Experiences in Software Evolution and Reuse: Twelve Real World Projects (Research Reports Esprit)

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John Perkins and Sharon Dingley. Remigiusz J. Carlos M. Hans Weghorn. During the past decade alone, the banking industry has encountered events that have forced banking to an enterprise level never before seen. These events include increased competition both among banks and non-banks competitors, an increased awareness in customer preferences, and technological advances in distributed systems. Banking institutions need to adopt new system approaches to compete, or face their own demise. Traditional integration models focus on application logic to solve compatibility issues.

However, due to the volatility of banking as an industry, it would appear more appropriate for developers to seek out alternatives that offer more flexibility, especially in light of the problems related to legacy systems. Utilizing a middleware such as CORBA provides an industry such as banking with solutions that address the issues of scalability, performance, and flexibility. However it is not so easy to find many examples showing the use of domain knowledge in financial companies. This paper reports the case of how a vehicle lease company in the Netherlands combines the use of domain knowledge and information technology into an expert system to automate the control of vehicle maintenance activity.

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The results benefit all parties concerned. The lease company can control the vehicle repair and maintenance works more efficiently. For the customers, it is higher rate of vehicle utilisation, greater safety and lower costs. The dealers who carry out the repairs and maintenance can do their work faster, and are paid immediately and automatically via the banks, resulting in lower administrative costs.

The case story suggests that domain knowledge can be perceived as a corporate resource and its utilisation can produce values for the stakeholders. We propose that financial firms 1 see themselves as knowledge system, as a network of knowledge nodes serving their customers, 2 consider knowledge intensive firms as their role models. We draw on an idea of Friedrich Hayek who perceives the economic problem of society as a problem of the utilisation of knowledge not given to anyone in its totality. The paper concludes by discussing some organizational obstacles on the road to re-invent banks into knowledge systems.

The tool proposes a visualisation design using direct manipulation techniques to convey information about a structure for knowledge sharing. The structure describes a knowledge theme described as a set of concepts. The set of concepts provides a particular context description about the knowledge being shared.

The application tested and presented in this paper uses the set of concepts to direct searches in the World Wide Web. The visualisation design is briefly presented and preliminary evaluation results are reported. These results show that the system tends to be better supporting people with some knowledge expertise about the knowledge being shared even if they have little World Wide Web expertise.

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These results seem to show some potential for the visualisation design as an interface for both knowledge sharing and information discovery for people that have already some knowledge expertise about a given theme, but usually suffer from information overload or lack of knowledge about the structure of large information spaces, such as the World Wide Web.

Modern government and business units routinely collect and store structured data of general interest to them. In the course of their operations, these organisations often need to take decisions that do not directly follow from the available data. Specialised managerial skills are needed to interpret the data and derive useful conclusions. Subjective assumptions and judgments are made by the mangers to interpret the data.

Where the data volume is large, it may be difficult to sift the data, as the managerial skills may not be available for the repeated evaluation of every entity in the database. A decision support system is needed that can be easily reprogrammed to cater for the subjective judgments and biases of the decision-makers. In this paper, we develop a model for a decision support system to identify promising entities based on the subjective preferences. Several of these sources will be flat files or data sources other than databases.

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XML is becoming the de facto standard for data exchange. Because of this there is a large number of developers of tools. This document describes a mechanism to access object-oriented databases as an XML document by using serialization on demand. Furthermore it discusses an extension of XML to achieve this.

One proposal to cope with this lack consists in introducing the metadata concept to enrich and structure information description and improve searching relevance. We propose here a contribution to extend the existing metadata by a set of metadata describing documents resulting from various media text, image, audio and video.

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While OLAP tools provide multidimensional analysis, traditional visualisations prove inadequate as means of viewing and exploring complex relationships across multiple dimensions. Commercial databases often support a variety of two or three dimensional visualisation facilities, including bar charts, scatter diagrams, data plots, and cross tabulations. In this context, the present paper describes a novel approach to the problem of access and visualisation for data in complex hierarchical datasets.

The approach integrates a novel browsing technique, which affords user navigation in several levels of summary information, with a modified scatter projection of the measure of interest. A prototype implementation of the proposed approach has been developed. This is described and advocated as a multidimensional interface for OLAP that addresses several significant issues in visualisation and exploration of multidimensional datasets.

Research up to date has been limited especially in the relation to market penetration of these products around the world. This paper presents an analysis of the Australasian ERP market place. It looks at the market movement and demographics of companies that have implemented SAP software, the dominant ERP vendor within the Australasian marketplace. The SAP customers are classified by industry sector, size, and software implemented to establish metrics for ERP implementation pertaining to the region.

The evolution of such systems is caused both by adaptation to the customer needs and enterprise continuous improvement strategies. Such rapid change can be achieved adopting a model-based approach in which the application is customized according to a model. The concept of model proposed in this paper is more wide that the one adopted in most modeling languages such as UML. We propose an object model that allows an application access the model according to different perspectives and abstraction levels.

Subrahmanya and Rakesh Agarwal Abstract: There exist different methods to facilitate database design recovery under the framework of software engineering and reengineering. These tools and methods are usually limited to a particular scenario and requirement, and thus, not generic. In most cases, new tools and methods need to be redeveloped to suit these scenarios. This can result in a significant waste of effort and increased costs.

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In this paper we describe a generic architecture for reengineering legacy databases, which is an outcome of working on a real software project for one of our customers 1. The goal of this research is to formalize a process that is applicable to different database reengineering scenarios and requirements. We elaborate the steps that were actually done for implementing the project. In this paper, we present an automatic method for reducing inconsistency found in existing databases, and thus, improving data quality. All the values that refer to a same term are clustered by measuring their degree of similarity.

The clustered values can be assigned to a common value that, in principle, could substitute the original values. We evaluate different similarity measures for clustering. The method we propose gives good results with a considerably low error rate. A system for the management of this information must thus combine a multitude of features to permit the manipulation of highly-structured data classical business management systems , immense volumes of information electronic libraries and multimedia image databases, sound, etc.

The present study is centered on an analysis of the characteristics of this information and presents a model which, by focusing on the nature of basic information units and taking into account the independence between structure and information, strives to afford adaptability to the requirements and standards of the organizational environment, while remaining highly adaptable to subsequent changes.

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Applying the process quality management method and the grounded theory method we derived a matrix of critical success factors versus ASAP processes. This relationship will help managers to develop better strategies for supervising and controlling SAP implementation projects. Most ontologies stop at the level of best-practices or activities. To find the root structure we have to abstract a little further to the most abstract atomic ontology.

This generic ontology is filled with the elementary business concepts comprising the atomic intelligent enterprise architecture. Ideas, methodology and application thereof. We discuss this issue through the proposal of our SDI Selective Dissemination of Information Personalised Architecture, called MySDI, which is based on the software agent paradigm as well as on information retrieval techniques. In order to clarify and validate this proposal we also introduce in this paper a prototype service, called MyGlobalNews, which should be a public service to provide personalised news.

Therefore, data warehouses must have efficient Online Analytical Processing OLAP that provides tools to satisfy the information needs of business managers, helping them to make faster and more effective decisions. Different techniques are used to improve query response time in data warehouses, ranging from classical database indexes and query optimization strategies to typical data warehouse materialized views and partitioning.

But until now most of the works concentrate on centralized data warehouses where a single computer contains all the data.


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However, a large centralized data warehouse is very expensive because of the great setup costs and does not take advantage of the distributed nature of actual organizations operating worldwide. In this paper, we propose a data partitioning approach specially designed for distributed data warehouse environments called data warehouse striping DWS. This technique takes advantage of the specific characteristics of star schemas and typical OLAP query profile guaranteeing optimal load balance of query execution and assuring high scalability.

The proposed schema is evaluated experimentally for most typical OLAP operations using different types of queries and it is shown that an optimal speedup can be obtained. It provides a vehicle for storing architectural design information in an integrated construction object-oriented database that can be shared by a range of computer applications. It uses the object-oriented modelling approach to establish standard models for architectural design that comply with Industry Foundation Classes IFC for common interpretation of construction design objects and with CORBA Common Object Request Broker Architecture for distribution of the objects amongst the construction applications.

It aims to achieve independence from the display environment by providing a set of Abstract Factory and Abstract Design Classes, which provide abstractions that the design model classes can use to draw and render themselves in any display environments. More importantly, graphical and textual information about the building design components is directly saved as instances in an object-oriented database without passing through the existing CAD databases.

The second A web-based application using VRML Virtual Reality Modelling Language for remotely interrogating information stored within the integrated database, visualising and manipulating the design components in 3D environment.

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We propose a segmentation model of these strategies and an evaluation method of its benefit. We insist on the re-use of the information contained in intermediate spaces of storages which are the proxy-caches, the news servers or other types of shared memories available in the company. We show, with examples, that informational ecology can be advantageous in more than one way and in particular to optimize the information management in the company. Current Gis systems provide a wide range of services to support at least physical data integration. A critical point in the development of a Gis application is the design of the integration process.

Such a design is necessary to plan out the integration operations which are to be performed to achieve an effective database. Integration process modeling can simplify both the analysis and the documentation of the database construction. In the paper a possible and general approach to the problem is discussed.

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A case study of spatial data integration in the nautical field is finally presented. From our point of view direct access of the algorithms to the database system is a basic requirement when transferring data mining technology into daily operation.