Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis Framework In The Selection Of An Enterprise Integration (EI) Approach That Best Satisfies Organizational Requirements
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentIndustrial Manufacturing and Information Engineering
ProgramDoctor of Engineering
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Enterprise application integration (Computer systems)
Fuzzy Analytic Network Process (Fanp)
In the past few decades, adoption of Enterprise Integration (EI) through initiatives such as Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) has consistently dominated most of organizations' top strategic priorities. Additionally, the field of EI has generated a vast amount of research efforts, wherein most of these efforts centers on technologies enabling integration. Despite the great deal of advances in the EI arena, there still lacks comprehensive and organizational-driven decision-making tools to support organizations during the crucial task of choosing a suitable EI approach that best meets their business and technical integration needs. Thus, it is not surprising that most organizations implements EI solutions that are vendor biased and falling short of their business and technical integration needs. In an effort to close the gap, this study involved formulation and validation of an evaluation and selection framework, which is expected to guide organizations through a comprehensive organizational-driven analysis during EI approach selection process. Since the selection of an EI approach can be regarded as a complex multi-criteria analysis problem (involving stakeholders with varying preferences, multi-dimensional criteria and uncertainty), the problem cannot be addressed by simply applying traditional cost-benefits analysis techniques or by applying ordinary multi-criteria methods, such as simple additive weight (SAW). An elaborate and systematic approach is required that will facilitate vigorous participation of decision makers while supporting them to prioritize and focus on a set of organization's key issues, and assimilating their varying schools of thought. Acknowledging the problem's complexity, this study conceived development of a multi-criteria based framework that assimilated Delphi technique procedure into Fuzzy Analytic Network Process (FANP). The use of developed framework, IF-DEFEA (Integrated FANP-Delphi Evaluation Framework for EI Approaches), facilitates vigorous participation of a broad group of decision makers in the analysis while allowing resolution of their varied preferences and opinions. During the development of the framework, the study (i) conducted an in-depth literature review on various EI approaches and issues surrounding their adoption (ii) examined numerous organizational factors in order to develop evaluation criteria for EI approach selection, (iii) studied several multi-criteria evaluation techniques with the purpose of identifying the right method to achieve the study's objective, and finally (iv) developed and validated IF-DEFEA, which is a framework based on two Multi-Criteria Decision Methods (MCDA), FANP and Delphi. IF-DEFEA was validated through two case studies, performed in a state government agency, and further through collection of opinions from panel of independent experts. The results obtained from the two case studies and the experts' validation process indicated that IF-DEFEA achieved its requirements, by systematically guiding the selection process, simplifying the problem by decomposing it to basic decision elements, facilitating the gathering of relevant information related to the decision problem, and bringing together participants from different organizational functions to a consensus decision.