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Benefits Management: Delivering Value from IS & IT Investments by Elizabeth Daniel, John L. Ward

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Chapter 8. The Importance of Context

In previous chapters, we have sought to emphasize the linkage between the realization of benefits from IS/IT investments and the need to make organizational changes. This is highlighted in the benefits dependency network introduced in Chapter 4. The other tools and frameworks introduced, such as the stakeholder analysis discussed in Chapter 6, also link benefits realization with the need for change within, and perhaps even outside, the organization.

The particular changes that an organization needs to make will depend on its current status. Even if implementing similar applications, some organizations may be starting from 'further behind' than others and hence will need to make more changes in order to achieve the same benefits. Alternatively, an organization may not be able or willing to make certain changes, due to resource or capability constraints or the risks involved, and hence may only realize a limited set of the available benefits. For example, smaller businesses, on average, have fewer financial and human resources at their disposal (Ballantine et al., 1998; Pollard and Hayne, 1998). They are often unable to accomplish large change programmes and might therefore expect a more modest set of benefits. However, those benefits they can realize may improve their performance in a greater proportion than larger organizations, which can fund significant change programmes.

Context is also important when considering benefits. What is considered ...

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