The influence of new generation information systems on modern organizations

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The traditional role of Information Science and corresponding Information Technologies is providing organizations with information. This makes it a tool supporting decision process, which can be counted as an organizational process. But today, this role is becoming more widely spread, making Information Sciences and Information Technologies also an important part of the operational process itself. Concepts such as Business Process Reengineering (BPR) make information solutions a vital part of any modern organization process, present in all components in the business cycle of planning, realization and controlling.

The World Wide Web as a platform

If Information Science and Information Technologies revolutionized modern organizations, there is a heavily related technology that revolutionized our every day lives. The Internet and its main service, the World Wide Web hold unimagined potential both for personal and professional goals. This technology enables unlimited knowledge sharing between people and organizations, while at the same providing the platform on which different information systems can be created. Intranets (designed to support internal people and processes) and Extranets (designed for connecting with external entities, such as clients, suppliers, partners and competition) enable effective, flexible, scalable and accessible web-based information systems that can support most of organizational needs of a modern organizations.

To understand the implications of World Wide Web we can also take a look at the companies behind it, as they have become some of the largest IT companies in the world, and their services the most widely used information systems, leaving aside operation systems. There is an important point hidden in that statement – most information systems of today are not used to support organizations any more, they are designed for personal activities. Software solutions are shifting from B2B to B2C, and where management was the key buyer of software yesterday, ordinary everyday user is the main "buyer" of software today.

The Internet with its possibilities to share knowledge is a revolution probably comparable to the inventions of speaking, writing and printing in the past. Those organizations and individuals who are able to recognize this fact have a great opportunity for progress. That potential goes both for getting useful information and knowledge from other sources as for getting useful information about organization to those or any other sources. There is no doubt that today we live in the information era, and those who will not adapt that fact, probably have no future.

Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0 and IT 2.0

In the past years, a new generation of World Wide Web solutions has emerged, which we understand as Web 2.0. These services are focused on collaboration, cooperation, communication and connectivity, enabling sharing between millions of users and utilizing the effect of mass participation. The potential marketing revenue, which is the driving force behind the World Wide Web, and the large competition between millions of software companies around the world allow these services to evolve with light speed, making them both technologically and functionally more advanced than classical information systems. It didn’t take long for managers and entrepreneurs to realize the effect of these now approaches and services can also be beneficial on organization, marketing, decision support and other fields of organization and management.

The concept of Enterprise 2.0 adapts Web 2.0 for business-oriented use and represents using these new technologies, approaches, concepts and services in business-oriented environments. With a focus both on internal optimization (wikis, idea banks, social networking tools) and external optimization (blogs and microblogs, RSS, social bookmarking and tagging), it enables companies and their employees new ways to connect and interact between themselves and with other organizations. The focus of information systems is shifting from technical elements to social elements of organizations, and traditional information systems, such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems are getting upgraded with modern systems, such as custom developed intranets and extranets.

But Enterprise 2.0 solutions are still mostly partial (separate) software solutions modern organizations can use to optimize their performance and strategies. In my opinion, future information systems will have those concepts and approaches incorporated into the core of the system, enriching traditional business-oriented solutions with social components that will support connections both with other individuals within organizations and with individuals from other organizations. Real-time interactions and communication will be one of the foundations of new business models that are emerging on the market, and IT 2.0 will be the platform that supports those concepts and activities.

It's time for IT to go social

Modern organizations are mostly service-oriented, so traditional ERP systems are becoming used mostly for low value-added activities. These new organizations are founded on innovative business models, knowledge and human capital. High value-add information systems for those organizations are systems for Project Management, Customer Relationship Management, Knowledge Management etc., which are not oriented on technical components of organizations, but on social ones, such as people, relationships, connections, interactions, knowledge, cooperation and other.

New services that Web 2.0 "invented" fit into this picture of new generation IT 2.0 software solutions perfectly. Social networking tools can enable higher connectivity, new forms of interactions, team building and cooperation between all the people in the process. Social bookmarking and tagging produce structured knowledge and can harness the effect of crowdsourcing. Visualizations of data and information can bring more information used for decision making and clearer view on organization process. Feeds and streams enable faster data flow and clearer connections between most individuals inside the organization.

Organization is a system of dynamic relationships, and people are no longer considered only as a part of the machinery, but as complex entities, building even more complex social units. The greatest corporations that exist today were produced by capable individuals, forming even more capable teams. Therefore we must not ignore the science behind it – human capital is the probably the most valuable thing any modern organization can have and most software solutions of the future will be focused on these social components. The interesting symbiosis between new generation information systems and modern organization approaches is more obvious than ever, providing all the elements needed for business-oriented IT to go 2.0.

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written 6.6.2010 16:08 CET on chronolog
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