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Selecting component sourcing options: A survey of software engineering's broader make-or-buy decisions
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden AB, Lund, Sweden.
Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business. Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden. (CERIS)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0311-1502
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden.
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden.
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2019 (English)In: Information and Software Technology, ISSN 0950-5849, E-ISSN 1873-6025, Vol. 112, p. 18-34Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Context: Component-based software engineering (CBSE) is a common approach to develop and evolve contemporary software systems. When evolving a system based on components, make-or-buy decisions are frequent, i.e., whether to develop components internally or to acquire them from external sources. In CBSE, several different sourcing options are available: (1) developing software in-house, (2) outsourcing development, (3) buying commercial-off-the-shelf software, and (4) integrating open source software components.

Objective: Unfortunately, there is little available research on how organizations select component sourcing options (CSO) in industry practice. In this work, we seek to contribute empirical evidence to CSO selection.

Method: We conduct a cross-domain survey on CSO selection in industry, implemented as an online questionnaire.

Results: Based on 188 responses, we find that most organizations consider multiple CSOs during software evolution, and that the CSO decisions in industry are dominated by expert judgment. When choosing between candidate components, functional suitability acts as an initial filter, then reliability is the most important quality.

Conclusion: We stress that future solution-oriented work on decision support has to account for the dominance of expert judgment in industry. Moreover, we identify considerable variation in CSO decision processes in industry. Finally, we encourage software development organizations to reflect on their decision processes when choosing whether to make or buy components, and we recommend using our survey for a first benchmarking.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2019. Vol. 112, p. 18-34
Keywords [en]
Component-based software engineering, Sourcing, Software architecture, Decision making, Survey
National Category
Information Systems Software Engineering
Research subject
Informatics; Information technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-73928DOI: 10.1016/j.infsof.2019.03.015ISI: 000469899100002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85064013176OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-73928DiVA, id: diva2:1306732
Note

Funding Agency:

ORION project from The Stiftelsen for Kunskapsoch Kompetensutveckling in Sweden  20140218

Available from: 2019-04-24 Created: 2019-04-24 Last updated: 2019-06-20Bibliographically approved

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Chatzipetrou, Panagiota

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