A study of business integration methods
Business-wide integration is a key strategic objective for survival in a global market place. The objective of the work presented in this thesis was to conduct a detailed study of business integration methods with a view to identifying development areas and developing the necessary methods, procedures and tools to address these gaps. Following a literature review the following development needs were identified: - -A Reference Model - An Audit Method -A Methodology The latter part of this thesis presents, in detail, the Reference Model, the Audit Method and the Methodology which' has been developed to fulfil the gaps identified. The Reference Model identifies six performance areas and criteria which an organisation would need to fulfil to achieve business-wide integration. The Methodology provides necessary framework, tools and techniques to achieve the performance criteria specified within the Reference Model. The Methodology consists of six main phases which ensures that the business vision, objectives and strategy are deployed through various functions down to operational processes. This is achieved through the use of an integrated set of performance measures. The Audit Method provides a set of procedures to measure an organisations performance against the criteria identified within the Reference Model. It is also used to measure the effectiveness of the methodology towards the achievement of the Reference Model. The application of the Methodology is illustrated through three different case studies. All three case studies, through the Audit Method, demonstrate that the application of the Methodology has resulted in considerable and measurable improvements in the levels of integration. Throughout the thesis emphasis has been placed on the research methods employed. The thesis concludes with a review of the work done and the research methods employed.