This is a solution of Information Management Assignment which discuss an information retrieval proposal and critical success factors.
Information Retrieval Proposal
1. Critical Success Factors
1.1 Business Factors
Various factors play roles in sharing the employee knowledge in the organization. Technological as well as the cultural issues are some of them. So organizations have to consider both of them if they want to enhance the information retrieval or the knowledge sharing among them. History says that in past many huge as well as mid-size companies have faced problems because of the same issue. Analysis of their experiences indicate that the cultural and the technological barriers are the most critical and important barriers companies need to take care of to cross to achieve desired level of success in implementation of the information retrieval system. So such issues need to be analyzed for this particular company before any implementation efforts as well as expenses began. Below these issues are discussed in context of how to overcome them by implementing cooperative environment.
1.1.1 Cultural Issues
Culture of an organization is defined in many ways in the history. School and Branch in 1993 claimed that culture is a pattern of thinking of various members of a group with other groups and their behavior and also how they interact with one another. Values, norms, traditions and various beliefs of the group shape the patterns.
For knowledge sharing, healthy and compatible corporate culture is needed. This is perhaps the most important factor for successful implementation of knowledge sharing or information retrieval. It is very unfortunate that changing the culture and making it compatible for the knowledge sharing is really very difficult. This is generally the prime reason behind the failure of implementation of any knowledge sharing system. Culture is manifestation of a group’s adaptation to its environment, which also includes other groups and their norms and traditions.Culture encompasses the various patterns created by various religion, ethnicity or geography, profession, gender or life styles. Generally individuals are members of more than one culture.
Because of various reasons, the employees or the knowledge workers are reluctant or not comfortable in sharing the data (Frakes, 1992). For example: They generally don’t trust each other completely. Lack of perceived value is also an important reason. Sometimes even simple knowledge hording is also a reason behind the reluctance for sharing.
For successful implementation of information retrieval, all the employees, especially the knowledge workers should start believing that by sharing knowledge the business can grow better and in much more healthier manner.
Employees have only two options: either they themselves accept the knowledge sharing attitude in their day to day routine or they must be mentally prepared to change the culture of the company.
If the company culture itself is not knowledge sharing friendly, then no advancement in technology or knowledge content or good management of the project will be able to lead to the success.On the other side, if the culture is right or the employees accept the change in the culture then they will be able to share and learn every development in knowledge and technology.
Culture is considered as one of the most inhibitors of information and knowledge sharing. But many companies have not changed their culture so that the same can meet their knowledge management initiative. On the other hand many global companies have set up multi-functional web sites which enable employees to share their knowledge, their documents and chats etc. But they failed to keep pace with business functions. This failure was due to the reasons that the designers did not consider the cultural issues (Salton, 1989).
1.1.2 Organizational Structure
Various companies in various parts of the worlds have different types of organizational performance and structure. For example in Briton most of the companies have hierarchical culture where as in some other parts of the world flat organizational cultures are also appreciated. The firms with hierarchical structure are known to be firm and resolute. So they have a decision maker to have authority regarding all important decisions. In such cases of organizational structure, for the decision maker, being in control and leading the team becomes very important. For that he needs to use all his project management skills.
Most important is his relations with the employees themselves. On the other hand, in flatter structure, like the Swedish have, the manager act as coaches more than an autocratic decision maker. Here all efforts have value and workers are considered to want to do good job. As a result, all the middle level managers and the rest of the decision makers are free to take decisions necessary for day to day operations without consulting the director (Rijsbergen, 1999). In flat structures the designations or the status does not matter much, so employees easily downplay their achievement. They work and share with much fewer expectations to be rewarded than the same in a hierarchical culture. Moreover in flat structures, participative structures are always welcomed and practiced by the higher management and the employees both.
So to before implementing information retrieval system or the knowledge sharing system, company needs to understand the organizational structure or the decision making power distribution to foresee that the implementation will go successful or not. Generally no single technology meets all the criteria. That is why one should not focus on technology more but focus more on the organizational structure, organization learning, communication and also the business processes. Various studies also suggest that apart from these points mentioned earlier, organizational change and behavior is also equally important before start implementation of any new technology of knowledge sharing.
1.1.3. Legal Compliance
Documents sharing and other private knowledge sharing always asks for utmost care. All this knowledge sharing should be done keeping all the rules under consideration and legally. For example, the data or the records should be selectively stored and kept for a certain time, or better to say as long as they are actually needed by the appropriate persons.Records can be kept shared if
- They have value addition in continuing the business
- They are evidences. For example, legal evidences or financial evidences (McGill, 2007).
- They are informative to the employees and to the other readers. For example, if those data provide information about company’s structure. Or if those data provides details of company’s past or the history of company’s evolution, then they can be and should be kept for long period to make them available for all the stake holders.
- The data is unique and adds to the understanding of an organization, they should be shared
- The data has information about company’s major activities or if they are the documents mentioning the same, they should be shared.
Administrative documents are not usually kept beyond five years, unless there is requirement for an audit trail or for one of the above reasons.
1.4.4.Disposing of documents and records
Every data stored for others to be read and shared, should be categorized properly according to the points listed above so that they can be disposed if their purpose is served. For that periodically, all the records and the documents should be periodically reviewed. This helps in deleting all the documents which are of no use of any employee or which now should not be stored legally. This also helps in making the system efficient by making is less loaded and thus fast responding. This increases the effectiveness of the search queries(Ravino, 2001). Regular review also makes sure that unnecessary duplication of the data stored on the drive is avoided by deleting the repeated file. Many times the working copy or the draft copies of the documents are also stored while they are being created. After completion of the final documents and once they are shared, their working copies are no more required and should be removed. At the end, all those documents which once had value to the employees and thus to the organization but are no more useful to the operations, should be removed from the drive.
1.2 Infrastructure Factors
1.2.1 Communication Issues
Many companies have presence in more than one country, which adds the problem of dealing with data available in more than one language as not everywhere data is created and stored in English. This is called language barrier in data sharing which leads to communication issues. Misunderstanding in communicational process is one the most critical problems effecting the level of sharing information and knowledge and in turn effecting business productivity.
In past also many companies have ignored the importance of language barriers and thus resulted into negative outcomes. This makes the search of the data itself very complicated as search in one language may not be useful for the data of the other language.
To overcome this, a proper translator system should be installed which can translate the data in other language. Many times only software itself is not enough so human translators needs to be hired for the same purpose(Ashington., 2006).
1.2.2 Existing IT Equipment and Offices
A company must analyse its current IT equipment and the compatibility of the same with the proposed one. If the new system is compatible with the old existing one then the expense and the risk associated with the implementation minimizes.
2. IT Analysis
Shared Drive & Search Engine
|Option – 2
|Option – 3
ComData Web Content Management System
2.1 Option 1: Shared Drive and Search engine
This option is the simplest one among all three as this consists of a search engine facility which searches data from the shared drive on which the employees have shared the data. But the simplification has its own limitation. For example, this does not provide facilities like archiving, which manages the stored data. It cannot offer work flow and facility of version control which are generally available in other options. Moreover, there are some publishing tools which are very helpful to the employee. This option does not provide such tools also.
2.2 Option 2: SharePoint
This option of SharePoint is better than the 1st one in many aspects, though implementation of the same is costlier, complex and time consuming also. Many extra applications which were not available in the first option of simple shared drive and a search engine are available in SharePoint. For example, SharePoint provides version control, workflow facilities also. Besides, this also provides various tools needed for publishing purpose and also the facility of archiving.
2.3 Option 3: ComData Web Content Management System
CMS is the most complex among all three possible options as far as the installation is concerned. It takes longest duration in implementation also. But it is much better than the first option of simple shared drive and a search engine. It also provides all the services and facilities provided by the SharePoint. Moreover it is very compatible for user to share, retrieve, and edit data. It also avoids repetition of the data to be stored. It helps in improving communication among the users too.
3. Business Process and Information Needs Analysis
3.1 Security of Sensitive Information
Whenever sharing takes place, risk of the security arises. All the data stored is confidential and should not go in wrong hands. It is also necessary to maintain the faith of the employees who have trusted the system managers for sharing their personal data and the data created by their own efforts. Researchers put all their efforts in generating data useful to the company and to benefit of the other researchers(McGill, 2007). . It is very necessary that all this data should not get leaked outside the company. The access to all the data should be limited to the internal employees only, secured by login identity and passwords. Also data availability should also be dependent on the designation of the person, as there are some data which should not be accessible except the top business management. So the employees would be allowed to get data only as much they should get.
All the employees should be properly instructed to protect their login id and password, leak of which to the competitors could cause disasters to company. They should log out every time they are finished using the network of stored data.
Permission level should be varied according to the designation of the employee. For example, some employees should be allowed to only read the document and not to edit them. Or special facility of asking permission for restricted data should be available. Moreover, all the history of documents searched and read by the employees should be tracked and should be available to top management in case of any emergency.
3.2 Risk Analysis
Apart from the security risks, there are some more risks which may happen to the system. For example, system failure, downtime etc.
There is always risk of crash of data storage drive. Data are as important as physical assets in most of the businesses. To overcome this risk, there should be facility of complete data back up so that it can be recovered if anything happens. This also motivates employee to share their data on the central drive rather than their own systems.
Many times the network gets slow. Though this is no data loss, but if data cannot be reached within time, it’s of no use. So to overcome this risk, data usage of the system should be monitored continuously so that causes of excessive usage, if any, can be identified. Also proper firewall and virus safety software should be installed to keep the system fast, secure and available.
Company needs to provide range of training of various knowledge management topics, including specific package as CMS. Online training must be provided to all the employees to make them aware how data is accessible to them. They should be taught how relevant data can be searched from huge data available. Training should be scheduled with flexible timing available to them. Training can be provided by internet so that travelling cost of various employees to training centre can be saved. Training also can be done phase wise. First “information champion” can be selected from every group or department of the company. They would be trained first about the system, so that they can in turn help in training others. This will make the training process faster and smoother.
3.4 Application Functionality
There are many different measures to evaluate the performance of the information retrieval system(Salton, 1989). . For example, precision, recall, fall-out, F-measure, average precision etc.
It is the fraction of the documents retrieved which are relevant to the person’s need. It is same as positive predictive value. It takes all retrieved documents into account.
It is the fraction of the documents which are relevant to the query which are successfully retrieved. It is also called sensitivity. It is also called the probability of a relevant document retrieved by the search query.
This basically provides the data in various categories so that the search can be narrowed down easily.
It’s a collection of words or phrases which a search engine treats as a single phrase while searching. This really becomes very useful when there are terms with same or similar meaning.
Refined Results Feature
This is useful when data to be searched is too large and we need ease of searching.
This helps by providing various facilities. For example, it provides controls in terms of indexing. It provides a controlled language. It also limits terms assigned to documents and also helps in smooth retrieval of the data.
An algorithm is used to check the relevancy of the search results.Basically, it ranks all the pages came out as search result and then shows them in their relevancy order according to the page ranking algorithm. This makes the search process for the user faster.
- B. Frakes, 1992, “ Information Retrieval: Data Structures and Algorithms”, pp. 23-56
- Salton, 1989, “ Automatic Text Processing: The Transformation, Analysis, and Retrieval of Information”, pp. 1-125
- J. van Rijsbergen, 1999, “ Information Retrieval”, pp. 78-134
- Salton and M.J. McGill, 2007, “ Introduction to Modern Information Retrieval”, pp. 34-70
- Ravino, 2001, “A natural semantics for information retrieval. In East Pacic Rim Symposium on Applied Linguistics”, pp. 1-56
- Ashington., 2006, “ An automatic system for retrieval of electronic documents”, pp. 15-213
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