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Title: REFINTO : an ontology-based requirements engineering framework for business-IT alignment in financial services
Author: Umoh, Emem Koffi
ISNI:       0000 0004 5922 5458
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2016
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Business-IT alignment has been a top research topic for three decades now and consistently ranks high on CIO priorities and concerns. In spite of its seeming advantages, sustainable business-IT alignment remains elusive in practice. This can be attributed to the language and knowledge gaps which impede mutual understanding between business and IT stakeholders. It can also be attributed to the limitations imposed by approaching alignment solely from a strategic perspective. This thesis argues for an ontology-based framework that bridges the language and knowledge gaps through closer interaction between business and IT stakeholders throughout the software development and project management lifecycles, especially at the requirements engineering stage. Attempts at achieving sustainable business-IT alignment predominantly focus on strategic alignment and have not been successful for various reasons. Firstly, driving down alignment initiatives to the operational and tactical levels is challenging. Secondly, it is difficult to operationalize the metrics used for evaluating alignment maturity at strategic levels. These limitations are less pronounced at the functional levels of an organization. It is at these levels that business strategies are executed and interaction between business and IT personnel is most frequent. The interaction between business and IT stakeholders in the execution of IT projects presents an opportunity that can be leveraged to drive alignment maturity. The proposed framework is discussed in terms of its underpinning hypotheses, workflows, tool design and implementation, its use with a third party framework and tool. Antecedents to operational and tactical alignment such as quality, reuse, communication, learning, and shared understanding, are proposed as a practical means of achieving sustainable alignment maturity. The framework is applied to real world, business-critical projects in a top global financial services organization and validated using descriptive statistical analysis and structural equation modelling techniques. Contributions made through the study are highlighted. This includes the Alignment Forces Model which unifies the proposed framework and its support tool within software development and project management lifecycles. The Alignment Forces model and how it can be applied in practice is presented. Results of the quantitative data analyses indicate support for the arguments for the framework towards improving business-IT alignment, however with some limitations. Results also indicate support for the hypotheses for the antecedents to sustainable alignment maturity at lower organizational levels put forward. Finally, suggestions on furthering the study, addressing its limitations, and refining the framework and tool are articulated.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Business-IT Alignment ; Requirements Engineering ; Ontology ; Alignment Measurement and Evaluation ; Software Development Methodologies