Islands of automation

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Islands of automation was a popular term used largely during the 1980s to describe how rapidly developing automation systems were at first unable to communicate easily with each other. Industrial communication protocols, network technologies, and system integration helped to improve this situation. Just a few of the many examples of helping technologies are Modbus, Fieldbus, Ethernet, etc.

The term is now more appropriate to information technology, where Enterprise application integration looks to solve the problem of islands of automation in the IT field, where the spaghetti network failed.

Davenport (1998) argued that islands of automation create indirect costs for firms with fragmented systems.That is, "if a company's system is fragmented, its business is fragmented". What is more, islands of automation leads to a decrease of productivity, efficiency and customer responsiveness. ERP systems provide solution to this problem.