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Information technology, computing power, and communication capabilities should continue to improve at a rapid pace. As the technology for building and operating IOISs advances, an increase should be seen in the variety and number of virtual organizations. This means that opportunities to participate in different partner- ships should be plentiful, and technical and economic reasons for avoiding IOISs may be moot in the near future. As the use of Web technology continues its onslaught into our everyday lives, virtual organizations may become a more dominant unit of analysis for research than the brick-and-mortar establishments we are so familiar with today.
The predicted frequency of inter-organizational partnerships will place greater demands on IOISs. As the enterprise system has done for the firm, an IOIS will need to provide management across different organizations with the information and decision support tools to manage the virtual enterprise. Current IOISs provide system connectivity but are limited in terms of management support tools. The IOISs face unique decision support difficulties in comparison to enterprise systems. For instance, inter-organizational information required for planning and decision making may be withheld by the business partner. Also, group decision support systems must assist managers from different organizations who have different perspectives. In addition, the need for intelligent agents in B2B e-commerce will most likely increase. Other benefits may be realized by expanding analysis tools for IOISs. For example, there may be difficulty in performing meaningful trend analysis, through data mining, of virtual organizations that are in existence for a short period of time and have limited historical information. Additionally, researchers may focus on effective decision-making models for IOIS environments. Little work has been done on evaluating the suitability of joining into a virtual organization and the extent of the risks incurred as a member of a virtual organization.
Improvements to the supply chain through the use of IOISs have come primarily from reducing costs and generating shorter cycle times. In the future, there will be smaller, if any, gains obtained in these areas. Future opportunities will likely focus on improving quality and providing value-added services through virtual organizations. Scientific models to evaluate quality improvement in virtual organizations and to optimize the use of value-added services are warranted.
Finally, the IOIS is expected to impact financial reporting through more timely and detailed information provided by XBRL. This will enable stakeholders in the financial community to perform analysis based on their aggregation of the financial data. Research will need to be performed to determine whether the availability of this timely and detailed data assists the financial community in reducing the occurrence of financial fraud that has rocked the U.S. financial markets.
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