Purpose – The purpose of this study/paper is evidence to suggest that information communication technology (ICT) capital projects are different from non‐ICT projects and that as a result the appraisal of such projects is more difficult. This may suggest that organisations would use dissimilar financial and risk assessment models or place different importance levels on such models between the two types of investment. The purpose of this paper is to investigate this issue and present the results of research into the practices of organisations in Czech Republic that have recently undertaken an appraisal of both ICT and non‐ICT capital projects. Design/methodology/approach – A factual and attitudinal survey was developed and conducted during the end of 2011, addressed to organisations based in the Czech Republic. The object of the survey was the identification of current practices in respect of the appraisal of both ICT and non‐ICT projects and the opinions of senior executives on a number of important issues regarding such practices. This paper focuses on the issues relating to ICT projects being “different” from non‐ICT projects. Findings – The empirical findings support the literature in that ICT projects are, in many respects, different from non‐ICT projects. However, the evidence indicates that, in practice, there is no significant difference in the financial and risk assessment models used in their appraisal. This indicates that any perceived difficulties, which may infer that the projects are “different”, are overcome (or ignored), to some extent, when it comes to the formal financial and risk assessment stage of project appraisal. There is also evidence to suggest that practitioners use assessment models that academics regard as unsophisticated. The findings also show that strategic issues are more important with respect of ICT projects than non‐ICT projects. The research therefore supports the view that ICT projects are perceived to be different, but that the current conventional (financial and risk) appraisal models are adequate to appraise such capital projects, provided they are supported by a strategic assessment. Research limitations/implications – As the findings are based on a survey of companies in the Czech Republic only, we accept that the research results may have some limitations in terms of drawing general conclusions. The concern over drawing general conclusions is also brought about by the relatively low response rate, although the rate is in line with previous published research. Practical implications – ICT projects are different and as such these differences must be taken into account when appraising capital projects. The evidence supports the need for practitioners to review their appraisal of ICT capital projects, by adopting more sophisticated financial and risk models (as prescribed by academics) and linking their appraisal to corporate strategic goals. Future research should be aimed at identifying the formal and informal strategic approaches adopted by practitioners in the appraisal of ICT capital projects. Originality/value – This is the only survey to simultaneously address the appraisal issues concerning both ICT and non‐ICT projects in the Czech Republic. As such, it gives a valuable insight into the practices of Czech Republic organisations in their appraisal of ICT and non‐ICT capital projects. The identification of the four main problem areas with respect to the appraisal of ICT projects will help to focus academic research in the future.
Management Research Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 9, 2014
Keywords: Information technology; ICT; Information systems; Risk; Capital investment; Financial appraisal
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