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The benefits of contractual causes in mitigating project failures using business system projects
This study evaluates the utilisation and effectiveness of contract clauses in Information Technology (IT) and Information System (IS) projects in South Africa to address and mitigate key risks associated with these types of projects. This study established whether specific clauses were being utilised to address key risks, and where clauses were being utilised, whether these clauses were effective in addressing and mitigating the impact of these key risks. The need for the study arose because the researcher had experienced on several occasions in his workplace that contracts which appeared fail-safe during the negotiation stage did not reach the proposed targets, let alone maturity of the agreement. To establish whether colleagues in similar positions in computer-based organisations experienced similar disruptions a quantitative questionnaire was distributed to organisations in the Johannesburg area to gain an insight into their risk profile. Risk could arise from the contract construction and/or wording. Reference was made to the contracts in the engineering environment where standard contracts have been in place for a number of years. Specifically the New Engineering Contract (NEC) of 2011 and the Professional Services Contract were consulted. The study concentrated on four categories of risk identified in a literature review, namely corporate management risk, project management risk, resource utilisation risk and technology risk, which resulted in 42 sub-factors examined. The population of suitable and relevant IT and IS companies could not be definitely established but the researcher made telephonic contact with known organisations and 24 participants agreed to participate in the exercise; 12 service providers and 12 clients of providers, where 78% of participants experienced one or more of the risk factors, and 53% used NEC standard contracts.