The transparent evolution of information technology infrastructure components



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Texas Tech University


Information systems researchers and practitioners often lament the paradox associated with attempting to maintain a responsive IT infrastructure while also ensuring that users maintain productivity standards. Unfortunately, the majority of IT infrastructure component changes are associated with user resistance, flawed software, and numerous cost and schedule overflows.

To address these problems, this dissertation provides an in-depth study of factors that are important in achieving a successful IT infrastructure change while ensuring that the change involves minimal disruption to user activities. A conceptual model is developed in which twelve critical factors are delineated into information technology, organizational, and user groups. The model theorizes that these twelve factors in three groups affect the overall transparency of IT infrastructure change.

To validate the model, data have been collected from over 300 organizations using a survey research method. An analysis of the data reveals a number of results that are of use both to researchers and to practitioners. First, technical factors such as functionality and the user interface cannot be ignored. Previous IS implementation studies have downplayed the significance of technical factors, and this dissertation refutes a number of those claims. Second, the degree to which an organization depends on a particular IT component is a significant predictor of the perceived transparency of the upgrade. Finally, the effect of changes in the user interface are dependent upon the amount of internal support given to the user, and the effect of user training is dependent upon the skill level of the users undergoing training.