Measuring the alignment of information technology strategy in small-to-medium sized organisations that use accounting packages
Kyobe, Michael Edmund Wokubira
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The alignment of information technology (IT) strategies with organisational factors has been a critical management issue since 1980s. Studies conducted to date have however focused on alignment in large sized organisations, and little has been done to assist the small-to-medium sized organisations to successfully align their software package implementations. There is also lack of comprehensive frameworks that these organisations could rely on to predict, or audit, the outcome of their effort to implement these packages. In this research, a framework was developed to guide the measurement of the extent to which small-to-medium sized organisations aligned their IT strategies with selected organisational factors during the implementation of accounting packages. These factors are: the business objectives; structural factors; social factors; cultural factors; and information system factors. These were selected because they influence the success of IT implementation in small-to-medium sized organisations. There were 155 participants in the study from 75 different organisations. These were surveyed using a questionnaire and telephone interviews. The results were first analysed to determine the consistency between the IT strategy and each of the above selected organisational factors (the dimensions of alignment). Further analysis was then conducted to test a structural model that examined the relationships between the dimensions of alignment, IT strategy alignment and the success of the accounting package implementation. (The construct IT strategy alignment refers to the overall consistency of the choices or decisions adopted in the implementation of the accounting package with the above selected organisational factors). The findings indicate that small-to-medium sized organisations do not align their information technology strategies with the selected organisational factors, except for the cultural factors. It was also revealed that each dimension of alignment has a positive and significant influence on the IT strategy alignment, and the IT strategy alignment also has a positive and significant influence on the success of the accounting package implementation. The findings emphasise the need for small-to-medium sized organisations to ensure that IT strategies are consistent with at least all the above organisational factors if successful accounting package implementations are to be achieved. Recommendations for researchers and practitioners are provided in the last chapter of this thesis.