2006 ADR Survey in the Australian ICT Industry

Overview of Survey Process

Why do this

In 2005 the Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia (IAMA) identified the Information Communications and Technology (ICT) industry as being characterised by:

    A high level of contract related disputes;
    Very high amounts in dispute; and,
    Low adoption of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedures and techniques.

With little or no empirical evidence to support these views, IAMA decided to conduct a survey of ICT professionals to determine:

    the extent of disputes within the ICT industry;
    the extent to which ADR procedures had been adopted; and,
    suitability of ADR procedures to the ICT industry.

IAMA identified the Australian Computer Society (ACS) and the Project Management Institute (PMI) as key strategic partners for this initiative. This report discusses and analyses the results of the 2006 Survey into Dispute Resolution in the ICT Industry in Australia.

What did we set out to achieve

The survey was intended to address the lack of statistical or empirical information about ICT related disputes a nd the use of ADR techniques to verify the anecdotal reports.

Apart from litigation, and the resultant court reports, there was no formal record of ICT disputes.

Even in court proceedings, there is no separate recording of technology related disputes.

In some instances these disputes fell within the Technology and Construction List in the NSW Supreme Court, but, in many cases they were listed elsewhere.

The joint committee decided to address this lack of information and conduct the first Australian survey into this area. There were three key questions that the joint committee sought to address:

    What is the extent of disputes in the ICT Industry?
    What is the level of knowledge about ADR options?
    How are ICT contracts developed ?

How did we go about it

In 2005 IAMA, ACS and PMI formed a joint committee to develop and implement the survey. The joint committee consisted of members of each organisation with expertise in ADR and the ICT industry. Some members of the joint committee were members of multiple organisations. The members of the joint committee, and the professional organisations to which they belong, are listed on the back cover.

IAMA is the nation’s largest, independent and most experienced alternative dispute resolution (ADR) organisation. ACS is the premier ICT professional organisation. PMI dominates the ICT Project Management area. IAMA, ACS and PMI have a charter to provide professional development services to their respective memberships. The provision of ADR training, accreditation and nomination services to the ICT industry was a key driver in the commissioning of this Survey.

A number of options were canvassed for the implementation of this survey. These options included focus groups, paper based surveys, key personnel interviews and electronic surveys.

In order to address a wide cross section of respondents, an electronic survey was chosen as the most appropriate form of survey. The electronic survey was also considered to be the most suitable medium for the target audience due to the high level of computer literacy.

The survey structure and questions were drafted by the joint committee.

ACS implemented and ran the survey using their infrastructure. As ACS had previously run a number of surveys, the infrastructure was both readily available and familiar to the majority of the respondents.

In April 2006, the survey was announced to the target audience through a series of newsletters and electronic communications by IAMA, ACS and PMI.

The total number of responses was over 400.

Following the conclusion of the survey the joint committee then evaluated the results.

(C)Copyright IAMA, ACS and PMI. All rights reserved. Reproduction strictly prohibited.