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Project for MIT 6.171
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Details requested on Philip Greenspun's Questionnaire :-

Name of organization 
   Database Answers Ltd. 
   London, England.

Contact person
   Barry Williams, Principal Consultant.
   I will be able to come to MIT in early November, when I am presenting a Paper at a Conference in the States.
   The title of my Paper is "The Impact of Global Terrorism on Enterprise Data Management"
   and it appears in the Conference Agenda, about half-way down in the right-hand (green) column. 

Phone numbers
   00-44-1962-875-480 (Office in the UK) or 00-44-207-486-0623 (Home in the UK)

What's the spirit of the project? 
The Project is called BMEWS, which stands for 'Best Practice Monitoring and Early Warning System'.

The spirit of the Project can be summarized as :-
"Users establish Best Practice in Communities and then follow Best Practice to 
 achieve the expected Performance defined by Key Performance Indicators,('KPIs')."

If the KPI values are not achieved then the Best Practice is adapted accordingly,
in collaboration with other Users and the Community Coordinator.

The BMEWS system will encourage collaboration among knowledge workers in 'Communities of Practice',
They will establish Best Practice and answer questions from less experienced Users.

BMEWS is a Communities-based Project that links three components :-
  1. User Communities, including Answering Questions.
  2. Best Practice, linked to Users Interests or Job Description.
  3. Performance Monitoring, delivered through a Portal, linked to User's interests. Here is an example of a Portal for a Bank Manager, showing Traffic lights, which I have developed previously.
How important is this system to your organization ? Extremely important. How come it hasn't been built yet? Because, although it's a great idea, it has not occurred to anyone else yet. Separate Components have been built by other people, such as Communities, but the specific combination that I am proposing and how that is used, are unique. I have built some of the Components but I am having trouble finding time to finish everything. I would also welcome academic input. What kind of content do you have for the site? I have content for Best Practice for UN Agencies and ICT Databases. These are currently available on Web Site. Do you have books or articles in electronic form that can serve as a magnet to attract users ? Yes, and I am presenting a Paper at a Conference in the States which will publicise this work. How do you expect to attract the first users to the site that our students build ? I maintain a web site called which attracts a constant flow of Database professionals and wannabes. The BMEWS Project will add extremely valuable additional functionality and take my existing site to a much higher level. In the long run how do you expect to bring users to the application ? The application will evolve and be self-supporting Do you have a budget or other resources for sustaining the application in the long term ? Yes. i.e. suppose that the student team builds you a perfectly functional system, how would your organization keep it going? The system will become a very important part of a web site that will be supporting our consultinhg activities, and will also be selling Consulting services, Tutorials and eBooks.
Here's some additional background material :- CURRENT STATUS :- We are committed to the United Nations Global Compact. As part of this commitment, we have developed basic facilities for User Registration, Communities, Best Practice and Feedback. The features to be added include :- 1) enhancement and integration of these facilities 2) Performance Measurement 3) Addition of User Portals, including Traffic Lights. Current work has been . using Microsoft Access and Active Server pages,(ASPs). I am happy for the MIT work to be completed on whatever platform is convenient. This proposed Community System could be used in the private and public sectors. There are three Components :- 1) Users and 'Communities of Practice'. 2) Best Practice 3) Monitoring of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Here are three examples :- Best Practice :-
  • DBAs contributing to a Knowledge Base of shared experience
  • Development workers establishing Best Practice for ICT for Education.
  • HR Managers defining Recruitment procedures. All of these can be linked to Job Descriptions or SOPs. In tis way, a User has a personalized environemnt suppoorted by a Poertal which shows his/her Job or Interest and thew associated Communtiies and best Practice. The BMEWS System can track how the User follows the Best Practice appropriate to his interest and whether the appropriate Performance targets are achieved. The Portal displays Traffic Lights. Here is a specification for a Portal for a Bank Manager, showing Traffic lights. All of these are linked to KPIs eg
  • DBAs- KPIs are response times for a Database Answers
  • Development - ICT for Education How many students pass the exam after taking the Tutorial.
  • HR How many new employees are still there after one year.
  • Barry Williams
    July 22nd. 2003
    Principal Consultant
    Database Answers
    London, England.

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