Factors affecting the successful realisation of benefits from systems development projects: findings from three case studies

2012-02-24T10:26:03Z (GMT) by Neil Doherty Colin Ashurst Joe Peppard
The return that organisations derive from investments in information systems and technology continues to disappoint. While there is a very significant body of literature on the factors that should facilitate a successful outcome from systems development, there is growing concern that these prescriptions are not having their desired effect. In this paper, we argue that the success of a systems development project should be measured in terms of its ability to deliver meaningful benefits, rather than the timely delivery of a technical artefact, and therefore organisations should adopt an explicit and proactive benefits realisation approach when investing in IT. Consequently, we sought to explore those actionable factors that might facilitate the effective realisation of benefits from systems development initiatives. Three organisations were identified that claimed to adopt a proactive approach to benefits realisation, and detailed studies of their systems development practices were conducted. Our analysis found that whilst one organisation had been successful in its adoption of a benefits realisation perspective, the other two had not, and this allowed us to identify those factors that helped to explain this difference in outcomes. In short, this paper makes an important contribution by identifying how a sub-set of traditional systems success factors might be enhanced, to give them a more explicit benefits realisation orientation. Moreover, it presents a coherent set of principles that can be used for deriving other factors and practices.