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Risk Modelling at the Pre-Proposal Stages of eGovernment Projects

The recent trend for public administrations worldwide is to implement eGovernment. This originates from the expected outcomes that the introduction of networked information and communication technologies may bring to the public sector. In order to achieve such outcomes eGovernment projects have to be successfully designed and deployed, and these are non-trivial tasks. In fact, recent reports and experience in the UK show that the cost of cancelled or over-budget government IT projects has topped at least 1.5billion in the last eight years.

Similar situations may be avoided or at least better handled through appropriate risk management strategies. Such strategies may be able to enhance decision-making by turning threats into opportunities for success and provide better project management through enabling contingency plans or even postpone any investment into certain eGovernment projects.

Within that context, this research programme investigates the risks associated with eGovernment projects and explores the potentialities of risk modelling for eGovernment services. A prototype risk modelling tool is proposed and examined in the field. Such tool could be used by managers, researchers and other members of eGovernment projects so as to better inform the decision-making processes. In effect, that tool has been used as a research 'vehicle' in order to elicit information in order to comfortably provide an answer to the following fundamental research question:

"What is the relevance of risk-modelling at the pre-proposal stages of eService projects for the Government?"

In the near future Adrianos Evangelidis will be able to provide an answer to the above research question. This is how Adrianos will conclude his PhD thesis which should be ready for submission and examination by Spring 2006. Discussion on the complete research results will soon be disseminated in related academic journals.

The Stages of the Project

The following are the main stages of this research programme

Literature Survey

The first stage of this research programme involved a thorough survey of the pertinent literatures. The fruits of that survey first identified the research gaps and research question to be answered, and secondly, assisted in the development of a risk modelling tool that was later used as a research probe.

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The Risk Modelling Tool

In order to provide a satisfactory reply to the main research question, a research probe had to be designed. That was accommodated by a risk modelling tool for eService projects. The tool entailed a generic model of eService projects and a risk taxonomy, which involved a list of risk factor generating areas.

The Field Research

The field work done for this research involved two key stages:

  1. Semi-structured interviews with domain experts
    The aim of that stage was to further narrow down the focus of the research, as well as elicit expert opinion on the value and state of the research instrument (the risk modelling tool).
  2. Scenario-based focus group workshops
    During that stage a more thorough and objective assessment of the research probe was realised. The method itself was a novel research approach that combined social research methods, such like scenarios, questionnaires, observation, focus groups, and affinity diagram-like techniques. The outcome of that process was the 'fine-tuning' of the research instrument and a lot of key domain data that 'fed' the preliminary study on the relevance of risk modelling in eGovernment projects.

Results Dissemination

During the course of the research programme, a number of peer-reviewed conference and journal papers have reported on the various stages and progress of the research programme. Currently, a doctoral thesis is being composed that will disseminate the whole research outcome to wider academic (and non) community.

The Domain Experts and Users

For the purposes of this research project, expert judges have kindly offered their help. Such persons came from the academic and professional (both private and public sector) world and were experts in the domain of eGovernment. Moreover, two Scottish public authorities very generously offered their support and collaborated with Adrianos in order to evaluate the risk modelling tool and further provide extremely useful input to the research.

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