Conclusions, Discussion, Recommendations

Conclusions, Discussion, Recommendations

Robert van Wessel (Tilburg University, Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-759-6.ch010
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Abstract

In this chapter a final discussion will be presented following four case studies that have been carried out with respect to company IT standards using an initial and an enhanced conceptual model. The initial model focussed on the control of using IT standards whereas the enhanced version incorporated selection and implementation, besides their usage. Furthermore, control was modified into management and governance with the objective of focussing on opportunities to influence process performance to realize intended business benefits. In the next sections the business benefits identified in the case studies will be discussed, as well as whether these hold in a more general sense also. The structure of this chapter is as follows. First a summary and the conclusions of this research will be provided. Than, the contributions to theory and practice will be discussed including the generalizability of the findings and the limitations of this research. This chapter is concluded with recommendations for further research.
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How can organizations realize intended business benefits from company IT standardization?

With the following detailed questions:

  • 1.

    What is a company IT standardization process and which distinguishable components does it encompass?

  • 2.

    How can business effects of IT standards be measured?

  • 3.

    How do company IT standards affect business performance?

  • 4.

    What are the components of a company IT standardization management framework?1

  • 5.

    How do governance and management of company IT standardization contribute to the realization of intended business benefits?

In this chapter a final discussion will be presented following four case studies that have been carried out with respect to company IT standards using an initial and an enhanced conceptual model. The initial model focussed on the control of using IT standards whereas the enhanced version incorporated selection and implementation, besides their usage. Furthermore, control was modified into management and governance with the objective of focussing on opportunities to influence process performance to realize intended business benefits.

In the next sections the business benefits identified in the case studies will be discussed, as well as whether these hold in a more general sense also. The structure of this chapter is as follows. First a summary and the conclusions of this research will be provided. Than, the contributions to theory and practice will be discussed including the generalizability of the findings and the limitations of this research. This chapter is concluded with recommendations for further research.

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Looking Back

This research has focused on company IT standards that facilitate business processes in large companies. The core of this research has been to investigate how an organization can realize intended business benefits from company IT standardization. The focus has, therefore been on 1) investigating the components of the company IT standardization process, 2) providing insight into the effects of company IT product and process standards on process performance, and 3) providing insight into the factors affecting performance of these processes when utilizing such standards.

From the literature review and a pilot case study an initial conceptual model has been derived, which includes the constructs2'Process of Standard Selection', 'Application of Standard', 'Control (on usage) of Standard' and 'Process Performance'. Subsequently this model was tested using three in-depth case studies related to Client Server, Software Development and company ERP/HR standards. Lessons learned from these three case studies showed that a more detailed model would add value to the descriptive and explanatory nature of this research topic. To that end, the construct 'Application of Standard' was split into 'Implementation of Standard' and 'Use of Standard'. In addition, 'Control of Standard' was differentiated into the two constructs 'Governance and Management (of Selection, Implementation and Use) of Standard'. Subsequently a fourth in-depth case study was carried out to test the extended model. Key characteristics of these case studies are itemized in Table 1.

Table 1.
Key characteristics of the four case studies
Case StudyType of StandardRange
Client ServerProductBusiness Unit
Software DevelopmentProcessBusiness Unit
HRMProduct, Data and Process (ERP)Enterprise
Information Security ManagementProcessBusiness Unit

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