IT consulting

Next to research, knowledge transfer through consultancy work represents another main pillar of work at FORBA. Consultancy activities on the implementation, adaptation and design of information and communication systems not only place special emphasis on technical aspects but also on organisational and human-centric factors. FORBA has almost 20 years of experience in advising staff representatives and employees on the evaluation and design of information and communication technologies. The institute not only favours a participatory approach within the enterprise but also a holistic approach to project management.

FORBA collaborates with works councils, management and the relevant departments to analyse the technical, organisational and social impact of the systems concerned. In a second step, possible approaches to adapting these systems and regulating their use are discussed and guidelines drawn up.

Focus

  • Participatory process design, holistic project management
  • Analysis of information and communication systems with regard to changes in 'soft skills' as well as monitoring aspects and potential data-protection issues. Support in the development of qualification measures regarding the use of information and communication technologies
  • Advice and design of software-ergonomic aspects of the systems in use
  • Identification of changes in work organisation entailed by the implementation of new ICT systems
  • Development of enterprise-level forms of regulation (e.g. works agreements) on the use of information and communication systems

Main consultancy issues

  • Evaluation and design of information and communication technologies
  • Examples:
    • SAP
    • Data Warehouse systems
    • Internet, e-mail, telephone systems
    • timekeeping and operating data logging systems
    • mobile data processing systems (e.g. PDA)
    • production planning and control systems

    The impact of these systems on work organisation and working conditions are analysed and suggestions for their design drawn up in collaboration with works councils, management and relevant departments. FORBA is particularly concerned with the formulation of works agreements.

  • Design and impact of work orqganisation and new management methods: Examples include mobile work, the introduction of team working in production plants, support of works councils in terms of dealing with management/business consultants.
  • Support of the participatory implementation and design of information and communication systems: In project work, technological and organisational change holds numerous challenges for enterprises. By raising aspects relating to those affected by the implementation of new systems (qualification, ICT system design, involvement in project work, etc.) in these projects, FORBA supports efficiency in project management.
  • Software-ergonomic assessment and design of VDU workplaces: FORBA developed the internationally approved assessment and design tool, EU-CON II, which is used to analyse and, if necessary, improve the user-friendliness of a number of software products in terms of the Austrian Federal Law on Safety and Health at Work (ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzgesetz).