By Daniel R. Matlis
My friends at MRO sent me an interesting whitepaper to review entitled “Understanding the Real Risk for Asset Intensive Industries”. In this Paper they make an excellent case for a Rational Suite of applications instead of a single monolithic system to run the enterprise.
I started thinking, we want our clothes to be a good fit, why not our software applications?
How did we end up with one size fits all software?
In the Late 80’s computers began to appear on desktops in offices, labs and shop floors in Life-Sciences companies. Pretty soon servers had hatched under every department manager’s desk. These stand alone department servers run homegrown applications often developed in programs like Lotus123, FoxPro and Paradox. These applications were not always validated, and over time some grew to run entire departments. In the mid 90s Life-Science companies and the Regulators realized the extent of computerization in the industry. MIS departments were directed to take control over the IT infrastructure and bring order to the digital chaos.
The result was often the implementations of monolithic systems like MRP and LIMS. Although I believe that enterprise applications play a key role in today’s Life-Sciences Companies, experience has shown that “one size does NOT fit all”.
With the advent of Service Oriented Architectures and Web Services (what IBM used to call the universal business adaptor), it is now possible to seamlessly integrate best of breed applications that fit your business needs without increasing the total cost of ownership.
I’ll take those shoes in a 9 please. What’s your size?