Information Communication Technology (ICT) needs to provide the knowledge worker with an integrated support system of information management and work-flow. This challenge, however, is further exacerbated in mobile business wherein the knowledge work is not identified with a particular location. Information systems need to be analyzed and modeled, keeping the location-independence of the users in mind. A Model Driven Architecture (MDA) approach, aligned with Object-Orientated Design principles, and driven dynamically as the user interacts, has immense potential to deliver solutions for the systems used by the knowledge worker. An MDA approach provides a unified approach to solutions architecture, information management, and business integration. At the enterprise level, the desktop, the mobile device and at the emerging marketplace level, the evolving need for realtime decision making on any device, anywhere, anytime, to support mobile business is providing a framework for aligning ICT to business. Further details are presented in this chapter together with some of the challenges and opportunities to be seen within mobile business.
Role Of Knowledge Management In Mobile Business
Through the application of proven business principles, business has standardised catering, cleaning, farming, minerals extraction and manufacturing. The last great challenge is the standardisation of knowledge workers to lower costs and assure guaranteed service deliver (Sherringham 2005). This need for standardisation and the resolution of information management and work-flow becomes more pressing when the needs of mobile business are considered (Sherringham 2008).
This situation portrayed in Figure 1 often occurs in organisations, where a Customer contacts a Service Representative who is faced with querying multiple disparate backend systems to find the required information to respond to the Customer’s request. The Service Representative may not find what they want, so they have a discussion with a co-worker who tries to do the same thing and who may bring in another co-worker. In the mean-time, the Customer gets frustrated and approaches another Service Representative who goes through the same process. Add to this the duplication between Internet and Intranet, disparate Web sites and the sending of e-mails that are not coherently managed and an in built hidden cost with a failure to guarantee service delivery is seen.
Hidden costs of knowledge management present in the enterprise
ncumbent within the desktop environment and within many enterprise architectures is the isolation of data in disparate silos with a resulting duplication of effort. A scarcity of context for the information and a lacking of integration with work-flow further increases hidden costs because of the time spent trying to find information. The demand by customers for mobile business services and because of the constraints imposed by mobile devices, a redefinition of enterprise architectures and an optimisation of the desktop environment shall result.a
The small screen size inherent in current mobile devices means that if mobile business services are to be provided and accepted by the user, all of the information management currently required will need to have occurred before delivery to the mobile device. Mobile business will drive the implementation of real time decision making. Instead of users searching and sifting through information, the right information is presented at the right time in the right way to allow decisions to be made, e.g. our favourite restaurants bid in real time to achieve our patronage on any device anywhere anytime (Sherringham and Unhelkar 2008b).
The demand for real time decision making from mobile business is expected to be one of the main drivers for the provision of mobile business services, resolution of information management and for the realignment of ICT to support business needs.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Information Bases: The next generation of databases but instead of storing data, information is stored in context.
Marketplace Computing: Standardised computing (tightly integrated hardware and software) operating at the marketplace level to allow businesses to interact effectively in a marketplace. Business currently standardises at the enterprise level but to operate effectively, standardisation shall be at the marketplace level.
Real Time Decision Making: The provision of information in context and integrated with work-flow in real time to any device anywhere anytime is needed so that decisions can be made.
Knowledge Worker Assembly Line: Knowledge workers take information and value-add to it to provide services. ICT needs to provide the right information at the right time in the right way for knowledge workers to effectively operate, i.e. ICT is the assembly line for knowledge workers.
FedEx Model: A model for the operation of a unified messaging environment based on the proven principles to move messages (parcels) around the world by leading logistics companies.
Activity Objects: A series of objects invoked from a standard iconic interface that provide business functionality because they contain the necessary content, images, business logic, processing rules, work-flow and presentation rules.
Information Relationships: The associations between elements of information to provide context and convert information to knowledge.