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IBM Research © 2009 IBM Corporation Challenges in Moving from Documents to Information Web for Services Rakesh Mohan, Biplav Srivastava*, Pietro Mazzoleni, Richard Goodwin IBM Research IIWeb-09 July 11, 2009
IBM Research © 2009 IBM Corporation Outline Background – Services – Documentation in Services – Information and Collaboration – Services Domain of Interest: Packaged Application Web-enabled Trend: Document-centric v/s Object-centric tools Challenges – Creating an object-centric model – Model guided content creation – Publishing object-centric information into documents – Online and offline updates – Harvesting legacy content – Integrating Information Conclusion 2
IBM Research © 2009 IBM Corporation 3 Background: Services, As Understood by Characteristics Co - Production – The customer participates in the process of production and delivery of a service. This implies that the service output also depends upon the customer's inputs. Heterogeneity – The customer is involved in the process and each customer has his or her own requirements. – The service delivery is not a standardized process and each service provider (employee) has his or her way of achieving the same outcome Intangibility – The output of services is intangible and may or may not have tangible components. This causes the service to be felt or experienced but not touched by the customer. Perishability – Services are produced and consumed at the same time. This causes the services to be perishable i.e. they cannot be inventoried. Slide source: Inder Thukral
IBM Research © 2009 IBM Corporation Example: Documentation in Services 4 Patient Insurance Pharmacy Doctors Office Medical History Prescription Medical Claims, Prescription Drug Claims, Prescription Bills, Policy Updates Problem: Hand-offs between role-players are inefficient and failure-prone
IBM Research © 2009 IBM Corporation Services Domain of Interest: Packaged Application Packaged Application – Off-the-shelf software to manage common business functions like accounting, payment and receivables, order management, customer management; or industry-specific functions like clinical trial (pharmaceutical), drilling (mining, oil & gas) – Businesses buy these software and then engage service providers to tailor them – Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a specific class of packaged applications Market size (according to AMR Research [AMR 2008]) – The total market size for ERP software is currently $34.4B. SAP leads with 42 %, followed by Oracle (23%), The Sage Group (7%), Microsoft Dynamics (4%), and others. – Spending on services including consulting, integration and support for Oracle, SAP, and other business application vendors, called packaged enterprise application services, was $103B for 2007, and expected to reach $174B by 2012. – IBM is a prominent service provider for SAP and Oracle. Typical service projects involve hundreds of business processes involving hundreds of consultants working for 1-2 years creating thousands of documents created by Office Productivity tools New Approach being Introduced in IBM – Move from document-centric to information-web – Reuse information within a project, eventually across projects Problem: Hand-offs between hundreds of role-players are inefficient and failure-prone
IBM Research © 2009 IBM Corporation Information and Collaboration 6 Problem Theme: Streamline hand-offs among stakeholders
IBM Research © 2009 IBM Corporation Example of PA Document: PDD 7
IBM Research © 2009 IBM Corporation Example of Object-centric Information Web 8 Object-Centric Representation of Process Information for SAP Implementation Illustrated with Content from SAPs Solution Composer and Solution Manager Tools
IBM Research © 2009 IBM Corporation Document-centric v/s Object-centric tools Document-centric Pros – Work Products can be created independent of any governance restrictions, as needed. – Documents can be physically stored and use to document agreements. – Documents can be passed-around to anyone who has access to the software compatible with document format – There is no need for special tools to collect and distribute information Cons – Information available to an individual can get stale and out-of-synch with the latest information available to the project. – Documents cannot be consumed easily. For example, formatting can be changed, ad-hoc objects inserted – Licenses for commercial word processors and format inter-operability are lingering issues, and the chosen technology varies with client preferences – Intrinsic relations among information in the documents need to be independently (and manually) maintained by the users. Object-centric Pros – Up-to-date information available to everybody (single view of truth) – Document can be viewed as snapshot of a view on a sub-graph of the information web, at a given time. It can be created on-demand in any format. – Instead of physical documents, links to objects can be shared. Intrinsic relations among information in the documents can be maintained in common repositories shared by all users. Cons – When documents are published for objects, they cannot be easily updated and then reflected back on the objects. This is because the objects may have been updated to a different state by the time changes from the document are completed – Objects cannot be altered freely, by design. The inter- relationships and constraints among the objects need to be always consistent and they restrict the type of changes that a user can do. – New tools, not familiar to users, are needed to collect and distribute information. 9
IBM Research © 2009 IBM Corporation Solution Template Activities of the role-players have to be structured Commitments/agreements during the hand-off have to be persisted over time and verifiable System has to support evolution as changes happen over time Other desiderata specific to problem setting – Asset reuse – Cloud-based availability 10
IBM Research © 2009 IBM Corporation Challenges Creating an object-centric model – Perennial problem in acquiring the well-accepted model – Unique to problem: No single Oracle –multiple experts for different areas Current model editing tools lack ontological expressivity, are single-user, hamper collaboration Model guided content creation – Limited tools exist to create editors (e.g., Eclipse) but do not support links across objects Publishing object-centric information into documents – Documents are snapshots of information web, and restrict new changes to be always on object representation – Version control – Degree of granularity for publishing needs to be controlled 11
IBM Research © 2009 IBM Corporation Challenges Online and offline updates – Practical issue: information web not available to everyone and at all times due to a number of reasons: security access, cost, maturity of technology or regulatory processes. E.g., customer approvals, government filings. – Maintaining coherence Harvesting legacy content – Migrating content in documents to pre-populate objects – Readying for reuse: desensitization, standardization Integrating Information – Enabled within a project or across seamlessly in information web due to model- based tags 12
IBM Research © 2009 IBM Corporation Our Solution Choices Creating an object-centric model => Guidelines for model given to SMEs; a negotiated model provided by experts and maintained by them Model guided content creation => A web-based tool with most UI capabilities generated from the model Publishing object-centric information into documents => Publishing easily targetable to different file formats Online and offline updates => No offline changes allowed Harvesting legacy content => IBM Content Harvester Integrating Information => Within project (saved in Jazz model repository) and across projects (in Rationals Asset Manager product) 13
IBM Research © 2009 IBM Corporation Conclusion Analyzed a pressing problem in services: hand-offs between role- players – Inefficient and failure-prone in many services industries – Accentuated in packaged applications when role-players are in hundreds, projects run into years and cost millions. Identified root-cause to document-centric information management Identified specific challenges in creating information web Discussed solution choices for a specific setting 14
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