The relationship between user involvement in information system development and user acceptance of the information system : a case study at Sasol.
A critical component of software development is the process whereby the software requirements of users and stakeholders are established. This process is referred to as the Requirement Elicitation (RE) process of software development. The high rate of failed, cancelled or unsuccessful projects due to not meeting user requirements may be attributed to insufficient focus on the RE process. This case study investigates the relationship between the type of RE technique used and the success of an information system at a global petrochemical company based in South Africa. The end user involvement during the software development life cycle (SDLC) and the acceptance of the resultant information system was also examined. Three information systems (IS) projects that employed different RE techniques were selected for the purpose of this study. An electronic questionnaire was disseminated to a randomly selected representative sample from the user community for each system in order to obtain feedback with regards to the success of the system from the user’s perspective. The study adopted the strategy of focusing on end user acceptance of each information system as a pivotal contributory factor to information system success. In this regard, the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) model was used to operationalize user acceptance of each information system that formed the focus of the study. For each IS project, the quantitative dimension was extended to include a qualitative aspect that entailed structured interviews with the business analyst (BA) and project manager (PM), with the primary purpose of ascertaining the RE strategy used for the development of each system. The interviews also served the purpose of providing the researcher with an opportunity to obtain a deeper insight into the logistics of system development. The results of the study indicated that planned, user intensive RE techniques resulted in greater system acceptance by the end users of the respective systems. A significant outcome of the study is that there is a strong correlation between the amount of end user involvement in the SDLC process and the success of the information system. A converse of this trend was also noted. When users have systems imposed on them, this results in lower satisfaction levels as a consequence of poor system usability and a lack of confidence in the value that the system provides for the end users.