INFORMATION RESOURCES of DESIGN ORGANIZATIONS

Post 557  by Gautam Shah

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Design organizations thrive and proliferate on the quality and quantity of data within their reach. Organizations with their capacity to recognize, collate and format the data, develop synergies that in turn sharpen their data use capacity. The data arrives from outside or it is generated within the house. The data have two sets of relevance, for future and immediate purposes. The data for future use equips an organization to deal with larger and complex jobs. Strategic data is more general to the design practice and used for planning and forecasting. In comparison, the information for immediate use is tactical, more specific to a project or an aspect of it. It is used for decision making and problem solving.

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Public Data servers Wikipedia image by National archives

Strategic and tactical data are valued and classified for the following qualities:

Brevity (specific to the context),

Accuracy (of the right context or sensible),

Timeliness or up to date,

Purposiveness (capable of causing desired actions),

Rarity (original, novel)

Cost and liabilities (Free of coast, with royalty dues and with intellectual-right protection, with guarantees, warrantees and assurances).

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Library of Alexandria

For design organizations, there are TWO types of information resources.

Internal Information Resources (IIR) are: experience and knowledge that comes with owners, employees, consultants, etc. Data generated from the routine activities like project handling. External information once procured by the organization, if properly stored can be a great internal asset.

External Information Resources (EIR) are: media based such as books, periodicals, internet, CDs, tapes, etc., Various input and feedback from consultants, suppliers, contractors and clients.

External data is inter organizational, fraternity level, society, community, national, or of a universal domain. External information is acquired for a payment of compensation in proportion to its quality, quantity and acuteness of need. Organizations, as a result, end up paying a stiff price for sourcing external information.

Internal data is personal, departmental or organizational. Internal resources are nearly free, require only processing at a negligible cost, but are ignored.

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2005 Digital drawing Wikipedia image by Hasanisawi

 Operational uses of data are very occasion or situation specific. The data perception helps in creating a structure, media, estate etc. for its storage and forms of presentation. The data arrives in organizations, at on a continuous basis or at periodic intervals, but it arrives in parts, that will:

  • probably form a whole,
  • automatically create a structure with definite boundaries (close ended)
  • form an ever growing matrix (open ended).

Cost of information: Data as a commodity can have an ordinary cost, if it is universally available and not urgently needed. Data of rare or proprietary nature and that requiring immediate access, however, can have a high price. Information is also available in many free domains without any obligations. Cost of information is also formed by absolute factors like the cost of acquisition, processing, storing, retrieval and transmission.

Information systems and emerging form of design organizations: Information systems affect the structure of design organizations and the workplaces. Digitization in design offices has occurred at several levels, such as communication (correspondence), accounting systems, quantity estimating, cost valuation, quote evaluation, hyperlinked specifications formation, drawings, BIM, PERT, CPM, etc.

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Digital information resources Bibliotheca Alexandria, Egypt  Wikipedia image by Pfctdayelise

Information networked design organization is more dynamic because its workers communicate among themselves and with other firms. This provides for greater coordination and collaboration for project handling. It allows use of ‘simultaneous or concurrent engineering’ system of participation across day-time zones, thus saving in time. Information networking has also led many organizations to concentrate on their core competence, and to out-source other tasks to specialized agencies. ‘The capacity to communicate information efficiently within a firm has also led to the deployment of flatter organizational structures with fewer hierarchical layers’.

Information systems built around portable computers, mobile telecommunications, and groupwares have enabled employees to work virtually anywhere. Work is the thing you do, not the place you go to. Employees who work in virtual workplaces outside their company’s premises are known as Tele-commuters.”

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Bell x-1 sound design studio Paris 2002 Wikipedia image by Gilbert Courtois

With information technology two forms of virtual organizations have emerged: network organizations and cluster organizations. A network of individuals or geographically widely dispersed small companies working with internet and wide area networks, can join seamlessly through specific protocols to present a multi disciplinary appearance of a large organization. In a cluster organization, the principal work units are permanent, complimented by multiplicity of service providers or temporary teams of individuals. A job or project begins to percolate within the cluster and different sub units begin to react to it, providing their inputs. A solution begins to emerge from apparently fuzzy and often unrelated ideas or concepts. Team members, are connected by intranets and groupware.

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Packet switching NSFNET T1 backbone and regional network traffic 1991

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