A Discussion of Internet Configuration Systems

Jorg Rahmer, Andreas Bohm, Heinz-Jurgen Muller, Stefan Ueliner

During the last years sales support is getting increasing demand in Deutsche Telekom. This discussion is enhanced in conjunction with eCommerce. Since product configuration is an essential process in eCommerce systems it is straight forward to evaluate configuration systems for this pu~ose. We also evaluated our own prototypical implementations of a configuration system, the KIKon-System, for the usage as an internet configuration tool in an eCommerce-environment. Interestingly, we had to learn that our approach was not adequate. Simply because the level of support was to complex for the regarded end user. A much more simpler form of configuration, for example selection-based configuration, would be more adequate. In order to develop a sales support system, choosing the adequate level of support by the configuration system is a crucial factor for the success of the system. To identify the adequate level of support, we have developed a framework based on a classification of configuration. This framework is presented in the next section. To evaluate this framework we have carried out an evaluation of configuration systems available on the web and mapped them to our framework. This mapping is presented in the fourth section. The paper concludes with a short discussion.

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