A study based on the implementation of Information Communication Technology or ICT in the Australian construction industry revealed that there were certain constraints that hindered the process, namely: a) personal constraints – Low ICT budgets, security issues, ICT standardization problems, and commitments made to other projects, and b) organizational constraints – low experience in computer applications, defining the ROI on ICT implementation, and lack of time to acquire skills and knowledge pertaining to ICT .
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ABC Construction Company is a mid-level construction company based out of Sydney. Although it does place strategy emphasis on IT, and more specifically ICT, it does not have a firm framework or implementation plan as part of an active business strategy. This shows that the firm’s ICT program and process were at a basic level and needed updating. The main challenge to ICT implementation in ABC was the structure of its enterprise. The company operated independent state based business units. Each unit had the power to reject any innovation if it was deemed to destabilize it financially or operationally. As a result, decisions on ICT implementation were generally based on the short term ROI of the project.
Never the less, the company was focused on enabling a virtual productive environment with allowed the usage of cross organization networks and e-collaboration that would facilitate enhanced supply chain and project management, and organizational administration. ABC identified an ICT initiative and drafted an implementation plan to enable the effective launch and dispersion of the program across its units. Although all of its individual business units agreed to the proposal, the enterprise structure prevented any pilot program from being conducted to test the viability and effectiveness of the initiative. The organization chose to implement the ICT program beginning from its head office, to be gradually implemented across the company. The company relied on case studies of other mid-level construction companies as well as the experiences of its IT team.
The organization had a minimal IT department that was responsible for the installation and upgrading of the ICT software. The team was not formally trained in the particular application but had on the job experience and know how. They acted as advisors to the managing committee and also provided orientation training to internal users. The applications vendors were called upon to provide helpdesk services on location as well as over the phone to diffuse the ICT application across business units. As the company had not conducted an audit of employee skills, a generic training module was created. ABC then relied on managers of each business unit to provide informal internal training and mentoring to implement the application of the software instead of developing a comprehensive organizational strategy. Similarly, no standards were set for measuring the effectiveness of the implementation or the response that it was generating among users.
It was assumed that the ICT implementation would have certain business gains and operational efficiencies would be achieved, however, no analysis of effectiveness was in place. Intrinsic motivators and rewards were used and employees were expected to learn and use the application keeping in mind the business gains that it would provide. The entire implementation process of ICT was highly autonomous and decentralized in nature and this had a negative impact on teamwork and dedication towards any cross-organizational ICT initiatives. Instead of teamwork, the implementation generated competition among the individual business units.
Peansupap, V., & Walker, D. H. (2006). Information communication technonology (ICT) implementation constraints: A construction industry perspective. Engineering, construction and architectural management , 13 (4), 940-947.