Management Information Systems (MIS) secondo GFAR: gestione integrata delle informazioni su organizzazioni, progetti ed esperti

Nell'ambito del cammino verso una maggiore coerenza nei sistemi informativi in agricoltura e in coordinazione con la Content Management Taskforce istituita dalla prima Expert Consultation on International Information Systems for Agricultural Science and Technology (Roma, 2005), il GFAR, in collaborazione con altre organizzazioni partner, in particolare la FAO e Wageningen International, sta dedicando la sua attenzione ad attività e progetti che mirano a creare sistemi informativi integrati sul management (Management Information Systems (MIS)) in agricoltura.
Tali Management Information Systems (MIS) dovrebbero gestire in maniera integrata e rendere disponibili informazioni su tutti quei "soggetti" coinvolti nella gestione di attività e progetti nell'ambito della ricerca agricola per lo sviluppo (ARD): organizzazioni, esperti, progetti e risultati dei progetti. Negli ultimi anni è emersa chiaramente l'esigenza per servizi informativi comprensivi e strutturati di questo tipo.

Why building integrated MIS
- Integrated MIS allow to share information, expertise, skills and technologies among Institutes, countries and regions. This is what GFAR was created for.
- Coherently integrating MIS brings economy of scale in ARD. In order to achieve this, partnerships can be built.
- Coherence and coordination help avoiding duplication of information and duplication of work, which mean waste of time, funds and professional skills.

The present situation
Information on organizations, experts and projects in ARD is now managed by many different information services (e.g. CARIS, WISARD, Infosys, DFID, AROW, the Regional Agricultural Information Systems) but only in a very few cases do these systems share data among them and in no case do they coherently integrate data. This translates into two major difficulties: - on the part of the information services and the data owners: maintenance is costly (and not cost-effective, since many similar datasets are maintained and updated by different services); - on the part of the users: similar information is available from several sources, none of which is comprehensive and all of which differ in: subject coverage, type coverage, up-to-date status, quantity and quality of information; selecting only one source is limiting and no cross-searches are possible.

What needs to be done
Initiatives should be promoted in order to implement coherence and integration. More in detail, this means:

Distributed management for easier maintenance and greater reliability
Data are most easily managed (stored, updated and made accessible) where they were originally created and where they will be presumably kept updated for answering strong local needs, usually at the “lowest” level possible, be it geographically or subject-wise. Given the present situation, in which many databases already exist that were created with a broad coverage and without leveraging on existing (local and specialised) databases, taking steps towards a distributed architecture means implementing data exchange procedures between these broad databases and the sources of their data (national / organizational databases that manage the same data and can guarantee their maintenance), possibly transforming these broad-coverage databases into information services leveraging on distributed and reliable sources.

Agreement on standards and technologies for easier interoperability
Powerful information services that give access to distributed information are easily built if all the available data sources manage data in the same way. This is why the ARD community should agree on standards and common procedures in data management and exchange. Some standards already exist for facilitating information exchange and service interoperability in the agricultural field. The Agricultural Information Management Standards website managed by FAO ( aims at coordinating and harmonizing "the decentralized efforts currently taking place in the development of methodologies, standards and applications for management of agricultural information systems".

The Global Forum on Agricultural Research, as an organism that facilitates communication and information exchange between the various actors of the ARD community, intends to promote and coordinate activities and projects that can contribute to building coherent and integrated information systems.

EGFAR in particular, which was conceived as "a tool to fulfil the need for a communication platform to exchange experiences, information and knowledge among all stakeholders involved in ARD", will feature all the relevant proposals related to MIS (standards, tools, guidelines, tutorials) and will implement pilot projects and participate in existing projects aiming at improving coherence in information services. Updated information will be always available on our ICM page and on the "Coherence in AIS" section on the EGFAR Open Site.

Gestione informazione
© 2007 - 2020 Valeria Pesce
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