help improve their productivity and customer service while lowering costs and inventory levels. The inherent appeal of ERP has not gone unnoticed in the business curriculum either. Several business schools (Babson College, Louisiana State University, University of Idaho, University of California at Chico, University of North Carolina, and Grand Valley State University, among others) have made systematic changes across their business curriculums to ensure that they graduate students with an integrated understanding of business processes and ERP systems. These schools have mirrored the approach followed by companies in various industries by abandoning the traditional vertical, functional organizational structure in favor of a more horizontal, cross-functional structure (Bailey, Chow, & Haddad, 1999; Gwin & Gwin, 2000; Johnson, Lorents, Morga, & Ozmun, 2004; Ryan & Luthy, 2000; Stover et al., 1997).
Recognizing the integrative and multidimensional nature of ERP systems and the value it adds to the business curriculum, researchers have started to extensively examine ERP implementations in business schools all across the world. For example, several studies have examined and illustrated the implementation of ERP across a varying number of business classes and disciplines in the undergraduate and graduate curriculum (Becerra-Fernandez, Murphy, & Simon, 2000; Cannon, Klein, Koste, & Magal, 2004; Corbitt & Mensching, 2000; Hawking, Shackleton, & Ramp, 1999; Ongkasuwan, 1999; Peslak, 2005; Quinton, 1999; Stewart & Rosemann, 2001; Wagner, Najdawi, & Otto, 2000). Figure 1 provides a summary of the ERP literature pertaining to the business curriculum.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Business Process: A collection of related activities that produce something of value to the organization, its stakeholders, or its customers. Software that reproduces these business processes, therefore, can be both internal (ERP system) as well as external (e-commerce software).
SAP R/3: The world’s most-used standard business software for client/server computing. It is based on various hardware and software architectures, running on most types of UNIX, on Windows NT and OS/400.
SAP: The largest business application and ERP solution software provider in the world in terms of revenue.
Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP): A software application that integrates (or attempts to integrate) all data and processes of an organization into a single unified system. A key ingredient of most ERP systems is the use of a single, centralized database to store data for the various system modules.
Virtual Classroom: An electronic classroom where instruction involves the synchronous or asynchronous use of electronic learning tools such as video-conferencing, online classrooms, whiteboards, chat rooms, document cameras, and so forth.
Core Curriculum: A set of courses that are deemed necessary and usually made mandatory for all students of a school or school system.