Requirements engineering for a social informatics system: the case of Ndumberi Coffee Growers Co-operative Society Ltd
Ngethe, Josephine Nyambura
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Globalization and increased competition is compelling agricultural cooperative societies to review their operations and processes so as to comply with the desired service delivery level to remain relevant. In this regard they are increasingly seeking opportunities for improvement. This research focused on Ndumberi Coffee Growers Cooperative Society (NCGCS) a member led organization. The objective of the study was to understand the NCGCS society member management information system, requirements engineering model and to highlight challenges of requirements engineering process for a social informatics system. The current member and management information system is manual. Members are increasingly becoming more demanding for better services, coffee buyers demands are requiring that they improve on record keeping and general technology trends are compelling them to review how they do business. The management is therefore anxious to explore opportunities on how they can comply with the requirements. Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) was used as a tool for analyzing the society requirements. Checkland’s Soft Systems Methodology was used since it provides an opportunity to capture stakeholder views and addresses both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ aspects of the learning experience. From the literature review, many critics attribute system failures to focus on hard issues with little attention to soft issues. The methodology addressed this by highlighting the soft issues like attitude of the management to change, political issues and organization culture issues and show where improvements can be made. In addition the methodology served as a first step towards sensitizing them of the organization change opportunity. It is evident that the society management is aware of the opportunity to utilize information technology to improve service delivery to the members. They are anxious to use computerization if it can help them access markets to fetch better coffee prices and decision support. They also would embrace computerization if it would seal loopholes where clerks collude with members to falsify produce receipts. In addition they would appreciate it if it hastens data processing. The challenge is that they lack software to suit their operations and skilled information technology staff.