Selected Case Studies

Breaking the Barriers: Research into IT Effectiveness in UK and Ireland. Chris Wills teamed up with Robin Hirsch for the 1989 research project while the latter was at A T Kearney, its sponsors, but 10 years later, CARIS carried out a global version with a section on transport, supported by MTR Corporation and the UITP.

A study on achieving fitness for purpose in software, on behalf of the UITP. This involved a review of user requirements specification and configuration, software development and project management tools.

A global survey for the UITP,  CMM and CMMI (the Carnegie-Mellon Capability Maturity Model and the CMM Integration Model) and reviewing its usefulness for railways. Its recommendation of CMM(I) as a software process improvement and supplier evaluation tool was followed shortly afterwards by MTR’s achievement of CMM Level 2.

Transport Sector

Our research and consultancy projects for transport organizations such as UITP (International Union of Public Transport) and the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway (MTR Corporation Ltd) include the following:

A review of MTR Corporation’s millennium readiness.This included a comparison with leading companies across the world, including the financial services industries of the USA and Europe.

An audit of MTR Corporation’s Software Assurance Framework and risk analysis procedures

A 2008 consultancy project to assist MTR to unify the automated fare collection systems used by MTR and KCR (the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, Hong Kong’s other railway), consequent upon the merger of the two railways. Issues covered included governance procedures and the rationalization of software architecture and software test cases.

The two UITP studies mentioned in Global Best Practice also contained sections specifically on the transport sector.

Information during disruptive incidents

2010-11. Client: CoMET metro benchmarking group

This project was undertaken to identify best practice in information flow during disruptive incidents on metro railways. It was carried out using questionnaires and telephone interviews as well as a literature review, the use of information from the Internet and site visits to a number of metro railways.

This study looked at communications technology, the setting or choice of standards, timings and definitions, staff procedures and the use of different forms of graphics; it included the use of social media including Twitter, mobile applications and call centre involvement. It considered the level of demand at call centres, the levels of training of staff at all levels – including the use of “customer facing language” rather than organisational jargon – and finally, dealt with the different methods used to manage people affected by the disruption.

Robin Hirsch of CARIS Research planned and launched this study on behalf of the Railway & Transport Centre at Imperial College, London.


Methodologies Used in Multiple Sectors

Profit-Driven Technology Strategy. This methodology starts with corporate strategy and an identification of profit drivers. It normally includes organisation and process re-engineering and information management. It was carried out for a large number of industries: glass-making and processing,building supplies distribution, retail and rental companies, food and drink, copper mining and electricity company.

Soft Systems Analysis and Process Design. Where the elements of the problem situation are complex, difficult to identify and to define, a Soft Systems approach can be used to “express” and understand the problem. CARIS has used this approach in projects for clients in defence, law and order, healthcare and telecommunications.