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Title: A service-centric framework for evaluating the IT services systems alignment : with case studies in Chinese banks
Author: Qin, Jun
ISNI:       0000 0004 1918 1534
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2011
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Information technology (IT) plays an important role in the banking sector, enabling customers to have access to financial services at any time in any location. However, due to little consideration to the need for flexibility in business, many systems require intensive maintenance and improvement during their lifetime. It therefore becomes vital to provide an effective solution for systems evaluations to examine the alignment of current facilities with respect to requirements for reengineering IT systems. A great amount of effort has been made to address this issue. There are three major challenges in the evaluation of systems alignment. First, the context of business requirements is very broad and hard to cover; this may cause difficulties in the proper articulation of contextual information during the systems evaluation. Second, a question has been raised on how to represent the elicited requirements into an integrated manner and precisely identify the corresponding functionality in IT systems. Third, the identification mechanism may return a set of IT candidates, amongst which are ranked according to the suitability and criticality for alignment has become a greater challenge. The research investigates the business context from a service perspective, by exploring the possibility of employing a business process topology to facilitate IT systems evaluation. The research defines two dimensions of business contextual information (i.e. the customers' service selection and business process topology), and specifies business requirements through dynamic modelling of customer profiles, service characteristics and business processes. Following an understanding of the diversity of business requirements, this research focuses on matching business requirements onto a set of suitable IT services. There are two steps in the matchmaking: (i) IT systems discovery, and (ii) IT systems valuation and selection. This research provides an IT service matchmaking model that enables the matchmaking of suitable IT functionalities against business requirements. It further evaluates selected IT systems to determine whether the application systems were fit for purpose for both their functional requirements and non-functional requirements. In cases where there are duplications of the systems functions, the IT systems matchmaking model returns a set of candidates. The probabilistic framework proposed in this research is used to rank these candidates in accordance with the suitability and criticality for IT systems alignment. The end result of this research is a service-centric framework for Evaluating IT Systems Alignment (EITSA). EITSA consists of three methods: a topology of customer service-centric business process, a norm-based method for business process modelling and a method for evaluating IT systems alignment. EITSA provides an effective solution for business and IT alignment, which is a prerequisite for IT systems reconfiguration. A number of techniques, such as customer classification, process decomposition and specification, and a service matchmaking engine have been developed to facilitate IT systems evaluation, which ultimately assesses the degree of systems alignment. The outcome of the research, EITSA, is validated through case studies in Chinese banking organisations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available