E-Government and EIS Change Management and Critical Success Factors: An Omani Success Story

E-Government and EIS Change Management and Critical Success Factors: An Omani Success Story

Wafi Al-Karaghouli (Brunel University, UK), Ahmed Al Azri (Ministry of Higher Education, Oman) and Zahran Al Salti (Sultan Qaboos University, Oman)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2220-3.ch011
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Transformational e-government projects and large-scale Enterprise Information System (EIS) implementation projects have one thing in common: they both overrun their time and budget due to unclear vision and unrealistic expectations. The aim of this chapter is to report on a success story of implementing e-government in the Higher Education Admission Centre (HEAC) that is beneficial in providing an insight to both categories of projects. The case is unlike many other case studies that look at project failures; it is concerned with exploring and discussing the key critical factors that facilitate the success of the projects of both categories (Brady & Maylor, 2010). The research is a qualitative approach, and the investigation uses a single case study, with data collected by means of semi-structured interviews and organisational documents from the Ministry of Higher Education in Oman. The research findings suggest that there are three paradigms with a set of factors that impact the success of projects, namely organisational paradigm, technology paradigm, and end-user paradigm.
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This chapter discusses the effect of change and the use of e-government in the Omani Higher Education Admission Centre (HEAC), and through a large and complex transformational process. In addition, the chapter will look at the Critical Success Factors (CSFs) that can be effectively adopted to manage such change and transformation.

During the last 15 years, the public sector worldwide has embarked on a wide range of reforms and has witnessed a steady growth in the adoption of new ICT solutions and the number of Web-enabled Enterprise Information Systems and e-government transformational projects (Rinderle-Ma & Reichert, 2009; Pham & Teich, 2011). Public Sector Organisations (PSOs) are increasingly seeking new tools to improve their performance and to provide better services to their citizens (Quartel, et al., 2012). For example, Sharifi and Manian (2010) contended that many governments around the world are greatly supporting the electronic delivery of public services to the citizens and the enterprises, enabling them to make most of their transactions within the government via electronic channels, i.e. e-government. In its basic definition, e-government is “the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICTs), and particularly the Internet, as a tool to achieve better government” (OECD, 2003). Rose and Grant (2010) explained that more and more PSOs are implementing e-government initiatives in order to transform the way citizens and governments interact with each other. With e-government, PSOs have opportunities to do their jobs better, cheaper, and proved 24/7 hours access to citizens (Al-Fakhri, et al., 2008). Furthermore, citizens have the potential to interact electronically with government agencies anytime and anywhere (Terpsiadou & Economides, 2009). However, there are continuing cases of failure to realize expected benefits of such initiatives, resulting in significant losses (Ke & Wei, 2004; Heeks, 2004). According to Heeks (2004) who conducted studies on e-government projects in developing countries up to 35% of such projects have resulted in total failures, 50% have partially failed, and only 15% are considered successful. The picture is as gloomy considering the implementation of Enterprise Information Systems (EIS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system with Standish group (2012) reporting up to 70% failures. Nevertheless, there are few EIS, ERP and e-government projects that have been deemed successful (Strang & Macy, 2001; Brady & Maylor, 2010; Nour & Mouakket, 2011). It is worth mentioning that implementing change and transformation from a large and a complex physical government (brick-and-mortar) to e-government is not an easy task, and similarly a major ERP implementation across different government departments to support the enterprise functions and automate cross-functional processes could yield a major change to the processes and practices (Pham & Teich, 2011). The process of change (transformation) in both cases may include not only a new structure of Information Systems (IS) but changes in job tasks, management style, organisations, culture, etc.

Change is not a new challenge facing management. Heraclitus (540 – 475 BC) stated that, “There is nothing permanent except change” (cited in Bechtel & Squires, 2001, p. 249). Therefore, change is constantly happening and never stops. Niccolo Machiavelli in the 16th century noted that “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things” (cited in Kotter & Schlesinger, 1979). Throughout the centuries, thinkers, researchers and philosophers were completely correct in holding that change, though omnipresent, uncertain, and indeed difficult, is nonetheless achievable.

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