A proliferation of optical products has resulted from the need to find a replacement for microfilm for storing images, to improve mass data storage technologies and to gain control over the distribution of commercial databases. Developers of CD‐ROM products need to follow a strategy that includes the following principles: (1) Focus on innovation rather than the technology; (2) Determine customers' needs; (3) Become expert in the available technologies; (4) Make a commitment to excellence; (5) Prepare a strategic plan; (6) Get a head‐start on the competition. Companies that have already been successful in CD‐ROM product development include R.R. Bowker, Disclosure and General Motors. The chances for success are greater for companies that can introduce new products and services frequently. Several companies have developed families of CD‐ROMs with a common interface, giving multiple users access to the information at the same time.
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