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Title: The co-design of business and IT systems based on organisational semiotics
Author: Sani, Navid Karimi
ISNI:       0000 0004 2743 2647
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2011
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The twenty-first century business environment is extremely competitive and challenging. The winners in this fast paced dynamic environment are the ones which co-evolve all of their resources in a more effective and innovative way. Needless to say, information technology (IT) becomes an inevitable part of organisations in order to facilitate their transformation to be more adaptive and innovative. Unfortunately, large amount of resources are being invested in IT systems; however, they do not provide the expected benefits for several reasons. Firstly, organisations are forced to change their business practice frequently, and these changes are often not applied in their IT systems. Therefore, IT systems, which were once satisfactory, become inadequate, in-time obsolete and sometimes the bottleneck of business activities. Moreover, organisations utilise IT systems without carefully considering their effects on other parts of the organisation. Therefore, the challenge is to organically co-design IT with business operation in order to improve the overall performance of the organisation. Co-design of business and IT systems is a field that is concerned with gathering and processing knowledge from different parts of an organisation to transform business processes and IT systems simultaneously. This research project aims to expand the co- design theory and develop a co-design method that will offer practical solutions for aligning business processes and IT systems. Organisational semiotics is the theoretical and methodological foundation of this research. The proposed co-design method, called Co- BITS, is organised in three layers; informal, formal, and technical, inspired by the organisational onion from organisational semiotics tools. Co-BITS method starts by identifying the problem in hand through involving relevant stakeholders from different parts of the organisation. Then, related processes and activities (the "as-is" situation) are studied and the desired solutions (the "to-be" situation) are proposed. Consequently, the relevant IT systems are examined to identify whether they will support the target situation. Finally, if changes need to be introduced it will be discussed with relevant stakeholders and proper actions will be taken. This research adopts the radical subjectivist paradigm and believes that the drivers of changes and their solutions are directly influenced by the stakeholders' views. Multiple case study approach is employed as the research method in order to evaluate and validate Co-BITS method; two case studies have been conducted in which the method has been applied to the analysis and design of proposed changes in business and IT systems. The results are qualitatively analysed and justified in this thesis. Moreover, the outcomes and recommendations have been presented to the companies for feedback and evaluation. The outcomes proved that Co-BITS can be used as a solution for co-designing business and IT systems as simultaneously as possible and can lessen the gap between these two systems in the occurrence of change. Moreover, the outcome of valuation shows more promising benefits for medium to large size organisations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available