Journal of Information Technology Case and Application Research
Volume 15, Number 1, 2013
From the Editor’s Desk
Suprateek Sarker, University of
Virginia , USA
Article One [Case Research]
Enhancing IT Artifact Construction with Explanatory and
Predictive Knowledge in Design Science Research
Roman Beck, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
Sven Weber, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
Design science research (DSR) has become an area of interest within information systems (IS) through its possibility to develop information technology (IT) artifacts in a structured way and to derive theoretical findings at the same time. In this paper, we present findings from the development of three IT artifacts together with industry. We started these development projects with a strict DSR lens but soon realized that guidelines recommended by established DSR frameworks fall short when it comes to develop predictive and explanatory knowledge. In addition, existing DSR frameworks do not consider the non-linear, dynamic process of IT artifact development, especially when conducted together with partners from industry. Thus, in the aftermath we conducted a comparison between our research approach and resulting findings with relevant literature on theorizing in IS to generate explanatory and predictive knowledge in DSR. In so doing, we were able to enrich the IT artifact development process with techniques to generate explanatory and predictive knowledge. This paper summarizes our findings in a reflection of the three IT artifact development projects as well as illustrates how explanatory and predictive knowledge can be generated and used in DSR.
Article Two [Case Research]
Cheeni: A Case of Inside-Out Innovation Approach to IT Applications
Priya Seetharaman, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, India
Innovative information technology applications have often emerged from experts who envision technology fit with business applications. Technology scan, fit and forecast exercises are not uncommon when conducted by IT managers in organizations. But such exercises are rarely conducted by technology users. Inside-out innovation approach to IT applications suggests the need to place young, enthusiastic, brightsparks in areas where IT may have strategic potential, typically boundary-spanning activities. Given potential generic technologies to experiment, the time to innovate, the resources and funds to foster innovations, such brightsparks may envision and create applications that can draw from external sources such as suppliers and customers. Applications created in such organizations can then be suitably identified, prioritized and institutionalized. One such case is that of Cheeni, an Indian sugar manufacturing firm which experienced the need for an innovative IT application. Cheeni’s IT department designed and developed a tool in collaboration with cane inspectors, whose role is to monitor the growth of cane in farms under their supervision and capture this data. Rapid adoption of the handhelds and use of the tool by cane inspectors resulted in significant improvement in time taken for various farming related activities and monitoring of cane production in the farm sites. The company is further strengthening the system by providing text services and is contemplating extending the implementation to multiple sites. This paper demonstrates the inside-out innovation approach to IT Applications using Cheeni as a case in point. Lessons for practitioners and implications for researchers in the area are also discussed.
Article Three [Case Research]
Knowledge Boundaries and Spanning Practices in Configuring Packaged Systems
Xuefei (Nancy) Deng, University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA
Elizabeth J. Davidson, University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA
The implementation of organizational information systems (IS) typically involves collaborative work among business area personnel, IS professionals and information technology (IT) vendors or consultants. Knowledge boundaries exist between these domains of expertise, presenting problematic barriers in knowledge-intensive IS work. Our understanding of how IS project teams overcome knowledge barriers in practice remains limited. To investigate these issues we conducted an intensive field study of business user and IT consultant teamwork in a multi-site enterprise resource planning (ERP) configuration project. We assessed three types of knowledge boundaries (syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic) discussed by Carlile (2002; 2004) and identified a fourth boundary (authority-related). Each presented barriers to effective knowledge sharing in the user-consultant teams’ collaborative work. We identified four situated practices (translating, illustrating, probing, and escalating) that project analysts, the designated boundary spanners, enacted to overcome barriers and assessed the implications of the practices for knowledge sharing outcomes (communication, integration, transformation, negotiation). Boundary-spanning competence entailed a variety of abilities, which project analysts developed and deepened through their enactment of spanning practices. Our study extends understanding of knowledge-intensive IS project work by integrating consideration of knowledge barriers, spanning practices, and knowledge sharing outcomes. Our study also provides practical insights for nurturing boundary-spanning competence.
Article Four [Teaching Case]
Examining Resistance to Information System Implementation
David Croasdell, University of Nevada, Reno, USA
Bill Kuechler, University of Nevada, Reno, USA
Siganga Wawdo, University of Nevada, Reno, USA
During the start of a recent fiscal year, Teamware Corporate Commercial Operations created a new vision for its Operations Account Management team, challenging them to play a more strategic role in enabling revenue and providing operational expertise beyond the primarily transactional work they carried out. An essential component of this strategy would involve implementing and using the Essentrix ™ customer relationship management (CRM) module. This case offers a study of the CRM implementation effort through its various stages, focusing on the resistance displayed by the Operations Account Management team and how management and the project champions attempted to use their impact and influence to overcome the resistance to the module. Resistance to IS system installation is ubiquitous and understanding, minimizing and overcoming this resistance is vital to the successful management of organizational IS/IT.
Although future challenges remain, Teamware management continues to focus on the factors that they hope will lead to successful implementation while building readiness for change in the Operations Account Management team, trying to ensure the success of the CRM implementation.