Communications of the IIMA


Decision processes are complex managerial challenges for long-term information technology (IT) initiatives with an organization-wide scope (in short: IT transformations). Costs, benefits, and risks of such IT investments are hard to capture, and the dozens ofprescriptive methods proposed for IT project evaluation have proved to contribute little to solve the dilemma in practice. Thus, as opposed to continue the search for another prescriptive evaluation methodology, this paper follows a new approach: it targets the development of a conceptual framework that allows for the improved management of holistic IT decision processes - as opposed to cook-book approaches that attempt optimizing the corresponding decisions. The paper introduces a descriptive conceptual framework capable of describing the key components (e.g. socio-political elements) of practical IT transformation decision processes, while at the same time providing enough structure (e.g. rational decision process structures) to allow for decision process effectiveness/efficiency optimization. The framework is then leveraged to deduce theoretical levers for the improvement of practical decision processes. It is suggested as a basis for future structured/holistic case study research ofpractical IT transformation decision processes. To allow for the latter, the paper introduces an approach for the approximation of the involved input and output parameters in the framework.