Information systems (IS) are increasingly viewed as key enablers in organisations’ quest for distinctive work practices and uniqueness. To increase the likelihood of success in this, we expect that organisation leaders increasingly will want to develop and use such systems in conjunction with the strategic logic that they intend to pursue: how users of IS (employees, customers, and business partners) should process and utilise information.
Definitions of IS usability already imply this in talking not only of user satisfaction but also efficiency and effectiveness. However, “effectiveness… in a specified context of use” (ISO, 1998) must be judged with reference to the intended logic for such a context. This makes it imperative to link strategy and estimates of usability in changing IS, and to include in such systems relevant parts of the work practices supported by the technology in question.
We relate this need to the four dimensions suggested by Iveroth (2011) in handling IT change, which we interpret as insight and action inertia due to established systems and routines (cf. Hedberg 1976). Eliciting employee views and involving stakeholders by visualising the logic behind possible changes in IS and how they are used should reduce the risk of incoherent, misinformed and ultimately unsuccessful projects.
The article reports on experiences from testing a new approach where two proven tools were combined to achieve this: user questionnaires and strategy maps. Two Swedish organisations, a transport company and a regional administration, considered developing their intranets. To support their discussions about benefits from this, these methods were used interactively to increase understanding of potential effects of the intranets on organisational objectives. The methods were accepted and appreciated and enabled a time-effective discussion on how to develop the IS, i.e. the intranets. Both organisations concluded that their paths towards more effective use of intranets mainly depends on changing behaviours and competencies. This suggests that a crucial next step for them is to address the inertias that have to be managed in IT-enabled change.