Services and the Computers

Services and the Computers

Adamantios Koumpis (ALTEC Information & Communication Systems S.A., Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-683-9.ch005


In symmetry with Chapter 4, here the core subject in this chapter is the relationships between services and their implementations in computer applications and information systems. Again, the interactive space is examined that is created to link both entities – and most importantly – how computers interact to each other through services. A theoretical part of the service development framework is presented related with Information Supply Chains and is followed by an implemented test case for a manufacturing enterprise. Important part is devoted to practical concerns like configurability of a service in other or new contexts and de novo construction of a service supply chain.
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Building Enterprise-Wide Information Supply Chains Based On The Fractal Concept

In this section we present results of research work carried out in the wider context of the formation and lifecycle management of cross-enterprise networked service structures, utilizing concepts that reside within two key research areas dealing with information flow management and alteration of present function-oriented enterprises approach towards the more efficient process orientation, building upon the Information Supply Chain concept and the Fractal Company approach.

A challenge faced in the last years by a growing number of enterprises of all sizes, from the small and micro enterprise level to the large and giant corporations relates to performance improvement in an ever more competitive marketplace in a novel way.

The two key areas where the most significant improvements may be obtained are approached, namely the information management aspects and the alteration of present function-oriented approach of enterprises towards more efficient service and process orientation. For the information flow management in the enterprise world is used the Information Supply Chain concept, while the drive towards service and process orientation is tackled using the Fractal Company approach. It should be mentioned that the use of the term fractal company was made for first time by Professor Warnecke (1983) in his book The Fractal Company: A Revolution in the Corporate Culture. These two “pillar” concepts are described further below.

“Conventional” supply chains concern all material-management stages from the supply of raw material through to the sale of final product to the end customer. The Information Supply Chain (hence ISC), is that parallel communications route ranging from supplier through the enterprise itself to (and including) the customer consisted of nodes and links that may comprise software, hardware and/or humans. Thus the chain links the communication between those nodes. Enterprise Information Supply Chains are important entities in Fractal Companies, the performance and optimisation of which will have a very significant effect on the design and performance of the enterprises concerned (and in particular on networked organizations).

The Fractal Company is defined as a set of individual (corporate) autonomous entities, namely the fractals, which develop linkages, share knowledge and resources collaboratively to create products and services in a way that maximizes continued capabilities and allows each entity to realize its specific goals by providing integrated solutions to customers’ needs. Each fractal is a dynamic, interoperable, independently acting corporate entity (e.g. single person or just a slice of his “working-time”, department, division, the entire organization, or any combination of the above) whose goals, performance, interfacing points, input and output flows can be precisely described and defined.

The Fractal concept relies on the manner in which corporate entities within an Organisation tend to replicate themselves from the elementary working cell (micro) level through to the entire Organisation (macro) level via a sequence of continuous zooms. This results to an extremely increased simplification of every Fractal Company process in terms of resemblance, as well as to the schematisation of the essential Fractal features that include self-similarity, self-organization, self-optimisation, and goal and process orientation.

Because of these characteristics, the performance of a Fractal is subject of constant assessment and evaluation – and therein lays a key advantage for continuous improvement of a Fractal company.

Combining the previously described Fractal and Information Supply Chain concepts three basic organizational entities are identified for describing any procedure or operation in a business or organization environment namely:

  • Processes

  • Activities

  • Resources

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