In the current economical context, characterized by the existence of a global society, the access to information is crucial for any economical and social development; yet, important technological challenges still remain. The representation, maintenance, and querying of information is a central part of this problem. How can we obtain the adequate information at the adequate time? How can we supply the correct items for the correct people at the correct time? How and where can we get the relevant information for a good decision-making? The organizations focus their competences in strategical areas and have recourse to external supplies, cooperating with sporadic partners, with the objective of reducing costs, risks, and technological faults or maximizing benefits and business opportunities. One of the most radical and spectacular changes is the information dematerialization, the procedure automation, the recourse to decision support systems or intelligent systems, and to new forms of celebrating contracts (e.g., is it possible to practice commercial acts and celebrate deals using autonomous and pro-active computational agents?). The virtual organizations face new challenges and there must be a search for new answers to old questions. The negotiation processes through electronic means and the e-commerce platforms may set new forms of contracts, with engagements and negotiations among virtual entities.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Semiotics: The field of study of signs and their representations.
Quality Model: A set of characteristics and the relationships between them that provide the basis for specifying quality requirements and evaluating quality of an entity.
Quality: The totality of features and characteristics of a product or a service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs.
Software Model: A simplified, usually abstract, representation from a certain viewpoint of an area of software interest.
Productivity: A measure of performance in accomplishing the assigned task given by the relationship between production of an output and one, some, or all of the resource inputs used. It is often measured as a ratio of output per unit of input over time.
Agile Development: A philosophy that embraces uncertainty, encourages team communication, values customer satisfaction, vies for early delivery, and promotes sustainable development.
Software Process: A set of activities, methods, practices, and transformations that are used to develop and maintain software and its associated products.
Software Engineering: A discipline that advocates a systematic approach of developing high-quality software on a large-scale while taking into account the factors of sustainability and longevity, as well as, organizational constraints of time and resources.