Academic journal article JITTA : Journal of Information Technology Theory and Application

An Integrative Framework for Contextual Factors Affecting Information Technology Implementation

Academic journal article JITTA : Journal of Information Technology Theory and Application

An Integrative Framework for Contextual Factors Affecting Information Technology Implementation

Article excerpt


While previous research has provided a great deal of information on individual factors that play a role in IT implementation success, a gap in the research exists when it comes to formulating a holistic view of overall environmental factors. This paper conducts a literature review and expands Weill's conversion effectiveness model to develop a framework integrating the various enterprise-level contextual factors affecting IT implementation. It also discusses relationships among contextual factors and cross-border issues in the global outsourcing environment. This holistic interpretation of individual factors is an initial step toward understanding the complexities of corporate environments and their effects on IT implementation success. The framework can provide companies with a useful tool to evaluate their current environment, determine its strengths and weaknesses, and assess how these will affect IT implementation.


Information Technology (IT) has moved from the role of organizational support to become an integrated part of core business processes and a driver of business strategy, thereby changing the traditional relationship between business units and technology departments. In an adverse economic climate, such as the first years of the 21st century, business enterprises are particularly interested in capturing the highest possible return from IT investments, which can represent a significant portion of their expenses.

The emphasis on value raises new questions, and the research community has identified various means of quantifying the value of IT investments. Value is not directly derived from IT investments because there are many factors that affect value throughout the implementation process. Implementing a new technology project typically entails a great deal of cooperation among various divisions, departments, and employees within the enterprise. The technical aspect of implementation is only one component of a chain of events between initial investment and final evaluation. During that time, a wide range of factors, both internal and external to the corporate environment, react with implementation processes and will ultimately become part of the output value of the original technology investment.

Previous research has provided insight into numerous factors playing a role in the level of success associated with IT implementation (Bassellier, and Benbasat, and Reich 2003; Beath 1991; Earl and Feeney 1994; Ginzberg 1981; Kwon and Zmud 1987; Markus 1981; Rockart, Earl, and Ross 1996; Senn 2003; Somers and Nelson 2001; Weill 1992; Weill and Olson 1989). While this research into the various factors affecting successful IT implementation has provided a great deal of information, there is a gap when it comes to integrating these factors into a holistic model (Richardson, Subramani, and Zmud 2003). Much of the research looks at individual factors in a specific environment, without exploring the relationship among factors and how the findings can be applied to other enterprise environments.

The challenge of identifying critical individual factors and the best possible combination of factors remains an issue for both researchers and corporate managers seeking to optimize their operations for the highest possible return on IT investments. Firm-wide integration of technology and core businesses continues to grow, extending beyond corporate boundaries to create networks among business, customers and partners, which make the need for successful implementations more critical than ever.

The importance of successful implementation of IT investment poses a fundamental question: "How can a company improve the chances of an IT implementation being successful?" While factor research has identified various elements of the corporate environment that are likely to lead to successful implementation, the end result is a fragmented summary of disparate factors that have been tested in various situations at different points along the implementation process. …

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