Integrating IT Infrastructures in the Public Domain: A Proposition of Influential Factors for Enterprise Application Integration Adoption

Integrating IT Infrastructures in the Public Domain: A Proposition of Influential Factors for Enterprise Application Integration Adoption

Muhammad M. Kamal
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-839-2.ch019
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Keywords: Local Government Authorities, Enterprise Application Integration, Critical Success Factors, Information Technology, Information Systems.
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During the last decades, several LGAs have widely focused on the use of information systems to overcome their organisational problems and automate their business processes and functions (Kamal et al., 2009; Grimsley and Meehan, 2007; Irani et al., 2006). LGAs focused on IS to provide direct support to meet citizens’ needs including housing, social services, and the management of a complex service infrastructure that supports communities and businesses (Johnson and King, 2005). However, IS developments within LGAs have resulted in non-integrated IT infrastructures (Lam, 2005; Beaumaster, 2002). The reason is that each LGA autonomously made its own IT operation decisions based on its needs (Janssen and Cresswell, 2005; Di Natale et al., 2003; Aldrich et al., 2002). Additionally, there was rarely a single approach for developing IS, as organisations have developed their applications without a common architectural planning (Markus and Tanis, 1999). Moreover, each LGA displays differences in the way: (a) their business processes are implemented to provide citizen services, and (b) makes its decisions that differs a lot from other private organisations (Johnson and King, 2005; Ward and Mitchell, 2004). Such theorised evidences illustrate that LGAs operate and function independently and do not share information and functionality with other LGAs (Gortmaker and Janssen 2004; Ralphs and Wyatt, 1998).

Such aforesaid concerns have resulted in several problems that have influenced the decision-making process in LGAs. For example, Beynon-Davies and Williams (2003) report that within LGAs there is not enough emphasis on the re-engineering of legacy business processes and applications. The reason is that legacy business processes and applications have been developed over several years to serve their core processing needs and government officials are reluctant to change their operational procedures (Lam, 2005). Furthermore, McIvor et al., (2002) report that the inherent design of many legacy applications was as standalone, typically mainframe-based applications, rather than as network-integrated applications. The reluctance in government officials to bring change in their operational practices and availability of non-integrated legacy applications has resulted in poor citizen service provisioning and making decision-making process more complex (Lam, 2005; McIvor et al., 2002). Thus, the integration of legacy business processes and applications is required to support coordination within LGAs, enhance the decision-making process and provide better services to citizens (Janssen and Cresswell, 2005; McIvor et al., 2002).

While adopting new IT solutions, a major concern for LGAs’ management is the investment decision associated with the change in organisation and their IT infrastructure (Signore et al., 2005; Beaumaster, 2002). The reason is that LGAs lack sufficient amount of money for their IT infrastructure (Ward and Mitchell, 2004). Wagnar and Antonucci (2004) support that LGAs’ budgets are often reduced and sometimes allocated with appropriations. Lam (2005) and McIvor et al., (2002) also report that government organisations face difficulties in obtaining the level of financial support requested, especially if grant is drawn from a funding pool that is meant to serve multiple initiatives. Therefore, LGAs are seeking for integration solutions that are cost effective and as a result provide better services to their citizens. Virili and Sorrentino (2009) have illustrated that cost-effective and small/pilot IT integration projects based on responsive information system enhancement practices can considerably influence the legacy systems, enhancing the overall degree of IT effectiveness, with positive effects on policy outcomes and policy impacts.

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