Innovative IT Solutions Built on Sound Business Principles
IT Manager's Corner

- Info Management
- Design Details


Just For Fun





A Summary of Our Technical Approach

The commercial information technology community has already developed many powerful tools and computer applications that can be used to create advanced systems. The challange we faced with our customers centered on tailoring those tools to meet the unique needs of the commercial business community.

The following discussion details how we provided solutions to the challanges. You might consider these "lessons-learned" when implementing your own IT project. While this information is "brochure-ware" it is based on real, sucessful projects.

Innovative Architectures

Providing company management with intelligent tools to "mine" their company's data will enhance their ability to accurately simulate and predict the impact of the ever-changing business environment.

By using innovative Web access methods, a precise and flexible data model, coupled with improved system architecture designs and implementations, you can enhance the reliability, throughput, and availability of your company's information.

Innovative Distributed Collaboration Techniques

Today's data gathering and information processing activities can be large, complex affairs with numerous expert contributors. These contributors are typically widely dispersed and may not be able to always communicate in person. Although electronic mail facilitates long-distance collaboration, there are circumstances in which e-mail is insufficient; for example, when discussing complex graphical and visual data. Today's companies are interested in new ways to facilitate group collaboration involving all of the data forms used by the business community.

Collaboration involves both in-company and among-companies collaboration. Scalable tools are required to support collaboration of individual groups as well as the community as a whole. Security and access controls must be robust to support such collaboration. Our experience has demonstrated the need for collaboration within small groups, throughout the entire company, and even among groups of companies, such as manufactures, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, and service providers.

Exploiting COTS Solutions

There are a number of existing and emerging technologies in the area of group collaboration. The challenge is to apply the appropriate technology to industry-specific problems. Be sure to team with experts in merging diverse technologies, in enhancing them, and in tailoring them to meet your needs.

Developing New and Enhanced Solutions

Solutions to Real-world Problems
  • Allows inter-group and intra-group collaboration
  • Facilitates document, image, and results sharing
  • Allows sub-groups with access control and monitoring
Search pages
  • Pre-formatted searches for novice users
  • Detailed structured searches to mine the data
  • Real-time searches
  • Fast response times on hundreds of thousands of products
  • Allow customers to define their own search criteria
  • Multi-vendor searches
Hybrid metadata
  • Fast metadata extraction
  • Hierarchical data modeling
  • Facilitates multi-product, multi-company searches
Product viewing
  • Real-time, full resolution images
  • Thumbnails
  • Animations
  • Multi-views
Web-based system
  • Simultaneous interactive collaboration
  • Document viewing
  • Calendars
  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Real-time data exploration
  • Nearly instantaneous information

The figure illustrates some of the new and enhanced solutions that are available to help solve your Information Technology problems. Remember that most of these technologies must be customized to meet your company's data processing, information analysis, and knowledge distribution requirements. The key is merging these solutions together into a single, web-enabled, comprehensive solution.

You must begin with a team of experts that have a proven capability in the computer and software engineering disciplines required to develop and manage Information Management projects. It is critical that all team members have a clear understanding of the objectives of the project. Team members must be fully qualified in the implementation of the hardware and software systems required by these technologies.

Timely and Reliable Information

To be successful, a company's Information Management system must routinely provide timely and reliable dissemination of data, both for bulk and individual "ad-hoc" requests. Ease of user access to information and rapid response will generate customer satisfaction and increased demand for products and services.

A Web-accessible product cataloging, searching, and ordering facility can enhance this process by permitting users to browse, search, and request information via on-line transmission or off-line delivery. Information of interest may be interactively selected using automated, user-determined search criteria. Users can obtain on-line and expert help on topics including product identification, choice of shipping method, and recently acquired products.

Tangible Business Results

There should be tangible results within months that will dramatically -not marginally- improve the business process and enterprise in a variety of ways. The goals of your solution might be as follows:

  • Customer responsiveness - More than mere customer service, customer responsiveness means getting and staying as close to the customer as possible. Customer perception is everything. The customer base is critical and needs to be carefully and fully defined.

  • Improved product quality - Refining the process for information exploitation and collaboration can yield more comprehensive results-as measured by the customer.

  • Competitive innovation - Improvements in operations offer the potential to enable a company to innovate in new ways quickly and continuously. "Managing change" is a critical component in the new Information Management paradigm. A robust Information Management Model allows our clients to increase the tempo of technology insertion while maintaining integrity throughout the Information Management system.


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