Assembly of Parts Within the Business Information Factory
The need for improvements and integration within the information environment in support of decision-making today is growing exponentially. Functionality becomes fluid and complex and as business processes are developed in order to support new and dynamic applications for BI and management relations with consumers. Ultimately, such an integration and expansion will include the remaining information systems and business processes.
To be successfully implemented, this development, companies need reasonable levels of infrastructure projects that would include all producers and consumers in a secure, accurate, consistent and prompt manner. Such infrastructure must accept and use different sources of business information. It must be confronted with a huge investment in a relatively unstructured data residing in document management systems, internal and external Web sites, operating systems, groupware applications and operating databases. All information created, used, modified and destroyed within the company should be available within this infrastructure.
Given the size, scope and complexity of this infrastructure, it must keep a very solid architecture, or will soon become chaotic and (too) expensive. Architecture must be flexible enough to support a technology that is changing rapidly, but a consistent and stable enough to provide a fixed time for implementation.
The architecture of the Business Information Factory (BIF) has proven plan for building and maintaining successful business information infrastructure.
The architecture consists of the following components:
- BIF map – logical view that shows the interaction and the use of technological components of BIF’s.
- Administrative processes – used to restore, maintain and develop infrastructure following the development of business use.
- Feedback – The mechanism that allows the sharing of information and knowledge gathered using BIF’s with other databases.
- Information Workshop – Mechanisms (often Web-based) for obtaining, managing and presenting personalized information to users.
The natural evolution of information structuring distinguish several typical phases through which today’s companies are passing. Typical phases are:
- chaotic non-integrated system consisting of several applications (unrelated to each other) that are used simultaneously, sometimes overlapping in their functionality, often giving various reasons the reports do not match each other.
- Implementation of data warehousing, datamarts which includes processes of purification and unification information and bringing a truth in the reports.
- Once the components of which BIF has built or at least partially completed starts last phase – the construction of the BIF, which provides the right amount of information to people in need and to those in a time when you need.
To build a complete BIF is a long and very expensive process, usually needed only in big companies. The knowledge gathered in such a place described by the company business processes through the metadata using the tools and information to deliver information within the company and the buyers / customers and suppliers. Elements of BIF can actually be any set of data, information objects or applications as long as they are connected in a structured as whole. The next part of the text explains some non-applicative elements (ie not for BI applications or operating system) which play a very important role in the overall business process. Elements of the BIF can view and simplified as shown, the table, the knowledge and tools all in one unified functional site.
Many companies have embarked on the construction of BIF system having a vision that will eventually be some kind of building product datamart with attractive, eye appealing front-end tools. Carried away by the success of the first set datamarts – elements of a data warehouse, it was not difficult to assume that there will be some more to bring together such datamarts giving the overall picture. As a result of this meta data and architecture are increasingly starting to resemble a spider’s net flow of information right at source operating system that is actually in its infancy was the target flinch.
Users of such systems are supplied with complex set of tools, access methods, and pieces of knowledge about business processes that they must overcome to become part of the flow of information in the enterprise. In addition, users can request for unstructured data (predictions, plans, strategic plans, e-mail messages) that may exist in the system, but are difficult to reach. The analogy of such a system can be compared with common (messy) garage. If your garage is like mine then it is very little order in the locations of tools, user instructions and other supplies scattered in various boxes. It is natural that we forget the location of some supplies (long nails for example), or any tools that are used less frequently. Entering the order we can make a big classic cleaning, sorting and presentation means everything with a key, the manuals in one place, tools in one, paint, nails and supplies for a third. Followed by the construction of some shelves where they will all put into some order. And then finally – the introduction of staple items and stacking on the shelf in a certain order. Privacy is in the architecture of BIF and the process of sorting does not differ much, except to the extent of garage clean-up process.
When introducing a new marketing campaign the company must find the right tools, people and knowledge management tools and the successful implementation of such actions as a whole. It takes about similar projects from before, and tools that we use at the time that the campaign lasts, which we will measure success and possibly do something we would not have if the whole business process is improved. It will mean to them about the profitability of similar projects, and information about the potential target users and of course the experience of people who are already doing such jobs. Preferably that these people do not have to travel several hundred kilometers and last about ten days of meetings in order to transfer experience to a new team.
In BIF’s, because the infrastructure allows quick retrieval:
- Knowledge of projects and metadata organized in libraries
- Tools are organized into a ‘box on the desk’ – toolbox
- The system for building and integrating tools and knowledge to create a marketing plan or strategy for using information from the library and toolbox (“desktop”)
As much as it seems at first glance a relatively normal and not simply as a procedure to ensure that such a complex operational and available to most workers and that for it not to be a special experts is not easy to perform and the IT department and information technology fully represents the range organizational problems.
Toolbox provides a place where you can enter business information and business management features as they develop within BIF’s. The organization of these features within the tool box to promote re-use and thus improves the productivity of the final user. For example, a garage, we can simplify the search for tools to arrange it on the hanger (with lovely white outlines of the tools that show where that piece belongs). The BIF needs a copy of the directory business information that allows for entering new or improved tools (applications), reports and opportunities as they develop, and present the same users easily accessible manner.
Some features are common to most companies and belong to the toolbox.
The following items are examples of opportunities for the business community as well as administrative employees, and CIF-supporting environment:
- Analysis of profitability of the end users the opportunity of measuring the profitability of consumers in relation to time, location, market segment, products, demographics, etc.
- Recognition of the sample gives end users the ability to identify trends in data that may indicate new opportunities in the market, fraud, etc.
- Review the final consumer gives users access to detailed information about consumers. This information is typically used to support interaction with customers and include procurement, address, the last contact and other essential information for consumers.
- Capacity planning - BIF administrator provides information with which to see how quickly the growth of data files and when you need more disk space in order to accurately determine the needs of capacity.
- Performance Tuning - BIF administrator provides information on the use environment (when one uses the data and the efficiency of query).
These tools can be organized similar to the hanger in the garage. For example, one can establish a mechanism for publishing and subscribing to the report distributed to employees in need. Reports can be organized with respect to an option (for example, all statements of campaign analysis can be put under one title within the mechanism of publication and subscription).
The Library provides essential and useful information to personnel managing the BIF and others who use the toolkit elements of BIF. BIF for the environment are essential logical categorization of any object within the IT systems that can be searched on some of the logical basis of a structured rather than chaotic. Such a system must also provide customization of business processes and their changes over a longer period of time. The arrival of new meta-data library should evolve and be prepared to accept and advance contingency information objects.
Some data may be required to enter the library, such as meta data repository for data, documents, but some informal data may pose a problem if not then at the storage location in the logical structure. Such unstructured data represents the only real challenge in saving in such a library. Examples of such information as email, notes, etc.
For example, when planning a new marketing campaign library must be able to give information on:
- Existing work that was done (reports, analysis, results of other similar jobs)
- Cataloguing staff and necessary resources
- Offer existing data that could contribute to the creation of a new knowledge for the business process
The quality of the library will depend on the possibility that in the library to find all the necessary data. Search engines similar to those we are used to on the Internet can be used in this case. List of references and the results of previous similar assignments, reports about them, e-mails that were linked to them, all the conclusions and agreements to be available when results will be preceded by a new corporate mission. Armed with all this information and the occasional observation that the user was able to enter in relation to a document (eg “we did it wrong and it”), later the user will significantly reduce the usual ‘otkivanje hot water’, while others will be reminded of work that is made earlier. Search engine should give the results using several of its knowledge base that can be roughly divided into:
- Glossary – As simple as it sounded but the term ‘new users’ IT staff does not mean the same as marketing professionals. Definitions of business terms are too often ignored and when it comes to reporting the wrong information, because different people interpreted some terms differently.
- Encyclopedia – a set of business knowledge, generalized and specialized, which combines all sources of meta data and the data itself into a single repository.
This encyclopedia can be divided into:
- Reports – every company generated at certain intervals defined by some reports that should find its place in the encyclopaedia.
- News – “Tips & Tricks,” the conclusions, the new knowledge that a user is shared with others, experience, that is all they know what the work of one person gains while others might be useful.
Such materials contribute to faster learning and facilitate the arrival of the new knowledge. As it is disclosed that are published in the same place and further increases the total knowledge contained in the library business information.
The working table is an irreplaceable element in the BIF. The working table is what you are greeted when you arrive at work and it combines a library and workshop tools and information in its entirety. When you get to the garage and say you want to repair the mixer, you need a table, something electricity accessories, screwdrivers, pliers maybe. When you repair the mixer, you might want to repair the bike, which requires a second set as spare parts and tools for the bike. When you come to work want to work on some business issues, then you must also obtain the appropriate tools. If it is a business problem, and it is known that it consists of ten steps and can be clearly defined, each of these steps must be in a certain way (as much as some of them are ‘handmade’) are supported by BIF . Such an approach greatly contributes to the transparency of jobs, interchangeability of staff and a great repository of knowledge on business process itself. Once built the only thing we must allow the addition of new steps in the structure of the business process that is already supported and exchange data with other parts.
What does this really mean in practice? This means that for one step in your daily work do not have to call IT staff because you have not installed a program, it means that you know to do because you have instructions on how it’s done by a beginner can easily find and study the example that you have already made the move to was similar. So easier to navigate in a sea of tools, unified and seemingly mystical reduction actions and activities to a set of steps that follow and sometimes very simple ‘if – then’ logic.
There should be no illusion that implementation of BIF is easy, but starting from the business problems that we know best to define the aggregate knowledge of people who want to share the tools that are useful to every employee can be more effective in their work and using BIF not you complicate your life another set of tools that you have it easier.