Using multi-focus group method as an effective tool for eliciting business system requirements: Verified by a case study

Robert M.X. Wu, Yongwen Wang, Niusha Shafiabady, Huan Zhang, Wanjun Yan, Jinwen Gou, Yong Shi, Bao Liu, Ergun Gide, Changlong Kang, Zhongwu Zhang, Bo Shen, Xiaoquan Li, Jianfeng Fan, Xiangqian He, Jeffrey Soar, Haijun Zhao, Lei Sun, Wenying Huo, Ya Wang

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Abstract

This research aims to explore the multi-focus group method as an effective tool for systematically eliciting business requirements for business information system (BIS) projects. During the COVID-19 crisis, many businesses plan to transform their businesses into digital businesses. Business managers face a critical challenge: they do not know much about detailed system requirements and what they want for digital transformation requirements. Among many approaches used for understanding business requirements, the focus group method has been used to help elicit BIS needs over the past 30 years. However, most focus group studies about research practices mainly focus on a particular disciplinary field, such as social, biomedical, and health research. Limited research reported using the multi-focus group method to elicit business system requirements. There is a need to fill this research gap. A case study is conducted to verify that the multi-focus group method might effectively explore detailed system requirements to cover the Case Study business's needs from transforming the existing systems into a visual warning system. The research outcomes verify that the multi-focus group method might effectively explore the detailed system requirements to cover the business's needs. This research identifies that the multi-focus group method is especially suitable for investigating less well-studied, no previous evidence, or unstudied research topics. As a result, an innovative visual warning system was successfully deployed based on the multi-focus studies for user acceptance testing in the Case Study mine in Feb 2022. The main contribution is that this research verifies the multi-focus group method might be an effective tool for systematically eliciting business requirements. Another contribution is to develop a flowchart for adding to Systems Analysis & Design course in information system education, which may guide BIS students step by step on using the multi-focus group method to explore business system requirements in practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0281603
JournalPLoS One
Volume18
Issue number3 March
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

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