Sharjah Higher University of Technology (SHUT) is one of the 17 colleges that constitute the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) in the UAE. The institution operates as a public university in the UAE.
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The institution is divided into men and women’s colleges. The women’s college was founded in 1997 while the men’s college was founded in 1998. The institution provides Emiratis with an opportunity to achieve their professional and career goals. The university can be described as a ‘peoples’ institution that allows the Emiratis to access higher education.
SHUT has attained remarkable growth over the past decade. For example, the number of full time students has increased from 3,000 to 5,000. SHUT intends to develop a dynamic learning environment that will enhance the students’ personal and academic success. The institution intends to impart sufficient knowledge and skills that will improve the students’ competitiveness in the labor market. The university will focus on the students’ communication skills, critical thinking, leadership, and technical skills.
The university is also concerned with improving the students’ personal integrity. By focusing on these issues, the university will improve the competitiveness of the students in the labor market. Subsequently, they will fit in an environment that is increasingly becoming complex and globalised.
SHUT is committed towards achieving the set organizational goals, which are projected to the student and the society in general. The institution intends to nurture a high level of long-term sustainability, economic, and social sustainability in the UAE. In the process of implementing the IT project, the institution intends to achieve the following objectives.
- To enhance Emiratisation of the UAE’s workforce by offering high quality educational programs
- Enhance effective utilization of educational technologies in order to expand accessibility of education to Emirati students.
The Business case
Purpose of the business case
Currently, the institution’s information technology infrastructure is poorly developed due to poor funding. The university’s director, Dr. Sarid, intends to transform the institution’s IT infrastructure by re-engineering the computer information systems. The institution intends to update its classroom technology with state of the art computers.
Moreover, the students will be issued with iPads, which have the ability to undertake all academic requirements. Implementing the new technology will significantly improve the effectiveness with which the institution imparts knowledge to students in the UAE. The new information technology will improve the effectiveness with which students interact with each other hence promoting information sharing.
However, the success of the intended changes will depend on the effectiveness of the new technologies to work seamlessly with each other and allow for a smooth transition from the current systems. Failure to configure the new information technology successfully will culminate in low usability of the new technology. Moreover, substantial cost will be incurred in the process of implementing the new information technology (Nevitt and Fabozzi 64).
Business case sponsor
The business case will be sponsored by the UAE federal government in partnership with the institution’s ‘Learning by Doing Initiatives.’
Situational assessment and problem statement
The UAE has experienced consistent growth in the education sector over the past decades. The growth has emanated from rising educational needs and increment in government initiatives directed to the education sector. In 2010, the UAE government allocated 22.5% of the national budget to education.
A study conducted by Nevitt and Fabozzi (43) shows that the UAE graduates have not met the employers’ needs. The students lack the innovation and skills demanded by employers. The UAE government has recognized this gap and it has called the learning institutions in the country to establish first-rate education systems that will promote the development of vocational and scientific skills that align with the market needs.
SHUT’s objective is to improve the information technology infrastructure within the institution. Implementing new technology will improve the institutions’ position amongst students in the UAE. The institution will become the ‘University of Choice’ amongst students in the UAE especially in Sharjah and the bordering areas seeking post-secondary education. Currently, the university utilizes old information technology.
The majority of the implemented technologies are ineffective as they are reaching the end of their lifecycle replacement period. Moreover, the functionality of the old technologies is limited. The university intends to replace the old technology by implementing multi-functional devices, which can print and scan documents.
The new technology will improve the competitiveness of the institution in the UAE’s education sector. The university will be in a position to provide students with diverse, high quality, and career-oriented programs. SHUT intends to deal with the market gap by offering students programs that meet the students’ needs, the workforce requirement in the labor market, and the set international educational standards. This aspect will improve employability of its students.
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Assumption and constraints
Hallows argues, “Projects experience problems due to the existence of assumptions that turn out to be invalid or constraints that were never identified (104). The university assumes that the UAE government will sponsor the Information Technology project to its completion, which will improve the institution’s ability to meet the market demand.
Moreover, the university’s management team assumes that the government will aid in the process of maintaining the new technology. Consequently, the life of the new computer systems implemented will be improved.
Implementing change in organizations is usually characterized by incidences of resistance from different stakeholders such as the employees (Schwalbe 89). However, the institution’s management team assumes that the project will not experience resistance from staff. In addition, the director assumes that the IT department will provide the necessary support to aid in the implementation of the new computer technology.
When implementing the project, it is imperative for the university’s management team to appreciate the existence of project constraints. The constraints refer to the boundaries or limits within which the project must be implemented (Kerzner 85). The following constraints will be experienced in implementing this project.
- Budgetary constraints – The UAE federal government will sponsor the implementation of the new computer technology in the university. The government has limited its sponsorship of the ‘Learning by Doing Initiative’ to the university to 10%. Some of the funds will be allocated to other initiatives such as improving engineering and science laboratories, work placement initiatives, and field trip. Consequently, the funds for the new computer technology will be limited.
- Delivery constraints – Another major constraint to the project relates to time. The new computer technology systems must be installed by 30 June 2014 to allow sufficient training for the faculty.
- Resource constraint – currently, the university’s information technology department is understaffed. Moreover, the university’s staff members do not have adequate skills with regard to new information technologies. Consequently, the university might not have adequate support to aid in implementing the new technology.
Identification and analysis of options
Currently, the R203 class is installed with old computers, which are functional and have up-to-date software. However, the software is reaching the end of its replacement period. The university will incur a substantial cost by installing new computers in the classroom.
Apart from installing the new computers, the university intends to utilize the budgetary allocation by the federal government in other projects such as improving the engineering and science laboratories, work placement initiatives, and field trip. Subsequently, the amount allocated will be constrained. The university faces a number of options that it can consider as explained herein.
Option 1: – upgrade the computers
The existing computer technology in the institution has been replaced by more effective and functionally richer computer technology in the market. However, the university can decide to upgrade the old computers. The university will incur a lower cost by upgrading the computers compared to buying new computers.
The process of upgrading the computers will entail focusing on the most important aspects. Consequently, the staff and students will be more efficient and effective in executing diverse tasks. Rose (46) asserts that upgrading the computer systems ensures that optimum configuration is undertaken, thus attaining the intended benefits. Therefore, the institution will know exactly what is installed in the computers.
The university will also be in a position to resolve problems that might occur. However, upgrading the computers may pose a security threat to the institution’s computer system. The computers may be infected by bugs, which might affect the normal operation of the institutions. The firm will also incur substantial costs in training the staff on how to use the upgraded computers. Another risk relates to incompatibility of the installed software and hardware.
Option 2- Install new computers
The institution can also consider overhauling the entire computer system in class R203 by installing new computers. The university will accrue a number of benefits by installing new computers. First, new computers have a higher processing capacity compared to old computers.
Therefore, the computer systems will be more effective, efficient, and productive. Buying new computers will culminate in the university staff being enriched on new computer skills. Despite the above benefits, installing new computers will consume a significant proportion of the university’s budget. Thus, the opportunity cost involved is higher. Moreover, some crucial information might be lost in the process of transferring data from the old to the new computer.
Option 3- retain the status quo
The university may also decide to do nothing and remain with the old computers. By taking into account this decision, the university will be in a position to utilize the budget allocation in other academic projects such as improving its engineering and science laboratories.
This decision will pose a major risk in the university’s effort to offer students high quality education. For example, the delivery of knowledge and skills to the students will be weakened, and thus, the attractiveness of the university to students the UAE and the entire GCC region will be diminished.
Comparison of options
The following is a summary of the comparison of options on a 5-point scale. A scale of 5 = high while 1= low.
|Criteria||Option 1||Option 2||Option 3|
|Costs; ||5 |
|Risks; ||3 |
|Stakeholder impact; ||3||5||1|
The university should consider option 2, viz. install new computers in the 30 workstations.
Project title: Implementation of 30 new computers in class R203 at SHUT University
Project Target outcome/benefits
The project is intended to improve the quality of education delivery at the University. The success of the project will be evaluated by assessing the number of student enrollment at the university and the level of compatibility amongst the students and the labor market demands.
The project outputs will be assessed by evaluating whether each phase is successfully completed.
Projects consume a substantial amount of time (Taylor 87). The project is expected to be completed by 1 July 2014, which entails a duration of 5 months. However, the project duration will be crashed to 4 months. The table below shows the project phases and the key milestones.
|Project phases and milestones||Start time||Finish date||Milestone|
|Evaluating the old computer systems to determine their suitability||5th Feb. 2014||1 2th Feb. 2014||Successful analysis of the old computer systems|
|Creating backup for the data in the old computers||15th Feb. 2014||30th Feb. 2014||Successful establishment of backup|
|Identification and purchase of new computers||1st March 2014||15th March 2014||Delivery of the new computers to the university|
|Removing the old computer systems||16th March 2014||7th April 2014||Successful removal of the new computers|
|Installing the new computers||8th April 2014||29th April 2014||Successful installation of the new computers with the appropriate software and hardware|
|Testing the functionality of the computers||1st May 2014||15th May 2014||Successful operation of the new computers|
The chart below illustrates the estimated cost of implementing new computer systems
|Work package||Estimated cost [Amount in $]|
|Market research on the new computers||5,000|
|Cost of establishing data backup||10,000|
|Purchasing new computers||300,000|
|Uninstalling the old computers||7,000|
|Installing and configuring the new computers||120,000|
|Testing the computers||8,000|
|Total estimated cost||442,000|
The success of the project will be determined by how well the computer systems are configured and implemented. Subsequently, the services of IT experts are necessary. The University will outsource the services of well-established IT consultancy firms in the UAE to undertake the installation of the computers.
Project management framework
The chart below illustrates the projects’ governance structure.
The project manager will set and ensure that the project meets predetermined quality standards. Every phase of the project will be reviewed to ensure that the intended objectives are met.
Organizational change management
The project manager will ensure that the students and the University’s staff are well informed about the intended change on the computer systems. This will aid in minimizing resistance by the students and the employees.
After the completion of the project, the project manager will conduct a comprehensive review of the project to determine its suitability. The review process will also aid in identification of possible gaps, which should require improvement.
Kerzner, Harold. Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling, Hoboken: Wiley.
Nevitt, Peter, and John Fabozzi. Project financing, London: Euro Money, 2000. Print.
Rose, Kenneth. Project quality management: why, what and how, Florida: Ross Publication, 2005. Print.
Schwalbe, Kimmel. Information technology project management, Boston: Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.
Taylor, John. Project scheduling and cost control: planning, monitoring and controlling the baseline, Ft. Lauderdale: Ross Publication, 2008. Print.