"An enterprise system has the Herculean task of seamlessly supporting and integrating a full range of business processes by uniting functional islands and making their data visible across the organization in real time" (Strong & Volkoff, 2004, p. 22).
For the last decades, it is being recognized that that enterprise computer-based solutions no longer consist of isolated or dispersedly developed and implemented MRP solutions, electronic commerce solutions, ERP solutions and other, transposing the functional islands to the so-called ‘islands of information’. Solutions must be integrated, built on a single system, supported by a common information infrastructure central to the organization, ensuring that information can be shared across all functional levels and management, so that it lets users instantly see data entered anywhere in the system and, simultaneously, seamlessly allow the integration and coordination of the enterprise business processes.
The topic of Enterprise Information Systems (EIS) is gaining an increasingly relevant strategic impact on global business and the world economy, and organizations are undergoing hard investments (in cost and effort) in search of the rewarding benefits of efficiency and effectiveness that this range of solutions promise. But as we all know this is not an easy task! It is not only a matter of financial investment! It is much more, as the book will show. EIS are responsibly by tremendous gains or even result in tremendous losses.
Responsiveness, flexibility, agility and business alignment are requirements of competitiveness that enterprises search for. And we hope that the models, solutions, tools and case studies presented and discussed in this book can contribute to highlight new ways to identify opportunities and overtake trends and challenges of EIS selection, adoption and exploitation.
This book is a compilation of 25 contributions to the discussion of the main issues, challenges, opportunities and developments related with Enterprise Information Systems from the social, managerial and organizational perspectives, in a very comprehensive way, and to the dissemination of current achievements and practical solutions and applications.
These 25 chapters are written by a group of 54 authors that includes many internationally renowned and experienced authors in the EIS field and a set of younger authors, showing a promising potential for research and development. Contributions came from USA, Latin America, several countries of Eastern and Western Europe and Asia. At the same time, the book integrates contributions from academe, research institutions and industry, representing a good and comprehensive representation of the state-of-the-art approaches and developments that address the several dimensions of this fast evolutionary thematic.
Section IV: Critical Success Factors and Case Studies describes and discusses motivations, trends, cases studies, successful cases of EIS implementation and exploitation.
Models, applications and solutions
The first section, Models, Applications and Solutions includes ten chapters summarized below.
In chapter one, Enterprise Systems Approach, Targowski defines The Enterprise System Approach by its evolution and major milestones of architectural planning. The ES architectures are multi-faceted solutions, hence it is defined in the scope of the Enterprise Organization Architecture (EOA), Enterprise Functional Architecture (EFA), Enterprise Processive Architecture (EPA), Enterprise Information Architecture (EIA), Enterprise Software Architecture (ESA), Enterprise Network Architecture (ENA), Enterprise Service Architecture (ESA), Business Component Architecture (BCA), Enterprise Information Infrastructure (EII), and Enterprise Configurations. A composite ES architecture is presented as a transitional architecture, which is currently practiced by most enterprises. The near future of the ES approach will be rather limited to the ways of delivering ES’ applications within a framework of Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and the cloud computing, which satisfies effective large-scale operations. The progressive process of organization/business virtualization and the urgent need for more sustainable enterprise development should lead to new development of enterprise systems.
In the second chapter,Modeling Software Development Processes, Chroust, Kuhrmann and Schoitsch discuss the WHY and WHAT of modelling a software development process: What are the components of a software process and propose a 5-dimensional grid of attributes of existing models: strategy and path, levels, main subprocesses, components and aura. Specific proces models, currently used or historically important, are described. This is followed by an extensive discussion of methods and problems of modelling a software process, followed by a shorter discussion on the enactment of process models via Software Engineering Environments. The chapter close with a discussion of the human factors of introducing and enacting a process model.
Giorgio Bruno, in chapter three, People-oriented Enterprise Information Systems states that current notations and languages do not emphasize the participation of users in business processes and consider them essentially as service providers. Moreover, they follow a centralized approach as all the interactions originate from or end in a business process; direct interactions between users cannot be represented. What is missing from this approach is that human work is cooperative and cooperation takes place through structured interactions called conversations; the notion of conversation is at the center of the language/action perspective. However, the problem of effectively integrating conversations and business processes is still open and this chapter proposes a notation called POBPN (People-Oriented Business Process Notation) and a perspective, referred to as conversation-oriented perspective, for its solution.
In Doing business on the globalised networked economy: Technology and business challenges for accounting information systems, the fourth chapter, Koumpis and Protogeros present a set of challenges that are to be faced by Accounting Information Systems. More specifically, these include the support of interoperable accounting processes, for virtual and networked enterprises and for open-book accounting as well as the creation of novel interface metaphors that will automate and increase the usability of accounting information systems, and last but not least the provision of integrated e-accounting platforms.
Chapter five, Recent Developments in Supplier Selection and Order Allocation Process, by Aktar and Ustun, state that the purchasing department can play a key role in cost reduction, and hence supplier selection and order allocation are the most important functions of purchasing management. In view of its complexity, the chapter is focused especially on the final selection stage that consists of determining the best mixture of suppliers and allocating orders among them so as to satisfy different purchasing requirements. In recent years, many researchers used new integrated models for supplier selection and order allocation. They combine multi-criteria approaches such as AHP/ANP and linear programming (LP), mixed integer programming (MIP), non-linear programming (NLP), mixed integer non-linear programming (MINLP) and goal programming (GP) with different achievement scalarizing functions. In this chapter, after the stages of supplier selection process are explained, these new integrated models are introduced and their constraints, variables, and goals/objectives of these models are explained in detail. Then the solution methods of these integrated models are given. Finally, different integrated models are compared by considering their advantages and disadvantages.
In chapter six, Complex information technology-intensive firms - A new paradigmatic firm-theoretical imperative! (Or a pragmatically impractical interpretation of the nature of the virtualized firm?), Jelen and Kolakovic show how profoundly the design elements of firms have been affected by the current version of IT and propose elements of a framework that resiliently accommodates such effects. This framework can guide the practitioner designer for further refinements in the conception of CITI firms. The discoveries and framework elements are the result of our grounded theory methodology study in which executives, professionals, practitioners, entrepreneurs, and high-level decision-makers from a variety of firms participated.
In chapter seven, A methodology for the auditing of technological knowledge management, Aris and Ayuso present a methodology for auditing Technological Knowledge Management that allows the proposed solution to be aligned with the competitive strategy of organisations, as well as with their processes, key competences, and the associated knowledge resources. That enables the solution to be technologically oriented and to be applied to different types of business, from SOHO and SME to large companies. Firstly, the authors present their view regarding Knowledge Management, which is a technological perspective; specify the context of application and objectives. Secondly, they analyse the characteristics of knowledge as the object to be managed and we will identify, analyse and criticise the most relevant Knowledge Management approaches, models and methodologies related to their objectives, then outlining the requirements that Technological Knowledge Management must meet. Thirdly, they present the components of the model on which the methodology is based, and describe its stages and tasks. Then they analyse the advantages of the model and methodology regarding other proposals.
In chapter eight, e-CRM and CMS systems: potential for more dynamic businesses, according to Fernandes, any change in customer’s behaviour affects the customer’s value. In addition, profitability and economic viability also change. Most companies still do not know entirely their customer base characteristics. They find difficult to define criteria that segment their customer base to find high-value customers. They need to focus on target selections to carry on with marketing campaigns which involve high investments. Given the potential of e-CRM and CMS as powerful tools to guide customer-oriented understanding and analysis, greater attention is required. Several companies, operating within the same business and having access to the same information and technology, differ in e-CRM performance. Without sufficient evidence, managers are prone to making investment decisions that are neither efficient nor effective. So it is imperative to base the decision of e-CRM and CMS adoption, on not only their analytical power, but also on economic viability criteria for sustainable business dynamics.
According to Lima in chapter nine, Integrating Production Planning and Control Business Processes, organizations have production planning and control (PPC) processes supported by systems that execute, mainly, repetitive calculations. Based on these calculation results, decisions are taken by production managers. These decision processes make the connection between different levels of aggregation of information and could benefit from the increment of the level of automation. An increased level of application of business process modelling languages is proposed in order to contribute to increment the level of process automation and the detail of business analysis. Thus being, concepts of integration of production management processes, specifically of production planning and control processes are presented. These concepts, the application of Business Process Modelling Language (BPML) and some solutions of PPC integration compose the core content of this work. Additionally, criteria for evaluation of these processes of integration are identified and discussed. Finally, it is presented an industrial case supported by BPML model.
Finally, in chapter ten, Environments for Virtual Enterprise Integration, Cunha, Putnik and Ávila introduce the Virtual Enterprise model as an emerging approach to answer to the new requirements of the business environment, relying on dynamically reconfigurable partnerships, with extremely high performances, strongly time-oriented while highly focused on cost and quality, in permanent alignment with the market, and strongly supported by information and communication technology, dictating a paradigm shift face to the traditional organizational models. Networking and reconfiguration dynamics are main characteristic of this model, which claim for enabling and supporting environments, at bearable costs. To the authors, some existing technologies and Internet-based environments can partially support this organizational model, but the reconfiguration dynamics can only by assured by environments able to managing, controlling and enabling networking and dynamics in virtual enterprise creation/ reconfiguration. Several environments are introduced in the chapter, and particular focus is given to the Market of Resources, an environment coping with the requirements of the Virtual Enterprise model.
The second section Supporting Technologies and Tools contains five chapters.
In chapter eleven, Tool-Support for Software Development Processes, Kuhrmann, Kalus and Chroust present software development projects as complex. The more complex a project is, the higher are the requirements related to the software development process. The implementation of a process is a great challenge. This, in part, has to do with human factors (acceptance etc.) as the benefits of a formal development process might not be obvious immediately and it may take a while until the process becomes the lifeblood of a team. A crucial step towards implementing, enacting and enforcing a process is to provide tool support for the many activities the process asks for. Tool support is necessary to guarantee efficiency in the project, to do the housekeeping and to minimize the overhead of the process. This chapter describes challenges and options for supporting process models by tools. Furthermore it describes concrete samples and shows how tool chains can be created with commercial tools as well as with open source tools.
Chapter twelve, Enterprise Tomography - an efficient approach for semi-automatic localization of integration concepts in VLBAs, by Aalmink and Gómez, addresses Enterprise Tomography as an interdisciplinary approach for an efficient Application Lifecycle Management of Enterprise Platforms and Very Large Business Applications (VLBA). Enterprise Tomography semi-automatically identifies and localizes semantic integration concepts and visualizes integration ontologies in semantic genres. Especially delta determination of integration concepts is performed in dimension space and time. Enterprise Tomography supports software and data comprehension. SMEs, large scaled development organizations and maintenance organizations can benefit from this new approach. This methodology is useful for tracking database changes of business processes or coding changes within a specific domain. In this way root cause analysis is supported.
Chapter thirteen, Workflow as a tool in the development of Information Systems, by Leiva, Caro and Guevara, proposes a cooperative methodology for Information System (IS) development, focusing on the end user’s collaboration in the process, providing the training and tools required to obtain the characteristics of the processes in which he/she is involved and actively integrating the user in the IS development team. Each of the steps involved in IS development is coordinated by a Meta-CASE tool based on a Workflow Management System (WfMS). An important characteristic of the methodology is the utilization of tools that allow to realize functions of reengineering to adapt existing systems allowing to add new functionalities or modifying the already existing ones.
This methodology provides a high degree of reliability in the development of the system, creating competitive advantages for the organization by reducing times and costs in the generation of the information system (IS).
In chapter 14, Designing Open-Source OMIS Environment for Virtual Teams to Support Inter-Enterprise Collaboration Kam Hou Vat discusses that today companies large and small have taken to open source as a way to increase collaboration, reduce development costs, provide a friendly platform for their products and services. In the specific context of establishing enterprise information systems (EIS) to enable organizations (especially small and medium enterprises) to integrate and coordinate their business processes, the stakes can be high in light of maintaining a company’s competitive advantages. Whether open source will work at any company depends on both the capabilities of the company and the maturity of the open source processes and hence the software to support them. This chapter investigates the context of knowledge networks among virtual teams of professionals as the case-in-point discussion on a specific type of open source knowledge environment based on the Wiki technology, called organizational memory information system (OMIS) to support people working within and across organizational boundaries with technology. The issues of trust and shared understanding among organizations using the relevant OMIS environment is also deliberated in the discussion alongside the technology alignment and process adaptation for managing the OMIS-based collaboration among members of the knowledge networks.
And finally in the last chapter of this section, Information Systems Planning In Web 2.0 Era, A New Model Approach, José Sousa, argues that since the early development in the 90’s, organizations had been growing in a rapid way, becoming each more difficult to manage. Organization business cycle changed from 7 years in 1970-1980 to 12-18 months in the 90’s, and is even shorter in our time. This addressed the organizations world to a new and complex reality. To be able to deal with this reality, organizations set a big pressure in information access and information turn out to be the most valuable organization asset. Nevertheless, this asset, the information object, has some main characteristics like, exists in larges quantities, has many different forms, is very volatile and it also must have confidentially, integrity and availability and all this together can be very hard to manage. It is clear that the management of this information reality is only possible with the adoption of information technologies and planning that adoption and implementation is a central need in order to get the correct solution for the organization ecosystem.
And now, concerning the six chapters included in the third section Managerial and Organizational Issues.
Chapter 16, From User Participation to Stakeholder Management in Enterprise Information System Projects, by Boonstra, focuses on how managers and sponsors of enterprise information system (EIS) projects can identify and manage stakeholders engaged in the project. This chapter argues that this activity should go beyond the traditional ideas about user participation and management involvement. Also suppliers, customers, government agencies, business partners and the general public can have a clear interest in the ways that the system will be designed and implemented. This chapter proposes to apply identification, analysis and intervention techniques from organization and management disciplines in the IS field to enhance the changes for the successfulness of enterprise information system implementations. Some of these techniques are combined in a coherent method that may help implementers of complex IS projects to identify and categorize stakeholders and to consider appropriate ways of involvement during the various stages of the project.
In Industrialism: Either Patterns, Michelini and Razzolli discuss the wealth generation mechanisms of the industrialism from its intrinsic cultural start, associated with the western-world stile. The prospected remarks single out several characterising features, in opposition to the east-Asia habits and cultural marks. Among other points, noteworthy remarks lead to prise «complexity», instead of exploiting the reductionism. This is recognised as the «robot age» sign, opposed to the «industry age» patterns. The all discussion does not provide full solutions, rather suggests looking at the industrialism founding motivations (up to the cultural backing), in view to devise worthy alternatives.
As in chapter 18, Enterprise Modelling in support of Organisation Design and Change by Ajaefobi, Rahimifard and Weston, enterprises are increasingly operating under uncertain conditions arising from: governments that introduce new regulations; a market place which is shaped by ongoing change in customer requirements; change in capital markets that orient overall market directions; an advancing base of technology; and increasing competition which can arise from a growing number of sources (Monfared, 2000). Consequently, organisations are expected to change rapidly in response to emerging requirements. Classical theories and more recently ‘method-based’ organisation (re)design and change approaches have been proposed and tried with varying degrees of successes. This chapter contribution discusses the role of enterprise and simulation modelling in support of organisation (re)design and change. The capabilities and constraints of some widely acknowledged public domain enterprise modelling frameworks and methods are reviewed. A modelling approach which integrates the use of enterprise modelling, causal loop modelling, and simulation modeling is described. The approach enables the generation of coherent and semantically rich models of organisations. The integrated modelling approach has been applied and tested in a number of Manufacturing Enterprises and one case study application is described.
Chapter 19, Communication in the manufacturing industry: An empirical study of the management of engineering drawing in a shipyard, by Aslesen and Moen, is based on a case study of one shipyard’s effort to make the flow of engineering drawings feeding into its production process more reliable. To construct a ship, detailed drawings of every part of the product is an essential input. For these drawings to be reliable, they must include all relevant information, they have to follow each other in a proper line of order, and they should be released according to production milestones. In the shipyard in study, an analysis was initiated to explore the management of engineering drawing. Main findings show that the usability of ICT is limited for this purpose, and that to really make an effort in order for engineering drawings to be reliable a more basic understanding of the interpersonal communication at work in a one-off project environment is fundamental.
According to chapter 20, Preconditions for Requisite Holism of Information Bases for the Invention-Innovation Process Management, by Mulej, Potocan and Ženko, innovation belongs to main open issues of the modern business. Information for the invention-innovation process is an even more open issue, because informed guessing about the future needs of future potential customers is a best case scenario. This is especially true in SMEs with their limited human resources, but the market provides no allowances for them anyway. SMEs are 99% of all organizations in EU or Slovenia. They provide +50% of jobs and +70% of new jobs. But they can hardly survive with no or poor innovation capacity, including a requisitely holistic consideration of the entire invention-innovation-diffusion process. The information system must be adapted to this fact in order to support business quality in line with the demands of the modern rather global than local market. But the usual enterprise information systems cover better the daily routine and past performance than future and innovation issues.
In the last chapter of section three, Exploring Enterprise Information Systems, Tabatabaie, Paige and Kimble address the concept of an Enterprise Information System (EIS), that has arisen from the need to deal with the increasingly volatile requirements of modern large-scale organisations. An EIS is a platform capable of supporting and integrating a wide range of activities across an organisation. In principle, the concept is useful and applicable to any large and SMEs, international or national business organisation. However, the range of applications for EIS is growing and they are now being used to support e-government, health care, and non-profit / non-governmental organisations. This chapter reviews research and development efforts related to EIS, and as a result attempts to precisely define the boundaries for the concept of EIS, i.e., identifying what is and what is not an EIS. Based on this domain analysis, a proposal for using goal-oriented modelling techniques for building EIS is constructed; the proposal is made more concrete through illustration via an example.
In section four Critical Success Factors and Case Studies are included four chapters.
In chapter 22, Enterprise Information Systems: Two Case Studies, Tung, Marshall-Bradley, Wood et al, start at the point that Enterprise Information Systems provide a platform that enables small organizations and distant collections of organizations to better integrate and coordinate their operations. The authors provide a theory of organizations and review two case studies beginning to use EIS-type architectures that form common information infrastructures to be more responsive, flexible and agile first for a system of medical organizations and second for a small college. The system of organizations is a distributed collection of military medical department research centers (MDRC) whose mission is to train physicians how to conduct and publish research; and the small college is providing a liberal arts education (Future College). Both MDRC and Future College (pseudonyms) are reorganizing their operations. The authors also review theory for the approach, the two case studies, field evidence, computational models, and future prospects.
In chapter 23, Modern ICT technologies in business administration: The case of the DERN project for a Digital Enterprise Research Network, Koumpis and Moumtzi present the DERN project and discuss a set of complementary methodologies that have been used to promote intra-enterprise training in the area of modern business administration technologies and corporate capacity building. The major end product of the research they introduced is a Learning Assets Management system (LAM) interoperable with best breed of the following: (a) human resources management systems and Employee Performance & Talent Management Suite (b) ERP systems and accounting engines and (c) learning management systems.
As discussed in chapter 24, Motivations and Trends for IT/IS Adoption: Insights From Portuguese Companies, by Varajão, Trigo and Barroso, over the last few decades, information systems and technologies have taken on a wide variety of roles within organizations, ranging from operational support to the strategic support of the company. There have therefore been significant changes in the motives for their adoption that are vital to understand, in order to guarantee that investment is properly managed. With the purpose of identifying and characterizing the motivations currently behind the adoption of information technologies in large Portuguese companies, which systems the companies have been implementing, in which systems they intend to invest in short-term and what is the current role of information technology within the organization, we carried out a study with the participation of several chief information officers. The findings of this study reveal that the reasons for adoption and the role that information systems and technologies play is evolving in Portuguese companies and that the adoption of certain types of systems such as Enterprise Resource Planning systems is now consolidated, while the adoption of other systems like Business Intelligence systems should increase significantly in the near future.
In chapter 25, Semantic Web Based Integration of Knowledge Resources for Expertise Finding, Janev, Dudukovic and Vraneš discuss the challenges of expertise data integration and expert finding in modern organizations using an illustrative case study of a concrete research-intensive establishment, the Mihajlo Pupin Institute (MPI). The chapter presents how the latest semantic technologies (Ontologies, Web services, Semantic Wiki) could be used on the top of the commercial ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software (SAP®) and the open-source ECM (Enterprise Content Management) software (Alfresco) in order to ensure meaningful search and retrieval of expertise for in-house users as well as the integration into the Semantic Web community space. This Chapter points out the necessary adjustments in enterprise knowledge management infrastructure in the light of uprising initiatives for standardization of the Semantic Web data.
The last chapter, Elements That Can Explain the Degree of Success of ERP Systems Implementation by Carmen Heredero and Mónica Heredero, discuss that the implementation of an Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP) is a risky and high cost action, even more when we are dealing with small and medium sized enterprises. Although many studies have shown the importance of paying attention to critical success factors in ERP implementations, there is still a high degree of failures and bad experiences around ERP implementations. Most literature review has shown experiences of success and failure coming from big sized firms. But there is a lack of information of what has happened in the area of small and medium size firms, and for some economies, they are essential. The authors try to show a model containing the main elements that can better explain the degree of success and of failure in ERP implementations by providing examples mainly affecting to the circumstances of small and medium size firms. In the model the authors propose 5 main groups of variables affecting final results in ERP implementations,
The book provides researchers, scholars, professionals with some of the most advanced research, solutions and discussions of Enterprise Information Systems under the social, managerial and organizational dimensions.
This way, is expected to be read by academics (teachers, researchers and students of several graduate and postgraduate courses) and by professionals of Information Technology, IT managers, Information Resources managers, Enterprise managers (including top level managers), and also technology solutions developers.
I strongly hope it meets your expectations!
Maria Manuela Cruz-Cunha
Barcelos, February 2009