e-Readiness can mean different things to different people, in different contexts, and for different purposes. The authors define e-readiness is as ‘the ability of an organization, department or work-group to successfully adopt, use and benefit from information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as e-business’. It is important for companies that seek to adopt e-business to undertake an analysis of their businesses to ensure a productive and beneficial implementation of these tools (i.e. they need to evaluate their ‘e-readiness’).
The approach adopted in the development of an e-readiness assessment tool for construction organizations is presented in this section.
Triangulation methodology that uses both qualitative and quantitative approaches, is adopted for the development of the e-readiness model that assesses the readiness of construction organizations for e-business. Using this method, theories can be developed qualitatively and tested quantitatively. Triangulation increases the validity and reliability of the data, since the strengths of one approach can compensate for the weaknesses of another.
A systematic two-stage approach has been adopted for assessing e-readiness. The first stage involves developing an assessment model for gauging the e-readiness of construction organizations for using e-business applications. Using a qualitative approach, a review of existing literature is carried out. The best suited models in the context of this
research study are then adapted to develop a model that assesses the e-readiness of construction organizations. The existing processes, working methods, procedures and practices in construction organizations are also analysed using qualitative methods such as one-to-one discussions, case studies and interviews.
The outcome of this led to the development of a set of questions for assessing the overall e-readiness of construction
organizations for adopting and implementing e-business technologies. Further, a quantitative approach is adopted to analyse end-user responses (by calculating cumulative and average scores) and presenting the findings graphically.
Rapid Application Development
The second stage involves development and evaluation of a prototype application. The development of this prototype is an iterative process that uses rapid application development (RAD) methodology of software
development. RAD is a concept that facilitates faster development of application software. RAD is performed alliteratively through several stages as illustrated in Figure 4.1.
The e-readiness tool was evaluated using a number of methods including self-evaluation and peer reviews during the development phase and then through industry validation of the final prototype software. Details of the evaluation are described in Section 4.6.4 of this chapter.