Infonomics for Distributed Business and Decision-Making Environments: Creating Information System Ecology

Infonomics for Distributed Business and Decision-Making Environments: Creating Information System Ecology

Malgorzata Pankowska (Karol Adamiecki University of Economics in Katowice, Poland)
Indexed In: SCOPUS View 1 More Indices
Release Date: October, 2009|Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 390
ISBN13: 9781605668901|ISBN10: 1605668907|EISBN13: 9781605668918|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-890-1

Description

The information economy continues to challenge businesses in many ways with information technologies and globalization leading to blurred the organizational boundaries.

Infonomics for Distributed Business and Decision-Making Environments: Creating Information System Ecology provides greater understanding of issues, challenges, trends, and technologies effecting the overall utilization and management of information in modern organizations around the world. A leading field resource, this innovative collection addresses the emerging issues in information resources economics and its applications.

Topics Covered

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

  • Accounting and billing in computing environments
  • Autonomic communications
  • Distributed decision support systems
  • E-banking services
  • Globalization in software development
  • Governance of virtual networks
  • Grid-based e-health business environment
  • Health infonomics
  • Information Management
  • Information system development
  • Information systems ecology
  • Ontology-based network management
  • Strategic role of information interactions

Reviews and Testimonials

This book is designed to detail the main concepts of infonomics, how the issues transcend beyond the physical boundaries of an enterprise, how it has extended out into entities' customers, trading partners and suppliers, and the interdependencies that have been created.

– Malgorzata Pankowska, Karol Adamiecki University of Economics in Katowice, Poland

Table of Contents and List of Contributors

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Preface

The field of information resources management is broad and encompasses many facets of information technology research and practice as well as business and organizational processes. Because information technology changes at an incredible rate, it is essential for all who use, teach or research information management to have access to the most current data and research and keep up with the emerging trends. This publication is aimed at providing a greater understanding of issues, challenges, trends and technologies effecting the overall utilization and management of information in modern organizations around the world.

The chapters in this book address the emerging issues in information resources economics and its application. Information modeling, information management, governance and valuation, collaborative networks development, ethical issues in distributed information environments are topics relevant to business people and academics. Additionally, the chapters provide concrete ways for academics to broaden their research and case study examples, which enable business people to better interpret the text and to avoid the pitfalls discussed in the book.

The phenomenon, where an organization extends outside its traditional boundaries, is commonly described as an extended enterprise, a virtual enterprise, or even a virtually integrated enterprise. As the diversity of the e-business environment proliferates, the real benefits for an organization will be attained by those entities that endorse and embrace this extended enterprise concept and adapt to best fit the environment in which they operate. In an extended enterprise, the core focus replaces a centralized one, and there is a shift to shared services, cosourcing and outsourcing, extending out to partners, suppliers and customers to accomplish the objectives more effectively.

For many years economics of information was developed in closed and hierarchical organizations, nowadays organizations are connected together in open networks and in extended enterprises, so the approach to economics of information (or: infonomics) must be changed. The question is to what degree the traditional methods of information valuation are still valid and what new methods of information valuation, cost and benefits estimation are developed and must be implemented.

The book is designed to detail the main concepts of infonomics, how the issues transcend beyond the physical boundaries of an enterprise, how it has extended out into entities’ customers, trading partners and suppliers, and the interdependencies that have been created. It provides new ideas and ways to think, utilizing concepts that are familiar and accepted by business and governmental entities. Although the topic of infonomics may be a familiar concept, applying it outside the physical boundaries of an organization is a relatively new idea, and certainly one that is not yet well accepted in the marketplace.

The advent of the Internet, and the technologies related to it, has created the opportunity and the need to seize the advantages of operating in the extended enterprise. Globalization and worldwide communications have overridden traditional boundaries. In many markets, these global interdependencies (governmental, political and business) are now so interconnected that they must be considered with almost any decision being made. Additionally, information technology (IT) has moved from being an enabler of organization strategy to a key element of it. Central hypothesis of this book is that the implementation of information technology in organizations has entered a new stage.

Authors have endeavored to take a global view and draw on the experiences of leading analysts, IT experts, technologists and organizations around the world. They have included case studies and interviews with influential businesses and business leaders to illustrate how management theory, new business practices and cutting-edge technology can help companies achieve IT benefits in distributed business environments. Most importantly, we have tried to take a pragmatic and real life approach to the subjects. The book aims to provide a practical and useful guide for business and IT professionals to help you address the issues of today and the future.

Authors hope you find it both enlightening and useful, and look forward to featuring some of your organizations in future success stories!

Structure of the Book

The book’s 18 chapters are organized into four parts that address four issues of the information economics: These are:

    1. Section I: Information Interpretations and Modeling, Chapters I to IV. 2. Section II: Information Management Progress, Chapters V to VIII. 3. Section III: Information Valuation, Chapters IX to XIII. 4. Section IV: Collaboration in Networks, Chapters XIV to XVIII.

Section I outlines the fundamental principles that emerged as important premises and pervasive themes of the book. We urge readers to start here as these ideas underlie all the chapters that follow. The first section’s chapters address the information modeling. Through four chapters, Section I contains a discussion on the actual approaches to information modeling. This section contains four chapters.

Chapter I presents a discussion on information and knowledge concepts and functions. The author assumes that the defining data, information, knowledge and their relationships is mainly a point of view matter. He argues that the same entity may be related to any of these concepts depending on the use of it. This is true, at least as long as the entity is communicable through some means (text, voice, gesture, signal, object, and media for example). By restricting our attention to symbolic entities and to the World Wide Web in particular, we can learn much about these concepts, their interconnections, the functions that apply on them and their values.

In this chapter, the author discusses issues related to the concept of data, information and knowledge. He first observes that very often the same functions apply to these concepts and few functions are specific to one or another of these concepts. Secondly, he discusses the concept of meaning as being a relation between pieces of information. In the last two sections, he restricts our attention to the context of the World Wide Web by considering information flow from web to user and from user to web. The first flow is mainly the outcome of a search process. The second one results from user personal data being collected by first or third parties with or without his knowledge when surfing the web. In these particular contexts, information is not a concept which is restricted to human minds. Indeed, applications like Web Services may act on behalf of the user or third parties to achieve some intelligent research or data processing.

Chapter II focuses on state-of-the art issues in the area of ontology-based autonomic communications and it considers how ontologies can be useful for network management as a way to achieve semantic interoperability among different network management models. In addition, it presents the autonomic communications paradigm as a possible solution to the ever-growing complexity of commercial networks due to the increasing complexity of individual network elements, the need for intelligent network and communication services and the heterogeneity of connected equipment. Finally, the chapter analyzes how ontologies can be used to combine data correlation and inference technologies in autonomic networks. Such technologies are used as core components to build autonomic networks.

Chapter III presents a proposition of so-called infological interpretation of information. The concept was formulated by Bo Sundgren (1973) in his publication devoted to data bases. Sundgren developed a consistent theory of a model of database based on the concept of message as a specific set of data. The model inspires not only for a new interpretation of information but also is a good base for manifold analysis of the concept. In the chapter, among others, the following basic concepts are discussed: properties of information, diversity of information, and information space.

Chapter IV provides a method supporting the information modeling. Authors argue that various models and methods are used to support information system development process, but still after many years of practice, projects still continue to fail. One of the reasons is that the conventional modeling approaches do not provide efficient support for learning and communication among stakeholders. Authors believe that lack of an integrated method for systematic analysis, design and evolution of static and dynamic structures of information system architectures is the core of frustration in various companies. Semantic problems of communication between business analysis and design experts lead to ambiguous and incomplete system requirement specifications. The traditional modeling approaches do not view business data and process as a whole.

The objective of this chapter is to present a comprehensive review of fundamental theoretical assumptions concerning communication and learning as well as to present some basic problems in traditional modeling approaches for analysis and design of information systems in this perspective. The analysis done provides assumptions that should be taken into considerations while constructing models and methods to support communication and learning during information system development process. The chapter shortly presents a method that enables system analysts and designers to reason about pragmatic, semantic and syntactic aspects of the system in an integrated way, which is necessary to understand the system as a whole. Service-oriented approach was shortly presented as a solution to integration of static and dynamic parts of the system using one modeling notation. The presented solutions are motivated taking into account theoretical ideas concerning communication, understanding and learning.

Section II addresses Information Management Progress. It confronts and redefines the problems of information management. Whereas most literature on management addresses the problem of information management, the authors treat this from different business and technological perspectives. The next four chapters cast familiar scenery in a new light as authors discuss new technical and managerial approach to successfully deal with information in distributed business environment. This section contains four chapters.

Chapter V concerns the expanding of the strategic role of information interaction in the enterprise environment. So the authors propose an integrated model, which was developed using the results of an empirical study. The model puts a user-centered focus on business process model building by mapping all information interactions surrounding the business processes (i.e. creation, storage, management, retrieval of documents/contents as well as information and data). The model characterizes the business processes by types of information interaction, analyzes process phases by those interactions and evaluates actual locations of information content extractions.

Chapter VI introduces the information management in a Grid-based e-health business environment. In this chapter the authors analyze the technical and business requirements of the e-healthcare collaborative environment. Authors argue that, given the nature, the variety, the volume and the importance of the information in the e-healthcare collaborative environment as well as the complexity of the information flows, current techniques applied within this domain prove to be obsolete or inadequate. With efficient, reliable and privacy-aware data management and interoperability climbing the highest stairs in the hierarchy of the technical and business requirements, the integration of Grid technologies followed by the implementation of the HL-7 (Health Level Seven) specifications paves the way towards the successful realization of a large-scale international e-healthcare collaborative environment allowing for the continuous, timely and reliable communication of medical and administrative information across organizational boundaries. The SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats) analysis presented shows that the potential of this integration is promising although quite a few barriers need to be overcome; reluctance in the adoption of new technology and the transformation of the currently followed operations, data privacy concerns, current technological insufficiency in meeting the strict requirements for efficient, reliable, privacy-aware data management and interoperability. However, these deterring factors can be translated into interesting research fields that require feverish work and a multidisciplinary approach.

Chapter VII explains the usage of intelligent agents in business process modeling and business process management systems. The basic notions of agent-based systems and their architectures are given. Multiagent systems as sets of multiple interacting software agents, as well as frameworks and methodologies of their development are a valuable solution to cope with information overload problems. Generally, they can be applied for information filtering, searching, gathering and administration. In this chapter, three kinds of architectures of agent-based systems – holons, multi-agent systems and aspect-oriented architecture are described. Examples of already implemented agent-based systems in logistics, transportation and supply chain management are given. The chapter gives an insight into recent business process management systems and their architectures, and highlights several issues and challenges which underpin the necessity for agent-based business process management. Methodologies and implementation of agent-based business process management systems are discussed and directions of future research in this area are outlined.

Chapter VIII concerns information governance in distributed business environment i.e. virtual heterarchies. The authors assume that corporate governance models are needed to concentrate on changes of existing rules, customs, practices and rights as the subject matter of governance to be influenced. Governance models must recognize the limitations of the overburdened state and the consequent need to take advantage of existing institutions and structures that promote sustainability. The differences between governance and management are presented in the chapter as well as the fundamental characteristics of corporate governance, information technology governance and information governance. Authors notice that an increasing number of companies are moving into new forms of competition which can be described as information-based competition, knowledge-based competition, technology–based competition and ICT (Information Communication Technology) relationship-based competition. However, unlimited supply of information from Internet and other sources, easiness to register and transfer the information, reduced prices of ICT devices result in increase of information processing and its overload. Therefore, information governance model proposed in the chapter seems to be a pattern to deal with information in contemporary common organizations i.e. virtual heterarchical organizations where access to information is democratically permitted. The proposed model is to be an answer to ensure sustainable governance of information i.e. balance, stability and progress of information processing.

Section III seems to be crucial for the book and examines the most basic work in infonomics: the information valuation. Information, its value and the valuation processes were the subject of many research works for many years. Information technology development encourages researchers to look for new definitions. In distributed business environment and in Internet business organizations information is perceived in different way. Therefore the authors of the Section III chapters are involved in redefining and re-evaluation information processes as well as information sectors. This section contains five chapters.

Chapter IX deals with the analysis of the value of information in distributed decision support systems. It characterizes the basic measures of the value of information, with the stress put on the utility function, the effect of the knowledge discovery techniques in databases, on the value of information and multicriteria methods of decisions support. In the chapter a multi-agent system is presented, which is an example of a distributed decision support system. In the last part of the chapter the choice methods and consensus methods for increasing the value of information through the eliminate contradiction of information within the system are discussed.

Chapter X gives a comprehensive overview of the current status of accounting and billing for up-to-date computing environments. Accounting is the key for the management of information system resources. At this stage of evolution of accounting systems it is adequate not to separate computing environments into High Performance Computing and Grid Computing environments for allowing a “holistic” view showing different approaches to integrated accounting and billing in distributed computing environments. Requirements resulting from a public survey within all communities of the German Grid infrastructure, as well as from computing centers and resource providers of High Performance Computing resources like HLRN, and ZIVGrid, within the German e-Science framework, have been considered as well as requirements resulting from various information systems and the virtualization of organizations and resources. Additionally, conceptual, technical, economical, and legal questions also had to be taken into consideration. After the requirements have been consolidated and implementations have been done over one year ago, now the overall results and conclusions are presented in the following sections showing a case study based on the GISIG framework and the Grid-GIS framework. Focus is on how can an integrated architecture be built and used in heterogeneous environments. A prototypical implementation is outlined that is able to manage and visualize accounting and billing relevant information based on suitable monitoring data in a way specific for Virtual Organization regarding basic business, economic, and security issues.

Chapter XI concerns very specific approach to the information valuation. The Author focuses on e-banking services and analyzes the application of three methods of quality evaluation. The main purpose of this chapter is the comparison of differences between results of three methods used for quality evaluation of individual e-banking services. The comparison has been conducted for selected sixteen banks in Poland. Author uses three types of research: traditional expert scoring method, AHP (Analytic Hierarchy Process) method and conversion method. After general introduction, a detailed report of the results arising from this research is presented and analyzed. Finally, the author draws general conclusions from the analysis. He also discusses the future research regarding this topic.

Chapter XII provides background on health informatics and current issues as health informatics impacts the provision of health in doctors’ offices, shifts the provision of healthcare services into patients’ homes, and presents new opportunities to address public health concerns. An outline of a future research agenda in health informatics and a look at the prospect of health informatics applications provides the necessary foundation for focused work on the economic impact of this information-driven transformation in healthcare delivery.

Chapter XIII introduces the concept of the information sector and provides a new sense of the problems and opportunities. Here, author focuses on analyses of information sector in economy, ensures the method of the classification of the economic sectors, presents the information sector in the Polish economy and in economies of selected countries, and eventually he considers the value of the information sector in the economy.

Section IV concerns the collaboration in networks. We start with the more conventional view – designing infrastructure and then propose more work on new organizational forms development as well as on business ethics in distributed business environment. This section contains five chapters.

Chapter XIV describes the approach to the design of collaborative infrastructures. Author argues that collaboration is playing an increasing role in business especially given an increase in business networking. Such networks are formed to gain business advantage by combining expertise from many businesses or organizational units to quickly create new and competitive products and services. Most processes in business networks now consist of a number of activities whose processes must be coordinated to reach enterprises goals. The chapter addresses ways of supporting such activities using technology and proposes a collaboration infrastructure that encourages collaboration and sharing of knowledge across the activities.

Chapter XV covers the considerations on virtual network development. Authors discuss issues of the governance of virtual organizations and living laboratories. They describe the managerial processes inside virtual organizations and living laboratories, they focus particularly on the architecture design for living laboratories. The chapter presents the findings of the research regarding the state of development and application of laser living laboratory management and governance system in Toolmakers Cluster of Slovenia.

Chapter XVI concerns the new forms of work because of the globalization in the software development domain. Authors argue that globalization in software development introduced significant changes in the way organizations operate today. Software is nowadays produced by team members from geographically, temporally and culturally remote sites. Organizations seek benefits that global market offers and face new challenges. Naturally resistant to change, these organizations often do not realize the necessity for tailoring existing methods for distributed collaboration. Authors’ empirical investigation shows a great variety in the ways organizations distribute responsibilities across remote sites and conclude that these can be divided into two main categories: joint collaboration that requires investments in team building and independent collaboration that requires investments in knowledge management and transfer. Finally they discuss practices that are applied in industry to overcome these challenges and emphasize the necessity to fully understand the pros and cons of different ways to organize distributed software projects before starting one in this new environment.

In the final two chapters, authors shift from information economics to information ethics issues in business environment.

Chapter XVII aims to understand the perceptions of employee information ethics using a company within the Environmental Protection Science Park in the southern part of Taiwan. The two purposes of this research are (1) to understand the environments of employees who understand information ethics, and (2) to clarify variables regarding information ethics which could provide a framework for policy controlling information ethics for businesses related to information technology. The findings of this study show that respondents understand the concept of unethical or illegal use of IT. All respondents perceived unauthorized behaviors, such as illegal downloads and reading other IT accounts without permission as unethical behaviors.

Chapter XVIII offers an examination of some issues of ethics related to information in distributed business environment, DBE. The ethical issue of what is moral to do in order to optimize the use of information in DBE is dealt with. The varied ways of integrating and putting into the practice information in DBE are discussed as well as the great variety of ethical approaches. The Author argues that in the field of ethics of information in DBE we are no longer confronted with “policy vacuum”, so she is facing the dissipation of ethical responsibility (DER) and this phenomenon leads to difficult and usually late locating and solving ethical dilemmas within the system.

Target Audiences

This book will appeal most to university students and researchers inclined not just to manage information and IT, but to understand it as well – not only to gain knowledge for its own sake but because they realize that a better understanding of infonomics leads to governing better. This, in turn, circles back to deeper understanding.

This book is expected to be read by academics (i.e. teachers, researchers and students), technology solutions developers and enterprise managers (including top-level managers). The book should give incentives for and guide the creation of indispensable information environments, as well as the information valuation as a particular one proposed in the book. Looking from a future perspective and more advanced social needs, this book ought to guide the creation of the interorganizational, cross-functionalities structures (or infrastructures) as a part of the paradigm shift in organizational sciences.

This book draws on the diverse experience of the authors – an academic with broad practical experience drawn from business organizations around the world in improving their people, processes and systems.

The text will assist readers in becoming familiar with the critical issues of concern related to information economics, and doing it with world-class excellence in the new environment called the business distributed environment. It has often been stated that information is the grease that allows an enterprise to run efficiently. This statement, when related to extended enterprises, can mean the difference between success and failure and profit or loss.

Both academics and practitioners have spent considerable efforts during the last years to establish ICT support for the handling of knowledge. Not surprisingly, the solution is still not there and many businesses trying to implement the technologies have been frustrated by the fact that the technologies certainly could not live up to the overly high expectations. However, there are still numerous projects in organizations that try to tackle the fundamental challenge of how to increase productivity of information work.

This book is expected as well to raise awareness of information management needs for supporting environments.

Also, the book provides a base for further study and research definition as well as solutions development. The authors hope that the book will contribute to the diffusion of infonomics concepts all over the world.

At the end, the authors will be grateful to the readers for any constructive criticisms and indication of omissions or misinterpretations.

Author(s)/Editor(s) Biography

Malgorzata Pankowska received a MSc degree in management science (1981), a PhD in management science (1988), and a degree in habilitation, all from from the University of Economics, Katowice, Poland. Dr. Pankowska is a lecturer, in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Economics (Katowice, Poland) and has held research fellowships at Carleton University, (Canada) and University of Luton, (UK). Dr. Pankowska also participated in the teaching staff exchange program “Groupe ICHEC -ISC ST-LOUIS-ISFSC” to Brussels, Belgium; Trier University, Germany; and ISLA Braganca, Portugal.

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