Improving cost to performance ratios, advances in communications technology, operating systems, and data management software, are making distributed information processing a viable alternative when organizations consider their information processing needs. The successful introduction of information technology into a firm to support business objectives is presented in this Project Report as primarily an exercise in the management of change. The objectives of businesses, of management, and of individuals which are amenable to support by distributed information processing are examined. The many issues which are likely to arise by the changes this implies in the way the organization functions and the way an individual approaches his or her job are analyzed.
Distributed information processing is, in many respects, at the forefront of information technology research and development, many of the technical problems being presently investigated in laboratories around the world. Concurrently, there is much activity in standards organizations to produce agreed reference models within which products will be developed by computer companies. This is in response to market demand which recognizes the heterogeneity of information systems, specialized to meet specific requirements, but still having the capability of sharing data and providing a corporate-wide view of information. Also examined, are the implications for organizations of the latest developments in distributed information technology, and examples are provided of how currently available products satisfy the needs of the market.
The strategies developed in the report for distributed information processing recognize that distribution is itself a major strategy for meeting business objectives; but having decided to implement a distributed approach, an organization must then formulate an implementation plan which develops management talent and increases the skills of individuals, selects appropriate technology which will develop and grow as technical advances advantageous to the organization's business become available, and recognizes the changing roles of those that provide and support information services and their relationship with the rest of the organization.
Material for this report has been obtained by examining relevant published documents, interviews with computer suppliers and examination of their product information, and interviews with organizations who have implemented or have operations which could be served by distributed information systems.