Information in use Aspects of information quality in workflows
Abstract: This thesis is founded on the global growth of the service sector and its significance for society as a whole and for the individual human being. In the last decade, technology has changed the way services are created, developed and delivered in remarkable ways. The focus of the thesis is technology in interplay with humans and organisations and the socio-economic-technical systems in which digital services play a central role. Challenges addressed by the thesis include requirement analysis, trustworthy systems, in- and outsourcing aspects, the proper understanding of information and its use in real world applications. With this in mind, the thesis presents a configurable methodology with the purpose to quality assure service oriented workflows found in socio-economictechnical systems. Important building blocks for this are information types and service supported workflows. Our case study is of a call centre-based business called AKC (Apotekets kundcentrum). AKC constitutes a part of the Cooperation of Swedish Pharmacies (Apoteket AB). One of their main services offered to Swedish citizens is the handling of incoming questions concerning pharmaceutical issues. We analysed the interactive voice response system at AKC as a starting point for our investigations and we suggest a more flexible solution. We regard a socio-economic-technical system as an information ecology, which puts the focus on human activities supported by technology. Within these information ecologies, we have found that a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) can provide the flexible support needed in an environment with a focal point on services. Input from information ecologies and SOA also enables a structured way of managing in- and outsourcing issues. We have also found that if we apply SOA together with our way of modelling a Service Level Agreement (SLA), we can coordinate high-level requirements and support system requirements. In the dissertation, we propose three attributes closely linked to information quality: • Trustworthiness of the source • Protection against falsification of information • The receiver’s competence to use obtained information in the appropriate and intended way. The first attribute concerns the assessment of a source’s trustworthiness. The second regards the ascertainment that the information has not been falsified on its way from the source to the receiver. These two attributes can be related to the classic CIA-model for information security. The last attribute can be related to the use of information, and this thesis also focuses on this issue. As a result, we propose a set of guidelines which represent our approach towards developing quality assured systems. We also present two main types of validation for service oriented workflows: validation of requirement engineering and validation of business processes.
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