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Evaluation of information systems

Information systems (IS) research has shown that understanding the value that information technologies (IT) bring to organisations is not straightforward. Reasons for this include the fact that investment in technology often occurs along with considerable organisational change processes. Systems can take significant time to develop as well as to implement and involve a variety of stakeholders with various agendas. Expected benefits are often not always clear at the outset of a system implementation. While some benefits may easily be measured enabling the cause-effect relationship attributed to new systems to be identified, there are many benefits that are indirect and intangible and that do not lend themselves to easy evaluation.

What is needed is a focused and holistic approach to understanding the benefits which IT/IS brings. This means understanding both the institutional and societal contexts within which the technology is introduced as well as developing suitable ways to measure the impact of the technology. At BDO IT we are particularly interested in evaluation in the context of the public sector with a focus on mobile technology. The public sector is often under pressure to demonstrate that the investment in new technologies is appropriate and brings benefit to both the organisation and the broader society. Over the last few years there have been increasing implementations of mobile technologies and information systems within the public sector in the effort to improve their operations. Evaluation plays an important role in ensuring that the benefits are realised from the investment in mobile technologies and information systems.