IT development in the organisation can be analysed in different ways. This chapter summarises a number of the different stage-based approaches that have evolved since the early days of computerisation. Stages of growth models which emerged in the 1970s were based on research in organisations which pioneered computerisation in the 1950s and 1960s. Some question whether these models, built on the experiences of the pioneers, are useful to new entrants who are implementing different technologies and are faced with different problems. More recent theories attempt to model the effects of the interaction of a range of factors, building upon the work of earlier theorists to produce refinements which offer a more complete explanation of the pattern of change. This chapter discusses briefly the origins, evolution, and limitations of some of these models. It outlines Nolan’s Stages Model (1979), Galliers and Sutherland’s (1991) revised stages of growth model, Friedman’s Dynamic Phases Model (1989), the Three Era Model (DP-MIS-SIS), and the model selected to guide the analysis in subsequent chapters of this study: Venkatraman’s (1991) model of IT induced business transformation.
One of the best known and widely used models from the late 1970s and early 1980s is that developed by Nolan and Gibson in 1974, and expanded by Nolan in 1979. This model is based on the assumption that organisations pass through a series of clearly definable stages in using and managing IT. Nolan argues that stages of IT growth could be identified by analysing the amount spent on data processing as a proportion of sales revenue, that the expenditure follows an S-curve over time, and that this curve represents the learning path of the organisation with regard to the use and management of IT. Six stages are defined: initiation, contagion, control, integration, architecture, and maturity. The model, intended as a tool to identify key issues associated with further IT development, has many critics, notably Benbasat et al. (1984), and King and Kraemer (1984). Most criticisms, as detailed by Friedman (1989) in his