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This book discusses digitalization trends and their concrete applications in business and societal contexts. It summarizes new findings from research, teaching and management activities comprising digital transformation, e-business, the representation of knowledge, human–computer interaction and business optimization. The trends discussed include artificial intelligence, virtual reality, robotics, blockchain, and many more. Professors and researchers who conduct research and teach at the interface between academia and business present the latest advances in their field. The book adopts the philosophy of applied sciences and combines both rigorous research and practical applications. As such, it addresses the needs of both professors and researchers, who are constantly seeking inspiration, and of managers seeking to tap the potential of the latest trends to take their business to the next level. Readers will find answers to pressing questions that arise in their daily work.



Digitalization: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

The rapid development of digital technologies is making organizations rethink their business models and processes. This is resulting in a massive digital transformation of the economy and society. New trends are emerging at a fast pace and some of them might vanish soon. In order to investigate the opportunities and challenges behind these trends and make a sound prediction of their further development, it is necessary to understand the evolution of information and communication technology, which was and still is intended to provide support in the management of personal and business tasks. For this purpose, we present our model “Digitalization: Yesterday, today and tomorrow”, which provides a brief summary of the development and rise of computational technology, resulting in changes in the interaction both of humans with computers and between humans and computers, and shows how individuals, business and the government have been adapting to these changes. We identified four streams of development: Early Information Systems, the E-Business Applications, the Web 2.0 Revolution and the renaissance of the Artificial Intelligence; a fifth stream remains unnamed, as we do not yet know where these fast-paced developments will lead us.
Rolf Dornberger, Terry Inglese, Safak Korkut, Vivienne Jia Zhong

Information Systems


ERP Systems Towards Digital Transformation

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems employ highly integrated business software solutions that have existed for many years. Being the base of the IT application landscape of most enterprises, ERP systems remain fairly commoditized and scarcely leave room for differentiation. In view of the major digital transformations currently taking place, the role of ERP systems needs to be reconsidered. Geoffrey Moore’s concept of “Systems of Engagement” stresses the need for enterprise applications to become more user-oriented in order to support collaboration and to empower employees. Based on this understanding, we developed a model that classifies how ERP systems can evolve depending on its people-centricity focus and its level of integration.
Petra Maria Asprion, Bettina Schneider, Frank Grimberg

Determining Information Relevance Based on Personalization Techniques to Meet Specific User Needs

The support of workplace learning is becoming increasingly important as change in every form determines today’s working world in the industry and public administrations alike. Adapting quickly to any kind of change is just one aspect. Another is dealing with the information relevant to this change. A recommender system for workplace learning was developed within the European funded project Learn PAd. Even if the information is filtered based on a learner’s context with the help of the recommender, information overload remains a problem. It is not only the sheer amount of information but also the (often little) time for processing it that adds to the problem, time needed to assess the quality of the information according to its level of novelty, ambiguity, etc. Therefore, we enhanced the Learn PAd’s recommender by implementing a personalization strategy to filter (recommended) information based on a learner’s context. Our research work follows a design science research strategy and is evaluated in an iterative manner, first by comparing it to previously elicited user requirements and then through practical application in a test process conducted by the project application partner.
Barbara Thönssen, Hans Friedrich Witschel, Oleg Rusinov

Case-Based Reasoning for Process Experience

The following chapter describes an integrated case-based reasoning (CBR) approach to process learning and experience management. This integrated CBR approach reflects domain knowledge and contextual information based on an enterprise ontology. The approach consists of a case repository, which contains experience items described using a specific case model. The case model reflects, on the one hand, the process logic, i.e. the flow of work, and on the other the business logic, which is the knowledge that can be used to achieve a result.
Andreas Martin, Knut Hinkelmann

Road to Agile Requirements Engineering: Lessons Learned from a Web App Project

This chapter describes the research project Companion conducted at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland FHNW and its relationship to the research area Agile Requirements Engineering (ARE). ARE aims to establish requirements engineering practices, which are customized for agile development methodologies such like Scrum, XP, etc. Within the Companion project a Web App was developed to promote mental health of adolescents taking their first steps into working life. The description starts by giving some key information about the project, its context, the development of the Web App and the weaknesses observed during software engineering activities. Next, classical requirements engineering and ARE are compared and specific challenges for ARE based on experiences from the industry are presented. For the challenges in ARE, specific practices have been proposed which are described together with their limitations. This chapter ends with a selection of adequate ARE practices which may increase the performance of software engineering in situations similar to the context of the Companion project.
Rainer Telesko

E-Business Applications


E-Business in the Era of Digital Transformation

In recent years, the development of information technology has reached a new level of evolution. It should be noted, however, that digitalization and digital transformation are not fundamentally new phenomena. A phase marked by strong digitalization, for example, was the result of the increased business use of the Internet in the early 1990s. The era of e-business began. The focus was on the digitalization of cross-company processes, which also brought new business models and interlinked value-added structures. Against the background of current developments, the question arises as to what role e-business now plays in digital transformation. The aim of this chapter is to show the current developments in e-business and their relationship to digital transformation. Following an introductory clarification of concepts and a consideration of the importance of mobile computing, the classic areas of e-business are addressed, in particular e-commerce, e-procurement and e-organization. The results show that e-business has always involved digital transformation processes and that these three perspectives of e-business are still helpful in analyzing the effects of digital transformation and identifying digitalization potential in and between companies. Besides information technology itself, the concepts of e-business become an important driver of digital transformation.
Uwe Leimstoll, Achim Dannecker, Hanspeter Knechtli, Michael Quade, Christian Tanner, Ralf Wölfle

Digitalizing B2B Business Processes—The Learnings from E-Invoicing

Digitalizing an existing business process often proves to be more complicated than expected. This article provides insights into obstacles and success factors when digitalizing a business process, using the example of the transition from a paper-based process of handling invoices to electronic invoicing. Since e-invoicing has gained significant momentum in recent years from a business perspective as well as from governments all over the world, it provides an interesting area in which to investigate digitalization. Drawing from input collected in more than 10 years of research on the topic of e-invoicing, the authors illustrate why digitalization is still not easily achieved, despite the obvious advantages, and elaborate on the key prerequisites for success. The results emphasize the importance of understanding the needs of one’s business partners and working closely with them when developing solutions. Furthermore, systematic project management and change management are important. However, as much as there is no “one size fits all” solution, there is also none that will last forever. Rather, as the business environment changes and technology matures, there will be a need to re-assess processes and solutions from time to time. Most importantly, the human factor of change cannot be underestimated. Besides standard change management practices, companies should seize the opportunity to develop their employees through the digitalization effort by engaging them in projects and decision-making processes. Acquiring project management skills, expert knowledge and experience in innovating business processes will serve as an invaluable asset in the long term.
Christian Tanner, Sarah-Louise Richter

Marketing Automation

A Project Framework in Support of Digital Transformation
While the benefits of marketing technologies in organizations were already being discussed in the 1960s, the contemporary approach to Marketing Automation has only been in existence for a few years. This chapter addresses the digital opportunities in marketing as an important component of an organization’s digital transformation initiative. Driven by various business challenges centered around the organization’s customers and market channels, the goal of this literature review is to provide an overview of the potential applications of Marketing Automation and the growing market of available software solutions. A particular focus is set on a pragmatic best practice framework for Marketing Automation that includes all major components, ranging from strategic considerations, customer journey analysis to use cases along with data management, content marketing and channel management. While there are some simple implementation opportunities, a best practice framework will support an organization to achieve its ambitious goals. However, the opportunities for Marketing Automation are still evolving as new tools and channels come on to the market.
Martina Dalla Vecchia, Marc K. Peter

Web 2.0 Revolution


FHNW Maturity Models for Cloud and Enterprise IT

Existing cloud maturity models define the level of maturity according to the number of cloud solutions implemented or the duration of deployment. However, this does not include the motivation regarding why cloud solutions are used in an enterprise. Likewise, there has been no investigated into what changes the deployment of cloud services entails, how enterprise IT positions itself and whether the enterprise is able to bring about the necessary changes to support them. The combination of the FHNW Cloud and Enterprise IT Maturity Models provides information regarding why and how the cloud is used and how the enterprise IT is set up. As a result, the two maturity models support enterprises that already use the cloud on the way to making them even more efficient, to having their business IT aligned, and to contributing significantly to the successful digital transformation.
Stella Gatziu Grivas, Marco Peter, Claudio Giovanoli, Kathrin Hubli

Digital Transformation Management and Digital Business Development

In a study on the subject of digital transformation carried out by the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland from April to May 2017, 82% of the companies stated that their driver for digital transformation was their wish to support their business processes. However, the majority of companies also stated that, in addition to the desired process support, they observed a greater impact on individual elements of the business model. The aim of this chapter is to explain these observations and their correlations, as well as to provide an approach regarding how digital transformation could be managed systematically against the background of its impact on the business model. Thereby, the terms “Digital Business Development” and “Business Stream Matrix” are used. Building on this approach of digital transformation management, the question is raised as to whether classical management concepts are still adequate to guide companies during and after digital transformation. Where there are management gaps, this chapter substantiates approaches to close these gaps. The term “digital leadership” is used. This chapter concludes with an approach to the “sociotechnical framework”, outlining and substantiating a possible form of organization to which digital transformation tends.
Dino Schwaferts, Shama Baldi

Using Feedback Systems Thinking to Explore Theories of Digital Business for Medtech Companies

The rapid innovation of digital technologies poses a significant challenge to the healthcare sector. Digital technologies are transforming stakeholder relationships among established industry actors, including those of manufacturers, hospitals, and patients. To be ahead of competitors and to maintain profitability, medical device technology manufacturers (medtech companies) are urged to shift their business focus from product to customer excellence and thus invest in service offerings, focusing on the costs of alternative value delivery and patient outcomes. Such investments require a systemic and holistic understanding of how these changes in strategy affect the external and internal competitive environment. In this chapter, we propose the use of feedback systems thinking to explore the intended and unintended consequences of shifts in strategy, from sequential value chains to platform-oriented thinking. Taking the perspective of a medtech company in the value chain, we highlight challenges arising from hidden limits to growth that prevent the realization of intended achievements. Based on this, we develop hypotheses for the intended and unintended consequences of investing in digital service offerings. We conclude with a discussion of how systems thinking and modeling can support digital strategy development.
Michael von Kutzschenbach, Alexander Schmid, Lukas Schoenenberger

Ontology-Based Metamodeling

Decision makers use models to understand and analyze a situation, to compare alternatives and to find solutions. Additionally, there are systems that support decision makers through data analysis, calculation or simulation. Typically, modeling languages for humans and machine are different from each other. While humans prefer graphical or textual models, machine-interpretable models have to be represented in a formal language. This chapter describes an approach to modeling that is both cognitively adequate for humans and processable by machines. In addition, the approach supports the creation and adaptation of domain-specific modeling languages. A metamodel which is represented as a formal ontology determines the semantics of the modeling language. To create a graphical modeling language, a graphical notation can be added for each class of the ontology. Every time a new modeling element is created during modeling, an instance for the corresponding class is created in the ontology. Thus, models for humans and machines are based on the same internal representation.
Knut Hinkelmann, Emanuele Laurenzi, Andreas Martin, Barbara Thönssen

Artificial Intelligence


Searching and Browsing in Historical Documents—State of the Art and Novel Approaches for Template-Based Keyword Spotting

In many public and private institutions, the digitalization of handwritten documents has progressed greatly in recent decades. As a consequence, the number of handwritten documents that are available digitally is constantly increasing. However, accessibility to these documents in terms of browsing and searching is still an issue as automatic full transcriptions are often not feasible. To bridge this gap, Keyword Spotting (KWS) has been proposed as a flexible and error-tolerant alternative to full transcriptions. KWS provides unconstrained retrievals of keywords in handwritten documents that are acquired either online or offline. In general, offline KWS is regarded as the more difficult task when compared to online KWS where temporal information on the writing process is also available. The focus of this chapter is on handwritten historical documents and thus on offline KWS. In particular, we review and compare different state-of-the-art as well as novel approaches for template-based KWS. In contrast to learning-based KWS, template-based KWS can be applied to documents without any a priori learning of a model and is thus regarded as the more flexible approach.
Michael Stauffer, Andreas Fischer, Kaspar Riesen

How to Teach Blockchain in a Business School

There are different approaches to developing a syllabus for a “blockchain curriculum” in a business school. The following chapter identifies many questions which can guide lecturers through their own process of creating a blockchain syllabus. The list of topics and figures presented indicate how much time could be spent on these topics. This list does not present a definite syllabus, because the essence of blockchain is that it is a holistic approach which goes beyond naming topics. It raises certain questions and is intended to start a broader discussion which will eventually lead to a systematic approach to this multidimensional challenge. Structuring this journey leads to the following four main questions, which are considered relevant in this discussion:
  • What are the key research topics in blockchain?
  • What is the impact of blockchain and by what criteria do we define impact? Which building blocks of blockchain are relevant to understanding the blockchain mechanism?
  • Which applications (beside Bitcoin) should be discussed and are expected to become important in the near and distant future?
This journey closes with some methodological remarks based on my experience of teaching blockchain classes. Finally, it is obvious that any curriculum will be condemned to continuous adaption because blockchain technology is changing in an ongoing way.
Walter Dettling

Computational Intelligence in Modelling, Simulation, Optimization, and Control

One of the biggest trends nowadays is to make IT systems more intelligent in order to solve problems which were previously too complex to be solved, or where the computing power prevented solving them within reasonable time. This trend is the renaissance of Artificial Intelligence (AI). In this chapter, we first discuss some general issues related to mathematical modelling, simulation and optimization for practical applications. After this, we review certain related techniques referred to as Computational Intelligence (CI), which are particularly useful for dealing with complex mathematical models. We discuss the foundations of CI techniques and relations to AI. In the third section, we discuss selected areas of application of CI and AI for business improvement on a more detailed level, i.e. in transportation planning, in warehouse management, and in robotics, in order to motivate their modeling complexity and potential for CI applications. We conclude with an outlook of CI techniques concerning their expected forthcoming practical importance.
Thomas Hanne, Rolf Dornberger

Innovation Potential for Human Computer Interaction Domains in the Digital Enterprise

This chapter summarizes a historic overview of some iconic examples of human computer interaction devices and focuses on a human computer interaction paradigm which is based more on human language. Human language is by far the most utilized means of conscious communication between humans whereas the mouse and keyboard are the dominant means to store and process information in computers. This chapter elaborates on the main challenges related to human language, as well as on ideas showing how human language, written or spoken, is embedded in different application scenarios. Built on this premise this chapter presents ideas for today’s digitalized enterprises, which seem to disregard the fact that the latest technological advancements enable different ways of interacting with computerized systems, and that current interaction methods are bound to constraints of half a century ago. Given today’s computational power, the engineers of former decades would not have had to invent intermediary interaction devices such as the mouse, if direct manipulation with touch screen or natural language processing had been possible. The possibilities for modern enterprises to overcome the restrictions of interaction devices from the past are considered.
Stephan Jüngling, Jonas Lutz, Safak Korkut, Janine Jäger

Prototype-Based Research on Immersive Virtual Reality and on Self-Replicating Robots

This chapter presents our recent research in the field of virtual reality (VR) and self-replicating robots. The unifying approach lies in the research philosophy of using consumer market gadgets, mostly developed for the gaming and entertainment business, in order to design and implement research prototypes. With the prototypes, our research aims to better understand real-world problems and derive practice-oriented solutions for them. In the field of VR, these prototypes are dedicated to identifying new business-relevant use cases in order to provide an additional benefit for business and society. A wide range of examples, such as claustrophobia treatment, financial data analysis, gesture control and voice navigation are discussed. In the field of robotics, the idea of self-replicating robots governs particular research questions. Here, the focus is on using model prototypes enriched with artificial intelligence for indoor navigation, computer vision and machine learning. Finally, the prototype-based research approach using gadgets to produce results is discussed.
Rolf Dornberger, Safak Korkut, Jonas Lutz, Janina Berga, Janine Jäger

Co-robots from an Ethical Perspective

Cooperation and collaboration robots work hand in hand with their human colleagues. This contribution focuses on the use of these robots in production. The co-robots (to use this umbrella term) are defined and classified, and application areas, examples of applications and product examples are mentioned. Against this background, a discussion on moral issues follows, both from the perspective of information and technology ethics and business ethics. Central concepts of these fields of applied ethics are referred to and transferred to the areas of application. In moral terms, the use of cooperation and collaboration robots involves both opportunities and risks. Co-robots can support workers and save them from strains and injuries, but can also displace them in certain activities or make them dependent. Machine ethics is included at the margin; it addresses whether and how to improve the decisions and actions of (partially) autonomous systems with respect to morality. Cooperation and collaboration robots are a new and interesting subject for it.
Oliver Bendel
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