Horst Henn, Thomas Stober
IBM Deutschland Entwicklung GmbH
Classical closed shop information technology, was concentrating on creation of a stable environment for employees. Central management of equipment, applications and user interfaces was key to overall productivity. Customers or business partners were hardly involved in the daily information technology operations. Tightly controlled data interfaces or satellite systems were the only interfaces to the outside world. Users would be faced with a limited set of functions and user interfaces. which typically have been customized by every application provider. Proper selection and education of user groups was required to manage the system complexity. User education was a prime investment for every system being introduced.
Today's organizations are faced with the challenge of interfacing directly with business partners and customers. Competitive services must be accessible directly by the customer not only, via employees in the own organization. Typical examples are e.g. Internet based information services, online shopping or web based parcel tracking systems. Services must be applicable without any training. since the users expect them to come with "standardized user interfaces". It is not acceptable any more that users spend significant portions of their time learning to work with user interfaces needed for their daily work. The acceptance of user interfaces will have a major impact on the acceptance of services and products offered in the Internet environment.
In addition to the common personal computer an increasing number of new devices like mobile phone. hand held organizer. web TV or screen phone must be integrated into the IT organization. These devices have limited bandwidth,