SYSTEMS INTEGRATION AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT,Zaitun Abu Bakar,Noriati Baharum,Mashkuri Yaacob

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This paper is based on a survey carried out in the Malaysian public sector and a prototype system developed to assist in project management. The paper starts with a definition of Systems Integration and this is followed by a description of its current status in the Malaysian public sector. Focus is then drawn to the Project Monitoring System (SETIA), which is an information system used to monitor the progress of all government-sponsored projects implemented by ministries and agencies. This is followed by a discussion on how systems integration techniques can be used to eliminate some of the obstacles faced. A prototype system embodying the proposed solution was then developed and tested. Based on the feedback obtained from the use of the prototype system, a conclusion is drawn on the appropriateness of the systems integration technique in the area of project management. In this aspect, availability of data to the people in the public sector as well as the business at large is most vital. Information has to be available whenever or wherever it is needed. We cannot afford to have islands of information sources that are scattered throughout the establishments, which are difficult to access. Bridging these information pools will enable the public servants ease of access to information rather than spending time gathering data from different sources. The public will also be spared from the hassle of running around different departments when their services are required. Decades ago, computers were used to serve specific functions. These standalone units began to accumulate data to serve the individual departments. Little information passed beyond the organizational boundary. As we move towards the information age, cross-boundary information needs become more important to provide organizations with the leading edge. The need for systems integration started to come into focus. Systems integration in the public sector context is not a new phenomenon in Malaysia. The Government's move towards becoming an electronic government is a clear target for systems integration. Providing hard infrastructure to link existing systems in a network, and making it accessible to all, is hardly sufficient. Systems integration has to be thought of not just in terms of making separate components of a technology base work together, but also in terms of joining business services into a harmonized environment. To those who are involved in IT, systems integration has been one of the hottest buzzwords in the past years. Researchers and practitioners differ in their definition of Systems Integration; but, everyone agrees that Systems Integration is difficult and complicated, yet, not impossible. Integration is simply defined in a dictionary as make whole or complete by bringing together parts. System integration means different things to different category of people. Khun (1990) in (2) defines Systems Integration as the practice of joining the functions of a set of
Published in 2001.
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