Factors affecting the success of information technology projects within the Kenyan banking industry: Commercial Bank of Africa
Kariuki, Samuel Chege
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In a bid to remain relevant and sustain customer growth, Kenyan banks are increasingly looking to introduce new and innovative products and service channels to leverage on emerging technologies. The introduction of these new products and channels is often done through IT project teams comprising of bank and non-bank employees especially when the new technology is bought from external parties. Whereas it would be expected that projects run for or by banks would be smooth and ultimately deliver on the intended business benefits, several instances have been witnessed within the Kenyan banking industry where IT projects that had been touted to take as little as six months have been highly unsuccessful running into years, costing tens of millions of shillings more than had been initially intended and delivering far less benefits that had been projected. Based on the foregoing revelations, the researcher sought to identify factors affecting the success of Information Technology projects in Kenyan banks using the Commercial Bank of Africa as a case study. The dependent variable for the study was the success of Information Technology projects whereas the independent variables were Project Manager Competence, User Involvement, Top Management Support and Business Objectives. The specific research objectives were to investigate how Project Manager Competence affects the success of Information Technology projects, to establish the effect of user involvement on the success of Information Technology projects, to determine the extent to which top management support affects the success of Information Technology projects and to find out the relationship between business objectives and the success of Information Technology projects at the Commercial bank of Africa. The scope of the study was limited to the 12 projects started and completed at the Commercial Bank of Africa between the years 2011 and 2013 with all CBA staff involved in any of these projects forming the study‟s population. The primary data collection tool employed in the study wasa self-administered questionnaire developed and published online via google drive with e-mail inks to the site being sent to target respondents. Data collection and encoding was then automatically done as and when users completed the online form through the use of Microsoft Excel and the results presented in the form of tables, graphs and charts out of which conclusions and recommendations were drawn. The study found that whereas the outside world sees CBA‟s IT project delivery model as highly successful, CBA project stakeholders themselves feel that their IT projects are rarely successful as none of them are completed on time or within budget. The study further found that realisation of business objectives is the single most important determinant of project success at CBA with top management feeling that whereas they were very clear on their business objectives before pursuing the IT projects, none of the projects completed during the survey period had delivered on their intended business benefits. Top management support to IT projects was found to be very strong at CBA but this has not resulted in successful projects with 74% of survey respondents blaming poor project delivery to project manager incompetence. The study recommends that CBA reassess its project delivery framework by putting more emphasis on developing project management skills across the organisation as opposed to relying on a few good project managers if it is to reap maximum benefits from its heavy investment in technology. It is expected that the detailed findings and recommendations herein shall be of great interest to the top management of Commercial Bank of Africa who will use them as a learning and reference point for future technology projects both within the bank and beyond.