Advancing the Service Sector with Evolving Technologies: Techniques and Principles

Advancing the Service Sector with Evolving Technologies: Techniques and Principles

John Wang (Montclair State University, USA)
Release Date: January, 2012|Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 389|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0044-7
ISBN13: 9781466600447|ISBN10: 1466600446|EISBN13: 9781466600454
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Description

Measuring progress in the service sector is closely linked to the ability to develop and implement information systems. As the service sector continues to grow, it is important to investigate what drives the production of intangible goods and overall economic health.

Advancing the Service Sector with Evolving Technologies: Techniques and Principles provides a forum for practitioners and researchers to discuss the application of information systems to service creation, modeling, and evolution. Covering foundational concepts and innovations in service management, service-oriented computing, strategic information systems, and Web services, this collection of research aims to shape future research and promote further growth of the service sector.

Topics Covered

The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • Cybercrime Investigation
  • Data Mining in Industry
  • E-Commerce Loyalty
  • Implementation Success Models
  • Marketing in the Service Sector
  • Mass Customization Models
  • Semantic Management Systems
  • Technology Services in the Healthcare Industry
  • Temporal Aspects of IT Use
  • Tourism E-Services

Reviews and Testimonials

"The world is changing at a blistering pace and technology seems to be leading the way, but the technology that is available isn't always implemented or used in the most efficient way. While there are many proposals and suggestions for Green IT, many of them have not been widely understood, studied, or implemented. This is where a lot of research into Green IT services should be heading, as while inventing new strategies is essential, finding ways and means to have them widely implemented and applied has yet to fully accomplished."

– John Wang, Montclair State University, USAJeffrey Hsu, Farleigh Dickinson University, USA

Table of Contents and List of Contributors

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Preface

Environmental issues have become an important topic of concern over the past decade, and Information Technology (IT) services have not been left out of this trend, and for good reason. With the vast and rapid pace of technology, there is no reason why IT cannot be “green” and environmentally friendly, especially given the large influence of IS/IT on the current global business environment. There are some key components of Green IT, and the direction that it will be taking in the future will be discussed here.

Green IT, also referred to as Green Computing, is the focus on environmental sustainability for the IT sector. A definition of this is, “the study and practice of designing, manufacturing, using, and disposing of computers, servers, and associated subsystems—such as monitors, printers, storage devices, and networking and communications systems—efficiently and effectively, with minimal or no impact on the environment” (Murugesan, 2009, p.25). This is a global concern, as it aims at minimizing hazardous materials usage while at the same time increasing energy efficiency and recyclability, in the context of IT hardware, software, and services.

A well-designed Green IT system can be very sophisticated, and may include different networks, hardware, and people with varying skills and backgrounds. The realm of Green IT encompasses Green Outsourcing, Green Consulting, Green Network Services and lastly, Green Package Software. A Forrester report foresees an increasing demand for Green IT services, estimated to grow by 60 percent each year (Samson, 2008).
The notion of Green information technology services refers to a somewhat large set of services available to businesses, both large and small, to help them reduce their carbon footprint in the world, while also making attempts to save money. According to Wilson (2009), 97% of senior level information technology executives have been discussing implementing green technologies into their businesses, and 45% have already started using some of these strategies. This can be considered a great improvement, as most companies in the past have only tossed around and debated these ideas, but did not take concrete steps to implement them. Another trend in this survey is that of an individual company’s increased awareness of their impacts on the environment. While the impetus of this in the past was on cost savings, a recent and critical finding from this survey points to the fact that these companies are now genuinely becoming interested in their ability to do less harm and to make a positive impact on the environment. The Greening of IT has definitely become a driving force in the business world, but it still has a long way to go (Beitollahi & Deconinck, 2011).

One of the main focus areas of Green IT is to reduce IT emissions and the impacts of the broad spectrum of IT use, while subsequently increasing the sustainability of these technologies and their impacts. But many wonder who is or should be responsible for this initiative in a firm, besides the most obvious, the CIO. While the “greening” of IT has become a very specialized industry that is changing very rapidly, as more companies become interested in sustainability, these “green” efforts are taking off, and people are being recruited from many different industries to help manage the myriad of techniques that can be employed. Not only are there workers with expertise in the area of energy conservation, but also needed are those skilled in electrical systems, energy auditing, chip design, and more efficient battery, system, and server design (Sanchitanand, 2009; Marsan & Meo, 2011).

Many companies want to “go green” overnight, but the task can be more complex and involved than it appears at first glance. Hedman and Henningsson (2011) suggest three ways in order to change a business, from “appearing to be green” to a radical 360 degree transformation. One model of change is the “storefront”. A storefront business promotes themselves as one that is green ”without changing any of its business activities; in effect, the ‘storefront’ company investigates existing activities to see if it can label any of them as green IT…” (p.55). This strategy does not, in reality, include any internal changes in their processes or business operations, but makes an attempt to parallel their current ideas with those that are “green.” While more along the lines of “window dressing” and being “for show”, few new “green” strategies are being implemented. Hedman & Henningsson’s second approach involves improving a given company’s current operations, including any viable “green IT” changes and strategies. This strategy is great for companies that are really interested in being green, but don’t have the time, the ability or the funds to drastically alter their company. The last category the authors describe what they call “the redesign.” In this model, the company takes the a firm and solid initiative to implement Green IT into every area of their business, and this may require the hiring of someone experienced to head this project. Because of the scale and complexity of this initiative, it is typically only done in cases where there is a significant upside to a drastic change, and also sufficient recognition and resources to manage the risk in the case of failure or results that are unexpected. In short, it should be recognized that while the payoff of Green IT can be substantial, the risks can also be considerable. While Green IT is such a hot topic due to broad current interest of a “Green Revolution,” there is not enough research being done in this area. Jenkin, Webster and McShane (2010) have developed a framework as to what direction this research should be going proceeding. Currently, most of the research is done on Green IS, which is (S) systems-focused as opposed to (T) technology-focused, and concentrate on how to improve these kinds of systems in terms of greater efficiency, less emissions, and reduced costs. Example of these could include more efficient super computers and data centers, for example. The author’s framework suggests moving the general direction of research into a new direction, especially taking account of the four components that they find to be vital, these being motivating forces, environmental initiatives, environmental orientations and environmental impacts.

It should be understood that the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon footprint economy represents an enormous challenge. It is concerned with allocating sufficient resources so as to transform our economy in a relatively prompt manner, but also keeping in mind the critical need to maintain environmental and “green” considerations, while at the same time not undermining the prospects for prosperity in the future. Specifically, investments in Green IT, technologies, and technologies will need to focus on resource productivity, renewable energy, clean technology, green business, climate adaptation and ecosystem protection, to name a few. These may bring about tangible effects that can be measured and quantified. However, investments in eco-system enhancement and climate adaptation might not be able to demonstrate conventional financial returns at all, even though they are protecting vital ecosystem services for the future, may have effects which are important to the environment, and can also help reduce unemployment (Jackson & Victor, 2011).

In addition, environmentally modified national accounts offer a quantifiable sustainability concept for produced and natural capital maintenance. For practical reasons, sustainability economics should therefore have their primary focus on sustainable economic performance and growth. In the case of efforts to coordinate these with other social goals, this is probably better left to the political realm (Bartelmus, 2010).

Author(s)/Editor(s) Biography

John Wang is a professor in the Department of Information & Operations Management at Montclair State University, USA. Having received a scholarship award, he came to the USA and completed his PhD in operations research from Temple University. Due to his extraordinary contributions beyond a tenured full professor, Dr. Wang has been honored with a special range adjustment in 2006. He has published over 100 refereed papers and seven books. He has also developed several computer software programs based on his research findings.

He is the Editor-in-Chief of International Journal of Applied Management Science, International Journal of Operations Research and Information Systems, and International Journal of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management. He is the Editor of Data Warehousing and Mining: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications (six-volume) and the Editor of the Encyclopedia of Data Warehousing and Mining, 1st (two-volume) and 2nd (four-volume). His long-term research goal is on the synergy of operations research, data mining and cybernetics.