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  1. FIT3019 Information Systems ManagementTopic 9: Systems for Supporting Knowledge-based Work: Supporting Decision Making & Collaboration Learning Objectives: Discuss the setup of the following technologies & how they support decision making: Decision support systems (DSSs) Data Mining Executive Information Systems (EISs) Expert Systems (ESs) Agent-based Modelling Discuss the technologies that support decision making in Real-Time Enterprises Describe the problems related to supporting decision making in Real-Time Enterprises Describe the Characteristics of various Types of Groups in an organisation References: McNurlin, B. C. & Sprague R. H., Information Systems Management in Practice, 7th Edition, Chapt. 11 & 12. Study Guide 4, Sections 1, 1.1 & 1.2

  2. Where We Are

  3. What is Decision Making? Supporting Decision Making • Most of the computer systems support decision makingbecause all software programs involve automating decision steps that people would take. • Decision making is a process that involves a variety of activities, most of which handle information. • A wide variety of computer-based tools and approaches can be used to confront the problem at hand and work through its solution. Machine relieves Human from physical works, while IT relieves human from mental works (decision making). Decision making Technologies • Decision support systems (DSSs) • Data Mining • Executive Information Systems (EISs) • Expert Systems (ESs) • Agent-based Modelling The most useful of DSS – for the repeated decision making, because it has rules to follow.

  4. Decision Support Systems Previously there were two types of DSS • Management Information Systems (MISs), which provides (transactional based) • scheduled reports for well-defined information needs, • demand reports for ad hoc information requests, and • the ability to query a database for specific data. • Operation research/management science • use mathematical models to analyze and understand specific problems. Now DSS can be defined as computer based systems that • Help decision making (invest or not to invest) • Confront ill-structured problems (no repeated pattern) • Through direct interaction (step by step involvement) • With data and analysis models The basic architecture of DSS is called DDM Paradigm. The data (D) that supports the systems. The models (M) that provides the analysis capabilities. The dialog (D) between user and systems.

  5. Decision Support Systems cont… Basic architecture of DSS: DDM Paradigm There are three components of DDM model 1. Database management systems (DBMS) 2. model base management systems (MBMS) 3. Dialog generation and management systems (DGMS) The data component:DSS uses summarize data coming from • DBMS • DBMS for transaction system can extract the transaction data, summarize it, and make it available to the DSS. • DBMS externally maintain extract files that are created for security, ease of access, and data integrity reasons. • Data warehousing • Data mining

  6. Decision Support Systems cont… Basic architecture of DSS: DDM Paradigmcont… The model component: Models perform analysis in a DSS using a mathematical representation of problem. • There are different types of models: • Strategic, • tactical, and • operational, as well as • model-building blocks and subroutines. • Important points • models need to be fit with data. • models need to kept up-to-date. • users need to understand and trust them. • If several models are used, they need to work together. The dialog Component: The dialog components link the user to the system. • Style: It can take any number of style. One style uses a mouse to access pull-down menus and move icons on a color screen to get a graphical presentation of analysis results. • The current standard is the browser interface.

  7. Decision Support Systems cont… There are two types of DSS • Institutional DSS • Build by professionals using a decision support language. • Supports organization on a continuing basis. • use well-established models in a prescheduled way. • Use predefined data sources (mainly external, and some internal). • Variations and flexibility might be tested, but such tests are seldom and requires decision makers interactions. • “Quick Hit” DSS: developed quickly to help a manager make either a one-time or a recurring decision. Quick-hit DSS may be several types: Reporting DSS: select, summarize, and list data from existing data files to meet a manager’s specific information needs, e.g., monitor inventory. Short Analysis program: These powerful programs are written by manager to analyze small amount of data and print or display the data. Created by DSS generator: Build a DSS based on the input data.

  8. Data Mining Data mining is a technique that • use data warehouses • to uncover unknown correlations by searching for interesting patterns, anomalies, or cluster of data that people are unaware exist. Data mining is an advanced use of data warehouses and requires huge amount of detailed data. The most frequent data mined these days in customer data because companies want to know how to serve their customers better. See case study: Harrah’s entertainment

  9. Executive Information Systems EIS can be used by the executive for the following purposes • Gauge company performance: sales, production, earnings, budgets, and forecasts. • Scan the environment: for news on government regulations, competition, financial and economic developments, and scientific subjects. Using the DDM model, an EIS can be viewed as DSS that • Provides access to (mostly) summary performance data, • Uses graphics to display and visualize the data in an easy-to-use fashion, and • Has a minimum of analysis for modeling beyond the capability to “drill down” in summary data to examine components.

  10. Executive Information Systems cont… PitFalls in EIS Development • Lack of executive support:executives must provide the funding and supply the necessary continuity. • Undefined System Objectives:Need to think the underlying objectives and business values of EIS. • Poorly defined Information Requirements: Identifying required information is complicated, because • EIS typically need non-traditional information sources- judgments, opinion, external text-based documents, in addition to traditional financial and operating data. • Inadequate Support Staff:Support staff must • have technical competence • understanding the business • Have the ability to relate to the varied responsibilities and work patterns of executives. • Poorly Planned Evolution:High competence system professionals using the wrong development process will fail with EIS, because • An EIS is not simply developed, delivered, and maintained, • It needs to evolve over time under the leadership of a team that includes the executive sponsor, the operating sponsor, executive users, EIS staff manager, and EIS technical staff.

  11. Executive Information Systems cont… Why Install an EIS? • Attack a critical Business need:EIS can deal with the needs that involve the future health of the organizations. • A strong personal desire by the executive:An executive can • Get information faster, • Quick access to a broad range of information • Select and display only the desired information and then probe for supporting detail. • See the information in graphical form. • The thing to do • An EIS is seen as something that modern management must have to be current in management practice. • increase executives performance • reduce wastage of time looking for information. Motivation for the EIS is the fundamental to its success because it helps determine the degree of commitment by the senior manager. • A week motivation can lead poor executive sponsor of the project.

  12. Executive Information Systems cont… What Should EIS do? • A Status Access System • call management attention to the variances from the plan. • Monitor and highlights the critical success factors of the individual executive user. • structured reporting system for executive management • provide executive with the data and information in desired form • Human Communication Support • Supports managers communications (make request, give instruction, ask question, etc) • Help to follow up the progress and barriers • receiving results • Acknowledge the completion of an assignment.

  13. Expert Systems • Expert System: an automated analysis or problem-solving model that deals with a problem in the way an “expert” does using artificial intelligence (AI) technologies (neural networks, fuzzy logic, machine translation, speech recognition, and natural language processing). AI emulates certain aspects of human behavior. Components of an ES • A user interface • An interference Engine:accepts users query, searches for appropriate knowledge, and return a decision or recommendation to the users. • Stored expertise (i.e., knowledge): knowledge can be represented in a number of ways: • Case-based reasoning (CBR): Draw inferences by comparing a current problem (or case) to hundreds or thousands of similar past cases (e.g., monitoring the progress of patient in hospital). • Neural Network: Stored knowledge as a weight matrix, and generate output when any query (input) is asked for (It can be stimulated and learned by itself) • Neural network is more intelligent and has the learning capability. • Rule-Based Systems: Knowledge is represented as rules, which can be obtained experts, experience, common sense, way of doing business, laws and regulations.

  14. Expert Systems (cont…) & Agent –Based Modelling Degree of Expertise • An Assistant (lowest level expertise): Help a person perform routine analysis and point out those portion of the work where the expertise of the human is required. • Colleague (middle level expertise): The system and the human can “talk over” the problem until a “joint decision” has been reached. • Expert (highest level expertise): The system gives answers that the user accept, perhaps without any question. Expert Systems are the intelligent DSSthat can suggest, learn, and understand the managerial tasks and problems. • Agent-based Modelling • Simulation technologyfor studying emergent behaviour (e.g. traffic jam) that emerges from the decisions of a large number of distinct individuals (drivers) • Simulation contains computer generated agents, each making decisions typical of the decisions an individual would make in the real world • Trying to understand the mysteries of why businesses, markets, consumers, and other complex systems behave as they do

  15. Vigilant Information Systems • Enterprise system must capture data in real time & also act on that data quickly • How to act quickly? Use OODA theory •  Observe •  Orient for own vulnerabilities & opportunities •  Decide •  Actbefore challenger Towards the real-time enterprise Straight-Through Processing: Transaction data is entered just once in a process or a supply chain  Beware of bullwhip effect Enterprise Nervous Systemsis a kind of network that connect people, applications, and networks with zero latency. • Message based: Sending message is a very good and efficient way of dispersing information among the huge number of parties. • Event driven: Whenever an event occurs, it is recorded and made available. • Publish and subscribe approach: Information about an event is “published” electronically and authorized users can see it. • Portal Technology. • Common Data format so that other systems can understand and share. Real-time CRM: real-time response might occur between a company and a potential customer, perhaps via a customer call centre or a website. Real-time Enterprise • Know how they are doing right now, not in future. • Internet provides closer-to-real-time information. Communication Objects are sensors and tags (say, a small chip) that provide information (i.e., real-time data) about the physical world such as what it is attached to, where it is located, where it belongs, etc. • Communicating objects can be used for theft-prevention.

  16. Towards the real-time enterprise cont… The dark side of Real Time • Object-to-object communications could compromise privacy. (however, that’s a political issue, not technical) • Automatic implementing of decision made by such system  may cause problems • Dark-side should be moderated as early as possible • “Executive dashboards” is the next-generation EISs

  17. Tutorial & Discussion

  18. What is meant by Supporting Collaboration? Three factors that drive a Future Company • Knowledgeable workers • Becoming the dominant portion of labor. • Resist the command-and-control form of organization. • Innovative :All companies, even the larger ones, need to find ways to be more innovative and entrepreneurial. • IT: IT is forcing a shift. Once companies use IT to handle information rather than data, their decision processes, management structure, and work pattern changes. So, the company of future could be a collection of online communities • Main job of executive and managers is to foster these communities and the collaboration engender. • Major job of CIO is to provide the technology to support online communities and online collaboration.

  19. GroupWare • Electronic tools that support teams of collaborations. • Represent a fundamental change in the way people think about using computers( working with others rather than work alone). • Groupware that takes full advantages of IT needs another part of corporate information systems. • The products need to be built on existing platforms-e-mail systems, LANs, departmental systems, and public network services such as telephone or the Internet.

  20. Characteristics of Groups Membership: Group membership can be- • Open: almost everyone can join. • Closed: restricted membership. • A “gray scale” between open and closed indicates the degree of difficulty in gaining membership. Interaction: • Loosely coupled: activity of each member is relatively independent of the other members. • Tightly coupled: such as a project team, the work of each member is tied closely to the work of the other members. Hierarchy:Some groups have a chain of command (tiers of committees).

  21. Characteristics of Groups cont… Location: • Co-located: Co-located groups can meet face-to-face. • Dispersed: Dispersed group need to travel or use video conferencing to read each other’s body language. In many cases, after an initial face-to-face orientation meeting, many teams and groups then work together while remaining dispersed. Time: There are two time-dimension of group work. • Duration of the group • Some work-group is short-lived. An ad-hoc committee might be formed to uncover the root cause of recurring problem and then disband once that cause has been found. • Some workgroup is for long time, e.g., HR. • Time intensity • Some group members work full-time, while other groups only require intermittent work by their members.

  22. Types of Groups • Authority Groups • Involve formal authorities, e.g., boss and subordinates or team leader and team members. • In matrix management, People may have two bosses, one technical and one administrative. • Membership is closed and coupling is tight, but location is becoming dispersed in some cases. • These groups work full time. • Intradepartmental Groups • All members do the same job under the same boss. • Membership is closed, seniority generally exists, and interaction can range from tight to loose coupling. • Location is generally closed, but as in the case of globally dispersed departments serving different parts of the world, they can be dispersed. • These groups generally rely on LANs, departmental computers, and intranets to collaborate. • They work full-time on the group’s work.

  23. Types of Groups cont… • Project Teams (project based team) • Work full-time to accomplish a goal within a specific schedule. • Membership is closed, coupling is tight, and a hierarchy can exist. • To obtain the expertise they need, these team often have dispersed members. • Limited duration, to the end of the project. • Some teams bring in experts to fill special needs. • Interdepartmental Work Groups (process, product and operational based) • Pass work from department to department in a chain, forming a super group. • Membership is closed, coupling is tight, and a hierarchy tends to be present. • In support areas e.g., finance, HR, and IT, companies have created shared service departments. • Formally these people were in remote service offices and performed several jobs. • Now they work full-time on one job in a center of expertise. In some cases, the function has been -outsourced which generally moves the entire function to the provider’s site.

  24. Types of Groups cont… • Committees and Task forces (like IEEE and ISO) • Formed to deal with a subject area or issue., then disband • Does not require full-time work by the members • Membership not too closed; interaction not as tightly coupled. • Business Relationship Groups (PR managers) • relationships with customers, groups of customers, suppliers, and so on; • Membership is open; interaction loosely coupled; and no hierarchy. • Peer groups (can be based on the common interest) • meet to exchange ideas and opinions • activities of each group are largely independent of the activities of the other members. • Membership can range; loosely coupled interaction, and no hierarchy.

  25. Types of Groups cont… • Networks • Group of people who • socialize, • Electronic Groups, include • chat rooms ♦ multi-user domains • user groups ♦ virtual worlds and • all form of groups that have formed on the Internet to • socialize – find information – entertain themselves • gain comfort, or –just experiment with the new online world. • Membership is wide open; loosely coupled; and no hierarchy. • Communities of Practice (CoPs) • Network armies • exchange information, and • expand the number of their personal acquaintances.

  26. Types of Groups cont… Communities of Practice (CoPs) Group of people who work or play together for so long that they have developed an identifiable way of doing things, e.g., volunteer organizations To get benefits from CoPs, Companies need to perform the following three nurturing acts: • Identifying potential CoPs: Companies can use CoP consultants to help employees interested in forming a CoP. • Proving a CoP Infrastructure: Executive need to give CoPs legitimacy because they lack resources and formal standing in the enterprise. • Measuring CoPs: To measure CoPs appropriately ofen means measuring their contributions nontraditionally because their effects may only show up in a team member’s department, not in the community works. • CoPs are all about managing knowledge, capturing and spreading know-how, ideas, innovations, and experience. • In some enterprises, CoPs form the foundation of their knowledge management efforts. • Though informal, some CoPs have had a profound effect on their enterprise • driving strategies • Creating new lines of business • Spreading best practices, and • solving seemingly intractable problems • CoPs resist being managed, but some enterprises have seen value and leaned how to nurture them.

  27. Types of Groups cont… Network Armies A set of dispersed individuals and communities aligned by a cause. Like Internet discussion group (Dow Ban) So, they are as permanent as their common agenda. e.g., open source movement. There communications are open forum that any one can join. Network armies have existed for a long time, but they can now suddenly appear with a lot of power because of three developments 1. High-speed information flows due to a common language (English) and communication systems (Internet). 2. The geometrically expanding power of networks (adding one person geometrically increases the number of interconnections), and 3. The international visibility now afforded just about any cause.(Dow Ban)

  28. Summary • This Lecture • Systems for Supporting Knowledge-based Work-Supporting Decision Making & Collaboration • Next Lecture • Supporting Collaboration (cont…) & Knowledge Work