טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentCohen Shalom
SubjectA Multi-Tier System Development Life Cycle Model for Off-
the-Shelf Software with Market and
Organizational Effects
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisors Professor Dov Dori
Professor Emeritus Uzi De Haan
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

Software vendors and entrepreneurs, who try to introduce an innovative software product to a specific organization or an entire market, enter a long and tedious process. During this process, the market and various organizations evaluate the product from different perspectives, such as software robustness, manufacturer reliability, and corporate need for the product. The vendors and entrepreneurs engaged in this process encounter decision crossroads for which no relevant guidance exists in the literature.

The research closely monitored the processes associated with the introduction and assimilation of an innovative OTS software product into five different organizations in different vertical market segments. Observations were carried out to assess organizational and marketing processes and to document and analyze what the software product undergoes before it is accepted for acquisition or full implementation within the organization.

The research outcomes offer a unified, comprehensive multi-tier System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) framework and methodology for packaged Off-The-Shelf (OTS) software products. Each tier addresses a different force or stakeholder involved in the software market: vendor, customer, consultants and integrators. The basic time-frame of the "classical" SDLC, especially its beginning (inception) and end (implementation and maintenance), have been maintained.

The multi-tier model includes a considerable number of distinct tasks, which are described in detail and in an orderly fashion. These tasks were only partially described previously in past research works. Newly found tasks include (1) offering of the OTS software product together with personnel as a bundle, (2) an improvisation-intensive repetitive task of weaving potential customers' requirements into the prototype, and (3) a third sale milestone, representing the successful diffusion of the product. The tasks were classified into groups that include the Lead-Driven Development for OTS vendors, the Lead-Driven opportunity and project acquisition for customers and tasks for third parties, VCs, and shareholders.

An additional research outcome is a connection that has been found between an OTS software product and the need to combine formal with improvisational development strategies to cope with market uncertainties. This finding regarding the importance of improvisational skills, suggests that mature, non-entrepreneurial firms develop improvisational skills and that entrepreneurial firms improve their formal development skills.

The significance of this interdisciplinary research stems from its unique position at a crossroad between software engineering, marketing, and business administration, which has not yet been sufficiently explored or cultivated.