The realisation of business benefits when implementing mandatory software in an IT department: a case study in a South African financial services organisation
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No organisation has an endless and unlimited supply of money, especially in a recessive economy, and therefore decisions have to be made as to which areas an organisation will invest in. As organisations, such as YZ1 financial services organisation, are focused on seeing returns on investment (ROI), implementing software that is not being used will not render any benefits to the organisation.Research problem: Project Managers (PMs) in YZ organisation’s IT department need to perform mandated processes, as defined in their centralised repository. PMs need to use Financial and Planning Software (FPS)2 software to perform certain project management activities, as required by their job function. However, it was found that MPP3 software, another tool, was used for more detailed project schedules, as well as activities that were not strictly enforced by management, the Project Office or the Quality Assurance team.Therefore, from this discovery, it was not clear whether the intended benefit of implementing this mandatory software (FPS) was being realised – since implementing software that is not being utilised fully would not deliver the intended benefits to the IT department (Devaraj & Kohli 2003), even if the software is termed ‘mandatory’.Objective: The primary objective of this research was to explore and optimise the key success factors for an effective implementation of mandatory software in a department, in order to derive the intended business benefits.Literature Review: Literature was reviewed in the search for models or theories that explore the relationship between the use of mandatory software and the achievement of business benefits. The Information Management Body of Knowledge (IMBOK) was selected as this framework defines the relationship between IT and the realisation of business benefits, and ultimately the achievement of any business strategy.The literature review focused predominantly on the level of user involvement, change management, as well as factors that influence the usage of mandatory software by individuals.1 The name of the organisation utilised has been changed. Refer to Ethical Consideration 2 The name of the tools utilised has been changed. Refer to Ethical Consideration and list of acronyms 3 The name of the tools utilised has been changed. Refer to Ethical Consideration and list of acronyms Focus was given to organisational factors affecting usage, such as top management support and organisational processes. A model was compiled using unique constructs in the Technology Acceptance Model (and TAM2), the Motivational Model (MM) and the Model of PC Utilisation (MPCU) – in order to test user acceptance of mandatory software.The literature study concludes with a review of an approach to benefits management including five stages, namely: identifying and structuring benefits, planning for the realisation of benefits, executing the plan, in addition to the evaluation and the review.Research design and methodology: A case study was used in this research, as it examined the phenomenon in its natural setting, employing multiple methods of data collection to gather information from a few entities (groups and data sources). In this way, it was not limited to only qualitative or quantitative approaches, but utilised mixed methods instead. A mixed methods approach was used in order to elaborate, enhance and clarify the results from the qualitative research through the results of the quantitative analysis.Findings: The main finding, based on the compilation of three models of user acceptance, proved that FPS was not being utilised as intended. There was also no evidence of an improvement in business operations. Therefore, benefits management was negatively impacted. Organisational processes were identified as the most important organisational factor, influencing the usage of FPS software. Own technological capability was considered to be the least important factor, as respondents believed that they had sufficient IT skills in order to learn how to use FPS software.Change management was rated negatively; and as a result, it impacted the usage of FPS, as users were not involved in the decision to implement, and had limited interaction in the implementation process. In addition, there was no evidence found that benefits management was conducted in the IT department; and therefore, the impact of using alternative software could not be quantitatively assessed.Recommendations: In concluding this research, it is recommended that the “best practice”,derived from the pertinent literate should be followed more diligently if YZ organisation is to benefit from the implementation of mandatory software. For example, in this research, it was found that top management’s support of FPS (second most important organisational factor influencing use) was lacking, despite the literature suggestion that senior management involvement in changing technology is crucial for organisational commitment.It is suggested that a more formal approach to benefits management should be implemented. It is also recommended that further study should be conducted – in order to explore the applicability of the Japanese framing (achieving benefits from IT software through the concept of strategic instinct, rather than strategic alignment) in the context of a developing country (such as South Africa).