Intelligent Modeling of E-Business Maturity

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Expert Systems
with Applications
Expert Systems with Applications 32 (2007) 687–702
www.elsevier.com/locate/eswa

Intelligent modeling of e-business maturity
George Xirogiannis
b

a,*

, Michael Glykas

b

a
University of Piraeus, Department of Informatics, 80, Karaoli & Dimitriou St., 185 34 Piraeus, Athens, Greece University of Aegean, Department of Financial and Management Engineering, 31, Fostini Street, 82 100 Chios, Greece

Abstract
E-business has a significant impact on managers and academics. Despite the rhetoric surrounding e-business strategy formulation mechanisms, which support reasoning of the effect of strategic change activities to the maturity of the e-business models, are still emerging. This paper describes an attempt to build and operate such a reasoning mechanism as a novel supplement to e-business strategy formulation exercises. This new approach proposes the utilization of the fuzzy causal characteristics of Fuzzy Cognitive Maps (FCMs) as the underlying methodology in order to generate a hierarchical and dynamic network of interconnected maturity indicators. By using FCMs, this research aims at simulating complex strategic models with imprecise relationships while quantifying the impact of strategic changes to the overall e-business efficiency. This research establishes generic adaptive domains – maps in order to implement the integration of hierarchical FCMs into e-business strategy formulation activities. Finally, this paper discusses experiments with the proposed mechanism and comments on its usability.

Ó 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Fuzzy cognitive maps; E-business modeling; Strategy planning; Decision support

1. Introduction
Today, there is an increasing demand for a strategiclevel assessment of e-business capabilities that can be assembled and analyzed rapidly at low cost and without
significant intrusion into the subject enterprises. The benefits from completing such an exercise are quite straightforward, for instance, identification of significant strengths and weaknesses, establishment of a rationale for action, a

reference point for measuring future progress, etc.
This paper proposes a novel supplement to strategiclevel maturity assessment methodologies based on fuzzy cognitive maps (FCMs). This decision aid mechanism proposes a new approach to supplement the current status analysis and objectives composition phases of typical ebusiness strategy formulation projects, by supporting ‘‘intelligent’’ modeling of e-business maturity and ‘‘intelligent’’ reasoning of the anticipated impact of e-business *

Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses: georgex@unipi.gr (G. Xirogiannis), mglikas@ aegean.gr (M. Glykas).
0957-4174/$ - see front matter Ó 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.eswa.2006.01.042

strategic change initiatives. The proposed mechanism utilizes the fuzzy causal characteristics of FCMs as a new modeling technique to develop a causal representation of
dynamic e-business maturity domains. This research proposes a holistic set of adaptive domains in order to generate a hierarchical network of interconnected e-business maturity indicators. The proposed mechanism aims at simulating the operational efficiency of complex hierarchical strategy models with imprecise relationships while quantifying the impact of strategic alignment to the overall e-business efficiency. Also, this paper proposes an updated

FCM algorithm to model effectively the hierarchical and
distributed nature of e-business maturity.
This application of FCMs in modeling the maturity of
e-business is considered to be novel. Moreover, it is the
belief of this paper that the fuzzy reasoning capabilities
enhance considerably the usefulness of the proposed mechanism while reducing the effort to identify precise maturity measurements. The proposed model has both theoretical
and practical benefits. Given the demand for effective
strategic positioning of e-business...
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