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ACPHIS Medal 2016 Winner - Dr Anup Shrestha

Dr Anup Shrestha was awarded the 2016 ACPHIS Medal after completing his PhD thesis titled "Development and Evaluation of a Software-mediated Process Assessment Approach in IT Service Management" at University of Southern Queensland (USQ).

​[ORCID: 0000-0002-2952-0072]

Supervisory team:

  • Professor Aileen Cater-Steel (USQ)

  • Professor Mark Toleman (USQ)

  • A/Professor Terry Rout (Griffith)

Link to thesis:

About the PhD project

Dr Shrestha's PhD project was part of an Australian Research Council (ARC) Industry Linkage Grant project with ICT practitioners and academics from USQ and Griffith University in Queensland, Australia.

Industry partners:


In 2015, the IT industry recognized Dr Shrestha's research with the iAwards Queensland IT innovation.  The results of this PhD work was published in the IS journal Information and Management.

  • Shrestha, A., Cater-Steel, A., Toleman, M., Behari, S. and Rajaeian, M.M., (2020). Development and evaluation of a software-mediated process assessment method for IT service management. Information & Management, 57(4), 103213.

About the award winning thesis

To operate in a highly competitive business environment, organisations require the support of continually improving IT services. The dominant academic literature on IT Service Management (ITSM) focuses on the measurement of the outcome of ITSM implementation. Consequently, there is limited research on the measurement of ITSM processes. The ITSM industry has defined a number of processes as best practices in the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) framework and the international standard for ITSM, ISO/IEC 20000. However, there is a lack of a transparent and efficient process assessment method to improve ITSM processes. This research aims to address the dual problems of the lack of transparency and the need for efficiency in ITSM process assessment.

Using the design science research methodology, an iterative design process was followed to develop a research artefact in the form of a method: the Software-Mediated Process Assessment (SMPA) approach that enables researchers and practitioners to assess the ITSM processes in a transparent and efficient way. The four phases in the SMPA approach include preparation for the assessment; online survey to collect assessment data; measurement of process capability; and reporting of process improvement recommendations. The international standard for process assessment ISO/IEC 15504 and associated assessment models provided support for a transparent method. A Decision Support System (DSS) was implemented to demonstrate efficient use of the SMPA approach. Using a theoretically grounded fit profile based on the Task-Technology Fit theory, the international standards and DSS technology were implemented in the SMPA approach to address the research problem. The DSS platform was provided by an industry partner Assessment Portal Pty Ltd. that specialises in online assessment services.

Two case study organisations provided test sites for the evaluation of the SMPA approach. The two organisations are the Queensland Government’s primary IT service provider, CITEC and the IT service department of an Australian local government authority, Toowoomba Regional Council. Using the quality models from the international standard for software quality evaluation ISO/IEC 25010, the usability and ii outcomes of the SMPA approach were evaluated. Evidence from the case study evaluations indicated that the SMPA approach is usable for ITSM process assessment in order to support decision-making on process improvements.

Further discussions of the research findings provided design knowledge that included the emergence of the concept of virtualisability in ITSM process assessments and a proposal of a hybrid ITSM process assessment method. Moreover, iterations of self-assessments of ITSM processes using the SMPA approach may facilitate continual service improvement. Based on the design knowledge obtained, the contributions of this research to theory and practice were articulated. The SMPA approach extends prior guidelines on ITSM process assessment by providing a fine-grained method to assess ITSM processes. The SMPA approach clarifies the impact of software mediation to support transparency and efficiency in the way process assessments are conducted. This research also demonstrates how the SMPA approach is applied in practice by enabling IT organisations to self-assess the capability of their ITSM processes.

Upon reflection, the design science research method was found to be highly suitable to develop an artefact to solve a research problem and to evaluate the practical utility of the artefact. The SMPA approach is a research artefact that is implemented as a DSS; hence it is readily accessible to practitioners. The focus on practical utility provides researchers with results that are more readily endorsed, thus maximising the impact of the research findings in practice


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