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Paper w78-2001-37:
Cost and benefit assessments of IT systems in the construction industry

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Andresen J L

Cost and benefit assessments of IT systems in the construction industry

Abstract: This paper presents the results of four case studies that focus on cost and benefit assessments of IT systems in the Danish construction industry. The primary objectives in the case studies have been to (a) explore the difficulties with evaluating IT systems in the construction industry, (b) complete evaluations on particular IT systems in companies from the construction industry using four different IT evaluation methodologies and, ultimately, (c) develop a framework for how to select an IT evaluation method in different IT evaluation situations. The case studies are conducted as a part of a three-year Ph.D. project in order to collect the necessary data to fulfil the objectives stated in the Ph.D. project. The overall objective of the Ph.D. project is how to improve the knowledge and use of IT systems in the construction industry. To achieve this aim the Ph.D. project focuses on how construction companies can increase their knowledge about costs and benefits in their different IT applications by evaluating future IT investments and current IT systems. Specifically, the Ph.D. project focuses on developing a framework for how to select an appropriate IT evaluation method among the many available methods. Earlier in the Ph.D. project a questionnaire survey was completed analysing the current state (1999) of IT evaluation practices in the Danish construction industry. In the four case studies the following IT systems were evaluated: · An electronic document management system called Documentum · Upgrading AutoCad 14 to AutoCad 2000 · Two different ProjectWeb systems The case studies are completed in collaboration with four Danish [RH1] companies based on IT evaluation situations identified in the companies. The construction companies in the case studies comprise three large consulting engineers (Rambøll, Cowi and NIRAS) and one large contractor (Højgaard and Schultz). In each case the IT evaluation situation is identified and described in detail. Four different IT evaluation methods, each representing a larger group of IT evaluation methods, have been used and these are: · Measuring the Benefits of IT Innovation (developed by Construct IT in UK) · Information Economics (developed by M. M. Parker and R. J. Benson) · Net Present Value (unknown origin) · Critical Success Factors (J. Rockart) The case studies provide some hard data on the costs and benefits (both quantitative and qualitative) of the evaluated IT systems. The collected data can be used to create the basis for comparison in other similar cases (although one has to be aware that the data are very context dependent) and the result of the IT evaluations is in itself very interesting. Perhaps more interesting is the data collected about the IT evaluation process. This comprises, among other things, data on the usefulness of the evaluation methods in each of the IT evaluation situations and the identified strengths and weaknesses of the four IT evaluation methods. Lastly the four case studies are compared with some case studies conducted in UK during a six months stay at the University of Salford. The case studies in the UK were conducted in collaboration with another Ph.D. student, Nick Bunyan, on some large contractors (Costain, Alfred McAlpine and Taylor Woodrow). The case studies in the UK were using the IT evaluation method “Measuring the Benefits of IT Innovation”. This enables an international comparison between UK and Denmark to be carried out.

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Full text: content.pdf (183,662 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2001 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.communication (0.028296) class.economic (0.020015) class.store (0.013421)
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by CSIR Building and Construction Technology. The assistance of the editors, Mr. Gustav Coetzee and Mr. Frances Boshoff, is gratefully appreciated.

 

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