Boštjan Žvanut (2009) The construction of tailored IT processes based on organization's socio-technical characteristics. PhD thesis.
Information technology processes (IT processes) are key elements for using IT as an asset or mechanism for achieving organization’s business goals. Organizations constitute a complex sociological and technological system. In order to make optimal use of available resources, IT processes have to be tailored according to the need of particular organization. In practice, when designing IT processes, many important decisions about the structure of an IT process are made according to the consultant’s subjective opinion and personal experience. Negative effects of such decisions could result as inappropriate, with negative effects on whole organization. The search of the literature in IT and related fields revealed no relevant research or methods to IT process construction. The field of IT governance lacks a systematic, scientifically-based approach to process construction. Hence, the goal of the thesis is to develop a systematic, scientifically-based method to IT process construction. The method, suggested in the thesis, is called IT Process Engineering. The method is based on method engineering principles, tailored to IT process construction. IT Process Engineering uses Holistic IT processes as a starting point, i.e. referential IT processes that include IT process elements identified in literature or previously implemented in organizations. IT Process Engineering is based on the analysis of the technical and social characteristics of a particular organization. Accordingly, possible IT process elements, suitable for a particular organization, are selected from the Holistic IT processes. The Holistic IT process conditions define the appropriateness of IT process elements for a particular organization by considering different organization’s socio-technical characteristics. This thesis focuses on organization’s social characteristics which are in practice often neglected. The results of IT Process Engineering are presented as a diagram of activities with their dependencies, a definition of the risks of unsuccessful implementation of the suggested IT process elements, and suggested scenarios for reducing the risk. The dissertation also introduces the basis for the development of support tool for IT Process Engineering. The method for IT process construction was demonstrated by having three organizations use IT Process Engineering to each construct two IT processes: “Manage service desk and incidents” and “Manage problems”. To test the validity of IT Process Engineering case study method was used, combined with direct observation and interviews. The case study results demonstrate that IT Process Engineering can provide useful guidance for IT processes improvement. This confirms that IT processes, suitable for a particular organization, should be constructed with a systematic, scientifically-based method to IT process construction. Furthermore, method engineering principles, used as a basis for IT process construction, were successfully applied in research fields other than information system development.
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