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Skip to 0 minutes and 2 seconds It is kind of a common sense today that the information systems are personalised. If you look at two mobile phones that are supposedly same, so same manufacturer, same model, same everything, if you look at them they are not the same at all. Why, because they are personalised. Now in big information systems in organisations also personalisation is very important. However personalisation will have three different levels. The first level of personalisation is done administratively and it is very important for the organisation because that’s where they tell you what sort of information you can access or not. However, this is an enormous task.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 seconds So what happens is that you, for example, have an organisation of 100,000 employees, which is not a huge organisation for a transnational corporation, and then you have an information system which is covering the organisational activities, so properly working ERP system, the data warehouse, and everything. Now that means that there could be easily anywhere between a few million to few hundred million action points, so points which need to be defined whether you can access it or not. Now if you think how we can do that. This would mean a matrix or a table with about a 100,000 rows and between a few millions to few hundred million columns. Now you need to fill all the cells in this table.

Skip to 1 minute and 32 seconds It is not possible to be done without mistakes. So what they usually do is that they use what they call a group inheritance. So they say that OK, the vice president for marketing can access these things and they do his or her line properly. And then for the second level in marketing, they will not define everything from zero. They will only tell the difference from the vice president for marketing to the second level. And therefore the third level, they will just look at the difference between the third and second level. So it means that they will just untick those boxes that you are not allowed to access, if you are on the third level. And that can work very well.

Skip to 2 minutes and 17 seconds There are also clever solutions if you define various roles related to different projects. And then the roles can have different levels of access according to different things. Now this is all done administratively and this is what I am allowed to do. However, within that there are also things that I would like to have personalised for me. So this means that I can adjust certain things for myself. For example, I can put some of the most frequently used features on my front page. And then in some organisations I might be allowed to adjust the look and feel for myself. And so on. So there are lots of things. For example in FutureLearn, you cannot customise the look and feel.

Skip to 3 minutes and 3 seconds But in many systems it is allowed. And then the third level is not about what I would like to do. But it is based on what I usually do. Now this requires artificial intelligence. So if you have a machine learning algorithm running in the background of your information system, it can observe what we call your click stream so the order of clicks that you make in that part of your information system. And it can observe a pattern that usually when you started this, this, and this click, then you ended up 20 clicks later here. So when you click on the third one, it might suggest OK, so you might be going here.

Skip to 3 minutes and 45 seconds Do you want us to bring you this feature at the third click? If this works well or if you have a designer who sets it up for you personally really, really well, then you should end up having everything that you normally use within three clicks. So that’s usually kind of a rule for information systems, all those things that you usually use, within three clicks. Now there is one more thing about personalisation and that’s about the password management. So big ERP systems usually have a dedicated server that only does passwords. If you talk to information security people, they will tell you ridiculous measures of security.

Skip to 4 minutes and 29 seconds They will tell you that you need to use different usernames and passwords to each system that you access. The password should be a really, really meaningless lists of characters. And you need to change them frequently. I try once to print out all the usernames and passwords I had done. It was about six pages and not with very large font. And then you take that you also cannot store these anywhere, you just need to memorise them. And of course you need to change them frequently. The human mind is not capable of anything like that. So how it works in these secure organisational networks is that the server creates all those usernames and passwords.

Skip to 5 minutes and 9 seconds And it will never ask you, it will store them for you. And then when you want to access a part of information system, the only thing that you ever need to enter is your login information. Now how secure is that? It depends. It can involve your iris scan. It can involve your fingerprint. It can involve some very complicated password, but only one of them. And then the server will fill out everything else for you. Of course similar features are provided also by many, many browsers. However, the security of your browser will be at the level of the security of your computer. So don’t read too much into that.

Skip to 5 minutes and 48 seconds But on organisational level, if you have a password server, that can work really, really securely.


More and more people have strong feelings about personalising their devices. A few years ago, when you mentioned the word personalisation to a layperson, they would think about a colour scheme, background picture, and not much more. Today personalisation means something different: it means that the device works for us.

It seems that this shift has been brought about by the spread of the smartphones. Since we are installing apps on our smartphones, tablets and wearables, we have got used to having our own set of functionalities. This links to the concept of co-creation from the previous week and to the concept of design as I introduce it next week.

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University of Strathclyde