Information technology, the change process, and customer service in higher education administrative services

F. John Case, University of Pennsylvania


Over the past ten years, integrating technology into the previous labor-intensive model of moving people and paper through physical processes has transformed service delivery in higher education. Colleges and universities have implemented software to streamline activities supported on and off campus. An examination of two projects affecting human resources and research administration at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Carolina) provides an analysis of the change process and customer service element affected by integrating information technology. Concentration is focused on how successful technology integration relies on guiding principles of change and the degree of acceptance during the implementation of technology solutions in two critical service areas at Carolina. Through data collection involving individual interviews and focus groups, the researcher considers what degree the guiding principles were followed at Carolina and the level of consideration directed to excellence in customer service. Feedback collected from twenty-five administrators in human resources, research administration, and information technology along with input acquired from six focus groups of customers revealed differences between the two processes. Evaluating the implementation of the Human Resource Information System (HRIS) exposed several missing elements that affected the overall success of the project. The project lacked adequate resources, planning and communication processes were inefficient, and there was no evidence of a commitment to customer service. The implementation of the Coeus system to support research administration achieved greater success through acquiring the necessary institutional commitments and resources and securing effective leadership and training facilitators. The perception of customer service differed between the two projects, which affected the eventual outcome for each implementation project. The results generated through data synthesizing were not surprising but revealed how future projects must adhere to a prescribed format for implementation. Refining the guiding principles of change to incorporate the critical role of leadership is necessary for successful integration of technology. It is equally important to clarify excellence in customer service from the beginning to ensure customer satisfaction and subsequent use of the system.

Subject Area

Higher education

Recommended Citation

Case, F. John, "Information technology, the change process, and customer service in higher education administrative services" (2003). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3084875.