Improving Information Alignment and Distributed Coordination for Secure Information Supply Chains
Industries are constantly striving to incorporate the latest technology systems into their operations so that they can maintain a competitive edge in their respective markets. However, even when they are able to stay up to speed with technological advancement, there continues to be a gap between the workforce skill set and available technologies. Organizations may acquire advanced systems, yet end up spending extended periods of time in the implementation and deployment phases, resulting in lost resources and productivity. The primary focus of this research is on streamlining the implementation and integration of new information technology systems to avoid the dire consequences of the process being prolonged or inefficient. Specifically, the goal of this research is to mitigate business challenges in information sharing and availability for employees and managers interacting with business tools and each other. This was accomplished by first interviewing work professionals in order to identify gap parameters. Based on the interview findings, recommendations were made in order to enhance the usability of existing tools. At this point, the research setting was shifted from network operations to supply chain operations due to the restrictive nature of network operations. The research team succeeded in developing a user-centered methodology to implement and deploy new business systems to mitigate risk during integration of new systems as the transition is made from the classic way of performing tasks. While this methodology was studied in supply chain operations, it enabled the identification of a common trend of challenges in operations work settings, regardless of the business application. Hence the findings of this research can be extrapolated to any business setting, besides the ones actually studied by the team. In addition, this research ensures that operational teams are able to maximize their benefit out of the technology available, thus enabling them to keep up with the rapidly evolving world of technology while minimizing sacrifices in resources or productivity in the process. Traditionally, it has been more convenient, and thus more prevalent, for research in the areas of cognitive human factors, user research and UX principles to be conducted on consumer applications, as opposed to enterprise systems. The larger number of users of consumer applications and the research process being less complicated than it is in enterprise systems are contributing factors to this research trend. The result is that there is research available on every aspect of integrating new systems into consumer applications. Due to the need for research in these areas in enterprise systems research efforts have been on the rise. However, most of these focus on tool development rather than system deployment. This research team expanded the research arena by conducting UX research on the deployment of a system into an operations setting. Thus, the emphasis was on corporate systems, rather than consumer applications, and it was determined that the benefit of conducting research per user is higher in the corporate setting than in consumer applications, making such research efforts a worthwhile investment of resources.
Caldwell, Purdue University.
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