Introducing Expert Systems at the Corporation

Introducing Expert Systems at the Corporation

Jay Liebowitz (George Washington University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-87828-937-7.ch001


This case study highlights the concept that the “management” of the technology is usually the limiting factor causing the demise of a project rather than the “technology” itself. This real case study involves creating an awareness of a new technology within the company (hereafter named “The Corporation”) and trying to start a (much needed) project using this technology. The technology in question here is “expert systems.” An expert system is a computer program that emulates the behavior of an expert in a well–defined domain of knowledge. At The Corporation, a few key top management executives thought that an expert system could be used to help The Corporation in configuring its minicomputer systems. The Corporation enlisted the help of a consultant to develop a feasibility study of using expert systems for configuration management at The Corporation. In doing so, an awareness of expert systems technology was created throughout the company in almost all divisions—customer service, sales, marketing, finance, information systems, manufacturing, etc. The hidden agenda of the consultant was to start an expert systems project for configuration management at The Corporation, if the feasibility study deemed it worthwhile. The case study describes many of the hurdles that had to be jumped, and shows the importance of understanding the corporate culture of the organization, especially in the difficult times of mergers and acquisitions, economic downturns, and tough competition. Let’s now see how the case unfolds.

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