A reference model-based user requirements elicitation process: Toward operational business-IT alignment in a co-creation value network

Samaneh Bagheri (Corresponding author), Rob Kusters, Jos Trienekens, Paul Grefen

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To improve operational business-IT alignment (BITA), the development of IT-based systems should be derived from business requirements. However, the requirements elicitation process is challenging and encounters several problems which might lead to acquiring low-quality user requirements and failure of systems development projects. Many of elicitation problems are also identified as being relevant in the BITA literature. We focus on one category of well-known elicitation problems, such as communication flaws.

Until now, the majority of requirements elicitation studies with the aim of addressing operational BITA are based on an asking strategy. This elicitation strategy is suitable for relatively stable situations. To compensate for the limitation of this strategy in a more complex situation, e.g., a co-creation value network (VN) setting, using it in conjunction with other elicitation strategies is more likely to yield satisfactory results.

To contribute to operational BITA improvement in a VN setting by addressing one category of elicitation problems. For this purpose, we design and evaluate a reference model-based approach to facilitate the user requirements elicitation process.

Two-phase research according to the design science approach is followed. In the design phase, a reference model-based user requirements elicitation process is designed. Also, as a proof of concept, two instances of this artifact are designed. Two reference models, respectively, describing customer knowledge management processes and customer knowledge management challenges in a VN setting are used separately in designing these two instances. In the evaluation phase, the applicability and usefulness of these instances are evaluated in two separate studies.

A reference model supports asking-based user requirements elicitation process via a Delphi method in a complex context of a VN. It improves the user requirements elicitation process by addressing a set of recognized elicitation problems.

The reference model-based approach, by addressing the elicitation problems, contributes to user requirements elicitation process improvement in general and to a better operational BITA in the complex situation of a VN in particular
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-85
Number of pages14
JournalInformation and Software Technology
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • Co-creation value network
  • Customer knowledge management process and challenges
  • Design science research
  • Elicitation problems
  • Operational business-IT alignment
  • Reference model
  • User requirements elicitation process


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