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Information and Knowledge Management Assignment

Question 1
As one of the leading organisations in Enterprise 2.0, Océ recognises that sharing and
collaboration is a critical part of Enterprise 2.0. Elaborate on the concept of enterprise
collaboration and discuss how enterprise collaboration would benefit an organisation.

1.0 Introduction
To create effective communications among more than 21,000 of its employees around world,
Océ turned towards technology and thus embarked itself on the Enterprise 2.0 initiative. Océ
was a very-segmented and silo-ed organisation and no corporate internal communications
existed when the initiative started. Consolidating all intranet platforms into one single
intranet is one of the greatest challenges Océ is facing since the existing platforms were
designed on Windows CMS, a system not designed to facilitate knowledge sharing or 2-way
communication of any kind. Due to low budget availability for this particular task, Océ faces
a real challenge to implement the system as it needed something low cost and yet powerful.

1.1 Enterprise Collaboration

Rouse (2013) states that enterprise collaboration enables employees in an organization to
share information with one another and work together on projects from different geographic
locations through a combination of software technologies, networking capabilities and
collaborative processes. Technologies may include groupware, videoconferencing and
document-sharing capabilities. Many enterprise collaboration software tools have features
similar to those offered on popular social media sites.

From the above definition, it is clear that aim of enterprise collaboration is to promote
communication and cooperative works in order create an effective working environment. In
doing so, any organization will gain a competitive edge on the business market impacted by
globalisation. It is important that Océ chooses the right ECS to address its issues.

1.2 Enterprise Collaboration System

Ballard and Barker (2016) state that enterprise collaboration systems can simply be relatively
common communication tools such as email and instant messaging. Increasingly though

Information and Knowledge Management Assignment

businesses are turning to more bespoke solutions that combine these functions with project
management and document management software. It is also worth noting that enterprise
collaboration can prove beneficial for teams based in the same office, or those separated by
thousands of miles. Collaborative technology is about breaking down the barriers preventing
enterprise co-operation from taking place, whether they are departmental, geographical,
temporal, or anything else for that matter.

Since different organisations have different needs the system will vary form organization to
organization. Figure 1 below shows the components of an ECS.

Figure1: Components of an enterprise collaboration system


 Electronic Communication Tools – they are software that helps communication and
collaboration with others by electronically sending messages, documents, and files in
data, text, voice, or multimedia over the Internet, intranets, extranets, and other
computer networks

Information and Knowledge Management Assignment

 Electronic Conferencing Tools- they are software that helps networked computer
users share information and collaborate while working together on joint assignments,
irrespective of their geographical locations.
 Collaborative Work Management (CWM) tools – they are different types of
software and online services that allow people to work together on common projects,
regardless of their physical location. It can be something as simple as email and as
complex as sophisticated project management software.

1.3 Major types of systems in an organization

Because there are different interests, specialties, and levels in an organisation, there are
different kinds of systems. No single system can provide all the information an organisation
needs. (Laudon and Laudon, 2012). As shown in Figure 2 below, the organization is divided
into strategic, management, and operational levels and then is further divided into functional

Information and Knowledge Management Assignment

areas, such as sales and marketing, manufacturing and production, finance and accounting,
and human resources (Laudon and Laudon, 2006).

Figure 2 : Different kind of systems

Source Laudon, K., Laudon,J. (2006:84)

As can be seen from Figure 2 an organisation is divided into operational, middle and upper
level. It is therefore normal that the requirements of information at each level will differ.

1.4 Types of information systems

As stated by Laudon and Laudon (2006: 87), each organizational level corresponds to a
specific type of information system. The organization has executive support systems (ESS) at
the strategic level; management information systems (MIS) and decision-support systems
(DSS) at the management level; and transaction processing systems (TPS) at the operational
level. Systems at each level in turn are specialized to serve each of the major functional areas.
Thus, the typical systems found in organizations are designed to assist workers or managers

Information and Knowledge Management Assignment

at each level and in the functions of sales and marketing, manufacturing and production,
finance and accounting, and human resources (Laudon and Laudon, 2006).

Figure 3 : Examples of TPS, DSS, MIS, and ESS, showing the level of the organization and
business function that each supports

Source Laudon, K. and Laudon,J. (2006:86)

As per Laudon and Laudon (2014) the above mentioned four major types of information
systems can be defined as follows:

 TPS: A transaction processing system is a computerized system that performs and

records the daily routine transactions necessary to conduct business, such as sales
order entry, hotel reservations, payroll, employee record keeping, and shipping. This
type of systems help any company to conduct operations and keep track of its

Information and Knowledge Management Assignment

Figure 4: A TPS for payroll processing

Source Laudon, K., Laudon,J. (2014:77)

 DSS: Decision-support systems (DSS) focus on problems that are unique and rapidly
changing, for which the procedure for arriving at a solution may not be fully
predefined in advance. Although DSS use internal information from TPS and MIS,
they often bring in information from external sources, such as current stock prices or
product prices of competitors. Decision support systems are computer based
information systems that provide interactive information support to managers and
business professionals during the decision making process.

Information and Knowledge Management Assignment

Figure 5: A voyage-estimating DSS

Source Laudon, K., Laudon,J. (2014:81)

 MIS: They provide middle managers with reports on the organization’s current
performance. This information is used to monitor and control the business and predict
future performance. MIS summarize and report on the company’s basic operations
using data supplied by transaction processing systems.

Information and Knowledge Management Assignment

Figure 6: 3 TPS supplying summarised transaction data to the MIS reporting system.
Source Laudon, K. and Laudon,J. (2014:80)

 ESS: They help senior management to make decisions. They address non-routine
decisions requiring judgment, evaluation, and insight because there is no agreed-on
procedure for arriving at a solution. It provides top management with immediate and
easy access to select information about key factors that are critical to organizational
strategic objectives.

Information and Knowledge Management Assignment

Figure 7: A digital dashboard from an ESS

Source Laudon, K. and Laudon,J. (2014:82)

An ECS will link all the four main information systems described above and will thus involve
the three levels of management present in an organisation. As a figure of speech we can say
that an ECS will make the organisation to “collaborate”.

1.5 Benefits of EC to an organization

It’s a no-brainer that any organisation will benefit immensely by connecting its teams through
a common platform as this will ensure information sharing. Stair and Reynolds (2010:358)
state that an enterprise system is central to an organisation and ensures that information can
be shared across all business functions and all levels of management to support the running
and managing of a business.

Information and Knowledge Management Assignment

An Oracle White Paper (2010:10) mentioned that a carefully designed and well executed
enterprise collaboration strategy can bring significant boost to the productivity of an

Figure 8: McKinsey’s analysis on productivity and enterprise collaboration


The benefits of Collaboration can be as follows:

 Drives optimal productivity and performance: Collaboration enhances the fluidity

of knowledge, data and best practices sharing which consequently promotes better
interaction among employees and same is being translated to their customers.
Collaboration allows tacit knowledge to be tapped from employees which would have
been difficult without (Steere, 2018).
 Reduces travel and phone costs: Face to face meetings are no more required as
voice and video conferencing will allow exchange of information or discussions

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among members of the organisation in real time irrespective of geographical

locations. Consequently, the associated costs with travelling for meetings are greatly
reduced. Similarly, long-distance phone conversations can be replaced by instant
messaging which cost much less (Steere, 2018).
 Brings together distributed teams: A collaboration strategy allows employees who
are remotely connected to interact smoothly and productively. Different individuals
over different locations can be made to work among themselves in case they are
required to work over specific matters (Steere, 2018).
 Makes users more “available”: Steer (2018) states that sometimes people are
unavailable to speak by phone, but they can collaborate via text or chat. A multimedia
collaboration strategy can make this possible.
 Provides the flexibility and agility of a small business: Collaboration removes
adherence to official rules and formalities which has a restraining effect on both
internal and external communications. Faster or simpler business processes will
reduce operational costs and speed the sales process (Steere, 2018).
 Gets tasks completed faster: Steer (2018) states that collaboration helps to
coordinate tasks, eliminate duplication, consolidate sequential steps and ensure
everyone is on the same page
For example, a spreadsheet saved on Google drive and shared with the concerned
persons for editing.

 Leverages social interaction: Many companies are major proponents of integrating

social media into business processes, while others are skeptical at best. However,
social collaboration can be a natural component of enterprise collaboration, which is
social by nature. It fosters interaction through employees’ social networks, not just
corporate networks (Steere, 2018). In Océ’s case study, Samuel and Jan believes that
promoting the use of social media in the organisation will make things move forward.

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1.6 Conclusion

Globalisation has impacted the way organisations are doing business especially in a fast-
growing digital economy. The internet is today shaping the business world to such an extent
that organisations are networked all over the world. Enterprise collaboration has enabled the
sharing of information, working on same projects irrespective of geographical position by
combining software technologies, networking capabilities and collaborative processes. To
address its communication issues, Océ was right to embark itself on the Enterprise 2.0
initiative. The tools provided by an entreprise collaboration system will greatly benefit any
organisation in enhancing sharing of information both internally and externally and
consequently improving its productivity.

Question 2
Enterprise collaboration is essential for a knowledge management endeavour that Océ
has adopted. Evaluate how an organisation can apply knowledge taxonomy to improve
collaboration and knowledge management.

2.0 Introduction
Océ has embarked on Enterprise 2.0 to address its issues of sharing and collaborating.
Adopting an ECS with a well-defined taxonomy will certainly bring more effectiveness to the
system as accessing data and information in a logical manner is a critical component of
information and knowledge management.

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2.1 What is Knowledge management?

To date there are different definitions of knowledge management and as per Mar (2013) there
is no universally accepted definition of knowledge management. A similar view is expressed
by Koenig (2018) who states that the most frequently cited one is as follows: Knowledge
management is a discipline that promotes an integrated approach to identifying, capturing,
evaluating, retrieving, and sharing all of an enterprise's information assets. These assets may
include databases, documents, policies, procedures, and previously un-captured expertise and
experience in individual workers.

Rouse (2013) states that knowledge management involves data mining and some method of
operation to push information to users. A knowledge management plan involves a survey of
corporate goals and a close examination of the tools, both traditional and technical that is
required for addressing the needs of the company. The challenge of selecting a knowledge
management system is to purchase or build software that fits the context of the overall plan
and encourages employees to use the system and share information.

As stated above, encouraging employees of an organization to use the Knowledge

Management System (KMS) and share information is important. Consequently, if the system
is not easy enough, it can lead to a lack of user engagement and adoption.

2.2 Definition of taxonomy

Bloor (2001) mentioned that the word taxonomy derives from two Greek roots: “taxis”
meaning arrangement and “nomos” meaning name. Taxonomy is the science of classification
according to a pre-determined system, with the resulting catalogue used to provide a
conceptual framework for discussion, analysis, or information retrieval. In theory, the
development of a good taxonomy takes into account the importance of separating elements of
a group (taxon) into subgroups (taxa) that are mutually exclusive, unambiguous, and taken
together, include all possibilities

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Dalkir (2005) states that taxonomies are basic classification systems that enable us to describe
concepts and their dependencies typically in a hierarchical fashion. The higher up the concept
is placed, the more general or generic the concept is. The lower the concept is placed, the
more specific an instance it is of higher-level categories

Figure 8: Example of a knowledge taxonomy

Source Dalkir, K., (2005:100)

Fouché (2006:83) states in her dissertation that according to Gilchrist and Kibby (2000) the
development of structure around information is by no means a new concept. Society tends to
organise itself by subject, whilst institutions and organisations such as governments,
academia, organisations, industry and people cluster concepts to create order and structure to
information in a way that comply with their respective terms of reference and interactions.
With the arrival of the knowledge economy, and the increased reliance on the effective use
and exploitation of human intellectual capital to gain competitive advantage, it becomes
understandable that organisations want to place some basic structure behind their
information. Structuring access to information not only helps prevent information overload

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but can ease the identification and retrieval of critical information and knowledge resources
within the organisation.

From the few definitions of taxonomy above it can be said that taxonomies have different
meanings in various contexts and will be dependent on the approach, goal or challenge facing
the organisation.

2.2.1 Corporate Taxonomy

Woods (2004) states that a simple definition of a taxonomy is that it is a hierarchy of
categories used to classify documents and other information. A corporate taxonomy is a way
of representing the information available within an enterprise.

A classical taxonomy assumes that each element can only belong to one branch of the
hierarchical tree. However, in a corporate environment, such formal ordering is neither
feasible nor desirable. For example, a document on a competitor's product may be of interest
to different departments in the organisation for different reasons, forcing it into a single
predefined category may be neater, but also reduces its usefulness. Corporate taxonomies
need to be flexible and pragmatic as well as consistent.

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Figure 9: Example of a taxonomic classification


2.2.2 Importance of taxonomies

According to Woods (2004:2) the recognition that we need to organise information if we are
to make sense of the world can be traced back to Aristotle. Each advance in the scale of
human knowledge has presented new challenges in classification and new responses to those
challenges: for example, Linnaeus’s system for categorising the natural world in the 18th
century, the creation of the Dewey Decimal System for library classification in the 19th
century and 20th century medical and scientific taxonomies. The rise of information

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technology, particularly the Internet and the Web, presents a further series of challenges that
are extending the requirement for taxonomies into a far wider sphere.

Woods (2004:2) states also that there are three key drivers for the current level of interest in
taxonomies, namely:

1. Information overload: A Berkeley University study into information growth

estimates that 5 exabytes of recorded information were created worldwide in 2002
(equivalent to 800Mb for each person on the planet). If access to these volumes of
information is to be a benefit rather than a burden then order and control become
prerequisites. Information management techniques must be improved if we are to gain
more control over these information flows, and taxonomies should be a key part of
2. Rise of the web: The very structure of the Web (in an Internet, extranet or intranet
context) offers new opportunities for information organisation. The ability to provide
universally accessible, hyperlinked, multimedia content presents unique challenges in
terms of information classification. The growing awareness of the value of
taxonomies is closely associated with the rapid development of knowledge about
effective website design, online usability and the importance of the overall
information architecture.
3. Growing use of unstructured information management technologies: In response
to, and as part of, the evolution of the Web, most large and medium sized businesses
have invested in content management, search and portal technologies. They are now
looking at how they can increase the benefits from these technologies and provide a
consistent information infrastructure that can be shared across different applications.

2.3 Benefits of developing a taxonomy

Woods (2004:3) has identified the following benefits related to the development of

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 Improved information sharing: A common taxonomy provides a shared language

for different parts of an organisation. For example, product research and development
(R&D) and marketing should find it easier to share information across departmental
divisions. It can also reduce the amount of time spent on duplication and reinvention,
by making the existing intellectual capital resources more visible and accessible. This
will become particularly important as information management tools and techniques
are expanded into new areas such as regulatory compliance. Organisations concerned
about meeting new regulations on corporate governance, data privacy or freedom of
information will benefit from a consistent approach to information organisation, even
if they are not using the taxonomy directly.
 A better user experience: More and more customers judge a company on the quality
of the website and in particular the ease with which they can find the information,
services or goods that they are looking for.
 Support for interoperability and integration: An increasingly important role for
taxonomies is as a means to enable interoperability and integration at an
organisational and an application level especially for organisations looking to link up
their various applications, processes and knowledge bases in order to improve
competitiveness and flexibility.

2.4 Conclusion
Knowledge management helps people in an organisation to collaborate by sharing
information and ideas. This mutual sharing of information is beneficial since information is
being distributed throughout the organisation. Knowledge management and collaboration can
be enhanced if an appropriate taxonomy can be carefully designed to organise information
into meaningful categories so that it can be easily accessed. Stair and Reynolds (2010:445)
are of the view that a knowledge management system can help an organization increase
profits or achieve its goals, but using knowledge can be difficult.

This is where taxonomy comes into play as an important tool to make the use of knowledge

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Question 3
Knowledge taxonomies allow knowledge to be graphically represented in such a way that it
reflects the organisation of concepts within a particular field of expertise or for the
organisation at large. In light of the aboves tatement, develop a knowledge taxonomy that
depicts the enterprise system for Oce.

Management Tools
 Task & Project management
 Workflow systems
 Resource Management
 Time tracking
 Knowledge Management

Team Collaboration
Messaging system  Wiki
 Email  Discussions
 Contacts  Search
 Tasks  Documents
 Calendar  Activity feed

Collaboration Tools
Business Services  Video Conferencing
 Chat
 Customer communication
 Web conferencing
 Voice chat
 Mail system services
 Presence
 Invoice process services

Technologies  Large format printing
 Cutsheet printers
 UVgel
 Continuous feed printers
 iQuarius
 Software & servers
 Variadot
 Single pass
 Screen point
 All other technologies

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Question 4

Blockchain is the world's leading software platform for digital assets and this technology is
associated with Bitcoin known as the digital currency. Blockchain is claimed to revolutionise
business and redefine companies and economies. Expand on the concept of Bitcoin and the
Blockchain technology and discuss the impact Bitcoin and Blockchain has on the

4.0 Introduction

Cryptocurrency or virtual currency as it is called today by many specialists of the subject is

gaining prominence in the digital economy although most transactions are still being carried
out in Fiat money, that is, any money declared by a government to be legal tender. A recent
article stated that although digital progress has already advanced far enough, and in most
sectors of the economy the role of technology is indispensable and determines the leaders of
the industry, most transactions are still carried out in Fiat currencies. We join the opinion of
most market analysts and believe that this is only a matter of time, and the transition to digital
currencies is inevitable. And not without reason, 2017 can be considered a year of blockchain
and bitcoin, these concepts worried experts and ordinary users around the world the most

4.1 Digital currency

Schueffel (2017:9) states that a digital currency is a type of currency that is non-physical (i.e.
no banknotes and coins exist thereof) and which can only be transmitted via electronic
means, typically allowing for instantaneous transactions and borderless transfer of ownership.

Cryptocurrency is a form of digital currency and is different from other digital currencies in
the sense that it is not centralised, that is, it is not controlled by any state, government or
company. In its simplest description, it is a digital currency created from codes.

According to Yunus (2018) cryotocurrencies are revolutionised mode of settlement without

any clearing house, central banks and middle person or agents stand in between the
settlement party like central banks and banks. Therefore, there is no extra cost of intermediate
party and it is fast and easy. It is a straight dealing between two parties using
cryptocurrencies as a medium of settlement for their goods and services.

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4.2 Bitcoin

It is unanimously accepted that Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency established and dates back
to 2009.

Acheson(2018) stated in a recent article that a pseudonymous software developer going by

the name of Satoshi Nakamoto proposed bitcoin in 2008, as an electronic payment system
based on mathematical proof. The idea was to produce a means of exchange, independent of
any central authority, which could be transferred electronically in a secure, verifiable and
immutable way.

4.2.1 Characteristics of Bitcoin

 It is decentralised : Bitcoin is a decentralised currency and is thus not under the

control of any entity, that is, it is not governed by any law. As stated by Nakamoto
(2009:1), bitcoin is a purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash that would allow
online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a
financial institution. Acheson (2018) mentioned that no single institution controls the
bitcoin network. It is maintained by a group of volunteer coders, and run by an open
network of dedicated computers spread around the world. This attracts individuals and
groups that are uncomfortable with the control that banks or government institutions
have over their money. Bitcoin solves the "double spending problem" of electronic
currencies (in which digital assets can easily be copied and re-used) through an
ingenious combination of cryptography and economic incentives. In electronic fiat
currencies, this function is fulfilled by banks, which gives them control over the
traditional system. With bitcoin, the integrity of the transactions is maintained by a
distributed and open network, owned by no-one.
 It is Limited : Acheson (2018) states that fiat currencies have an unlimited supply –
central banks can issue as many as they want, and can attempt to manipulate a
currency's value relative to others. With bitcoin, on the other hand, the supply is
tightly controlled by the underlying algorithm. A small number of new bitcoins trickle
out every hour, and will continue to do so at a diminishing rate until a maximum of 21
million has been reached. This makes bitcoin more attractive as an asset – in theory, if
demand grows and the supply remains the same, the value will increase

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 It is anonymous : While online activities generate a digital footprint, bitcoin is secure

and private. One can remain anonymous while using it
 It is immutable: Bitcoin transactions cannot be reversed, unlike electronic fiat
transactions (Acheson, 2018).
 It is divisible : The smallest unit of a bitcoin is called a satoshi. It is one hundred
millionth of a bitcoin (0.00000001) – at today's prices, about one hundredth of a cent.
This could conceivably enable microtransactions that traditional electronic money
cannot (Acheson, 2018).

4.2.2 Bitcoin mining

Bitcoins can be obtained by buying them over an exchange like Coinmama, accepting them
for goods and services or by mining new ones. Schueffel (2017:5) defines mining as the
process of creating and releasing new Bitcoin currency. This is done by verifying and adding
transactions to the Blockchain as rewards for doing computational work.

4.2.3 Bitcoin wallets

Bitcoins are stored in ‘wallets’ to enable transactions of cryptocurrencies. The wallet in itself
is an address stored on a Blockchain. A website article described a wallet as a string of
numbers and letters, such as 18c177926650e5550973303c300e136f22673b74. This is an
address that will appear in various blocks within the Blockchain as transactions take place.
No visible records of who did what transaction with who, only the number of a wallet. The
address of each particular wallet is also a public key (
beginners/how-blockchain-technology-works-guide-for-beginners#hash-function ). An
example of a wallet is Bitcoin Core and to date there are numerous wallets available for
purchase from different providers online.

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Information and Knowledge Management Assignment Types of Bitcoin wallets

Khatwani ( 2018) differentiates the different types of bitcoin wallets as follows:

1. Hardware wallets: This is the most secure and safest way to store your bitcoins
because they are stored in an offline environment. At the time of this writing, there
has been no reported theft or loss of bitcoins from a hardware wallet. The private keys
and digital signature needed to spend bitcoins are generated via these wallets

2. Mobile wallets : Bitcoin wallet applications which are installable on mobile phones
are called mobile wallets. For each mobile operating system, such as iOS, Android,
Windows, and Blackberry, compatible wallets are available.

3. Desktop wallets : Desktop wallets are Bitcoin wallets which are installable on
different desktops, and as per the user’s needs, are compatible with Windows, Mac,
and Linux

4. Web wallets: Wallets which are basically web services and are accessible through
web/internet-based browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, and IE are called web-
based Bitcoin wallets.The private keys are held online in these kinds of wallets. They
are accessible via an internet address such as They are also called
“hosted wallets” because you store your bitcoins on the servers of the agency which
you have chosen as your online wallet.

5. Paper wallets: Paper wallets are a piece of paper with a public address and the private
address printed on them. A public address to send any amount of bitcoins. The piece
of paper can be saved as it also contains the private key which can be used to
transfer/spend bitcoins or sweep the Bitcoin paper wallet completely to another
wallet. Since the keys are offline, printed and secured by the owner, there is no threat
of any electronic damage to bitcoins unless the printed keys are lost.

4.3 Blockchain technology

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The blockchain has been labelled as a global public ledger or spreadsheets where information
about transactions is being kept and near impossible to forge. Blockchain has revolutionised
the way information and transactions are being carried out in terms of security, speed and
cost of use.

According to Tapscott and Tapscott (2016:25) big banks and some governments are
implementing blockchains as distributed ledgers to revolutionize the way information is
stored and transactions occur. Their goals are laudable—speed, lower cost, security, fewer
errors, and the elimination of central points of attack and failure. These models don’t
necessarily involve a cryptocurrency for payments. However, the most important and far-
reaching blockchains are based on Satoshi’s bitcoin model. Bitcoin or other digital currency
is not saved in a file somewhere; it is represented by transactions recorded in a blockchain—
kind of a global spreadsheet or ledger, which leverages the resources of a large peer-to-peer
bitcoin network to verify and approve each bitcoin transaction. Each blockchain, like the one
that uses bitcoin, is distributed: it runs on computers provided by volunteers around the
world; there is no central database to hack. The blockchain is public: anyone can view it at
any time because it resides on the network, not within a single institution charged with
auditing transactions and keeping records. And the blockchain is encrypted: it uses heavy-
duty encryption involving public and private keys (rather like the two-key system to access a
safety deposit box) to maintain virtual security.

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Figure 10 : Blockchain technology

Source :

4.3.1 Applications of blockchain technology

Blockchain is all about the technology and its use in the transactions of cryptocurrencies has
revealed it to the world but the technology can be applied in various business fields. Some
examples are given below :

 Monitor supply chains: Williams (2018) argues that by removing paper-based trails,
businesses should be able to pinpoint inefficiencies within their supply chains quickly,
as well as locate items in real time. Further, blockchain would allow businesses, and
possibly even consumers, to view how products performed from a quality-control
perspective as they traveled from their place of origin to the retailer
 Copyright and royalty protection: Williams (2018) states that in a world with
growing internet access, copyright and ownership laws on music and other content
has grown hazy. With blockchain, those copyright laws would be beefed up

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considerably for digital content downloads; ensuring the artist or creator of the
content being purchased gets their fair share. The blockchain would also provide real-
time and transparent royalty distribution data to musicians and content creators
 Managing Internet of Things networks: Williams (2018) indicates that networking
giant Cisco Systems may be behind a blockchain-based application that would
monitor Internet of Things (IoT) networks. The IoT describes wirelessly connected
devices that can send and receive data. Such an application could determine the
trustworthiness of devices on a network and continuously do so for devices entering
and leaving the network, such as smart cars or smartphones.

4.4 Possible issues with blockchain technology

The merits of blockchain have been greatly acclaimed mainly due to its handling of
cryptocurrency transactions. But some experts in the field believe that the blockchain
technology has some potential vulnerabilities. A few are listed below :

 Size of the network: Daisyme ( 2018) states that for blockchain to work, there need
to be at least hundreds or preferably thousands of nodes working in unison. This
makes blockchain systems especially vulnerable to attack and corruption during the
early stages of growth
 Lack of regulation creates a risky environment: Marr (2018) mentioned that due to
the lack of regulatory oversight, scams and market manipulation are commonplace.
Among the high profile cases is Oncecoin – recently revealed as a ponzi scheme
which is believed to have robbed millions from investors who believed they were
getting in early on what would become the “next Bitcoin”.

 Unavoidable security flaw: Bauerle (n.d) states that there is one notable security
flaw in bitcoin and other blockchains: if more than half of the computers working as
nodes to service the network tell a lie, the lie will become the truth. This is called a
'51% attack' and was highlighted by Satoshi Nakamoto when he launched bitcoin. For
this reason, bitcoin mining pools are monitored closely by the community, ensuring
no one unknowingly gains such network influence.

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 Smart contracts : Orcutt (2018) believes that perhaps the most complicated
touchpoints between blockchains and the real world are “smart contracts,” which are
computer programs stored in certain kinds of blockchain that can automate
transactions. In 2016, hackers exploited an unforeseen quirk in a smart contract
written on Ethereum’s blockchain to steal 3.6 million ether, worth around $80 million
at the time, from the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), a new kind of
blockchain-based investment fund

4.5 Conclusion

Since its first inception in 2009 , Bitcoin has revealed to the world that a decentralised system
of cash transaction is possible with a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. The need for a
trusted third party, as in the case for fiat currency transactions, has been eliminated since the
system uses the blockchain technology which is highly encrypted. More and more
organisations are looking into the possibility to apply the blockchain technology in their
respective businesses. However, due to it being a nascent technology, some experts on the
subject believe that it has not yet proven itself in the real world amidst possible
vulnerabilities in the system.

Question 5

Data analytics is becoming a hot topic in the IT field. Determine how organisations such as
South African Airways can use Big Data in times of disruption to defeat market

5.0 Introduction

The rise of digital technology has brought increasing generation of data in any organisations
over the years, a trend which will continue with new developments in the digital world. As
per Manyika et al. (2011:2) big data refers to datasets whose size is beyond the ability of
typical database software tools to capture, store, manage and analyse. Manyika et al. (2011:6)
further added that the use of big data is becoming a key way for leading companies to
outperform their peers.

5.1 The 3Vs of big data

Soubra (2012) claims that there are 3 defining properties of Big data and they are :

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1. Volume: The size of available data has been growing at an increasing rate and this
applies to companies and to individuals. More sources of data with a larger size are
added on a continuous basis increasing the volume of data that has to be analysed.
This is a major issue for those looking to put that data to use instead of letting it just
disappear. Peta byte data sets are common these days and Exa byte is not far away.
2. Velocity: Initially companies analyzed data using a batch process. One takes a chunk
of data, submits a job to the server and waits for delivery of the result. That scheme
works when the incoming data rate is slower than the batch processing rate and when
the result is useful despite the delay. With the new sources of data such as social and
mobile applications, the batch process breaks down. The data is now streaming into
the server in real time, in a continuous fashion and the result is only useful if the delay
is very short.
3. Variety: From excel tables and databases, data structure has changed to loose its
structure and to add hundreds of formats like pure text, photo, audio, video, web, GPS
data, sensor data, relational data bases, documents, SMS, pdf, flash and many others.
One no longer has control over the input data format. Structure can no longer be
imposed like in the past in order to keep control over the analysis. As new
applications are introduced new data formats come to life.

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Figure 11 : The 3 V’s


Marr (2014) argues that 2 more Vs can be added that will further define big data :

 Veracity: It refers to the trustworthiness of the data. With many forms of big data,
quality and accuracy are less controllable (just think of Twitter posts with hash tags,
abbreviations, typos and colloquial speech as well as the reliability and accuracy of
content) but big data and analytics technology now allows us to work with these type
of data. The volumes often make up for the lack of quality or accuracy.
 Value: It is all well and good having access to big data but unless we can turn it into
value it is useless. It can safely be argued that 'value' is the most important V of Big

5.2 Big data analytics

As per Rajaraman (2016) data analytics is concerned with extraction of actionable knowledge
and insights from big data. This is done by hypothesis formulation that is often based on
conjectures gathered from experience and discovering (sometimes serendipitously)
correlations among variables. There are four types of data analytics:

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1. Descriptive Analytics: This essentially tells what happened in the past and presents it
in an easily understandable form. Data gathered is organized as bar charts, graphs, pie
charts, maps, scatter diagrams, etc., for easy visualization which gives insight into
what the data implies
2. Predictive Analytics: It extrapolates from available data and tells what is expected to
happen in the near future. The tools used for extrapolation are time series analysis
using statistical methods, neural networks, and machine learning algorithms.
3. Exploratory or Discovery Analytics: This finds unexpected relationships among
parameters in collections of big data. Collection of data from a variety of sources and
analyzing them provides additional opportunities for insights and serendipitous
4. Prescriptive analytics: This identifies, based on data gathered, opportunities to
optimize solutions to existing problems. In other words, the analysis tells us what to
do to achieve a goal.

5.3 Application of big data analytics in the aviation industry

SAA hope of beating out its competitors lies in the analysis of its big data to uncover hidden
information that can transform its way of doing business. SAA must leverage the use of
technology applied in the travel industry to provide itself with the appropriate analytics to
make strategic decisions.

SAA can make use of the Hadoop platform to leverage its big data. Ohlhorst (2013:25)
mentioned that The Hadoop platform is designed to solve problems caused by massive
amounts of data, especially data that contain a mixture of complex structured and
unstructured data, which does not lend itself well to being placed in tables. Hadoop works
well in situations that require the support of analytics that is deep and computationally
extensive, like clustering and targeting.

5.3.1 Fuel consumption

According to Rajaraman(2016) An Airbus A350 plane uses 6000 sensor across the plane.
There are sensors in the wings, landing gear, engine, air conditioning system and other
critical areas. Each day around 300 GB data is collected and analysed primarily to optimize
engine performance to minimize fuel consumption.
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Fuel consumption is one of the biggest expenses in the aviation industry and carrying out a
deep analysis in its usage to reduce cost will yield economic benefits. For example, SAA can
use the numerous data fed from its aircraft sensors via the Hadoop platform to calculate the
best economic routes for its flights or even set the fuel loads for each aircraft. Bellamy (2017)
mentioned that Qantas Airways is currently using a new technology called “FlightPulse”
which provides the necessary information to pilots to enable them to fly effectively to reduce
fuel burn and emissions .SAA can adopt similar technology for its aircraft fuel consumption

5.3.2 Smart maintenance

Maintenance of aircrafts will incur disruptions in the flight schedule and the use of predictive
analytics is important to reduce such occurrence. Software suite especially designed for this
purpose can help aviation organisations maximize their revenue potential through standard,
lean and predictable maintenance.

Bellamy (2017) states that in a 2017 case study adoption of Maintenix Fleet, a software
developed by software provider IFS, to improve data collaboration and sharing across China
Airlines’ maintenance department and services led to a 10% increase in line management
process efficiencies and to annual cost saving of $560,000. Moreover, there was also a 30
days layover in scheduled aircraft maintenance, resulting in a savings of $1.3 million.
Maintenix can help SAA in optimising its fleet maintenance and improve collaboration and
sharing in the department.

5.3.3 Airline safety

As per Williams (2018) a huge amount of data is being generated every hour on an aerial
journey and an average of 240TB of data is being collected from the plane on a 6 hour trip. If
this data is inspected and analysed, it goes a long way in improving the safety of the flight.
Southwest Airlines has a partnership with NASA since many years, to be warned of any
safety concerns and maintain air safety. NASA along with machine learning algorithms has

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an automated system which analyses huge volumes of data and finds out inconsistencies
leading to any accidents.

One of the most mentioned programme for safety in the aviation industry is the Data4Safety
(D4S) initiated by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

EASA (2017) indicated that its aim is to collect and gather all data that may support the
management of safety risks at European level. This includes safety reports (or occurrences),
flight data (i.e. data generated by the aircraft via the Flight Data Recorders), surveillance data
(air traffic data), weather data to mentioned a few.

The participation of SAA in such a programme will allow it to know better where the risks
are by verifying whether its delivered safety actions are to the required level.

5.3.4 Baggage Tracking

Sagina (2017) reported that about 5.73 bags per thousand passengers were mishandled in
2016. Baggage mishandling is a serious concern to the aviation industry. This not only results
in losing millions of dollars (compensation) but also losing valuable customers. Radio-
frequency identification (RFID) is the way to minimize baggage mishandling, replacing the
barcode hand scanning that can help in minimizing baggage claims, prevent journey
disruption and improve handling efficiency. Williams (2018) mentioned an improved system
introduced by Delta Airlines for baggage tracking through a mobile application. Baggage
check data are being used as a tracker and managed by the Delta staff members who will then
push the info to the customers on their mobile through the app.

A similar technology can be adopted by SAA to improve or change its handling of baggage.

5.4 Conclusion

Through the analytics of Big Data any organisation can benefit in terms of efficiency,
productivity, revenue, and profitability. The cost associated with storing Big Data has
decreased over the years thanks to the advancement in technology. Consequently,
organisations should take this opportunity to carry out more analysis of their Big Data to
derive information that will help them increase their performance on all fronts of their
businesses. SAA should leverage the use of Big Data analytics to transform its operations to
be at least on par with its competitors.

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