The Infosys Labs research blog tracks trends in technology with a focus on applied research in Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

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August 27, 2009

SETLabs Participation in AMCIS 2009

The 15th Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS), 2009 was recently held in San Francisco. The conference was themed as 'The Golden Gate to the Future of IS (Information Systems)'. As far as i know, SETLabs was one of the only industry R&D groups that participated in this conference. We participated at two different levels.

A paper titled "Key Performance Indicators Framework - A Method to Track Business Objectives, Link Business Strategy to Processes and Detail Importance of Key Performance Indicators in Enterprise Business Architecture”, was presented by Eswar Ganesan (Senior Associate Consultant).  The paper was co-authored by Eswar and Ramesh Paturi (Senior Consultant) from the InFlux team.

As part of SETLabs, Web 2.0 Research Lab Dr. Jai Ganesh and I chaired three mini-tracks in this conference. These were:

  1. Web 2.0 and Collaborative Value Creation
  2. Business Impact of Virtual Worlds and Web 2.0
  3. Web Accessibility - Challenges, Regulation and Reality

The overall conference was replete with variety of parallel tracks including those on Design Theory,  Analytical Modeling and Simulation, Decision Support Systems, diffusion of IT, eBusiness and eCommerce, Enterprise Systems all the way to Social issues of IT.

AMCIS has always been a big draw for both academician as well as industry folks in the IT and IS field. Some of the leading names in the field of IS such as Profs. Paul Gray, Gordon Davis, Dick Mason, Varun Grover, Kenneth Kendall, Ramesh Sharda, Upkar Varshney etc. were part of this conference. More than 800 papers (and posters) were presented in the conference which was spread over 3 and 1/2 days. Close to 1100 people attended this conference.

Like any other conference, this one offered a huge opportunity to network with like minded people in the industry and academia and share notes about the question on everyone's mind. Yes the dreaded 'R' word. While a majority of the academicians weren't directly impacted, they were deeply concerned about how they could contribute in 'turning the tide back'. The keynote speaker and panelists in various discussions, deliberated on the role of IS in an organization's tryst with difficult times. The tone, in most cases, was the value Information Systems can add in taking tough and timely decisions. The consensus was on prudent adoption of newer technologies that allow organizations to collaborate with its customers and partners and create value which was hitherto unrealizable.

The papers presented was a mix of theoretical constructs and practical challenges in achieving the above. A lot of emphasis was on human issues in IS such as cultural influences, unlearning and re-learning, models for collaboration, process changes and improvements, soft skills, communication, knowledge-networks, and digital-divide was evident in the papers that were presented. Of course the traditional issues in IS such as metrics, risk assessment and mitigation, sustainability, technological advances, diffusion mechanisms, value articulation etc. were also addressed by several papers.

In the tracks that we had proposed and chaired, some very interesting papers on web usability and accessibility challenges faced by visually challenged folks, Web 2.0 capabilities and strategy, Web 2.0 for small and medium enterprises, Online reputation systems, social nature of virtual worlds, structure and design of social networking etc. were presented.

Our take home was essentially the potential collaboration in research related with social networking analysis, usability and accessibility, business models for Web 2.0 adoption, trends in virtual reality, its relevance for geographically distributed business processes and the technology diffusion and moreover development of tools to facilitate the transitions. To this extent this conference provided  connects with several leading academicians from across the world.

The AMCIS 2010 will be held in Lima, PERU.

August 12, 2009

DMaaS on the Cloud: Requirement

Cloud computing is an emerging computing paradigm that was innovated to deploy cost effective solutions over Internet. Companies such as Google, IBM, Amazon, Yahoo and Intel have already started providing computing infrastructures for its intend use. On the other hand, organizations have started porting their data and applications to cloud in order to reap the benefits of this new paradigm.  This necessitates a well-defined data migration service (DMaaS) over cloud. Moreover, organizations have to rely on cloud in order to handle security and privacy issues for their data assets. Some of these can be overcome by building a private cloud and given a cloud with certain amount of data, we need solutions to migrate this data to another cloud.

Thus, various scenarios can be visualized for migrating data with-in and around cloud: (i) enterprise to cloud data migration and vice versa and (ii) inter-cloud data migration.

Please share your views on DMaaS.

August 7, 2009

Process Elicitation Method - An Alternative to Process Mining

One of the most used methods of identifying the As-is process is Process Elicitation. Process Elicitation would mean getting the information using formal or informal methods.

Formal methods can inclue conducting workshops or interviews with process stakeholders and users. Informal methods can be talking to process users in casual mannner, observing people when they are working.

Process Elicitation is the best method for identifying process when it is mostly manual. But for system based processes, the elicited processes may be different from the ones actual processes. One major drawback is the exception paths may not be elicited as not many people would have knowledge of how process behaves in case of exception.

Please share your views on Process Elicitation method.

August 5, 2009

BPM and Compliance

Compliance is most important and critical aspect of any business. One of the challenges is adherence to multiple standards. BPM based solutions can take care of these compliance to multiple standards.

Consider for example SOX requires adherence to ‘Segregation of Duties’ as one of the requirements. This can be implemented using a proper Access Rights within an application. If you are adhering to ISO/IEC 27002 (Information Security) compliance, there is similar requirement. The Section 11.2.4 requires Review of user access rights and privileges.

BPM based solution can monitor or extract the process executed, validate the access rights and privileges. It can also provide information about the compliance to standards.

The challenge is identifying these kinds of overlapping requirements and designing the process.