It’s the 21st Century, Do You Know Where Your Information Is?
A discussion on the shift from information processing to information movement.
By David Hough, PE, CPE
Director of Supply Chain Management
PSC Group, LLC
Author’s note: This is the third update to this white paper since it was first published in the mid 1990’s. Although the terminology has changed, the basic concepts have stood the test of time – they remain essentially the same.
The title may not be grammatically correct, but the message is clear. We are leaving the era of data processing where information just supports the business, and moving to the age where information is becoming the business. The signs are all there. Amazon.com, Dell, Fedex, Google, and UPS, are but a few of the names, new and old, where information and the Internet are making them the new market leaders. ERP vendors, who were king of the hill in the 1990’s, are trying to stay in the ball game with Internet enablement and other information management tools while they can redesign their systems. Business Intelligence, Web Services, Portals, and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) have become the buzz words of the day.
The list goes on, which is why senior executives are putting off implementing “information technology (IT) for technology’s sake” until they can fully understand the new relationship between information technology and business value. They are learning that their success in the future is not going to be based on the limited information that just supports the business, but on gathering all of the information possible that is needed to run the business. This is a major change in how we think about information, its usefulness and its vulnerabilities. It is, perhaps, the most significant change in the way we will use information to run our businesses since the introduction of the computer itself.
To be successful in the new millennium, businesses will have to become more agile, flexible, and dynamic than ever. A business will have to shed its stand-alone identity. It can no longer be the ‘center of its own universe’. It must become part of a much larger community that extends around the world. It must learn how to increase the level of cooperation with its customers and suppliers by sharing the information that is needed to make everyone successful. It will have to respond to supply chain initiatives such as lean manufacturing and inventory reduction. And the list goes on…
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