Integrating across organizations and heterogeneity of data management
The drive to integrate across an industry, or up or down a supply chain, discourages heterogeneity in organizational data management. Heterogeneous data shows diversity and variation and each database in such systems uses different application programs (Bestougeff, Dubois, and Thuraisingham, 2008). The drive to streamline supply chain activities into one collaborative process makes it easy for managers to handle data in industries. A centralized public market discourages heterogeneity in organizational data management because all the data from manufacturing, raw material sourcing, assembly, warehousing, and inventory databases are compared and shared amongst other processes. Heterogeneous data is compatible hence it uses different operating systems that result in a decentralized communication and delivery mechanism. Due to the drive to integrate the supply chain, various platforms have to lead to the development of systems that help cut operational costs, create fast marketing time, and improve quality data. Unlike in a heterogeneous environment where commerce spreads over long distances, the simple integrating system gives a complete view of the business. Oracle Data Integration has assisted companies such as Pythan to create connections across its supply chain. The system uses performance data transformation which allows more people to access the required information.
Since 1997, there has been a tradeoff between the amount of information to be provided and the number of people to access it. Through integration, companies can strike a balance between business goals and technology advancements. Integrating the supply chain involves strengthening teams while reducing the operational cost (Bestougeff, Dubois, and Thuraisingham, 2008). Pythan Company has only seven Oracle directors that show how a homogeneous environment allows individuals to achieve more with few resources. Internal integration directly relates to both operational and business performance. An integrated system prevents the inconsistencies that come with heterogeneity. Database managers, for instance, do not need several passwords that prevent intruders from accessing a company’s information. One server can allow access to all stakeholders including the employees within the industry. This denies the data managers an opportunity to store the information in different departments as homogeneity requires. If the information is already available from various departments, the managers are faced with the task of combining it all into a system. Different databases use different application programs which makes them incompatible with others during integration.
Too many directories and identities are so costly for an enterprise. This is why adopting this strategy saves most industries operational costs. Although supply integration is not related to performance, a contingency approach that proves integration across the industry allows suppliers to easily attend to the industry thereby creating a homogeneous environment. Heterogeneity creates room for various supply databases hence the need for auditing at various levels and this is costly. A database manager should ensure that all the data is kept at its right place but an integrated system does not allow for this. By integrating all the information from suppliers, customers, and distributors, a company decentralizes the database while the performances remain the same (Bouwman, Van Den Hooff, Van De Wijngaert, and Van Dijk, 2005). This drive, however, affects the decentralized data in that all the application programs that are used to access these files must be disabled to integrate the data.
The speed at which information travels determines the quality of the information (Foster, 2013). Since heterogeneous data is not centralized, it takes much time to get an unplanned report involving analysis of data from all the departments along the supply chain or across the organization. Through integration, the UNIX operating system is used by major companies in attending to suppliers’ needs. The system also has a single root which grants privileges to other end-users such as customers at the right time. In the configuration approach, internal integration discourages heterogeneity in database management by providing companies with opportunities to implement significant insights. All the two dimensions of supply chain integration across an industry help to improve performance and manufacturing. Large manufacturing hubs such as China have since tried to solve the problems created by heterogeneity by involving the use of management information systems that centralize performance.
Heterogeneity cannot be adopted with the drive to integrate the information across the industries. However, most organizations still use it because they feel that centralizing the information will create too much attention to the data hence errors could easily be pointed out to create room for blame games. The supply chain can only be integrated by an industry with the view of reducing workload which is contrary to the functionality of heterogeneous data (Bestougeff, Dubois and Thuraisingham, 2008).
Decision support systems and management strategies
Information from partnership data exchange improves the ability of the decision support system to strengthen management’ strategies. This data can be integrated to improve the structure of the information system so that the problems faced by upper-level managers can be identified. Managers within the organization may make assumptions on external dealings hence leaving out necessary aspects (Bouwman, Van Den Hooff, Van De Wijngaert, and Van Dijk, 2005). An integrated data allows for consistency and controllability which is a strategy used by managers to maintain partners and customers. Integrated data also helps managers to have a centralized control so that strategies can be implemented easily from the top levels of the organization.
The work of a database administrator is reduced to an individual department where decisions are made to the best interest of the organization. Allowing a database administrator within the organization to manage an integrated data involving partners ensures users’ rights are well managed. Decision-making in an organization can sometimes be costly because managers have to sit down and come to agreements before any decision is made. An integrated data reduces the overall cost of implementing strategies. Data is an organization resource hence managers need it for the successful running of the institution. Integrating a database encourages management of data thus fostering decision-making and implementation of strategies.
Integrating information from partnership exchange creates a comfortable decision support system that allows managers to make autonomous decisions. This passive support is the best strategy used in managing external stakeholders such as partners because the managers are always not restricted to the organization (Bestougeff, Dubois, and Thuraisingham, 2008). The system provides enough information on the external environment thereby preventing mistakes that occur when such information is not incorporated within the organization. If managers have, for instance, decided with the help of a decision support system to come up with good corporate financial planning, they need to take into account the data about partnerships. Loan amortization, depreciation, lease versus buy, discounted cash flow, and break-even analysis is among the information required by the decision support system applications.
The external economic environment is so dynamic hence decision-makers should consider its improvement before coming up with decisions. Market strategies, for instance, require a thorough analysis of information on the target population (Bestougeff, Dubois, and Thuraisingham, 2008). In the corporate world, partners’ loyalty depends on the strategies of a company’s managers. Integrating this information into a decision support system enables managers to consider such improvements when selecting partners. Forecasting trends of current partners using integrated information also helps managers to plan on how to maintain them.
Information garnered by an organization adds value to decision support systems by providing choices of action to the decision markers (Bouwman, Van Den Hooff, Van De Wijngaert, and Van Dijk, 2005). Every organization tries to build strong relations to survive during hard times. In cases where the decision support system fails to provide necessary measures, the data gotten from outside the company can assists managers to set strategies for dealing with their partners. The partners can assist the company to acquire loans in times of economic recession. Therefore, the decision needs the data on portfolio analysis and marketing analysis to know when to borrow from partners and when to lend to them.
The whole process of decision making is dominated by the decision support system. Only the normative support is provided by the managers hence they depend more on the system (Bestougeff, Dubois, and Thuraisingham, 2008). This is the reason why an improvement in the system influences managers’ decision-making process. Additional information in the system also improves the ability of managers to implement strategies. Once the additional information is obtained from the external data, the information is made available to all the stakeholders thus giving them a chance to choose from a variety of options depending on the desired strategy. The partners can all be assessed before any information regarding their relationship with the organization is compromised. This creates a large information base where arguments can be allowed to pave way for more discussions. The open forum improves the ability of managers to implement strategies because the manager raises questions of concern.
Maintaining and growing partnerships involves providing consistent information. Managers can easily decide on what to show the partners because an integrated data system can easily be controlled. Depending on the type of relationship, managers can come up with reports that are needed by specific partners. This strategy of protecting important information from reaching partners can be implemented when the data about the partnership is obtained by the managers concerned and integrated within the company. Consistent information also helps solve the problem of ‘individual versus group decision support system’ where resolving problems in group meetings become difficult. Not every manager can agree with the decision support system when a decision is centralized. However, taking information from external an environment to support the decision may help in convincing doubting managers (Bouwman, Van Den Hooff, Van De Wijngaert, and Van Dijk, 2005).
The data obtained from external sources is used by managers to support each other’s ideas. When managers plan to implement strategies and present them for discussion, several aspects within the internal environment is compared to the external environment. Partners are considered as part of the external environment because they influence certain decisions within the organization. A decision support system that includes all aspects within and outside the organization gives managers an upper hand in handling this problem (Bestougeff, Dubois, and Thuraisingham, 2008). By improving the ability of managers to implement strategies within the organization, the integrated information also provides solutions to critical issues that arise during the decision making process.
Bestougeff, H., Dubois, J. E., & Thuraisingham, B. M. (2008). Heterogeneous information exchange and organizational hubs. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Bouwman, H., Van Den Hooff, B., Van De Wijngaert, L. & Van Dijk, J. (2005). Information & communication technology in organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Foster, S. T. (2013). Managing quality: Integrating the supply chain. Boston: Pearson.