TECHNOLOGY INNOVATIONS AND CLOUD COMPUTING IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT: AN ANALYSIS OF THE ACADEMIC AND INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES IN CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
, A. Pekane2
1University of Zululand (SOUTH AFRICA)
2Cape Peninsula University of Technology (SOUTH AFRICA)
As one of the ground-breaking innovations in the field of Information Technology (IT), cloud computing offers a value adding alternative to conventional information handling, storage and exchanges. It can simplify the management of remote, mission critical and complex projects at modest costs. Project Management (PM) on the other hand, is defined as the application of tools and techniques to direct the use of diverse resources toward the accomplishment of a task within time, cost and quality constraints. Information Technology, and cloud computing in particular, has an enabling tool, resource a major enabler of efficiencies and a facilitator of the PM practice. The problem however, is that it was unclear whether this innovation was understood and maximally exploited by the PM community of practice in South Africa. This paper presents an exploration into the potential of cloud computing in management disciplines, and to understand its adoption in PM, to advance the practical objectives of this management practice.
The qualitative techniques under the interpretive approach were used to conduct the investigation. In essence, 8 respondents consisting of 2 academic experts - 1 from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and another one from the University of Cape Town (UCT), 4 technology literate project managers and 2 client service providers of cloud computing were selected from 3 financial organizations and 1 official from an engineering firm in Cape Town. The idea behind this combination was to gain academic insight on the relevance of cloud computing in PM, and to compare it with the practical needs and practices of the work place. In this quest, the Structuration Theory (ST) was used as an analytical framework within the content analysis technique to contextualize and to analyze data.
The academics according to the findings, see cloud computing as a value adding innovation – mainly to facilitate information sharing and storage and exchange. However, they were skeptical about its relevance in facilitating management operations. On the other hand, findings show an acceptable level of awareness of cloud computing in the private sector, albeit, with some negative perceptions that may threaten the adoption of cloud computing in PM. Further, standards also seemed to be compromised by cynics in the discipline. Nevertheless, positive developments are that the project failure rate is on the decline, which is further enhanced by the adoption of new innovative technological tools and systems. Rigid organizational norms also re-enforce resistance to change. It is, thus, recommended for project managers to review cloud-computing benefits in accordance with their requirements. In conclusion then, resources have not only proved to be a significant matter in PM, but also instrumental in advancing PM efficiencies, leading to improved PM successes. Therefore, the executive managers and project managers should keep themselves informed and be open to changes that can advance the organizational course.