15.565J | Spring 2002 | Undergraduate, Graduate

Integrating eSystems & Global Information Systems


LEC # Topics Readings/Abstracts
1 Introduction

Madnick, Stuart, and Y. Richard Wang. A Framework of Composite Information Systems for Strategic Advantage. Proceedings of the 1988 Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, January 1988, pp. 35-43.

One important category of strategic applications involves inter-corporate linkage or intra-corporate integration. Applications in this category require multiple systems to work together. This category of Information Systems is referred to as Composite Information Systems (CIS). This paper presents the research issues and directions that may lead to a comprehensive foundation of CIS. This paper also investigates the strategic, technical, and organizational issues involved in CIS and the corresponding research directions.

Evans, Philip, and Thomas Wurster. Getting Real About Virtual Commerce. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review, November-December 1999, pp. 85-94.

This paper discusses the notions of reach, richness, affiliation, and the role of navigators. Reach is the degree of access and connections, sources and receivers. Richness is the depth and detail of information system gives and collects. Affiliation is the degree to which the user’s interests are represented. There is a major focus on “navigators” which will have enormous power and market value and “meta” navigators which can help compare multiple e-retailers.

I. Strategic Connectivity
2 Information Technology, Corporate Strategy, and Competitive Advantage

Porter, Michael, and Victor Millar. How Information Gives You Competitive Advantage. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review, July-August 1985, pp. 149-160.

Presents a summary of the key ideas from Porter’s widely-cited books Competitive Strategy and Competitive Advantage. It identifies five forces that determine industry profitability:

  1. the entry of new competitors
  2. the threat of substitutes
  3. the power of buyers
  4. the power of suppliers, and
  5. rivalry among the existing competitors.

It also proposes three generic strategies for success:

  1. cost leadership
  2. differentiation, and
  3. focus.

Another important concept is the value chain. The five major components of the value chain are:

  1. inbound logistics
  2. operations
  3. outbound logistics
  4. marketing & sales, and
  5. service.

There are three infrastructure activities that support the value chain:

  1. human resource management
  2. technology development, and
  3. procurement.

The value chain provides a systematic way to examine all the activities of a firm. Linkages, or “connectivity”, between value chains is an important way to exploit strategic advantages. Furthermore, this article identifies three ways that technology affects competition:

  1. it alters industry structure
  2. it supports cost and differentiation strategies, and
  3. it spawns new businesses.

Porter, Michael E. Strategy and the Internet. Harvard Business Review, March 2001, pp. 63-78.

Also uses the five forces model and value chain model, but in the context of the Internet. He argues that the Internet does not change the “old rules”. He dispels many Internet myths, which have become more obvious in recent years, and illustrates that the “old rules” are also the “new rules.” He also suggests six principles for Strategic Positioning:

  1. right goal
  2. value proposition
  3. distinctive value chain
  4. trade-offs
  5. fit, and
  6. continuity of direction.
3 Strategic Case Study (Johnson & Johnson Case)

Ross, Jeanne. Johnson & Johnson: Building an Infrastructure to Support Global Operations. MIT Center for Information Systems Research. Working Paper 283, September 1995, pp. 1-10.

Madnick, Stuart. Next Generation Global Foreign Exchange System (FXX). January 1998, pp. 1-2 [special excerpt prepared for 15.578].

Both of these cases, one full-length, one a mini-case, illustrate situations where integrating existing information to support global operations was necessary.

4 Inter- and Intra-Organizational Systems (McKesson Case)

Short, James, and N. Venkatramen. Beyond Business Process Redesign: Redefining Baxter’s Business Network. Cambridge, MA: MIT Sloan Management Review, Fall 1992, pp. 7-21.

This reading describes the evolution of the American Hospital Supply - Baxter information systems. There are many parallels to the McKesson case that we will discuss in class. There are no readings on the McKesson case.

Venkatraman, N. IT-Enabled Business Transformation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Sloan Management Review, Winter 1994, pp. 73-87.

This reading highlights the different ways that IT can impact and transform a business. Many of these different ways will be seen in the McKesson discussion.

5 Aggregators: The New Business on the Internet

Madnick, Stuart, and Michael Siegel. Seize the Opportunity: Exploiting Web Aggregation. MIT Sloan School of Management Working Paper, December 2001 (to appear in MISQ Executive).

This paper examines the development of aggregators, entities that collect information from a wide range of sources, with or without prior arrangements, and add value through post-aggregation services. Two key types of aggregators are comparison and relationship aggregators. It also suggests different business models as possible aggregator entry points into an industry and describes their impact on the value chain.

II. Physical Connectivity
6 Basic Communications Technology and Concepts

Managing IT in the 1990s: Communications Technology. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review, August 17, 1995, pp. 1-21. Article No. 9-195-270.

Rockstrom, Anders, and Bengt Zdebel. A Network Strategy for Survival. IEEE Communications Magazine, January 1998, pp. 36-40.

7 Local Area Networks

Vargo, John, and Ray Hunt. Local Area Networks - Principles and Components. Chap. 5 in Telecommunications in Business: Strategy and Application. Richard Irwin, 1996, pp. 167-223.

This paper presents an overview of the various Local Area Network (LAN) architectures. The focus is on media (e.g., twisted pair, coax, optical fiber), topology (e.g., bus, tree, ring) and access control (e.g., CSMA/CD, token ring).

8 Wide Area Networks

The Worldwide Web and Internet Technology. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review, June 1, 1998, pp. 1-11. Article No. 9-198-020.

9 Network Protocols

Stallings, William. The OSI Reference Model. Chap. 2 in Networking Standards: A Guide to OSI, LAN, and MAN Standards. Addison-Wesley, 1993, pp. 17-56.

Presents a good overview of communication network concepts based upon the ISO Reference Model of Open System Interconnection (OSI). The OSI model consists of seven layers of protocols:

  1. physical
  2. data link
  3. network
  4. transport
  5. session
  6. presentation, and
  7. application.
10 Emerging Technologies I

Anthes, Gary. The Strain for ‘Net Gain’. ComputerWorld, January 5, 1998, pp. 38-40.

Nolan, Richard L., and Robert S. Borsi. Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM). Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review, October 21, 1996, pp. 1-12. Article No. 9-397-014.

11 Emerging Technologies II

Morgan, Cynthia. Wired for Speed. Windows Magazine, December 1997.

12 Technical Case Study - MIT’s Network Configuration  
III. Logical Connectivity
13 Distributed Homogeneous Databases

Lindsay, Bruce. A Retrospective of R*: A Distributed Database Management System. Proceedings of the IEEE 75, No. 5, May 1987, pp. 668-673.

This paper describes R*, reputed to be the first full-function though experimental, distributed database system. It provides both a history of the project and explains the challenges and difficulties, such as concurrency control, performance, and reliability, in implementing such a system.

Ozsu, M. Tamer, and Patrick Valduriez. Distributed and Parallel Database Systems. ACM Computing Surveys 28, No. 1, March 1996, pp. 125-128.

14 Mid-term Exam  
15 Distributed Heterogeneous Databases

Thomas, Gomer, Glenn Thompson, Chin-wan Chung, Edward Barkmeyer, Fred Carter, Majorie Templeton, Stephen Fox, and Berl Hartman. Heterogeneous Distributed Database Systems for Production Use. ACM Computing Surveys 22, No. 3, September 1990, pp. 237-265.

Ozsu, M. Tamer, and Patrick Valduriez. Distributed DBMS Architecture. Chap. 4 in Distributed Database Systems. 2nd Edition. Prentice-Hall, 1999, pp. 82-100.

This paper characterizes systems by degree of (1) autonomy of control, (2) physical distribution, and (3) heterogeneity of information. It also presents various architectures, include client/server, distributed databases, and multibases.

16 View Integration Among Databases

Batini, C., M. Lenzerin, and S. B. Navathe. A Comparative Analysis of Methodologies for Database Schema Integration. ACM Computing Surveys 18, No. 4, December 1986, pp. 323-364.

A “schema” is a representation of all the data to be managed by an organization. In the context of distributed database systems and inter-organizational systems, it may be necessary to use data that spans two or more organizations. This paper addresses the issue of integrating the individual database schemas. It discusses various causes of schema differences and various approaches to solving these problems.

17 Web as a Database

Alter, Allan. MIT Professor Works to Create a New Web Order. ComputerWorld, June 20, 1997.

This brief article describes technology that facilitates the extraction of information from traditional HTML web pages and motivates the need for such technologies.

Firat, A., S. Madnick, and M. Siegel. The Caméléon Web Wrapper Engine. Proceedings of the VLDB2000 Workshop on Technologies for E-Services. September 14-15, 2000, [also MIT Sloan School of Management Working Paper 4128], pp. 1-9.

Describes the web wrapping technology for enabling semi-structured web sites to be accessed as if they were SQL relational databases.

Madnick, S. The Misguided Silver Bullet: What XML will and will NOT do to help Information Integration. Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Information Integration and Web-Based Applications and Services. September 2001, [also MIT Sloan School of Management Working Paper 4185], pp. 1-10.

Describes both the capabilities of XML, that improve upon HTML, and its limitations, especially with addressing semantic problems - more about this in next session.

Ozsu, M. Tamer, and Patrick Valduriez. Section 16.3: World Wide Web. Distributed Database Systems. 2nd Edition. Prentice-Hall, 1999, pp. 581-588.

Discusses concept of semi-structured web pages and architectures involving wrappers and mediators for extracting information. Also describes Tsimmis, Garlic, Information Manifold, and Disco projects.

18 Semantic Integration

Madnick, Stuart. Metadata Jones and the Tower of Babel: The Challenge of Large-Scale Semantic Heterogeneity. Proceedings of the 1999 IEEE Meta-Data Conference, April 6-7, 1999, pp. 1-13.

Also at: http://hdfeos.org/forums/archive/index.php?t-196.html

Describes the problem of semantic heterogeneity - where the same “word” may have multiple interpretations. For example, does “price” include tax or not, is it in Dollars or Pounds, etc.

Berners-Lee, Tim, James Hendler, and Ora Lassila. The Semantic Web. Scientific American, May 2001.

Bressan, S., C. Goh, N. Levina, S. Madnick, A. Shah, and M. Siegel. Context Knowledge Representation and Reasoning in the Context Interchange System. Journal of Applied Intelligence 13, 2000, [also MIT Sloan School of Management Working Paper 4133], pp. 165-180.

19 Component Architectures & Web Services

Vaughan-Nichols, Steven J. Web Services: Beyond the Hype. Computer. February 2002, pp. 18-21.

Hansen, Mark, Stuart Madnick, and Michael Siegel. Process Aggregation Using Web Services. MIT Sloan School of Management Working Paper. February 28, 2002, pp. 1-15.

Seetharaman, Krishnan. The CORBA Connection. Communications of the ACM 41, No. 10, October 1998, pp. 34-36.

IV. Organizational Connectivity
20 Loosely-coupled Organizations

Ross, Jeanne. The ERP Revolution: Surviving Versus Thriving. MIT CISR Working Paper. November 1998, pp. 1-10.

Describes motivations for ERPs: Infrastructure (common platform), Capability (process improve, data visibility), and Performance (cost reduction, decision making, customer responsiveness). Major difficulties and success factors: (1) metrics, (2) on-going resources, (3) management reporting, and (4) addressing resistance. Major point is that standardized processes and data is key to flexibility.

Weick, Karl. Educational Organizations as Loosely Coupled Systems. Administrative Science Quarterly 21, March 1976, pp. 1-19.

Presents the notion of “loosely coupled” organizations, using educational organizations as examples. It argues that although certain actions or events may seem “irrational,” it is often because we do not fully understand what is going on. Furthermore, he presents seven advantages of loose coupling.

21 Markets and Hierarchies: Organizational Coupling

Williamson, Oliver. The Organizational Failures Framework. Chap. 2 in Markets and Hierarchies. 1975, pp. 20-40.

Presents key issues of bounded rationality, uncertainty, complexity, and opportunism.

Williamson, Oliver, and William Ouchi. The Markets and Hierarchies Program of Research: Origins, Implications, Prospects. Chap. 8 in Perspectives on Organizing Design and Behavior. A. H. Van de Ven and W. F. Joyce, eds. New York: 1981, pp. 347-370. [Reprinted in Power, Efficiency and Institutions: A Critical Appraisal of the “Markets and Hierarchies” Paradigm, J. Turk and P. Willman, eds. London: 1983, pp. 13-34, and in Theories of Organization, Henry Tosi, ed. New York: 1984, pp. 11.]

Focus on transaction cost economics. Discusses reasons for vertical integration and multi-divisions. Issues of “bureaucracy” vs. “clan” raised. Asset specificity discussed.

22 Development of Standards

Goodhue, Dale, Michael Wybo, and Laurie Kirsch. The Impact of Data Integration on the Costs and Benefits of Information Systems. MIS Quarterly, September 1992, pp. 293-311.

Goodhue, Dale, Michael Wybo, and Laurie Kirsch. Strategic Data Planning: Lessons From the Field. MIS Quarterly, March 1992, pp. 11-34.

Bader, Joan, Chris Hayward, Stuart Madnick, Jonathan Razo, and Michael Siegel. An Analysis of Data Standardization Across a Capital Markets / Financial Services Firm. MIT Sloan School of Management Working Paper. August 16, 1999, pp. 1-16.

23 Motivating Strategic Alliances & Organizational Transformation

Kotter, John. Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review, March-April 1995, pp. 59-67.

Osborn, Charley, Stuart Madnick, and Y. Richard Wang. Motivating Strategic Alliances for Composite Information Systems: The Case of a Major Regional Hospital. Journal of Management Information Science 6, No. 3, Winter 1989-90, pp. 99-117.

This paper explores the nature of strategic goals underlying composite information systems, also referred to as inter-organizational systems, and ways to increase the likelihood of success through three techniques: (1) bi-directional benefits, (2) co-operative pay-out, and (3) asymmetric control.

V. Finale
24 Course Summary and Review  
25 Selected Student Presentations  
26 Final Exam  

Course Info

Learning Resource Types
Exams with Solutions
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments with Examples