A cooperative information system framework to support process management
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The implementation of process orientation at Aker Verdal was enhanced by a cooperative information system (CIS) that supported process management with the right information, at the right time, at the right place, etc. A CIS is based on the assumption that agents, both human and computerized, share goals and cooperate towards the shared goals. To ensure the continued cooperation of agents towards shared goals, a CIS needs to be able to deal with changes. In the context of understanding and managing change, change-related issues for information systems can be seen to arise from three facets of concern – systems, group cooperation, and organizational – and the interactions among them. The systems facet specifies how information is to be processed making best use of existing systems. The group cooperation facet is concerned with how people working on a common business process can coordinate their activities. The organizational facet is concerned with managing work from a formal organizational perspective, regardless of by whom (the group cooperation facet) or with what technology (the systems facet). The implementation of a CIS to support process management in an offshore workshop was enabled by four major areas: (1) cooperative learning culture, (2) coordination mechanisms, (3) integrating infrastructure middleware, and (4) organizational structure. A cooperative learning culture implies that people working on a common process share goals and cooperate towards the shared goals. Coordination mechanisms help to understand the wider context of modeling artifacts in a model-driven change management approach. Integrating infrastructure middleware are software components that can be used to support flexible, incremental and bottom-up integration of information systems. Organizational structure involves focusing on organizational structural properties that ease the implementation of new information and communication technology. The implementation of process orientation at Aker Verdal was influenced by external events that made it look like a BPR-project. Firstly, the NORSOK initiative, which aimed to reduce the costs in the Norwegian offshore industry by 40-50%, contributed to legitimate a BPR-like cost cutting approach. Secondly, the project was formulated and initiated at a time when BPR was still a highly popular concept. Thirdly, the project coincided with a number of information system development and integration projects, i.e. POSC/CAESAR, AkerNet and a 3D model, which enabled the implementation of process orientation in the company.