The Knowledge Share Web Service - XML

Flex Automobiles, Inc. is a leading car manufacturing company in the U.S. Since 1933, when the company was established, it has grown into a multi-billion dollar company. The company manufactures 12 different models of cars, ranging from economy cars to luxury cars.In addition, the portal allows customers to book a car and avail the facilities for servicing their car.

Flex Automobiles, Inc. has a huge clientele, and more than 50,000 employees working in different branches spread across the U.S. The employees of the company work for different departments, such as finance, sales, production, human resources, customer services, and so on.

Flex Automobiles, Inc. provides several benefits and services to its customers. As a result, the company has a multitude of satisfied customers. Because of its services, the organization has gained many new customers and increased its revenue. The organization wants to concentrate on its employees as well. It has already taken a number of steps in this direction, such as providing yearly bonuses and other allowances for leave, travel, conveyance, and medical care. The company also wants to increase its employees' knowledge and skills.

The employees of Flex Automobiles, Inc. have competencies in several areas. Some employees have expertise in client communication, whereas others are good at handling accounts. The organization now wants all its employees to increase their skill set by gaining knowledge of the fields other than in which they are working. For example, employees who are working in the production department of the organization should also be able to communicate with the client. In addition, the employees should be able to increase their 255 interpersonal skills by interacting with employees in the sales and marketing department of the organization.

To achieve these goals, Flex Automobiles, Inc. posted several presentations and tutorials that the employees, who are experts in an area, created on the intranet site. The organization now wants to set up a forum on its intranet site that allows its employees to post a query on any subject, including finance, management, interpersonal skills, investing, and so on. This forum will enable experts in specific areas to answer queries of employees, thereby enabling them to increase knowledge on various subjects. It is an excellent initiative taken by the organization that aims to increase communication and sharing among itsemployees.

To help you understand the advantages of this knowledge-sharing initiative, we will first discuss how Flex Automobiles, Inc. plans to work it out. The following list discusses the working of the knowledge-sharing initiative:

  1. An employee who is working on any platform and on any application can post a query on the site. At present, different departments of the organization work on different platforms. Therefore, employees can send a query from applications created on various platforms. In addition, they can send a query from Web-based or desktop applications.
  2. When an employee posts a query, the query is assigned a unique ID and stored in a database.
  3. The queries in the database are divided into categories. This query is then forwarded to the expert of the category. The experts are selected based on their knowledge and experience in their specific fields.
  4. The expert returns a reply to the query.
  5. The employee who posts a query receives a response and, if need be, can seek further information. In addition, the employee can rate the answer, view a list of queries that other employees posted, view all queries based on categories, search for a query by its query ID, and so on.

All this reads like a common Web services scenario in which a client sends a query from an application called the client application. The receiving application using Web services to access data from a database that stores queries answers the query. As a result, the organization decides to create a Web service for this scenario. The decision to create a Web service is based on the fact that employees of the organization send queries from different client applications running on different platforms.

To create the Web service, Allen Lee, a senior project manager at Flex Automobile, Inc. has appointed a team of two developers, Ed Young and Ronald Billing. Ed Young will create the Web service, and Ronald Billing will create a sample application to test the Web service. The team has named this project Kshare.

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