A process to aid information systems integration
The work reported in this thesis is the culmination of a collaborative venture between Matra BAe Dynamics and the CIM Institute at Cranfield University. Initially the thesis examines the philosophy of the engineering doctorate, before describing the collaborating organisation's history and the background to the decision to formulate a structured process to aid information systems integration, including an appraisal of the perspective prior to the research. Following an extensive literature search of information systems and its integration, the findings from a survey of information systems in manufacturing organisations are described. These illustrate the need for a holistic modelling approach to aid information systems integration, the limitations of capital investment appraisal methods and the need to evaluate individual and multiple IS projects according to business objectives. The thesis then extends to the development of a process framework constituting three modules Audit, Assessment and Suggestion which provide a novel holistic approach to the problem of information systems integration. Following a review of modelling techniques, queuing models were selected to review the present engineering process through the creation of a theoretical model to benchmark performance of the information systems. Whilst linear goal programming models were utilised within the assessment module to optimise the multi-variable criteria involved in the selection of information system portfolios. The creation of financial scenarios based on corporate accounts and market limitations considered the implications of an information systems portfolio in conjunction with traditional investment appraisal methods to provide a comprehensive assessment of individual and multiple projects. The techniques used in this research were validated throughout and hence shown to exhibit criterion validity, whilst an industrial case study was undertaken to substantiate construct validity. Finally, recommendations for future work are presented and proposals for future developments outlined.