Future Directions in Integrated Information Systems: Is There a Strategic Advantage?
Major advances in hardware, software, and connectivity of devices during the past decade are making new approaches to information management feasible. Although current software and hardware can meet specific information needs, generalised integrated solutions are not yet available. A number of companies have had the capability of merging chemical and biological data for years. In addition, software is available that permits text and graphics to be merged in a single document. In fact, most specific information needs can be met today by building specialised bridges between existing databases. However, problems of redundancy, incompatible systems, paucity of standards, numerous user interfaces and closed architectures argue that better solutions must be found. An immediate option is to use a windowing approach that facilitates the movement of information from one system to another. While this provides excellent functionality to the computer expert, it does not meet the broad based needs of most scientific and management staff. The increasingly competitive environment of the pharmaceutical industry mandates that information be readily available for effective decision making at all levels within the corporation. In response to this need, future information systems will utilise a common interface and hence one set of commands for accessing numerous databases. Software will adopt an open architecture so that only one graphics editor, one text editor, etc., will be required. The system will be capable of handling numerous different data types including text, chemical structures, spectra, graphs, restriction maps, among others. Moreover, even when integrated in a report, the data types will maintain their integrity; hence, when the report is distributed electronically, the underlying data can stay associated with it. And, finally, future information systems will exist in a multivendor, distributed environment. The driving force for these changes is the need to improve the productivity of research. Moreover, the emphasis reflects the fact that information is now a crucial component of strategic management.
KeywordsOpen Architecture Integrate Information System Computerise Information System Numerous User Interface Optimal Flexibility
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