Information Systems Quality and Success in Canadian Software Development Firms

Information Systems Quality and Success in Canadian Software Development Firms

Delroy A. Chevers (University of the West Indies, Mona School of Business and Management, Kingston, Jamaica) and Gerald G. Grant (Carleton University, Sprott School of Business, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/IRMJ.2017070101
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For years, firms have been investing millions of dollars in information systems (IS) to gain operational and strategic benefits. However, in most cases these expected benefits have not been realized because the software development community has been plagued with the delivery of low quality and unsuccessful information systems. Duggan and Reichgelt's information systems quality model was adapted with minor modifications to explore the impact of process maturity and people on IS quality in Canadian software development firms. The study also investigated the impact of IS quality on IS success. Using PLS-Graph as the statistical tool, it was discovered that people skills and contribution had the greatest impact on IS quality and that IS quality impacted IS success. These findings are important to both IS practitioners and researchers in their desire to deliver high quality and successful information systems in Canada.
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For years’ firms and nations have been investing huge amount of time and financial resources in information systems (IS) to gain operational benefits and achieve competitive advantage (Benamati & Lederer, 2010; Ponelis & Holmner, 2015). In support of this practice, scholars like Laporte, Seguin and Boas (2013) posited that “the ability of organizations to compete, adapt, and survive depends increasingly on software” (p.32). However, in most cases these expected benefits have not been realized because the software development community has been plagued with the delivery of poor quality software and failed information systems projects (Agarwal & Tomar, 2014; Kacmar, McManus, Duggan, Hale & Hale, 2009).

The motivation to conduct this study is based on the fact that Canada in recent years has experienced significant growth in information and communication technology (ICT) opportunities (Mignone & Henley, 2009). This growth is believed to have a positive impact on socioeconomic development (Mignone & Henley, 2009). However, close to 80% of Canadian software development firms in the Montreal area are small, with less than 25 employees (Laporte, Alexandre & Renault, 2008). In general, small firms that develop products involving software components are very important to their economy (Laporte et al., 2008). This seems to be the case in Canada, where over 140,000 employees worked in 3,000 organizations in information and communication technology (ICT) in the Province of Quebec alone (Laporte, Desharnais, Abouelfattah, Bamba, Renault & Habra, 2005).

In earlier studies on the Canadian software development industry it was found that although a number of persons have been employed in the industry, the literature makes reference to lags in software development, lack of qualified IS personnel, inadequate software productivity and inadequate software quality in Canada (Laporte, 1995). Despite the evidence of poor quality software being delivered, it was felt then that most Canadian firms did not capitalize on the established SPI programs like the CMMI and other process assessment frameworks (FitzGibbon, 1996). It is important to note that the software delivered by Canadian firms is rated low on the quality spectrum in comparison to similar firms in the Western Hemisphere (Geras, Smith & Miller, 2004). As a result, such software products require considerable effort in time and finance to fix the defects. It was observed that Canada’s work profile had the highest defect rate in terms of defects per thousands of lines of code (Rubin, Yourdon & Battaglia, 1995). This meant that huge resources had to be expended in the area of defect correction.

However, in more recent studies improvements have been recorded with increased software testing related training in an effort to increase the delivery of high quality products (Garousi & Zhi, 2013). Unfortunately, most Canadian software development firms, have far more developers than testers, with the ratio moving from 2:1 to 5:1. In addition, the majority of these firms spend less than 40% of their effort on testing during software development (Garousi & Khi, 2013).

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