Unveiling barriers and enablers of risk management in interoperability efforts : a study from the Norwegian public sector
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All projects have uncertainty and Risk. Projects under a high risk have a high probability of failing to meet its targets like time, cost, quality and content. It is therefore important to manage it and try to reduce the risk. Risk management is a continuous process throughout the life cycle of a project and is a topic gaining increased attention. Likewise, e-government and interoperability has gained increased attention. Both eGovernment and interoperability projects are by many viewed as complex and challenging undertakings explored with high risks. The term eGovernment has been used to reflect the implementation of ICT in public administration. An important aspect of eGovernment is interoperability. Improved efficiency of service delivery and more efficient decision-making are some of the benefits of interoperability. My research question is: What are the barriers and enablers of risk management in public ICT efforts? In order to answer the research question, I have reviewed previous literature on risk management and barriers to project risk management with a focus on the public efforts. A qualitative study with a grounded theory approach to analysis was conducted to investigate risk management with eleven respondents in nine organizations. Eight of the organizations are public and the ninth is private. Half of the interviews were conducted face-to-face and the other half over the phone. The results from the study were systemized and categorize using the qualitative research tool Nvivo. The results of the study show that many public organizations are managing risk. However, the organizations I studied had varying level of experience in managing risk. A number of barriers and enablers were identified and systemized throughout my study. Lack of top management support and lack of understanding are two factors that are emphasized by the respondents as barriers to risk management. Several respondents also pointed out that management should impose requirements and that this will enable risk management and the decision-making process. Having a simple framework with rich description of what to do and how to do it is generally viewed as an enabler. Good communication and ownership is also viewed as enablers of risk management. Interoperability is deemed as challenging and the importance of managing risks increases. It is increasingly important to have a shared perception on risk communication, understanding and clear definition on goals of the projects. This study contributes to research on the topic of risk management, and contributes to increased understanding and knowledge of risk management in practice related to Norwegian public organizations. The findings of this study are summarized by six barriers and eight enablers to risk management and risk management practice. Organizations adapting risk management or looking to improve their risk management process should strive to reduce the impact of barriers and to exploit and strengthen the enablers to succeed in their work It is also important to emphasize that the findings are not set answers, but rather a first attempt at a theoretical understanding of issues related to risk management in the Norwegian eGovernment settings. This understanding has implications of what can be done better in practice, and further research.
Masteroppgave i informasjonssystemer – Universitetet i Agder 2013