A framework for improving the implementation of process based change
This thesis is located within the field of Information Systems implementation. More specifically it focuses within Information Systems at the issues associated with implementation of business proves-based change. There is much evidence, both theoretical and empirical, to suggest that there are a high percentage of Information Systems and Business Process implementation failures (Meredith 1981, Lucas 1981, Walsham 1993, Land et al 1989). The aim of this thesis is twofold. Firstly to analyse the reasons behind the failures in process-based change implementations and secondly to provide a solution that will enable companies to overcome some of the problems and thus reduce the number of these failures. This research is based on a joint project between IBM PSS and the University if Plymouth. The research focuses specifically on the implementation of process-based change occurring in IBM Product Support Services (PSS). PSS is primarily responsible for the maintenance of IBM and non-IBM hardware and software and the selling of services associated with them. In order to understand what happens during implementation the researcher participated in three action research projects. All three projects were part of an IBM world-wide Business Process Re-engineering project called Customer Relationship Management. To ensure the validity of this action research process the researcher has closely followed the guidance compiled by Eden and Huxham. This research will present a framework that has been developed to improve the management of implementation projects. The framework is based on a synthesis of theoretical evidence and empirical findings. The empirical findings have been developed from investigating the reasons for failure in the three action research projects. All findings were analysed using the ‘Grounded Theory’ approach. The framework consists of five dominant themes, which are senior management commitment, analysis of problem situation, project planning and management, proves focus and user involvement. In the researchers view the problem of unsuccessful implementation is a complex one which may only begin to be improved when all the themes are addressed together as a whole. In order to test the themes of the framework a process for application was required. The process developed for using the framework involves applying a focus group at project initiation and questionnaires throughout the course of the project. The purpose of the focus group is to understand the themes of the themes of the framework within the context of the particular problem situation being investigated. The questionnaire is used to audit each theme of the framework to identify potential areas of implementation weakness. T-test analysis is carries out on the questionnaire results to measure whether any changes between questionnaires results are statistically significant. The framework was successfully applied to a fourth project. The T-test results indicated that applying the framework to the project throughout the course of the implementation had significantly improved the implementation. The originality of this research is in the framework and its application. This thesis will describe the history of implementation successes and failures at IBM, survey appropriate implementation theory and describe the synthesis and testing of the framework.