Factors Influencing the choice of Information system changeover approaches used by Information and Communication Technology Consulting Firms in Kenya
This study examined the factors considered in selection of changeover approaches and the challenges encountered in information systems changeover. The study is timely as I?any corporations had to change from traditional manual systems t6 adapt computer based information systems as a tool of competitive advantage. Background information on changeover approaches and the factors considered in choice is given in details. Also the challenges encountered in the conversion process are discussed. The study objectives were to determine the extent to which various information system conversion approaches are used by Information Systems consultants in Kenya, establish the challenges encountered by IS consultants during the information system conversion process and determine the relative importance of factors that affect the choice of information system conversion approaches. Descriptive methodology was mainly used and data was collected using questionnaires on a drop and pick later basis. Data was analyzed using factor analysis and tabulation techniques. The findings on the demographic factors show that most firms are largely locally owned and most had at most two branches. Most respondents were programmers and IS managers who had the required knowledge on system changeover. Gender and age of the respondents was analyzed with the aim of finding out the proportion of men to women involved in the system changeover process, and it was found out that majority of the respondents were men aged between 29-35 years. Findings of this study also show that majority of the firms in Kenya use the parallel approach in the conversion process. Phased conversion approach is the second most used followed by the pilot approach and the least used approach is the direct approach. The challenges that greatly affected the conversion process were lack of management support, end users resistance, intended users ignoring the operational system and doing the job the old way, diversion of resources for conversion process, inadequate budget and insufficient conversion time. However, poor coordination of the conversion process, inadequate documentation for the conversion process and impatience of end users with initial disappointing results produced by the system moderately influenced the conversion process. The factors considered most important in the choice of an approach are size of the system, top management support to the approach, cost benefit justification, conversion risk, ability to enhance user motivation, amenability of approach to facilitate interaction between users and system development, volume of data to handled, flexibility of approach and complexity of system being handled. Other factors that were considered but did not greatly influence the conversion process were organizational culture, value of the old system to be implemented and client's recommendation. Unfortunately, during the study some limitations like lack of enough study literature on the area, lack of enough time and lack of enough money were encountered. In conclusion management support was the major factor considered in the choice of an approach and the lack of management support was also the greatest challenge encountered during the system conversion. Therefore recommendations sensitizing top management to provide resources are included in this report.