Academic journal article International Journal of Management

The Support Role of Information Centers: The Perceptions of IC Managers and End Users

Academic journal article International Journal of Management

The Support Role of Information Centers: The Perceptions of IC Managers and End Users

Article excerpt

For the past a few years end user computing (EUC) has become a significant part of organizational information resource management. The information centers (ICs) provide support and control mechanism for EUC and have played an active and important role in the management of end user computing. The purpose of this study is to gain an insight into the effects of ICs support roles on end user computing success from both end users and IC managers perspectives. The data for this study consisted of 154 responded questionnaires from 74 IC managers and 80 end users in major Taiwan companies. Results indicated that both end users and IC managers regarded data support, standards and guidelines support, and development and post-development support in importance for improving IC success. End users were more concerned with training and education support service while IC managers believed that it would not affect IC success. On the other hand, the relative importance of those significant IC services was perceived differently from both sides. End users perceived standards and guidelines more important while IC managers viewed data support in importance. Results suggested the IC managers should carefully reexamine the resources allocation in ICs in order to matching the needs of end users.

Introduction

The wide proliferation of end user computing (EUC) has received considerable attention in recent years [5,7,8,9]. With the rapid introduction of new telecommunication technologies, management of EUC becomes increasingly important in most organizations. Many authors have recognized that the expansion in EUC activities within organizations requires substantial investment in personnel and support facilities [8,14,24]. The large expenditures on technologies have forced organizations to ensure better management of EUC and effective use of IT resources. The establishment of EUC support group helps organizations to minimize risks and to maximize gains for EUC activities.

While the title for EUC support group vary from organization to organization, the term information center (IC) has become widely recognized. The term IC stands for EUC support group performing a wide variety of tasks and organized as a separate organizational unit or located within MIS department or user departments [8]. Such variety in IC deployment alternatives implies the difficulty in supporting EUC activities and the complicated nature of IC.

Vijayaraman & Ramakrishna [261 indicated that successful ICs were different from unsuccessful ICs in terms of EUC support. Mirani & King [20] found that the fulfillment of EUC support by ICs influenced end user satisfaction. Guimaraes & Igbaria [10] and Guimaraes [8] confirmed the importance of ICs on EUC and company performance. Other studies investigated factors affecting the success of ICs [ 181; attitudes, intentions, and job satisfaction of IC personnel [11,13]; management and control of the IC [ 12,27]; and problems affecting IC success [9]. A very important issue surrounding these studies is to evaluate the IC success in order to justify the existence of ICs. However, little research has been conducted to examine the relative importance of ICs support services. The purpose of this study is to investigate which ICs support services are more important than others in terms of improving IC success. Discrepancies in the evaluation of ICs support services between IC managers and end users are also examined.

Literature Review

IC Support Services

The underlying premise of the IC has been to support end users in a variety of ways. As Lepore et al. [16] noted, the greater the availability of IC support services, the more satisfied end users should be. Brancheau & Brown [3] identified 13 IC support services from prior literature. Mirani & King [201 found that ICs provide nine types of support for EUC, including: applications development support, standards and guidelines, data provision support, operational support, purchasing-related support, support for a variety of software, knowledgeable IC staff, post-development support, and backup and security. …

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