Banks products and services. Software Engineering Institute

and financial service organizations have long recognized advantages of deploying
technology to improve value, speed and flexibility of their product offering to
customers 1. Software’s developed in-house or commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)
product is used to support their products and services.

Engineering Institute defines a COTS product as:

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product that is sold, leased or licensed to the general public; that is offered
by a vendor trying to profit from it; that is supported and evolved by the
vendor who retains the intellectual property rights; that is available in
multiple, identical copies; that is  
used without modification of its internals.” 2

COTS product, Core-Banking software (CBS) is used by Commercial Banks.  Centre of banking information technology
defines as the heart of all systems which is used to support products and
services that the banks offer 3. Particularly in today’s highly competitive
banking industry, CBS is a vital element that helps a bank differentiates
itself and allows offering many new technologies driven channels to customers
such as automated tellers’ machines and internet banking 1.

software product procurement process involves defining business requirements,
survey market for existing systems, define requirements, issue request to
tender, select tender and negotiate contract 4. 

presented in Ncube et al. 5 different criteria like cost, usability,
functionality, size, portability, supplier capability, etc. are used to
systematically evaluate, rank, and select a COTS product that best meets requirements.

focus of this research is on usability. Nielsen 6 defines usability a s
multiple component associated with five attributes: learnability, efficiency, memorability,
low error rate or easy error recovery, and satisfaction.  And international Standards Organization 7
defines usability as the extent to which a product can be used by specified
users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and
satisfaction in a specified context of use.



though authors in 8 state usability is increasingly recognized as an
important quality factor for interactive software system like CBS, the authors
in 9 show it is generally not identified as a criterion in evaluating
potential standard software systems and even if identified as a separate criterion,
it is not considered as important as other factors such as compatibility or
feasibility. In addition, Ova ska 10 states that not evaluating usability of
software packages thoroughly leads to acquisition of software with poor

usability increases the time needed to get desired results, increase errors and
cause misunderstanding–even misjudged decisions 10. As presented in Olsen 11,
a banking system that has not been submitted to usability testing, causing a
serious error where one customer risked the loss of a large amount of money and
another got a nine-month prison sentence. And a n Employee Self Service System
requires users to spend significantly more time on simple administrative tasks
than by using the previous paper based system. These show that neither system
is designed for their users and assessing usability is vital for those
acquiring software packages.

it might seem obvious to expect that the system purchased should be usable and
useful this is seldom the case 12. In addition, various documents depict
problems in relation to usability at time of procurement

Procurers relied on suppliers to create usable
systems and have not focused explicitly on usability issues in their
procurements 12.

Defining usability for the purpose of selecting
new technologies is a problematic task 9.

Difficult to define usability requirements 12

Preparing valid and verifiable usability
requirements for tender is challenging 13.

Determining appropriate usability measures and target
levels is a challenging task 13.

Lack of tools and experience of working with
usability 12.


output of this paper will be a recommended qualitative usability measurement
technique for COTS by adapting the possible and suitable usability measurements
from publicity available methods like quality in use integrated measurement

1.     Objective


The main objective of this research is to come up with
quantitative usability measurement technique for COTS in order to facilitate
the consideration of usability as one of the criteria used for evaluation of
candidate COTS products.

Under this general objective, there search will address the
following specific objectives:

understand and document how usability is perceived, what evaluation criteria
are used for selection of candidate COTS and how usability is evaluated.

assess how far COTS is usable for its users and the extent to fuser satisfaction.

identify major usability related challenges in procurement of COTS.

assess how far the available usability measurement metrics are appropriate for COTS.

recommend a quantitative usability measurement technique for evaluation of
candidate COTS.


2.     Methodology


3.1       Population


there are seventeen Commercial Banks that are found in Ethiopia 15. This
research will consider all Commercial Banks that acquire or in the process of
procuring CBS.


3.2       Sampling


From selected Commercial Banks, key informants that are
involved with in procurement process of CBS like management, business team members,
technical team members, procurement personnel and evaluation committee members
will be used for interview and focus group discussion.


Out of existing CBS in Commercial Banks, the researcher
purposely selects T24 for usability testing. So Commercial Banks that acquires or
in the process of procuring T24 will be considered for usability testing.
Within each Commercial Bank, users where their tasks directly related with T24
will be selected from business and technical users. Business users are
responsible in performing daily customer serving functionalities for the
provision of the bank’s products and services. Technical users are responsible
for system installations, supporting business users and handle other IT relate
d tasks.