An investigation of system integrations and XML applications within a NZ government agency : a thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Information Systems at Massey University, New Zealand
With the evolution of Information Technology, especially the Internet, system
integration is becoming a common way to expand IT systems within and beyond an
enterprise network. Although system integration is becoming more and more common
within large organizations, however, the literature review had found IS research in this
area had not been sufficient, especially for the development of integration solutions
within large organizations. It has made research like this one conducted within a large
NZ government agency necessary. Four system integration projects were selected and
studied using case study research methodology. The case study was designed and
conducted using guidelines mainly from the well-known R. K. Yin’s (2002) “Case
Study Research” book.
The research was set to seek answers for a series of research questions, which were
related to requirements of system integration and challenges for solution development.
Special attention had been given to XML applications, as system integration and XML
were found to be coupled in many system integrations and frameworks during the
literature review. Data were first gathered from all four projects one by one, and then
the bulk of analysis was done on the summarized data. Various analysis methods
including chain-of-evidence, root-cause-analysis and pattern-matching were adopted.
The principles of interpretive research proposed by Klein and Myers (1999) and
triangulation were observed.
In conclusions, a set of models have been derived from the research, namely a model
for clarifying integration requirements; a model for integration solution architecture; a
model for integration development life cycle and a model of critical success factor for
integration projects. A development framework for small to medium size integration
projects has also been proposed based on the models. The research also found XML
application indeed would play an important role for system integration; the critical
success factors for XML application included suitable development tools, development
skills and methodologies.