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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Using Ethnographic Techniques to Define User Requirements - A Corporate Example

Using Ethnographic Techniques to Define User Requirements - A Corporate Example
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Author(s): Gary J. DeLorenzo (PPG Industries, Inc., USA)and Frederick G. Kohun (Robert Morris University, USA)
Copyright: 2003
Pages: 3
Source title: Information Technology & Organizations: Trends, Issues, Challenges & Solutions
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-066-0.ch027
ISBN13: 9781616921248
EISBN13: 9781466665330


Enterprises that use third party application providers to support day-today operations have limited independence to access, review, and analyze the data needed for strategic and tactical decision making. Because of security and firewall protection controls maintained by the provider, enterprises do not have direct access to the data needed to build analytical reporting solutions for decision support. This paper reports an unique methodology used to define the conceptual model of one enterprise’s (PPG Industries, Inc.) business needs to reduce working capital when using Application Service Providers (ASPs). The methodology uses ethnographic interview and participant observation techniques to understand the informational needs of the Credit Services Department at PPG as the basis for understanding what people need to know for decision making and problem solving. A decision support system model to assist PPG in tracking customer payments was the conceptual model delivered from the research, which included detailed information system specifications on the required data.

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