Information and Communication Technology Projects and the Associated Risks

Information and Communication Technology Projects and the Associated Risks

Tiko Iyamu (Namibia University of Science and Technology, Namibia) and Petronnell Sehlola (Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6126-4.ch006


Organisational reliance on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) continues to increase. This is informed and triggered by the premise that ICT will help them to yield solutions that will fulfil or exceed their expectations, thereby making the organisation realise the required return on investment. In order to realise return on ICT investment, many organisations deploy ICT solutions through projects. However, not all ICT projects realise their goals and objectives, due to associated risks. Unfortunately, risks are never easy to identify or managed. This chapter explores and examines the risks factors in the deployment of ICT projects in organisations. Using the case study method, the research employs actor-network theory in the analysis of the data to understand the factors that manifest themselves into risks during the deployment of ICT projects in organisations. The study reveals that factors, such as knowledge base, performance contract, and communicative structure, are used to enable and support and at the same time to constrain the deployment of ICT projects in organisations.
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Ict Projects And Risk

Information and communication technology (ICT) solutions are often deployed through projects, for organisational processes and activities. According to Morris (2004), projects are a means to yield solutions that include infrastructure, networks, applications, databases or a combination of these. Each deployment is guided by sets of requirements, of both technical and non-technical (business). The requirements are intended to provide opportunities and advantages. However, each requirement does carry potential risk, some visible, and other could be hidden. To manage risk, it must first be identified. According to Taylor (2006), risks are difficult to manage in IT projects if they are not identified when requirements are gathered.

Unfortunately, some project managers seem to focus more on technology artefacts. Kutsch (2008) argued that avoidance, ignorance, delay of risk response actions, and denial of uncertainty by ICT project managers have some influence on the effectiveness of project risk management. However, it is difficult to manage the unknown. Hence identification of risk is foremost, and critical. According to Hillson & Murray-Webster (2004), the attitude of individuals and organisations has a significant influence on whether risk management delivers what it promises. In Ferguson (2004), risk identification and classification are prerequisites for effective risk management.

Identification of risks which are associated with the ICT projects is a major challenge for managers. This can be attributed to the fact that there are numerous ways in which they can be described and categorised. Tesch, Kloppenborg & Frolick (2007) conducted a study to gain better understanding of risk factors, in which they found 92 different factors that could be associated to IT projects in organisations. One of the major ways of identifying and categorising risk is to know the actors and the network that they belong.

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