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Research For Practice: An Exploration of IT Issues Facing Senior Executives

The objectives of this program were twofold: (1) to showcase some of the current IT-related research projects being undertaken at the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce, and (2) to provide an interactive forum useful in building academic/practitioner linkages going forward. To this end, three UVA faculty members each made brief presentations on one of their current research projects and then lead an interactive discussion with the audience. A brief synopsis of each research project is below.

R. Ryan Nelson - Evaluating Project Success: A Meta-Retrospective
This research leverages the knowledge gained from 72 project retrospectives conducted in 57 different organizations. To demonstrate the value of the retrospective process, this meta-retrospective identifies the most common mistakes made by the project teams studied and provides insight into root causes. The research also shows how the retrospective process can lead to a comprehensive framework for evaluating project success that considers process, outcome and overall stakeholder satisfaction. A series of retrospective cases is used to illustrate the importance of a multi-dimensional perspective on project success that considers different stakeholder perspectives and yields some surprising conclusions in the form of “failed successes” and “successful failures.”

Barbara Wixom - Moving Business Intelligence to Real-Time
Real-time business intelligence is taking Continental Airlines to new heights. Powered by a real-time or active data warehouse, the company has dramatically changed all aspects of its business, resulting in industry-leading customer service and generating hundreds of millions of dollars in cost savings and revenue generation. Continental’s experiences with real-time BI and data warehousing have resulted in insights and practices from which other companies can benefit. This research describes lessons learned and illustrates how companies can effectively leverage real-time business intelligence using Continental examples.

Peter Gray - Leveraging Knowledge in Technical Support Call Centers
This research follows four generations of knowledge management efforts at the technical support call center operation of a leading consumer products manufacturer. Over a five-year period, call center managers underwent significant shifts in their conceptualization of the goals and benefits of KM, the kinds of knowledge that should be managed, employees’ roles in contributing and reusing knowledge, and the governance and structure of the KM function.  Their ultimate success was driven by a strong belief in the strategic importance of KM to their operation, an ability to learn from their own failures, and an appreciation of the crucial need for KM that produces benefits to employees as well as to the organization.


R. Ryan Nelson, Director, Center for the Management of Information Technology, Area Coordinator—Information Technology, Professor of Commerce
Barbara Haley Wixom, Associate Professor of Commerce
Peter H. Gray, Associate Professor of Commerce