Are Pharma IT Departments Clueless on What Manufacturing and R&D Need?

Pharma IT departments are staffed by some exceptionally smart people.  But do all of them really know what their end users need? An article on Napp Pharmaceutical made me wonder.  The company has reportedly "rethought" its IT infrastructure, for the second time.  In twelve years, Napp has apparently moved from from an old Honeywell system, to a "best of breed" blend of Oracle, i2 Rhythm, and Consilium MES, and is now moving back to a large, integrated platform: Oracle's e-Business suite, according the article, "Napp Pharmaceutical Ousts Best-of-Breed" ----only a software magazine could get away with a headline like that---in Manufacturing Computer Solutions' July/August issue. (To download the U.K. journal's article, click here). The article makes the point that "monolithic IT" is making a comeback, and triumphing over mix and match or "best of breed." (Now there's a word that  I wish someone would eliminate from the English language entirely). But the article singles out problems with previous systems, mentioning "database synchronization" pointedly. When these issues come out, do they indicate a problem with the software, or with the IT staff, who, perhaps, couldn't figure out how to link the different software platforms and, perhaps, didn't understand what the manufacturing folks really needed in the first place, when they set out implementing the IT? Data synchronization problems seem to be a common theme for many drug manufacturers.  Could they also be the reason why so many companies fail to achieve all they can from operational excellence and PAT programs? Could IT and manufacturing be brought closer together, to ensure that the right IT is selected, the first time?  Do you have any horror stories (or anecdotes of the opposite sort) to tell? -AMS