New tool measures value of IT systems

SYDNEY – Organizations can measure the value of enterprise IT systems utilizing a new tool being developed by researchers from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

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

He said the QUT research team was working in close collaboration with Accenture Ltd. in both Australia and the U.S. 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 with questions derived from research involving around 1000 participants and rigorously tested.

“Broadly, enterprise systems are large, integrated application software packages purchased from companies such as SAP AG or Oracle Inc., and used by individuals right across the organization for financials, HR, sales and distribution, customer relationship management and more,” Professor Gable said.

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

“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 organization, the quality of the system, and the quality of the information from the system.”

Professor Gable said the survey also yielded an overall aggregate score which was valuable for comparing the same system across time and, ultimately, across the whole sector.

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

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

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

Professor Gable said the approach was developed with support from Simon Porter from Accenture Australia and Mark Howard from Accenture USA, and was initially being deployed in the Australian university sector, and with several of Accenture’s large North American public sector clients.

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