Computing and Information Systems - Theses

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    Information technology outsourcing revisited: success factors and risks
    Rouse, Anne C. ( 2002)
    This thesis investigates success factors, risks and trade offs in Information Technology (IT) outsourcing arrangements, and also examines the impact of certain recommended practices on outsourcing success. Four research components contribute to the investigation: 1) a critical review of ten years' literature on IT outsourcing, paying particular attention to the evidence for success rates and the impact of practices on IT outsourcing success; 2) statistical analysis of a survey of government and non-government organisations (n = 240) taken from the largest 1000 organisations in Australia; 3) a detailed case study into the Australian Federal Government's "Whole of Government IT Infrastructure Outsourcing Initiative" and 4) qualitative analysis of 16 focus groups involving vendor and purchaser informants. Using confirmatory factor analysis on the survey data, the study validated seven dimensions of IT outsourcing success proposed in the literature. Only two of these factors had been rated positively by most survey respondents, and only a minority of respondents had rated the other five success dimensions positively. Further statistical investigations looked at the relationship between various recommended practices in IT outsourcing and certain success measures, and at relationships between success measures. Particular attention was paid to the notion of selective outsourcing, a notion that has received much attention in the literature and that is explored further in the case study of the Federal Government initiative. The focus group analysis enabled the teasing out of other factors, not easily identified in the other research. Drawing on all four research components, the thesis proposes that "information impactedness" associated with post-Internet technologies and skills shortages, and unacknowledged inherent trade-offs, contribute to generally poor risks and returns for IT outsourcing. The thesis concludes with recommendations for decision-makers.