It will cause pain and cost millions but global companies have to standardise in the interests of efficiency and competitiveness, says Di Palframan.
Two months ago, General Motors bought 15,000 copies of a single software package for installation across its European sites. Eventually the company may standardise on the package worldwide, gradually replacing similar products purchased from a variety of software developers. The auto maker has recognised the need for a more consistent information technology strategy. It is not alone. The move to rationalise software use, not just locally but globally, has begun.
Unilever, ICI, Fisons Scientific Equipment and Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG) are a few of the companies that, along with General Motors, are now working on worldwide information technology strategies. The process is painful and time-consuming. All of these companies have computers and application software in abundance, massive databases of information and many thousands of contented computer users. The changes they are now proposing are on a scale not seen before in the information technology industry.