Aapo Koski defends his PhD thesis on the Provisioning of Mission Critical Information Systems based on Public Tenders

On Wednesday the 7th of August 2019, Lic.Sc. (Tech) Aapo Koski will defend his doctoral thesis On the Provisioning of Mission Critical Information Systems based on Public Tenders in Metsätalo. The topic of the thesis is a part of research done in the area of software systems and engineering.

Lic.Sc. (Tech) Aapo Koski defends his doctoral thesis On the Provisioning of Mission Critical Information Systems based on Public Tenders on Wednesday the 7th of August 2019 at 12 o'clock noon in the University of Helsinki Metsätalo Building, Lecture room 1 (Fabianinkatu 39 or Unioninkatu 40 B, 1st floor). His opponent is Professor Kari Smolander (Lappeenranta University of Technology) and custos Professor Tommi Mikkonen (University of Helsinki). The defence will be held in Finnish.

On the Provisioning of Mission Critical Information Systems based on Public Tenders

Large scale software-centric information system projects on public sector are often based on public tenders, in which the request for quotation (RFQ) process is utilized. The systems in these cases are typically procured by a long and energy consuming process, in which the procuring organization tries its best to determine, detail and document the need and then, based on received proposals, tries to select the best candidate to implement a solution to fulfill the need. In the past, these RFQ-based procuring processes resulted in waterfall-type development processes, where again a considerable time was spent in constructing the information system before it finally was ready and accepted for the
operative use.

The described approach has numerous short-comings, like the strong dependency on the upfront design and the implicit assumption that the need can be communicated effectively with tendering documents. Another major problem is the unvoiced assumption that the original need does not significantly change during the process.

As we have entered the era of agility, the incremental, iterative and customer-involving approaches have found their way into the RFQ-based tenders. The introduction of agility has potential to solve some of the problems encountered in the traditional RFQ processes, but at the same time, new challenges surface. Simultaneously, many organizations have reassessed their position as both the information system user and the system's maintainer and are looking into provision of the needed systems or software as a service (SaaS).

This thesis is based on experiences on mission critical information system projects in industrial setting, based on public tendering processes and provided as a service. It seems that the traditional RFQ-based process, even with agile ways of working, does not provide us appropriate means to deliver high quality mission critical systems. The SaaS model is a solution, saving us from many of the short-comings by enabling agility. However, providing a service is far different from traditional information system development and deployment and requires new user and customer-facing skills. In addition to SaaS, also other improvements, like changes to the RFQ process, or even to the law governing the public tenders, would be required to succeed in the information system projects in the future.

Avail­ab­il­ity of the dis­ser­ta­tion

An electronic version of the doctoral dissertation is available on the e-thesis site of the University of Helsinki at http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-51-5325-8.

Printed copies will be available on request from Aapo Koski: aapo.koski@helsinki.fi.