For business decision making to occur, data needs to be converted to information, then to knowledge and rapidly to wisdom. Whilst Information Communication Technology (ICT) solutions facilitate business decision making, ICT has not always been effective in providing the critical “data to wisdom” conversion necessary for real-time decision making on any device anywhere anytime. This lack of effectiveness in real-time decision making has been further hampered by a dependence upon location and time. Mobile technologies provide an opportunity to enhance business decision making by freeing users from complex information management requirements and enabling real-time decision making on any device anywhere anytime. This chapter discusses the role of mobile technologies in real time decision making.
Data – Wisdom Value Stack
A record in a database, a marketing video or a company’s financial report are all data. Data only becomes information when it is analysed, understood and needed. With the application of experience and skills information becomes knowledge and when such knowledge is applied at the right time in the right way, knowledge becomes wisdom (power /profit). This data to wisdom conversion is illustrated in Figure 1.
Data – Wisdom value-stack
The familiar example is a hall porter, who by putting a favourite wine in a hotel room collects a reward. The hall porter takes the data elements (arrival at that hotel, to the appropriate room, at that correct time and with the wine) and because the elements are required and understood they are information. Context is given to the information (managing the relationships between pieces of information and used with work-flow) to achieve knowledge, which is then applied at the right time in the right way to realise a profit (Ghanbary and Arunatileka 2006).
The business imperative of the data – wisdom conversion has been widely noted, e.g. Macmanus et al. (2005), but the significance of the value stack lies in the importance of providing context through managing relationships between pieces of information and by the integration of information with work-flow. Within mobile business, the significance of location provides additional context to the information.
Resolution of the data – knowledge conversion allows the right information to be presented at the right time in the right way to the right audience, providing two advantages. Firstly, the need for users to have advanced information management skills to complete the most rudimentary of tasks is reduced. Secondly, the difficulty of managing information on the small screen of current mobile devices is removed. Resolution of the data – knowledge conversion to service both business and mobile business will allow mobility to realise its true significance through the provision of real time decision making (Raton 2006) and provide business with a major competitive advantage (Ekionea 2005).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Information Relationships: The associations between elements of information to provide context and convert information to knowledge.
Contextual Search: Searching of information in context so that useful results are obtained.
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.
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.
Information Bases: The next generation of databases but instead of storing data, information is stored in context.
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.
Knowledge Utility: Like power and water, knowledge shall become a utility infrastructure that underpins humanity.
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.