Enterprise Agility (Conference Papers)

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  • Publication
    From Business Process Management to Business Process Ecosystem
    (2006) Wang, Xiaofeng
    New technologies, notably service oriented architectures and Web services, are enabling a third wave of business process management (BPM). Supporters claim that BPM is informed by complexity theory and that business processes can evolve and adapt to changing business circumstances. It is suggested by BPM adherents that the business/IT divide will be obliterated through a process-centric approach to systems development. The evolution of BPM and its associated technologies are explored and then coevolutionary theory is used to understand the business/IT relationship. Specifically, Kauffman¿s NKC model is applied to a business process ecosystem to bring out the implications of coevolution for the theory and practice of BPM and for the relationship between business and IT. The paper argues that a wider view of the business process ecosystem is needed to take account of the social perspective as well as the human/non-human dimension.
  • Publication
    Understanding Agility in Software Development through A Complex Adaptive Systems Perspective
    (2009) Wang, Xiaofeng; Conboy, Kieran
    Agile software development methods have emerged in recent years and have become increasingly popular since the start of the century. While much research claims to study agile methods, the meaning of agility itself in software development is yet to be fully understood. Agility is viewed by some as the antithesis of plan, structure discipline and bureaucracy. This study aims to develop a better understanding of agility, using the key concepts of Complex Adaptive Systems as a theoretical lens. The study explores agility from several different angles, including autonomous team, stability and uncertainty, and team learning. A multiple case study research method was employed. The findings of the study emphasize that agility is manifested as stability and discipline, which are just as desirable as flexibility, and context sharing is of the same value and importance as knowledge sharing. In addition, the collective nature of learning is underlined.
  • Publication
    E-tailing in Ireland: a review of Ireland's top 25 retailers
    (2002) Hughes, Martin; Golden, Willie; Scott, Murray
    Electronic commerce provides a new sales channel for traditional retailers (Gulati and Garino, 2000, Griffith and Krampf, 1998). Yet, many traditional retailers have been slow to embrace the new technology (Bellman, 2001, De-Kare Silver, 2000, Maruca, 1999). However, others 'Clicks & Bricks' retailers have successfully integrated physical operations with online stores (Enders and Jelassi, 2000, Willcocks and Plant, 2001). This paper assesses the current state of cyber retailing in Ireland and seeks to evaluate the impact electronic commerce has had on the retail sector. The top 25 Irish retail firms were identified and the web site (if existing) of these companies were then accessed and evaluated based on factors relating to web site functionality, technical sophistication and information provision. The research found the cyber retailing market in Ireland to be buoyant and growing. The high incidence of web presence amongst the top twenty-five retailers illustrates that Irish retailers are pursuing cyber strategies. Furthermore, a high proportion of these retailers are actively pursuing cyber-retailing. However, a majority of these web adopters do not support online sales and it is evident that within a large section of the Irish retail sector the Internet is still being thought of as a medium primarily for information dissemination to support the existing business. Furthermore, the low instance of customisation features provides evidence to suggest that web sites are being implemented in a sub-optimal manner.
  • Publication
    Agile Practices in Use from an Innovation Assimilation Perspective: a Multiple Case Study
    (2007) Wang, Xiaofeng; Conboy, Kieran
    Agile methods have been adopted by many information systems development (ISD) teams and organizations in recent years. However, while agile method research is growing, many studies lack a strong theoretical and conceptual base. Innovation adoption theories provide new perspectives on analysing agile methods. This paper is based on an exploratory study of the application of innovation theory to agile practices in use, focusing in particular on the later stages of assimilation i.e. acceptance, routinization and infusion. Three case studies were conducted involving agile method projects, using semi-structured interviews. One key finding is that specific needs of the adopting teams may drive the relevant agile practices in use to a deeper level of assimilation. Another key finding indicates the period of agile use does not have a proportional effect on their assimilation stages. Therefore, one needs to be cautious when using time as a measure of agile practice assimilation.
  • Publication
    Decisive and Incisive - The Path of DSS
    (2008) Sharkey, Ultan; Acton, Thomas; Conboy, Kieran
    Through this study we explore the literature discussing what management information systems are what decision support systems are in an attempt to clarify the taxonomies available in the literature into a holistic discourse. The concepts are defined and discussed, the historical path of the systems' definitions are diagrammed and discussed and each taxonomy found through the literature search is framed with regard to the whole. In this work we offer a diagram charting the systemic elements which are core to the definition of what each of these systems are. This diagram is useful in explaining where an information system fits into the taxonomies found in the literature. Through this we have described the path of information systems from the processing of electronic transaction data through to expert systems. In particular we have focussed on the elements of management information systems and decision support systems and their place within the available taxonomies.
  • Publication
    Modelling the Effects of Decision Tools in Online Shopping
    (2009) Sharkey, Ultan; Acton, Thomas; Conboy, Kieran
    The provision of tools to focus user interaction in analysing data to come to a decision is the core principle of a decision supporting system. This became the inherent characteristic of decision support systems to counter the cognitive overload issues associated with management information systems arising from their proficiency in gathering and collating into larger and larger reports. A similar issue arises in online shopping systems where increased catalogues become less useful without an ability to use that data to decide upon a purchase. With this in mind we argue that it is necessary now to investigate the optimum decision support tools which may be provided in online shopping systems in order to clarify for the management of these systems how best to help customers analyse and synthesise product data to form a purchase decision. In this paper we propose to investigate the methods of supporting the consumer decision by experiment and survey manipulating the methods of decision support provided and measuring the effects on the consumer decision process. This research in progress outlines the extant theories of consumer decision formation, appropriateness of strategies and the validity of supporting particular strategies. We submit that particular analyses methods should be employed and outline a laboratory experiment which we have designed to test the hypotheses formed.
  • Publication
    Optimal Product Information Display Formats in Online Shopping Scenarios: Implications for Management Practice and Policy Formation
    (2009) Sharkey, Ultan; Acton, Thomas; Conboy, Kieran
    The second key challenge noted by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (2004) eBusiness Strategy report is the building of confidence among Irish SME's and Micro-enterprises in the development of online trading. Its associated April 2006 progress report (Department of Enterprise 2006) further stressed the necessity of Irish business to be at the forefront of eCommerce. While Irish online shopping is performing well in comparison to OECD countries (Department of Enterprise 2004) and European Union members (CSO 2008), there is an absence of information codifying optimal methods for displaying product information in online trading. This research addresses the gap in knowledge regarding optimal information presentation formats in online trading scenarios. Within the context of supporting the consumer decision making process lies a body of knowledge discussing decision strategies which may be utilised, the formation of consumer consideration sets and research on how best to present product data to a consumer. Somewhat lacking is research into the applicability of these domains to electronic commerce systems despite the value they hold for practitioners. The research here proposes an investigation into the product data presentation structures which exist in many free, open source webstore software systems operating for many thousands of businesses. This research identifies the shortcomings of online consumer decision supporting systems in light of the functionality and attributes expected of the decision supporting aspects of these e-commerce systems, strategies which are appropriate to support the consumer purchasing environment and methods which may be suitable to deliver some of the benefits of decision support to the online consumer. Specific management and policy implications are presented.
  • Publication
    Organizing for Agility: a Complex Adaptive Systems perspective on Agile Software Development Process
    (2006) Vidgen, Richard; Wang, Xiaofeng
    Agile software development has caught the attention of both practitioners and academics in recent years. In spite of many anecdotes and papers describing lessons learnt the theoretical foundation of agile software development has not been systematically articulated. This paper proposes a conceptual framework to study agile software development based on the theory of complex adaptive systems. The framework is illustrated by a case study of an agile software development team. Several agile practices are identified and reflected on from the perspective of complex adaptive systems.
  • Publication
    An Investigation of Agility Issues in Scrum Teams Using Agility Indicators
    (2009) Pikkarainen, Minna; Wang, Xiaofeng
    Agile software development methods have emerged and become increasingly popular in recent years, yet the issues encountered by software development teams that strive to achieve agility using agile methods are yet to be explored systematically. Built upon a previous study that has established a set of indicators of agility, this study investigates what issues are manifested in software development teams using agile methods. It is focused on Scrum teams particularly. In other words, the goal of the paper is to evaluate Scrum teams using agility indicators and therefore to further validate previously presented agility indicators within the additional cases. A multiple case study research method is employed. The findings of the study reveals that the teams using Scrum do not necessarily achieve agility in terms of team autonomy, sharing, stability and embraced uncertainty. The possible reasons include previous organizational plan-driven culture, resistance towards the Scrum roles and changing resources.
  • Publication
    Chaos and Order in Agile Software Development: a Comparison of Two Software Development Teams in a Major IT Company
    (2007) Wang, Xiaofeng
    Agile methods have emerged and become popular over last few years as a response to shortcomings of the waterfall process model. However, agile processes are stamped by some as chaotic processes and are placed in opposition to waterfall approaches. This paper uses the edge of chaos concept from complex adaptive systems theory as a theoretical lens to analyse the roles of structure and planning in the software development process. The software development processes of two teams in a major IT company, on of whom uses agile methods and the other a waterfall approach, are presented and the project structure and planning process of each is highlighted then compared. Our research finds that structure and planning are essential to agile processes and take different forms from the waterfall model. Contrary to the belief that agile software development may be chaotic we conclude that it is possible that the waterfall method may be chaotic due to prescribed rather than effective structures.
  • Publication
    A Paradoxical Perspective on Contradictions in Agile Software Development
    (2008) Wang, Xiaofeng; O'Conchuir, Eoin; Vidgen, Richard
    An ongoing debate on agile methods focuses on the contradictions in software development, especially responding to change vs. following a plan, and people vs. processes. Unlike the ¿either-or¿ perspective adopted in the existing agile literature, this paper introduces a paradoxical view on the contradictions in agile software development and uses two agile processes to illustrate it, arguing that a paradoxical perspective can help to gain a better understanding of the nature of and ways of dealing with the contradictions in agile software development. Taking a paradoxical perspective on responding to change vs. following a plan, and people vs. processes, this paper reveals that an agile process is a planning-driven process geared to responding to change, and it is a process that provides a supporting structure for people to learn and to improve their competences.
  • Publication
    The influence of quality on the success of e-commerce systems
    (2006) Sharkey, Ultan; Scott, Murray; Acton, Thomas
    Appraising the success of information systems has long been a difficulty for management. Indeed, the definition of 'success' is controversial as the term itself is multi-dimensional and can be assessed at various levels of the organisation using many differing criteria. However, the development of validated evaluation metrics is critical to future decision making for e-commerce success. This research addresses difficulties in measuring e-commerce success by implementing the DeLone and McLean (D&M) model of IS success (1992, 2003) in an e-commerce environment. This research considers the influence of quality on e-commerce success by measuring the information quality and system quality attributes of an e-commerce system and the intention to use, user satisfaction and intention to transact from a sample of respondents. This research provides one of the first empirical e-commerce applications of the updated IS success model proposed by DeLone and McLean (2003). This paper found significant relationships between Information Quality and System Quality and three success dimensions: intention to use, user satisfaction intention to transact. This study found the following information and system quality constructs to be most important in predicting e-commerce success: ease of understanding, personalisation and reliability. In particular, this research found that reliability is more important than usability where transactions are concerned and security is important to transactional zones of e-commerce systems, but is not the most important factor.
  • Publication
    Improving decision quality through preference relaxation.
    (IOS press, 2010) Dabrowski, Maciej; Acton, Thomas; Science Foundation Ireland - Grant No. SFI/08/CE/I1380 (Lion-2).
    In online shopping scenarios, it can be difficult for consumers to process the vast amounts of information available and to make satisfactory buying decisions. Interactive decision aids are a potential solution to this problem. However, decision aids that filter a very large set of alternatives based on initial preferences may eliminate potentially valuable alternatives early in the decision process and possibly negatively impact decision quality. To address this issue we introduce a new kind of decision aid that enables consumers to consider high-quality alternatives they initially eliminated. We develop a model of such a decision aid and evaluate it on a set of 2650 car advertisements gathered from popular used car advertiser website. We discuss the potential impact of our decision aid on decision quality and consideration sets parameters, and give an overview of implications of our study for practitioners and researchers.
  • Publication
    Risk management in agile methods: a study of DSDM in practice
    (2009-05-25) Coyle, Sharon
    Businesses are increasingly operating in extremely turbulent environments necessitating the need to respond and adapt to change more quickly and improve overall time to market. From an Information Systems Development perspective this has triggered a new wave of development, the most notable of these being agile methods. A principle objective of agile methods is to reduce well-known risks associated with common ISD project failures. While there is extensive academic literature on risk management and its growing importance in ISD, literature in relation to risk management in agile ISD projects is still in infancy. The purpose of this research was to ascertain the extent to which risk management practices are incorporated into agile development projects. The methodology deployed for this research involved a case study of a change management consultancy firm dedicated to the use of the Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM).
  • Publication
    People over process: the implications of agile for IS skills
    (2009) Conboy, Kieran; Coyle, Sharon
    Agile approaches to information systems development have become increasingly popular in recent years, as more and more IS organisations are eager to capitalise on the alleged opportunities and benefits they provide. However, transition to these approaches is often far from trivial, and can be extremely problematic. Our study of 20 organisations will focus on the skill gaps caused by the emergence of agile and will identify the top ten key distinctive skills required in an agile environment. Our study will also identify the major strategic human resource challenges and practices to address skill needs and career development in today¿s agile environments e.g. recruitment, training and performance evaluation. Particular emphasis will be placed on the distinctive implications of global, and thus distributed, systems development on these challenges. This will be particularly relevant in the coming years as agile approaches cross the chasm from small, co-located project teams to large-scale, multiorganisation, multi-site development across many countries and time zones.
  • Publication
    A dialogical action research approach to innovation as organisational change.
    (Action in Language, Organisations and Information Systems (ALOIS), 2008-05) Costello, Gabriel; Donellan, Brian; Centre for Innovation and Structural Change, NUI Galway
    This paper argues that dialogical action research (AR) recently proposed by Mårtensson & Lee, provides a novel framework for both relevant and rigorous collaboration between academics and practitioners. The work is presented in the context of a case study of innovation in APC-MGE Ireland, a subsidiary of the critical power and cooling services division of the Schneider Electric Corporation. The paper addresses the thematic aspects of ALOIS by arguing that the Hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer offers a solid philosophical underpinning for dialogical AR. Suggestions are also proposed to assist further development of the research methodology.
  • Publication
    Understanding net benefits: a citizen-based perspective on e-government success
    (2009) Scott, Murray; Golden, William
    eGovernment promises more efficient services and a more responsive government. Despite substantial investment, increasing failure rates have prompted critics to argue that policy makers are not achieving this vision. Surprisingly, there is very little research on what citizens define as important in eGovernment services and how aspects of government web sites affect that perception. The inclusion of the citizen perspective has largely been absent, denying a deeper understanding of the factors that drive usage. This research proposes an important and unique development of the D&M IS Success Model. By combining elements from public administration research and eGovernment success, this study constructs a comprehensive model of Net Benefits centred on the perspective of the citizen. The novel paradigm of Public Value is used to create a balanced success model, tailored for the public sector and is situated within the D&M IS Success Model. This research therefore aims to understand what citizens regard as important in the success of eGovernment services and what aspects of IT Quality affect eGovernment success.
  • Publication
    Public sector IT outsourcing: a framework for evaluating risk
    (IFIP, 2010-08-30) Scott, Murray
    A recent trend has seen the significant growth of governments outsourcing IT projects to private sector partners. However, despite the high risk of failure in public sector IT projects, the literature on outsourcing risks predominately concentrates on the private sector. This exploratory study draws on a framework developed from IT outsourcing risks in the private sector and applies it to the public sector by carrying out a case study on three local governments in Ireland. This study seeks to identify some of the most important risk factors in an outsourcing strategy by taking into account the unique nature of the public sector in analysis. This study highlights the specific difficulties public sector organisations can experience in attempting to gain cost efficiencies from an outsourcing strategy, especially a complex procurement process, difficulties in requirements gathering, costly contract amendments and inflexible employment structures. The approach used by this paper provides a useful
  • Publication
    Supply chain transformation in APC Ireland: lean thinking, opposing logics and bricolage.
    (ECIS, 2007-06) Costello, Gabriel; Donnellan, Brian
    This paper presents a number of observations and findings from an ongoing study of supply chain transformation in a subsidiary of American Power Conversion (APC) located in the West of Ireland. The study is being carried out in a period of significant change within both the Irish economy and the APC Corporation. The research addresses the question of how innovation can contribute to the sustainability and development of the Operations function in a time of transition. To begin with, a review is presented of relevant research and theory in the areas of lean supply, innovative culture and information systems bricolage. Then the context and composition of the lean transformation team involved in the case study are described together with the research design. The work proposes to make a contribution in two areas. Firstly by providing empirical evidence of the role of innovation in an organizational transformation and the challenge of incorporating bricolage in the course of information systems design. Secondly to the building of theory by proposing that organizational innovation can be viewed as a dynamic process of tuning ¿opposing logics¿. The paper concludes by suggesting that the study has significance in the context of Ireland¿s objectives of moving to an innovation economy and of strengthening academic-industrial collaboration.
  • Publication
    Empathy and teamwork: reflections on the legacy of Claudio Ciborra through the phenomenology of Edith Stein.
    (European Conference on Information Systems, 2007-06) Costello, Gabriel; Donnellan, Brian
    Claudio Ciborra argued that the position of information and communications technology (ICT) in organisations requires a shift from the present focus on the ¿scientific paradigm¿ to an ¿alternative centre of gravity: human existence in everyday life¿. The paper proposes to make a contribution by examining the role of ¿empathy¿ in relationships among people working in industrial teams. Relevance is addressed by means of empirical evidence that emerged during interviews carried out in the longitudinal case-study of a supply chain transformation initiative in American Power Conversion (APC) Ireland. Rigour is applied by building on the legacy of Ciborra viewed through the lens of the phenomenology of Edith Stein which was developed during her doctoral studies as a student of Edmund Husserl. Furthermore it is proposed that Stein¿s philosophy of ¿empathy¿ can provide a theoretical framework for the understanding of organizations, teamwork and information systems. The concept can also provide impetus for future work in the area of human computer interaction (HCI) that is increasingly being employed in automated business transactions. In addition, it is suggested that Husserl¿s proposition that ¿an objective external world can only be experienced inter-subjectively¿ has the potential to contribute some new insights to the present impasse within the positivist-interpretivist debate.