Computing Applications In the Virtual Extension

In the Virtual Extension

Communications' Virtual Extension brings more quality articles to ACM members. These articles are now available in the ACM Digital Library.
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Balancing Four Factors in System Development Projects

Girish H. Subramanian, Gary Klein, James J. Jiang, and Chien-Lung Chan

It is often the methodology that dictates system development success criteria. However, an organization will benefit most from a perspective that looks at both the quality of the product and an efficient process. This imperative will more likely incorporate the multiple goals of various stakeholders. To this end, a project view of system development should adjust to incorporate controls into a process that stresses flexibility, promote learning in a process that is more rigid, and be certain to use evaluation criteria that stress the quality of the product as well as the efficiency of the process.

Attaining Superior Complaint Resolution

Sridhar R. Papagari Sangareddy, Sanjeev Jha, Chen Ye, and Kevin C. Desouza

Why is customer service more important than ever for consumer technology companies? How can they retain existing customers and prevent them from discontinuing their products? What can they do to provide superior complaint management and resolution? The authors answer these questions and more by proposing and evaluating a model of complaint management and service evaluation. A holistic approach toward complaint management is recommended for retaining customers.

Making Ubiquitous Computing Available

Vivienne Waller and Robert B. Johnson

Computing artifacts that seamlessly support everyday activities must be made both physically and cognitively ‘available’ to users. Artifacts that are designed using a traditional model of computing tend to get in the way of what we want to do. Drawing on Heidegger, the authors delve deeper into the concept of ‘availability’ than existing studies in human-computer interaction have done. They find two ways that ubiquitous computing can be truly available are through manipulating the space of possible actions and through indicating the possibility for action. This article translates the conceptual findings into principles for design.

De-escalating IT Projects: The DMM Project

Donal Flynn, Gary Pan, Mark Keil, and Magnus Mahring

Taming runaway information technology projects is a continuing challenge for many managers. These are projects that grossly exceed their planned budgets and schedules, often by a factor of 2–3 fold or greater. Many end in failure, not only in the sense of budget or schedule, but in terms of delivered functionality. This article examines three approaches that have been suggested for managing de-escalation. By combining the best elements from the approaches, we provide an integrated framework as well as introducing a de-escalation management maturity (DMM) model that provides a useful roadmap for improving practice.

Human Interaction for High-Quality Machine Translation

Francisco Casacuberta, Jorge Civera, Elsa Cubel, Antonio L. Lagardia, Guy Lampalme, Elliott Macklovitch, and Enrique Vidal

The interactive-predictive approach allows for the construction of machine translation systems that produce high-quality results in a cost-effective manner by placing a human operator at the center of the production process. The human serves as the guarantor of high quality and the role of the automated systems is to ensure increased productivity by proposing well-formed extensions to the current target text, which the operator may then accept, orrect, or ignore. Interactivity allows the system to take advantage of the human-validated portion of the text to improve the accuracy of subsequent predictions.

How Effective is Google’s Translation Service in Search?

Jacques Savoy and Ljiljana Dolamic

Using freely available translation services, bilingual search is possible and even effective. Compared to a monolingual search, the automatic query translation hurts the retrieval effectiveness (from 12% to 30% depending on the language pairs). Various translation difficulties as well as linguistic features may explain such degradation. Instead of providing a direct translation for all language pairs, we can select an intermediary language or pivot (for example, English) and such strategy does not always further degrade the search quality.

Overcoming the J-Shaped Distribution of Product Reviews

Nan Hu, Paul A. Pavlou, and Jie Zhang

Product review systems rely on a simple database technology that allows people to rate products. Following the view of information systems as socio-technical systems, product review systems denote the interaction between people and technology. This article provides evidence to support the finding that online product reviews suffer from two kinds of potential biases: purchasing bias and under-reporting bias. Therefore the average of ratings alone may not be representative of product quality, and consumers need to look at the entire distribution of the reviews.

Technical Opinion: Do SAP Successes Outperform Themselves and Their Competitors?

Richard J. Goeke and Robert H. Faley

Managers and researchers have long debated how to measure the business value of IT investments. ERP systems have recently entered this debate, as research measuring the business value of these large IT investments has produced mixed results. Using regression discontinuity analysis, the authors found that successful SAP implementers improved inventory turnover in their post-implementation periods. These SAP successes also significantly improved inventory turnover relative to their competitors. However, profitability improvements were more difficult to find.

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