Aussie researchers develop tool to measure the real value of IT systems

Determining just how valuable big implementations are is the project's goal

Organisations can now measure the value of enterprise IT systems using a new tool being developed by researchers from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

QUT’s IT researcher, Professor Guy Gable, says organisations do not adequately evaluate large implementations, despite increasing pressure to demonstrate the continuing value of these multi-million dollar investments.

He says the QUT research team is working in close collaboration with Accenture, in both Australia and the US, on methods to measure the impact of these systems, so decisions can be made to find improvements.

Dubbed the “IS-impact” measurement approach, it is based on a survey which features questions derived from research involving around 1,000 participants.

“Enterprise systems are large, integrated application software packages, purchased from companies such as SAP or Oracle, and used by individuals right across the organisation, for financials, HR, sales and distribution, customer relationship management and more,” Gable says.

“We have developed a web-based, perceptual survey, with questions that are robust and answerable by people at all levels of any organisation.

“The survey gives you a score for each of four aspects: the impact of the IT system on the individual user; the impact on the organisation; the quality of the system, and the quality of the information from the system.”

Professor Gable says the survey also yields an overall aggregate score, which is valuable for comparing the same system across time and, ultimately, across the whole sector.

“Comparison of scores from different levels and divisions of the organisation, across time and across systems, can yield valuable insights that point to problems and successes that organisations can then investigate further,” he says.

“The IS-impact approach can be used as a decision-support tool for management, as it identifies impacts on the organisation to date and also assesses quality, which is the best predictor of future impacts on the system.

“The approach means the effort for organisations is minimised, as it is very straightforward and low cost.”

The IS-impact methodology is initially being deployed in the Australian university sector, and the US public sector.

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