Andersson & Eriksson’s Framework for IS Quality Models

8 Feb

As the end objective for this blog is to build an IS Quality Framework I thought it would be interesting to observe how it was previously attempted. For this I am using the 1996 paper by Andersson and Eriksson “Measuring the Quality Needs of an Organisations Software”.

They developed a framework from the SOLE IS Quality model and added in software metrics while also using the input-process-output (IPO) method. Their aim was that this quality model could be used in any organisation by combing the SOLE model with software metrics. They used this method as the SOLE model aspect allows it to cover all the interest of the stakeholders in the organisation and this can help to lessen conflicting requirements from the different user groups of the system.

An interesting point to note in the paper is that Andersson and Eriksson state thatthe utility of information systems thus becomes the ultimate quality requirement from the organisations point of view.” This is a similar view to the importance of the user requirements as it is the outcomes of the system are the deciding factor as to the quality of the system. However Andersson and Eriksson note that different users will have different requirements and state that “it is probably impossible to define a static generally acceptable quality model for information systems”. This is in line with a previous blog  where I state different users of the final IS will have different requirements for the IS and thus will have different IS quality requirements.

An additional interesting point made is “the measurement of quality is a means of controlling quality.” This tells us that the quality levels of a system must be measurable in order for one to know whether it is of high quality. They pointed out that information systems quality is in the interest of both the business manager and the information systems manager and both of these should work together in order to achieve high IS quality by means of the combination of the IS staff and the users. While in this paper it is pointed out that the quality needs to be measured in order for an organisation to control the IS quality they however also concede that measuring IS quality is no easy feat and that there is no one method an organisation can use to measure IS quality. The authors suggestion for the measurement of the quality of  an IS is the deliverables of that system. In this case deliverables may be things such as documents or software. For the measurement of these deliverables they specify the context of  time and cost.

Within their model at the top level is “business quality, use quality and IS Work quality”. The business quality is the typical business side of the benefits vs. costs, the use quality is the user aspect- what can the IS do for the user, IS work quality then refers to performance of the information system including final products such as documents or software. One of the main benefits for these authors of the SOLE model is the fact that it has an organizational hierarchy and so can help to avoid the conflicting requirements of the different users as mentioned above.

Their aim is not to complete a fully constructed model but to “offer a framework consisting of a basic IS quality model, the SOLE model, and a method of defining organization-specific quality models, the IPO method” with the intention that any organisation can fill into their own situation and be able to create their own IS quality model.

In my opinion this should possibly also be true with the framework developed for IS Quality here so that it may be applicable to any organisation’s IS. Importantly in relation to this Andersson and Eriksson also point out that while it may be difficult to identify quality model requirements in a white space they say that once it is done in an organisational context it becomes much more “natural”. This is important as any framework by itself may seem lacking however when it is implemented into an organisation it is only then the full use and benefits may be observed.

While a IS quality framework may create many benefits for a business these authors state that one drawback of creating a IS quality model (or framework) in an organisation is the cost overhead that it creates. They state that these costs must be covered by the benefits that are created by the IS quality model.

Source:

Andersson & Eriksson 1996 “Measuring the Quality Needs of an Organisations Software” available at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=495321

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