Write-Ups on Emerging ICTs

  • Smart Farming is No Longer a Hype but a Reality …[Enabled by Emerging ICTs] by PROF. ARTHUR U. UME

Not too long ago, the World witnessed a great agricultural boom as a result of innovations and breakthroughs in genetics, and the Genome project. Once again, another boom can be seen in the horizon as a result of possibilities to leverage huge improvements in ICT, specifically IoT applications and solutions which are increasingly being introduced as key innovations in Geo-positioning systems, Big Data, UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, drones), remote sensing and robotics. These technologies are increasingly coming into the production space and practical use, and when “cemented together” by IoT (Internet of Things) constitute a potent force that many researchers believe, will be driving the envisaged boom.

This new wave of technology innovations and capabilities is sure ushering a Third Green Revolution into the Agricultural sector. It is worth knowing that the practical application and leveraging of the aforementioned technologies and innovations by farmers is simply coined as “smart farming”. In other words, smart farming is the extensive use of integrated ICTs for agricultural endeavors and purposes. This is no more a hype, but has become realizable  and achievable not only in the more developed economies but also in developing countries like Nigeria, where the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) had been on an exponential increase for the last two decades. It is therefore no wonder that many scholars and IT experts opine that “IoT, Big data and Smart farming are the future of the World’s agriculture”

Subsequent brief write-ups through this blog handle will discuss and communicate some of the breakthroughs in smart farming.

Write-Ups on Enterprise Architecture.

…What is an Enterprise?
  • An enterprise is a group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements or parts(divisions, departments, units) that function together as a whole to accomplish a  given goal.  So, an Enterprise is a typical System which contains an orderly and complex arrangement of the following four key elements:
  1. Input
  2. Throughput (…the rate at which the organization reaches its goals)
  3. Output
  4. Feedback
  • It should be noted that within the enterprise, the above elements are always (continuously)  in interaction.  This is to say that every Enterprise (which may be a company or an organization) always has these FOUR things interacting with each other within in its divisions, departments as subsystems, and within itself as a whole system; therefore the principles of Systems Theory hold true for ALL Enterprises (companies and organizations).
  • An enterprise may be private, non-profit, governmental, or public .
…What is Enterprise Architecture?
  • Enterprise Architecture can be simply defined as an effort by the Software engineer, Enterprise architect, Business analyst or an IT expert to link a company’s Strategic plan, Business process and Technology…
  • This effort can be empirically summarized as follows:
  • enterprise architecture = S+B+T

  • WHERE…S = Strategic plan (Veer of the Company/Organization); B =  Business Process; TTechnology & Infrastructure Plan (Envisaged)
…The Fundamental  system theory Principles that govern enterprises
  1. An  enterprise  is greater than the sum of its parts ( divisions, departments, units).
  2. Though each division or department may be in itself  a self-contained unit, it must remain part of a wider and higher order …of the whole enterprise.
  3. The central objective of the entire enterprise can be identified by the fact that other sub-objectives are usually sacrificed in order to attain the central (higher order objective of the enterprise.
  4. The enterprise and its enterprise-level environment plus division-level micro-environments must be  OPEN, highly interrelated and permeable…..otherwise Entropy (disorganization, dis-integration or Decay) will set in.
  5. A highly complex enterprise organization may have to be broken into parts or  subsystems in order for us to be able to see, properly analyze, monitor and manage the boundaries.
  6. A change in only one of the parts (units, divisions or departments) of the enterprise usually would eventually produce a change in all the others. When divisions or departments  are arranged in a series, the output of one is the input for another; therefore, process alterations in one would require alterations in others.
  7. Every enterprise always tend towards equilibrium; the state of Equilibrium is a balance of various forces within and outside of the enterprise.
  8. To be viable and survive, an enterprise must be strongly goal-directed, governed by feedback, and have the agility, capacity plus  ability to adapt to changing circumstances…..its boundaries must be kept permeable and open.
  9. In other words, it MUST remain an OPEN system.

Software Engineering – Basic Blocks

  • Urgency to Start Discussing the Ethical Issues Involved with Computer Applications Engineering in Nigeria. [Open Challenge to Systems Analysts, Software Engineers, Programmers, Application Developers and IT Experts]. BY PROF. ARTHUR U. UME

For more than two decades now,  Nigeria is witnessing a continuous improvement and boom in the application of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in all its vital sectors of the economy. Thus, there is an increasing dependency on ICT for critical infrastructures, business processes and operations. This boom is not abating; rather it is resulting in a corresponding increase in the number of individuals who join an increasing population of systems analysts, software engineers, enterprise application developers, programmers  and creators.

But regrettably, the boom has given rise to a host of ethical issues.  The ability to make sound ethical judgement and decision is becoming very important as “half-baked” systems analysts and software developers produce critical information systems that are supposed to run critical business functions and operations in the society.  To compound this problem the few technical schools or colleges that produce the very needed programmers and web designers do not have a clue that something negative is slowly creeping in unnoticed from another angle; they do not have qualified, versed or knowledgeable instructors to arm their students and graduates with the basic foundation knowledge in software professional ethics which is needed to effectively practise the art of software engineering and applications development in the society at large.

This section of the Blog handle will start looking at this “sorry” state of  in the face of the country’s up-welling Information and Communications Technology, and its intention to produce and use locally designed and implemented information systems. The author will be highlighting how adherence to sound ethics at all levels of systems design and applications development in the society at large can be introduced.

 

  •  Understanding of How to Craft and Model Implementable & Testable Software Requirements [Tit-Bits for Systems Analysts, Software Engineers, Programmers, Application Developers and IT Experts]. BY PROF. ARTHUR U. UME

….to be populated!

 

  •  The Nuts & Bolts of Software Configuration Management (SCM)  [Nuggets for Systems Analysts, Software Engineers, Programmers, Application Developers and IT Experts]. BY PROF. ARTHUR U. UME

….to be populated!

 

  •  The Key to Successful Software (Systems) Project Ousourcing  [Nuggets for Systems Analysts, Software Engineers, Programmers, Application Developers and IT Experts]. BY PROF. ARTHUR U. UME

….to be populated!

Issues With COTS Components

  • The Pros and Cons of COTS Components in Enterprise Applications Development. By PROF ARTHUR U. UME

At any given time in enterprise computing and applications development, the developer may decide to integrate COTS components into his/her design. COTS components simply means Customized-Off-the-Shelf artifacts that the developer may obtain online in order to complement the core components of a proposed Information System. There are few advantages for using COTS components in this way, however the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.

Advantages

Lower cost; less time to implement; proven reliability and performance benchmarks; less technical staff requirement; future updates provided solely by vendor; easy to contact users from other companies; may provide flexibility and less enhancement problem down the road; may offload all maintenance burdens from the shoulder of the “mother” company; may provide cutting-edge technology and solutions to business need.

The Real Issues/Disadvantages with COTS components

  1. High dependency factors; compatibility issues with existing legacy systems in the organization; some COTS packages may not be easily customizable.
  2. New versions of COTS component will be released each year.
  3. An annual maintenance fees are always required for vendor support …and they are always increasing.
  4. In real life scenarios, the interfaces between the “mother or core software” and the COTS components are never seamless; continuous “tweaking” will always be needed.
  5. There are some computers being used by vendors that are either too old or too new, and this will always constitute portability or interoperability issues.
  6. Lack of real functional and technical requirements …because of fear by the vendor of copywriting!
  7. The level of Quality of code “under the hood”of a COTS component will never be known. Unknown development processes and methods.
  8. Increasing dependency thereby relinquishing key/core business processes for vendor…. not advisable!
  9. Predominant platform compatibility issues across departments in an organization.
  10. Very uncertain …and many a time abrupt component upgrades by vendors of most COTS components .
  11. Ever Dependency on vendor support and maintenance schedules by the organization.

Managing Your Enterprise Business Information & Data [PART ONE]

The Nature of Enterprise Information & Data.

By PROF ARTHUR UME

Enterprise information/data is a collection of facts organized in such a way that they have additional business or operational value beyond the value of the raw facts themselves…for the enterprise.

In every organization, the enterprise data/information determines the following important business and operational drivers:

  • Decision making.
  • Reporting.
  • Product development.
  • Resource allocation.
Attributes of Enterprise Information and Data
  • MUST possess the following …

1.Accuracy

2.Timely

3.Specific

4.Organized for a purpose

5.Context that gives meaning and relevance

6.Engagement that can affect behavior,  decision or an outcome

The Three Concerns of Enterprise Information & Data

1.Users of the Information or Data:

  • Who they are
  • What roles the users play in the organization; experts or laymen; decision makers or worker bees
  • What formats are easiest for them to handle
  • What languages do they work in

2.The Content of the Information or Data

  • How to organize the content
  • The label of the information or data; (ie. What metadata to add)
  • Navigation and navigability of mode of effective rendering the information or data (Whether to run Top-down discovery or Bottom-up discovery or both)

3.The Context of the Information or Data

  • What is the need of the information to the organization ; …the bottom line here is that “any technology used to handle information must serve the need of the organization”
  • How will the information be used

Note: As an  Enterprise Architect you must be  keenly interested in where these three concerns meet and intersect!

Managing Your Enterprise Business Information & Data [PART TWO]

The MUST Requirements of  Enterprise Business  Information & Data

By PROF ARTHUR UME

  • Enterprise Information and Data can only be understood in context

[A key element of Enterprise information and data is the ability to identify valuable information/data in the organization or company,  and to organize that information to best benefit a particular audience, sub-unit of the organization or business actor. There has to be an understanding between the enterprise architect and the information/data users. The enterprise architect has to make important judgment calls at every stage of information and data elements’ management, from identification through categorization to control, utilization, and archiving.]

  • Enterprise Information and Data obeys the law of Entropy

[In the Enterprise, Information and data repositories would always tend towards disorder unless acted on by an outside force; as a result, actionable data and business information  must be continually managed, or it will fall into disarray. This simply means that data repositories must therefore be managed by trained individuals, who act as librarians and keep the organizational policy working as planned ; as categorized information moves through the management cycle and management levels within the organization or company, it must be constantly monitored to ensure consistency and integrity.]

  • Enterprise Information and Data  must be Accessible to be useful

[In any given company or organization, even if a pool of information/data is properly captured, skillfully organized, and masterfully managed and stored, it still must be accessible to business actors or decision makers to have any meaningful purpose. It should be noted that access to complex collections and pools of enterprise  information/data usually requires a simple but sophisticated search-and-filter mechanism in order to avoid Non-information or Mis-information.  This calls for succinct crafting of all human-system interfaces/interaction … and system-system interfaces/interaction  organization-wide.]

  • Rendering of Enterprise Information and Data is most useful when it has an aesthetic quality

[Good presentation is often the most overlooked aspect of information and data management. In all information and data rendering, substance must always take precedence over style, because the best information model in the world will sit unused if the repositories interface is confusing, unappealing, complex and a clutter.]

  • All Enterprise Information and Data follows a distinct life cycle

[Business Information/data is valuable to the organization that owns it. In such organizations, not all  information/data is valuable ALL the time; for example,  information such as “ investment account balances” is always valuable. But data and information such as “business intelligence” or “plane departure and arrival information” may have a defined period or window of time when they are valuable. So, all enterprise information must follow a distinct life cycle during which they are identified, captured, organized, controlled, utilized, and eventually archived. It should be noted that while going through this life cycle, the Enterprise Information/data  may usually  ….

1.Change of its format;

2.Change of its recording media for easier access

3.Change in its storage mode for a more secure storage.

(as information or data printed on paper; displayed on screens; rendered as multimedia etc….as the case may be)]

Post Graduate Defense Issues

If you are a post-graduate candidate of the Department and wish to communicate issues regarding time of Internal & External defense, use this Blog handle to ask your questions, give your insights and communicate with the HOD.

To do so, by the Recent Posts click “Post Graduate Defense Issues” to get to the Comments section. Type in any issues you think are disturbing your academic progress. Make sure you enter your Student Matric ID and Email address. Enter your insights and ask your question(s) ….and the HOD will sure get back to you.

Mentorship & Advisement Corner

  • If you recently attended any of Prof. Arthur U. Ume’s FREE Seminars, you have an option and priviledge to benefit from his Online Advisement & Mentorship Academy, AMA.
  • To do so, you need to scroll down to the Categories by the right coner, Choose [AMA -Academy *Blog for FREE Seminar Attendees], Choose the topical area you wish to benefit from, and then in the Comments section, Type in any hitches you have with your Business’ Web Presence or the questions you want Professor Arthur U. Ume to discuss with you. Make sure you enter your Names and Email address which you wrote down while attending the FREE seminar. Ask your question(s) ….and Prof. Arthur U. Ume will sure get back to you.

 

  • Also, if you are an undergraduate student at the Department of Information Technology – Infotech [Levels 100-500], you can directly interact with the HOD by clicking “Mentorship & Advisement” under  Recent Posts by the right hand corner .

In the Comments section, make sure you enter your Student Matric ID and Email address ….and the HOD, Prof. Arthur U. Ume will get back to you.