Proposal of an Instructional Design for Teaching the Requirement Process for Designing Information Systems

Article excerpt

Introduction

In the field of information systems (IS) design, the requirement process and related fields are growing in importance. Despite their importance, the development of human resources in these fields does not appear to be proceeding in tandem with their requirements. It is urgent that both industry and education focus on fostering human resources who can direct the requirement and design processes of information systems.

For systems vendor companies, the development of high value-added systems analysts and architects has become a critical measure to survive and cope with rival foreign companies who provide cheaper systems. For systems user companies, fostering human resources with capabilities and skills has become a strategic issue. These capabilities and skills include the ability to elaborate an enterprise information systems architecture that matches the business structure and determine system requirements and specifications for individual systems based on the enterprise architecture. Japanese government and industry have advocated a proposal (Information Service and Software Sub-committee, 2007) to promote the fostering of IT human resources at an advanced level. Figure 1 shows the relationship between the levels of required human resources of this proposal and our target discussed later in this article.

This proposal classifies IT human resources into seven levels. Level one is the entry level, levels two and three correspond to the middle levels, and levels four to seven correspond to the advanced level. The critical issue is how to raise human resources to at least level five.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

The first step in developing information systems involves shaping business activities in the targeted domain as requirements. After the desired outcomes are described to them, architects must have the competencies to analyze and map business structures and processes into an information system. The human resources who take charge of this field should have the ability to understand and describe business structure in the targeted domain as well as in information systems.

In addition to standard data-based education, education based on experience may be required to develop human resources. Many researchers claim that on-the-job training (OJT) is suitable for this purpose. Although many companies apply OJT, much of the training does not succeed because of a lack of competent instructors. Often, those most suitable to become OJT instructors are busy people who do not have sufficient time to provide training. In consequence, trainees do not receive enough guidance, and thus not enough results, from their training. The means by which to foster capable human resources must be considered an urgent and important issue for educational programs, especially for professional graduate school programs in information systems.

As a part of a program that advances IT human resources, we have implemented a course of business modeling by means of a seminar to foster the human resources described above. This paper describes the design of the learning process and assesses the applicability and effectiveness of the instructional process.

Describing a Business Structure with Conceptual Data Modeling

Information Systems Requirements and Conceptual Data Modeling

The first issue in developing information systems is determining how to design the system according to client requirements. It is necessary to visualize the potential requirements of both clients and business experts in an objective domain. In conjunction with visualization, consensus building between stakeholders, including both clients and information systems architects, is indispensable.

Much research and many studies (e.g. Davis, 2004; Jackson, 1995) have been produced on client requirements. The essential point of the requirement process is inheres how to describe a real-world process. …