Original Research

Factors that influence the outcome of information technology projects in South Africa: An empirical investigation

Carl Marnewick, Les Labuschagne
Acta Commercii | Vol 9, No 1 | a98 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v9i1.98 | © 2009 Carl Marnewick, Les Labuschagne | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 December 2009 | Published: 06 December 2009

About the author(s)

Carl Marnewick, Department of Business Information Technology, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Les Labuschagne, Department of Business Information Technology, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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Abstract

Purpose: In developing countries such as South Africa, many organisations are reliant on information and communication technology (ICT) to provide accurate, relevant and timely information. For organisations to obtain and sustain a competitive advantage, ICT systems are constantly implemented, upgraded, modified or replaced. These initiatives are often managed as projects. While there is an increasing amount of both financial resources and effort being spent on ICT, these projects are not always delivered within the predetermined project constraints. This implies additional time to complete, as well as additional costs, as resources are not released in time to participate in other projects. It is therefore important to understand the factors that influence the outcome of South African ICT projects relative to their original constraints.

Problem Investigated: The goal of this article is to determine the factors that influence South African ICT projects, taking into consideration the fact that most current published research on this topic was done within the context of a developed country such as the USA and Europe.

Design and/or methodology: The outcomes of ICT projects in South Africa as well as the factors that influence them were determined through an extensive survey. An analysis was done on the factors together with a correlation between the main factors contributing to project outcomes. The purpose of this was to establish if a factor's presence or absence influenced the eventual outcome.

Findings: The factors that contribute to a successful outcome are often outside the direct control of the project manager and tend to be complex in nature. One factor that does stand out is that the alignment of projects with business objectives influences their perceived success.

Originality/Value: The benefits of this article are that it firstly provides a South African perspective of current ICT project management practices, and secondly, it highlights factors that influence project outcome. Organisations can use this information to improve their current practices.

Conclusion: The value of the research results presented in this paper lies in the realisation that project success is not just determined by adherence to best practices or formal processes, but requires an environment and context conducive to business success.


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doi: 10.4102/sajim.v19i1.838