Research profile | Merging business and technology


We live in a knowledge economy, and Professor Yair Wand’s research into how business and technology work together could have a dramatic impact on how we access, store and retrieve information and knowledge, within a business and educational context.

Yair Wand

Knowledge is an extremely valuable asset in the business world. However, due to the highly unstructured nature of knowledge, it has been historically difficult to capture and manage within information systems.

Wand is working on a number of research projects that focus on issues related to information systems analysis and design. In particular, he is interested in modelling businesses to better understand the need for information technology, organizing information to the benefit of users, and structuring knowledge so it can be managed with the use of technology.

“System analysis is the process of helping organizations identify business requirements and translate them into the requirements for the technology,” notes Wand. “Systems design is focused on creating technology that achieves the requirements set out in the analysis.”

Wand believes this merging of business and technology is at the core of his discipline. In order to understand how to successfully blend the two areas, his work primarily focuses on conceptual modelling methods. Conceptual models are intended to capture how organizations do their work and often employ graphic symbols to depict business facts. These models can describe processes or steps involved in specific business transactions.

For example, when processing consumer orders within a specific business, a model is developed to analyze the types of interactions that take place (eg transactions between a buyer and seller) and the results of these interactions. Changes in the procedures used to process these orders are also examined. The use of models allows a business owner to develop more efficient systems and along the way make informed decisions as to what technology is most beneficial.

Within the context of designing information systems, Wand is currently expending considerable effort on work related to information classification and organization. His prior experience suggests that, more often than not, information is arranged according to technological considerations and historical applications rather than by actual current needs of the users of the information. Information can be difficult to find, manipulate and restructure using traditional data organization methods.

Thus, he advocates the development of an approach that allows for multiple and flexible classifications to organize information and manage knowledge.

Wand’s research is of vital importance as we acquire new information, including knowledge, at lightning speed. Our ability to store this information and access it when needed is of paramount importance if we are to use it to understand our businesses, build on our successes, and learn from our mistakes.

Learn more about Professor Wand and his research.