opportunities in a global business environment. Prior research in the information systems (IS) field propose models of examining technology’s business value through utilization of IT applications (Melville et al., 2004). At the same time, it is also conceivable that effective utilization of IT applications has to be subject to an organization’s resources and management capabilities (Sabherwal et al., 2006). Therefore, determining how to effectively utilize IT applications becomes an important task for both researchers and practitioners. In this study, we use the concept of IT application maturity to capture organizations’ effective utilization of IT applications.

IT application maturity is a newly emerging concept for evaluating the effectiveness and sustainability of IT application adoption and utilization. IT application maturity stems from the concept of the software capability maturity model (CMM) (Humphrey, 1988). In fact, IT applications are often viewed as the utilization of hardware, software, data and networking technology. Consequently, IT application maturity is defined as the maturity level of this utilization (Peng et al., 2011). It is important to note that IT application maturity is not a static concept. Instead, it is an evolving status of how IT applications are utilized in organizations. Presumably, when new IT applications are deployed in an organization, the maturity level should be low and preliminary. Gradually, as more frequent and effective utilization of IT applications emerge, the maturity level will increase, provided an alignment process exists between IT applications and business strategy or process.

The IT application maturity level can be defined by a discrete number of levels. For example, the ITIL maturity model has defined five levels of maturity: Initial, Repeatable, Defined, Managed, and Optimized (Pereria and da Silva, 2011). Other popular IT related maturity models include: Capability Maturity Model Integration (Chrissis et al. 2011), Maturity Model for COBIT processes (IT Governance Institute, 2007), IT Balanced Scorecard Maturity Model (Van Grembergen and Saull, 2001), and IS/ICT Management Capability Maturity Framework (Renken, 2004). Achi et al. (2016) provide a review of sixteen innovation (IT related) maturity models and conduct a comparative analysis of these models. Poeppelbuss and Roegliner (2011) is also a comprehensive study to propose the framework of designing maturity models. Regardless of the variety of these maturity models, mature utilization of IT application enables organizations to ease information flow internally and externally, to reduce production costs, to streamline operation processes and, ultimately, to improve business performance (Xiao and Xie, 2007; Peng et al., 2011).

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