In recent years, the Internet and World Wide Web (www) have become ubiquitous, surpassing all other technological developments in our history. They’ve also grown rapidly in their scope and extent of use, significantly affecting all aspects of our lives. Industries such as manufacturing, travel and tourism, banking, education, Olympic Games and government are Web-enabled to improve and enhance their operations.
Web-based information systems (WIS) are information systems (IS) that are based on Web technology and they are integrated with conventional IS such as databases and transaction processing systems (Chen & Heath, 2001; Isakowitz, Bieber, & Vitali, 1998). Nowadays there is a rise in the amount of readymade web based information systems available in the form of content management systems, which can easily be integrated into an organisations existing information system to provide solutions (e-commerce, social networking, file sharing etc.) to the information needs of individuals and the organisation.
Beynon-Davies 2002, states; “It has become something of a truism that the success of an organisation is dependent on its information systems.” As Web applications have evolved, the demands placed on Web-based systems and the complexity of designing, developing, maintaining, and managing these systems have also increased significantly. For example, Web sites such as for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, 1998 Nagano Olympics, and Wimbledon received hundreds of thousands of hits per minute (Ginige and Murugesan, 2001). They provided vast, dynamic information in multiple media formats (graphics, images, and video). Web site design for these and many other applications demand balance among information content, aesthetics, and performance.
1.2 Key Phrases
Olympic Games, Web-Based Information System, Content Management System Internet, Web technology, Database, Dynamic Information, Media Formats
1.3 Aims and objectivesTo investigate Web-Based Information Systems with a view to understanding how they work, including concepts, methods, tools and techniques used for developing them. Activities: read literature on Web-Based Information Systems; learn how they operate and also the kind of technologies they are associated with. Deliverables: Section for report To review a selection of different Web-Based Information Systems, investigating their characteristics, similarities, mode of operation and technologies associated with them. Activities: apply for and try to gain access to a selection (open Source) of Web-Based Information Systems and compare them, with a view to understanding their characteristics and the technologies involved with them and also the applications available.Deliverables: Section for report To investigate the Olympic Games and the web technologies associated with it, to gain an understanding of the data (Content and structure), display mechanisms, data transfer methods, data retrieval mechanism’s used in their applications. Activities: apply for and try to gain access during the Internship placement, for sample data and technologies’ already in use by the company to gain a better understanding of the requirements.Deliverables: Section for report To analyse the information gathered so as to establish an adequate requirements specification for developing a Web-Based Information System.Activities: select appropriate tools and techniques to provide an initial set of requirements for the Web-Based Information System.Deliverables: Section for report To design an appropriate Web-Based Information System according to stated requirements; Activities: select appropriate tools and techniques to provide a possible design solution.Deliverables: Section for report To implement a proto-type Web-Based Information System application (for the Olympics games), according to the stated design solution.Activities: Select appropriate methods, design solution and programming language; and implement the proto-type Web-Based Information System using the chosen design solutionDeliverables: Section for report To test the Web-Based Information System application;Activities: chose appropriate test strategies and draw up test plans, and test the applicationDeliverables: Section for report To critically evaluate the work carried out against stated requirements.Activities: to critically evaluate my product and the work carried out, and compare the completed product to the stated requirements and objectives, also discuss the lessons learnt and discuss possible improvements.Deliverables: Section for report 1.4 Scope and Definition
This project will focus on the development of a web-based information system for the Olympic Games. The London 2012 Olympic Games would be used as part of an internship arrangement with “Atos Origin” will be used as a typical example with the requirements and specifications built around its particular needs.
The front end of the system will be aimed at the general users (i.e. athletes, media agencies and Journalist) with success measured by its ability to cater to their information needs in real time. The back end will be content management system for the staff (Olympic Local Organising Committee), including all the functions necessary for the smooth running of the Olympic Games.
There will be no attempt to develop a full working system to be able to connect to pre-existing IT systems within the organisation, but a proto-type system using similar data types, structures and web technologies. The system will not be designed with scalability in mind however the need will be discussed in the report; As there are several legal, ethical and data right issues which would be discussed in the report, it will be assumed that the data to be used would be of dummy values and not the real thing, therefore the analysis of which applications to use will be conducted on open source software only.
The web-based information system will consist of a website with the content and structure being determined by the requirements of the Olympic Games. The front end will be a mixture of both static and dynamic information content which is constantly being updated via the Olympic Local Organising Committee databases (in my case, I would create a replica database with a similar data structure) to allow customisation by the users.
1.5 Literature review
The Olympic Games are a complex mix of technology, processes and people. Not only is there the scale and complexity of the project, covering many clients, sites and systems, but it is also a multi-supplier project with many varied dependencies. Furthermore, the whole event is highly visible and the world is watching. And where victory is measured by the smallest margin, there are no second chances! (Source: www.uk.atosorigin.com)
The company “Atos Origin’s” challenge is to create an IT solution for each Olympic Games that allows the capture and reporting of every moment of the action and supports in bringing it to the world via television and the Internet, first time, every time! This requires a blend of specialist skills and experience backed up by a complete understanding of just what the organisers, competitors and audience expect. (Source: www.uk.atosorigin.com)
Teams are created to work on client projects, each which have their own budgets, sets of deliverables and timescales. The management of a project is a vital task, as is the coordination of staff resources across a portfolio of current projects whilst ensuring their delivery on time and within budget. As lead integrator, project manager and IT operations manager, Atos Origin is ultimately responsible for the entire IT infrastructure of the Games. The focus is on three key IT areas:Security and Risk Management Games Management Systems Information Diffusion Systems
Marchand et al (2000) note that “Information technology improves business performance only if combined with competent information management and the right behaviours and values.” They go on to conclude that Companies with high information orientation have focused on getting IT support for key processes in place to manage customer and product information for all aspects of the Games. From this base, the company has developed sophisticated systems and databases for Security and Risk Management, Games Management and Information Diffusion. (Marchand et al 2000).
The difference between modelling conventional Information Systems (IS) and modelling Web-Based Information Systems (WIS) is significant. Modelling conventional IS addresses their structured data requirements and process functions within the organisation. Its key concerns are general structured data and processes. On the other hand, a WIS operates to support networked organisations in the integration of specialised Web sites into a common set of tasks for them. Organisational computing network properties are the major focus of WIS. Since WIS and conventional business IS (i.e., data processing systems, management report systems, and decision support systems) normally overlap, the general components of ordinary IS such as structured data (databases), models (model bases), and groupware for decision making can also serve as general components of a WIS.(Wang, 2001)
There is a clear difference between a set of Web pages and a WIS in that a WIS supports business process and is usually tightly integrated with other IS. The recent development of WIS suggests that they are revolutionising commerce (Tenenbaum, 1998). They have become tools for online business processing. Also, software agents, content management systems are emerging in WIS to exploit the features of online transactions (Wong, Paciorek, & Moore, 1999).
WIS can also be viewed as database applications for structured as well as semi-structured data (Arocena & Mendelzon, 1998); in fact, the Web has become a major resource for supporting multimedia active documents and developing and sharing knowledge structure collaboratively over the Internet (Gaines & Shaw, 1999). Since business IS are migrating from batch processing, time-sharing, and client-server computing to WIS, information infrastructure of the organisations has become a crucial factor in WIS development (Detlor, 2000)
The benefits of this experience can be brought to this dissertation project through best practices in areas such as consortium and project management, content and knowledge management, risk driven management, change management, data centres and IT Security.
According to CMS (2008), “a system development methodology refers to the framework that is used to structure, plan, and control the process of developing an information system i.e. the waterfall model, the prototyping model, the spiral etc.”
In the context of this project the waterfall model would be used as the framework for development, while an iterative prototyping approach would be used to assist the design, implementation and unit testing. (CMS, 2008)
These two approaches were chosen because; The project has to be divided into sequential phases; using the waterfall model where the outcome of one phase is used as the source of input for the next phase i.e. the output from the analysis phase forms the bases of input for the design phase. This is helpful but also causes some delays, because if one phase is not completed the other cannot be started.
The waterfall model would also assisted in maintaining tight control over the documentation, because each section of the report would be created as the phase was carried out and approvals and checks would be made to ensure I am on the right track before starting a new phase. (CMS, 2008)
The iterative prototyping approach would helped combine both the waterfall and prototyping models allowing me go forward and also retrace my steps where needed.
The iterative prototyping would also assist while implementing the product, because the coding could start while the phases are not complete as a mare prototype, which would be improved upon as the design and requirements are stated and analysed further. This would help save time lost using the waterfall model and also provide a platform for unit testing of the product, because each individual component of the system would be tested in turn before the entire application is put together and tested. (CMS, 2008)
These approaches have also been justified by;
Yeung and Brent Hall (2007), stating that an iterative approach is most suitable for this type of project due to the fact that specification cannot be determined precisely in advance. This would help develop, implement and test the functionality of the systems individual units before the whole system is put together. Coad and Yourdon (1991) also suggested that prototyping should be used for all object-oriented projects.
1.8 Work Plan
Also access to the Universities libraries would be needed and Suitable Software Development Tools. Universities computing facilities and my personal computer would be used for all aspects of development and preparing the report.
Access to “Atos Origins” databases, facilities, applications would be needed to gain an understanding of how their existing system works and the required data structure and transfer facilities.
1.10 Ethics and confidentiality
The major problem I would have is gaining access to the company’s existing databases and systems, due to the sensitive nature of the data and the company’s intellectual property right, I have opted to ask for permission only to view their data structure and create a mock up data base from it with dummy data values, which would not cause any issues for me or the company if am allowed to.
Also most of my research would be done based on open-source systems which are readily available online and my design solution would only be similar in nature to the companies and not the real thing, because my role on the internship is not to help with the creation of the system to be used but to test and monitor its performance and help correct errors and develop documents.
My prototype solution is not intended to be used by the company, but is for me to learn how such projects are undertaken and designed.Initial References
Beynon-Davis P. (2002), Information systems – An introduction to informatics in organisations, Basingstoke: Palgrave
Ginige A., Murugesan S. (2001) Web Engineering: An Introduction. IEEE Multimedia, 1-3, pp. 14-18.
Choo, C W (2002) Information management for the intelligent organisation, 3rd ed. Information Today, cited in Goker, A. (November 2006) ‘IKM Session 8: Information Users and Access’, City University London
Detlor, B., 2000. The corporate portal as information infrastructure: Towards a framework for portal design. International Journal of Information Management 20 2, pp. 91–101. Article | PDF (132 K) | View Record in Scopus | Cited By in Scopus (48)
Chen, J. Q., & Heath, R. D. (2001). Building Web applications: Challenges, architecture, and methods. Information Systems Mangement, 18(1), 68–79.
Marchand, D. A., Kettinger, W. J., Rollins, J. D. (2000) ‘Information Orientation: People, Technology and the Bottom Line’, p.69-80, MIT Sloan Management Review, Vol. 41 (4)
Isakowitz, T., Bieber, M., & Vitali, F. (1998). Web information systems. Communications of the ACM, 41(7), 78–80.
Tenenbaum, J.M., 1998. WISs and electronic commerce. Communications of the ACM 41 7, pp. 89–90.
Wong, D., Paciorek, N. and Moore, D., 1999. Java-based mobile agents. Communications of the ACM 42 3, pp. 92–100.
Arocena, G.O. and Mendelzon, A.O., 1998. Viewing WISs as database application. Communications of the ACM 41 7, pp. 101–102. Full Text via CrossRef | View Record in Scopus | Cited By in Scopus (2)
Gaines, B.R. and Shaw, M.L.G., 1999. Embedding formal knowledge models in active documents. Communications of the ACM 42 1, pp. 57–63. View Record in Scopus | Cited By in Scopus (13)
Wang,S., 2001. Toward a general model for web-based information systems. Int.J.Inf.Manage., 2001, 21, 5, 385-396
Yeung, A. K. W., & Brent-Hall, G., (2007), Spatial database systems: design, implementation and project management, Springer.
Coad, P., and Yourdon, E., (1991), Object-oriented Design, Prentice Hall