An empirical study of integration issues in is development.

Author:Sheu, Myron
Position:Report - Survey

    As companies rush to invest in information technology (IT) in order to stay competitive amid globalization, the chance for a company to achieve a satisfactory return on a new IS may depend heavily on the ability to fit the IS into its existing information infrastructure. Because technologies become obsolete at an alarming rate, most companies struggle to make their heterogeneous systems, likely acquired over time, work together hopefully as one single enterprise information system (Chung et al., 2005). As a result, IT adoption becomes increasingly risky due particularly to the fact that no IS's can stand alone (Saeed and Abdinnour-Helm, 2008).

    Although multiple perspectives of an IS development case have been studied in many existing approaches to improving the success chance of IS development, the average failure rate of IS projects remains stagnantly high (DCITA, 2004). In a fresh direction, this research examines the impact of integration issues in IS development on the success rate of an IS project because we believe they often reflect managerial, functional, and technical conflicts provoked with the IS project. The main project of this research is to focus on an empirical study in which we have examined 30 IS projects by analyzing the effectiveness of project-level efforts on integration issues. The rest of the paper is organized as follows. Section 2 reviews the literature, section 3 describes our research hypotheses, section 4 outlines our research methodology, section 5 depicts our research findings, and section 6 provides conclusive remarks.


    According to Cameron (2008), a high degree of systems integration is difficult to achieve, especially for established companies, because such integration likely consists of multiple previously independently owned businesses with more legacy systems in use than its novel competitors. While most of the integration issues appear to be technical, industrial practitioners and researchers have come to realize that the real challenges in tackling integration issues may emanate from functional and even managerial causes (Padayachee, 2002). Barki and Hartwick (2001) point out that conflict management among functional groups should be more emphasized in project management nowadays. Xu and He (2008) report that there is a positive impact of team attitude and behavior on IS project success based on an empirical study of 605 organizations. Moreover, Grove and Kettinger (2000) suggest that most IS investments trigger substantial changes in business processes. Kim (2006) believes that enterprise-level IS projects would likely fail if they did not proactively address technical issues from functional and managerial perspectives. Yang and Yoo (2004) suggest that acceptance to technology is more about attitude than competence. Rock et al. (2009) show that a critical issue with regarding to IS/ERP integration is the trade off between enterprise level business processes integration and regional level processes integration/local cultural features adequately reflected. Similarly, many researchers have called for intensive efforts by project management to deal with functional and managerial issues of systems integration. Roy et al. (2006) even recommend that the ability for an IS project manager to work well with senior managers be more critical than the ability to work well within the project. Although the importance of the managerial and functional perspectives of an IS project has been renowned, this research believes that the existing approaches to dealing with these challenges appear lack of a systemic framework under which integration issues can be methodically analyzed and tackled. Subsequently, this research aims to classify integration issues at various levels, to assess the effectiveness of project level efforts on each level of integration issues, and to propose a novel framework for companies to methodically address integration issues. While we are aware of many other factors that may impact the success chance of an IS project, such as user readiness for IS development which is in turn profoundly influenced by corporate maturity and agility as reported in a research project by Sheu & Kim (2005), we attempt in this research to examine some of the factors that have become increasingly efficacious in search of better approaches to IS development.


    While systems integration is traditionally referred to data and platform integration, other kinds of integration may have a reflective impact on systems integration as well. In this regard, internalization should be a better term with which we can examine all kinds of integration issues in a systemic manner.

    As shown in the framework depicted in Figure 1, we can incorporate all major types of integration issues into a...

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