Jasper Odijk

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Object of the future

The future is here, we just need to know where to look

1. Virtual Communities

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Virtual communities provide people with the opportunity to interact with likeminded individuals instantaneously from anywhere on the globe. It empowers the individual and provides an outlet for the 'voice of the voiceless'. The possibilities are endless: chatting, 'living' in a virtual world, sharing your views & opinions with the world, building social- or business networks, and so on.

Basically, virtual communities give people the opportunity to share whatever they want with the world, while guaranteeing a certain degree of anonymity. It will change the way people interact with each other.

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(1) Howard Rheingold's The Virtual Community
(2) Wikipedia's article on virtual communities
(3) Habbo Hotel: A Dutch virtual community for teenagers
(4) Taatu: A virtual community for teenagers
(5) The Well: Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link
(6) Flickr
(7) Hyves
(8) Last.fm
(9) Del.icio.us
(10) openBC

2. IT Dashboards


IT Dashboards are visual operational tools used to monitor key business indicators. Managers use dashboards to get a bird's-eye view of all critical business information in real time. Basically, key business data is pulled from one or several corporate software system(s) and presented in an easy-to-read graphical overview. Managers can see whether the organization is performing according to the objectives and track changes in the business environment instantly. They can use the information presented on the dashboard as a basis for quick decisions. Dashboards enable executives to more conscious decision-making, because they can base their decisions on real-time data. Many dashboards are web-based which makes the key business information available to managers anywhere at any time. Dashboards can also be used for various other applications varying from operational management planning and control to tools for the monitoring of customer-service processes.

IT dashboard are a perfect example of how ICT can be a fundamental element of the strategy of organizations. With IT dashboards it is possible to align business operations through information technology. It deals with the application of IT in business processes enabling for optimization, differentiation or cost-saving. Furthermore, they are developed in such a way that they are wide-applicable, cost-efficient and easy to employ (i.e. interoperatable).

Dashboards will deliver the following benefits:
1. It’s a summary, concise overview (allowing to focus on performance at the high level, with the ability to zoom into issues)
2. It’s real time
3. They integrate data from different standalone systems into an at-one-glance overview


IT Dashboards will replace the numerous reports which organizations gather from their various software systems. These reports are often delivered to executives in paper form, because that is the easiest way to bundle reports from different systems. Furthermore, they will replace many current reporting tools, as they have the ability to integrate realtime data from several standalone systems.


The biggest change dashboard technology will bring, is that it will give organizations the ability to base management-decisions on realtime integrated data. This will allow for much more grounded and precise forecasting.

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|1| Ante, S.E., McGregor, J. Giving the Boss The Big Picture. Business Week. 2006. Issue 3971, p48-51.
|2| Retrieved May 8, 2006 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_performance_indicator
|3| William Hoffman. The view from 50,000 feet. 2004. PM Network, Issue 27.
|4| David Parmenter. A Balanced Scorecard for the board. 2004.