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A decision support system framework for testing and evaluating software in organisations
Increasingly, organisations in South African and across the world rely on software for various reasons, such as competitiveness and sustainability. The software are either developed in-house or purchased from the shelf. Irrespective of how the software was acquired, they do encounter challenges, from implementation to support, and use stages. The challenges sometimes hinder and are prohibitive to processes and activities that the software is intended to enable and support. Majority of the challenges that are encountered with software are attributed to the fact that they were not tested or appropriately tested before implementation. Some of the challenges has been costly to many organisations, particularly in South Africa. As a result, some organisations have been lacking in their efforts toward growth, competitiveness and sustainability. The challenges manifest from the fact that there are no testing tools and methods that can be easily customised for an organisation’s purposes. As a result, some organisations adopt more tools and methods for the same testing purposes, which has not solved the problem, as the challenges continue among South Africa organisations. Based on the challenges as stated above, this study was undertaken. The aim was to develop a decision support system framework, which can be used for software testing by any organisation, owing to its flexibility for customisation. The interpretivist and inductive approaches were employed. The qualitative methods and the case study design approach were applied. Three South African organisations, a private, public and small to medium enterprise (SME) were used as cases in this study. A set of criteria was used to select the organisations. The analysis of the data was guided by two sociotechnical theories, actor network theory (ANT) and diffusion of innovation (DOI). The theories were complementarily applied because of their different focuses. The actor network theory focuses on actors, which are both human and non-human, heterogeneity of networks, and the relationship between the actors within networks. This includes the interactions that happen at different moments as translated within the heterogeneous networks. Thus, ANT was employed to examine and gain better understanding of the factors that influence software testing in organisations. The DOI focuses on how new (fresh) ideas are diffused in an environment, with particular focus on innovation decision process, which constitute five stages: knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation and confirmation. Findings from the data analysis of the three cases were further interpreted. Based on the interpretation, a decision support system framework was developed. The framework is intended to be of interest to software developers, software project managers and other stakeholders, most importantly, to provide guide to software testers in their tasks of testing software. Thus, this research is intended to be of interest and benefit to organisations and academic through its theoretical, practical and methodological contribution as detailed in the chapter seven (conclusion). In conclusion, even though this research is rigorous, comprehensive and holistic, there are room for future studies. I would like to propose that future research should be in the areas of measurement of software testing. Also, sociotechnical theories like structuration theory and technology acceptance model should be considered in the analysis of such studies.
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