The Strategy of Opening up Databases

Introduction

The strategy of opening up databases, at first was considered an experiment but now many companies apply this activity. From the first companies which unlocked the data we can mention Amazon and eBay.

By opening up their databases, these two companies provided to new Web Sites and businesses the possibility to expand the sales and as a result the profits of many companies.

When Amazon and eBay opened up their information a lot of developers (65,000) and entrepreneurs have used this data to build Web sites which make money. These Web sites provide innovative services and also can be used as online shopping interfaces.

By unlocking and sharing the data Amazon and eBay thinks that the online businesses by operating as open-ended software platforms can make thousands of other businesses accommodate to sell to each other products and services. The open databases and Web sites also make it possible for the companies to share their data and as a result to automate the links between online businesses. Many software programs help different parts (groups) of society especially merchants who can upload their inventory, check prices and automatically add their new lists. Using the software, the Web sites operators create customized storefronts that link back to Amazon generating new sales for it.

Through letting its data opened to the public, Amazon receives a big benefit by getting experimental R&D for free. EBay activity has been as ambitious as the Amazon one. This is another company which opened up its data. It counts a large number of developers reiterated in it. Similar to Amazon the most popular are the applications that help the sellers automating the process of listing items. Offer auction-listing software or services to eBay sellers. The sellers who use these applications become 50% more productive than those who use the Web sites itself.

The data links also let companies make transactions over eBay’s network. This activity provides revenues to eBay.

Discussion

I agree with this strategy because I think that gives profits and optimal revenues not only to the companies who apply the strategy but also to the users. We have to thing for the both sides. I like this strategy because it gives the opportunity to make a lot of things easier. People and companies have more access to information in different areas. But I also realize that this process is followed by a lot of risks.

Google is another company which is trying to unlock its data. It is taking slow steps comparing to Amazon and eBay, sharing only a part of the information. To get additional information from Google you need special permission. Taking small steps allows Google not only take revenue from the information but also to protect it. I agree with this strategy because the information is protected. This company has made the best decision.

I think that other companies should follow the example of Amazon and eBay but with some restrictions and by putting limits. It is good for a company to open the information to developers and others but they should care about the privacy too. The companies enlarge their revenues but they also have to worry about hackers who may use in a bad way the information gathered.

The companies should plan a security system before allowing others to use their data.

It’s not good to be exposed so much and you risk to degrade the performance.

The information system supports efficient business operations, workgroup and enterprise collaboration and effective business decision making.

The use of information technology (IT) in business processes raise security challenges, serious ethical questions and affects the society in different ways.

Other areas that the use of this new technology in the business sector has had major impacts are crime prevention and discovery, individual privacy, along with workspace conditions. It is important to understand that IT has had beneficial effects on society and people in each of those areas.

The information technology is applied from the businesses for three main reasons:

  • Support of business processes and operations => help their employees record customer purchases, keep track of inventory, pay employees, buy new merchandise, and evaluate sales trends.
  • Support of decision making by employees and managers=> not only supports the decision making of store managers, buyers and others but also helps them look for ways to gain an advantage over other retailers in the competition for customers.
  • Support of strategies for competitive advantage=> strategic information system can help provide products and services that give a business a comparative advantage over its competitors.

International dimensions have become a vital part of managing a business in the global economies and markets of today. Whether you become a manager in a large corporation or the owner of a small business, you will be affected by international business developments and deal in some way with people’s products or services whose origin is not your home country.

All global IT activities must be adjusted to take into account the cultural, political, and geo-economics challenges that exist in the international business community. A database management system “is a set of software programs that controls the organization, storage, management, and retrieval of data in a database” (Seltzer, 2008, p.1). Some key hardware aspects of a data management computer system are large stores devices, large capacities, and a good connection between RAM and Processor. Also there is the usage of what are called ‘hardware database accelerators’. These units connect to one or more servers systems through high-speed channels and are mainly used in large volume transactions. But it also faces some challenges. The system must be kept operational; it has to keep running properly, and to be preserved from the virus attacks which are becoming difficult day by day. An important part of the system is also the software. It has to be reliable software which doesn’t crash.

It has to be easy to use and has immunity from the virus attacks. These aspects turn themselves into challenges (Selter, 2008, p.1).

Software tools are another factor regarding the data manipulation subsystem. In most of the cases these are the primary interface between the user and the information which the database has. Some of the main features that this database systems offer are as follows:

  • Query ability
    • Querying is the process of requesting attribute information from various perspectives and combinations of factors.
  • Backup and replication
    • “Copies of attributes need to be made regularly in case primary disks or other equipment fails. A periodic copy of attributes may also be created for a distant organization that cannot readily access the original” (Ludwick, 2006, p.1).
  • Rule enforcement
    • Users or businesses benefiting from the database management many times want to apply different rules and regulations to attributes with the intention to make these attributes clean and more reliable.
  • Security
    • “Often it is desirable to limit who can see or change which attributes or groups of attributes” (“Xquery”, 2007, p.1).
  • Computation
    • Like the rules and regulations part mentioned above, users can request computations on attributes.
    • These may include, but not only, counting, cross-referencing, averaging, sorting, summing grouping, etc.
  • Change and access logging
    • “Often one wants to know who accessed what attributes, what was changed, and when it was changed. This is why engineers and developers have highly developed during these last year’s various ‘log on’ services. These ‘logging’ services make possible the control of the system entrance by keeping a record of access occurrences and changes” (Seltzer, 2008, p. 3).

Automated optimization

As everyone knows, every machine or software utility ‘consumes’ itself with the passing of time. This is why they need to be reassessed, or optimized, time after time in order to have the best performance possible. So, even in our case of database management systems, another problem that may arise time after time is the usage patterns or requests have an underperformance speed. In this case, some database management systems have the option of ‘adjusting themselves’ and help increase the speed of the above mentioned interactions. This option is included in the system itself and is designed to act autonomously. This way it will facilitate the work of administrators of the system and its users who do not need to manually begin the optimization procedures. This is an important feature since many times people dealing with businesses forget to do maintenance activities time after time on their machines hardware and software.

What they do not realize is that by forgetting this aspect they will ultimately damage their company or business since the database management system will underperform. Some examples of database applications that facilitate people’s usage are:

  1. “computerized library systems
  2. automated teller machines
  3. flight reservation systems
  4. computerized parts inventory systems” (“XQuery”, 2007, p.1)

Conclusion

In conclusion it can be said that database management systems are a potential tool of business development in today’s marketplace. These systems not only help improve business internal performance but have an important impact on the business’ output and market positioning as well. In fact the cases mentioned in this short essay about eBay, Amazon or Google are examples shown on businesses that rely heavily on these database management systems. In fact, the cores of their business are these databases. There is much debate going on whether this kind of database management relying businesses will be successful in the future and thus validate the claim that these systems are becoming necessary for businesses in the new globalized market, or they will end up damaging public interest and ultimately collapse as businesses if they do not diversify their product and service offerings?!! The answer of question will determine the future of the business world.

References

Seltzer, M. (2008). Beyond Relational Databases. Communications of the ACM, 51(7), 52-58.

Ludwick, Th. (2006). Issues in database management. IT Management Online. Web.

(2007). XQuery 1.0 and XPath 2.0 Formal Semantics. W3C Working Draft.

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