VERDICT

VERDICT is an Internet-based prototype application that assesses the overall e-readiness of end-user companies and profiles the companies in this regard, based on their responses. The name, ‘VERDICT’ reflects the overall aim and purpose of the application. VERDICT is developed to aid construction sector end-users to gauge their e-readiness for using e-business technologies such as Web-based collaboration tools. It can be used to assess the e-readiness o{ construction companies, department(s) within a company or even individual work-groups within a department.

VERDICT Model

Several research publications and articles indicate that people, processes and technology are the three key aspects that need to be considered for successful implementation of technologies. Emmett (2002) siates that together these three elements create business value. However, he further states that ‘the people, processes and technology need a leader’, just as ‘an orchestra needs a conductor‘. Emmett draws a parallel with the performance of an orchestra and states:
‘in an orchestra …. You’ve got musicians (people), musical scores (process), and musical instruments (technology). But without a conductor, they’re more likely to produce noise than music. Even if everyone in the string section plays the right notes at a relatively similar tempo, creating a symphony requires more than following the sheet music.’
Therefore ‘…. An orchestra needs a conductor’. The same analogy can be applied to the adoption and implementation
of new and innovative technologies within construction companies. The ‘conductor’ in this case is the management. To successfully implement and use any new technology it requires management buy-in and belief in order to plan and drive policies and strategies. The research findings from an industry-wide survey and case studies, complement this view.

The case study findings identified management buy-in and leadership as a critical factor affecting the adoption of technology within construction organizations. The adoption of any new and innovative technology (e.g. e-business, e-commerce) within an organization/department/work-group requires total commitment from the management (or group leader). It is important for the management to buy into the technology to lead the business into successfully
implementing and adopting the technology (i.e. the management needs to be e-ready). Thus a fourth category,’management’is necessary.

Taking this into account, the verdict model has been so structured that for an organization to be e-ready it must include:

  • Management that believes in the technology and takes strategic dynamic measures to drive its adoption, implementation and usage in order to derive business benefits from the technology. Processes that enable and support the successful adoption of the
    technology.
    o People with adequate skills, understanding of, and belief in, the
    technology.
    o Technology tools and infrastructure necessary to support the business
    functions (e.g. processes and people).

All four categories are considered important for an organization to be e-ready. A company cannot be e-ready if it satisfies the requirements of just one category and not the others. For example, even if management, processes
and people are e-ready, the fact that the technology infrastructure is inadequate will affect the overall e-readiness of the organization. This example indicates that the company will need to address its technology issues in order to be e-ready. Drawing from the orchestra analogy, ‘a memorable symphony performance doesn’t happen when the players just assemble with their instruments and scores.’ and,’the orchestra with the most violinists isn’t necessarily going to sound the best.’ Similarly, all four categories – management, processes, people and technology – need to work hand-in hand
and symbiotically (see Figure 4.2).

Many organizations fail to realize that installing a system without first achieving universal buy-in and changing business processes, will result in a software installation, not an implementation of a comprehensive solution to business problems. According to Larkin (2003), if an organization merely completes an installation by automating inefficient processes, it will not realize a long-term positive impact. A successful company wide rollout includes more than simply buying and installing software.

It requires the management to align people, processes and technology to implement a solution that meets business needs. The result is the ability to capitalize on the full potential of the technology. investment. Thus, the implementation of new technology needs to be carefully managed and orchestrated. Companies should recognize that in order to successfully implement and benefit from new technologies such as e-business, it is
essential that the people (who are the ultimate users of the technology) and the process are given due consideration. The technology within the company also needs to be assessed in order to ensure that the company has the necessary infrastructure (ICT infrastructure) to use existing and new or emerging technologies successfully. Further, the company needs clear leadership and direction that is provided by the management in order to successfully implement the technology. These four categories are described in detail below.

Four key elements for an e-ready organization

Figure 4.2

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