InterVal - Internet and Value Chains by rlb27893


									               InterVal – Internet and Value Chains
          Berlin Research Center on Inter net Economics

                        Press Release Nov. 17, 2003
        By Professor Oliver Guenther, Humboldt Universitaet zu Berlin

New information technologies such as XML, web services and semantic nets have sub-
stantially changed the way supply and value chains are designed and managed. This
holds for supplier relationships in classical production industries just as well as for value
networks in the software and service sector.

The German Ministry of Education and Research recently launched a five- year, 24- million
Euro research initiative to investigate these changes and their long- term effects on mod-
ern economies. The work will be conducted by seven centers located at german research
universities in Berlin, Frankfurt, Goettingen, Karlsruhe, Muenster, Munich, and Stutt gart.
All of these centers are highly interdisciplinary, involving researchers from computer sci-
ence, information systems, business administration, economics, law, and the social sci-
ences. Close cooperations with companies like Bertelsmann, DaimlerChrysler, IBM, and
Siemens will ensure an ongoing knowledge transfer between the research teams and
their counterparts in industry.

The Berlin- based research cent er InterVal ( I nt ernet and Value Chains) unit es researchers
from three Berlin universities and the Fraunhofer Institute for Software and System Engi-
neering ( I SST) . The coordinat ion of t he cent er lies wit h t he I nst it ut e of I nform at ion Sys-
tems of Humboldt- Universitaet and its director, Professor Oliver Guenther.

InterVal focuses on t he design and analysis of int ernet t echnologies in t he cont ext of
m odern supply chain m anagem ent . One focus will be on t he productivity of such t ech-
nologies, t he quant it at ive analysis of relat ed invest m ent s, and t he evaluat ion of m an-
agem ent t echniques. This includes research on quant it at ive m easures for t he m acroeco-
nom ic relevance of I T invest m ent s, including t heir im pact on t he gross nat ional product
and the employment market.

A second focus will be on privacy and security issues, which greatly affect the acceptance
of those new technologies. Web services, for instance, are still viewed sceptically by
many enterprises because, as open communication channels between organizations, they
may facilitate security breaches. Guenther says, "Many companies still hesitate to open
up their workflows and value net works to their business partners because they are afraid
of confidentiality breaches, be they criminal or non- intentional. We need better technical,
economic and organizational means to provide and monitor the privacy of the partici-
pants in such value networks. Only then will the new web technologies be used to their
full potential."

At this point, it seems anything but clear whether there are secure ways to use a web
service provided by an organization one is not willing to trust. To this end, the InterVal
group just presented an approach how to use web services on encrypted data. This al-
lows in particular companies to apply another party's web service to its own data without
divulging the data to the service provider. The group also looks at cost- benefit issues and
at possible tools to help users to find the right level of privacy and security for their par-
ticular application. This typically represents a compromise between the level of protec-
tion, ease of use, and the monetary cost associated with it.

Another barrier for the further spread of internet technologies in industry and public ad-
ministration concerns the lack of knowledge about existing information resources and
services. In order to use such information resources in a complex supply chain requires
knowledge not only about their existence but about their properties, their qualities and
their drawbacks. This motivates InterVal’s third focus of research, which is on informa-
tion logistics and knowledge management. Questions to be investigated include: Which
technical and economic measures need to be taken to make sure that the “right” kind of
information is available at the “right” time at “right” location? What economic incentives
could guarantee that potential information suppliers make their knowledge available to
others in time? Which mechanisms known from more traditional markets can be applied
to markets for information resources and web services?

I n order t o facilit at e t he dissem inat ion of t he result s obt ained in InterVal, we int end t o
use a variet y of knowledge plat form s and learning m anagem ent syst em s. Research re-
sult s will cont inually be m ade available via appropriat e plat form s in order t o facilit at e t he
knowledge exchange between InterVal researchers and colleagues from academia, indus-
try, and public administration.

The research program was inaugurat ed on Novem ber 6 at Hum boldt - Universit aet in Ber-
lin. Keynot e speaker was by Dr. Andreas Weigend, Chief Scient ist of Am , w ho
gave a presentation entitled “E- Commerce 2020 – Visions from Industry, Perspectives for

Dr. Gerrit Tamm
Assistant Director
InterVal – Internet and Value Chains
Berlin Research Center on Internet Economics
Institut fuer Wirtschaftsinformatik
Humboldt- Universitaet zu Berlin
Spandauer Str. 1, 10178 Berlin
Phone:          + 49(0)30 2093 5662
Fax:            + 49(0)30 2093 5741
E- Mail:

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