E-Government and ERP: Challenges and Strategies

E-Government and ERP: Challenges and Strategies

Gita A. Kumta (SVKM’s NMIMS University, India)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-859-8.ch025
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Abstract

The chapter introduces the essence of ERP in government as a tool for integration of government functions which provides the basis for citizen services. It discusses the challenges faced in modernization of government “businesses” and discusses strategies for implementation. The basis of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions is integration of functions which capture basic data through transactions to support critical administrative functions such as budgeting and financial management, revenue management, supply chain management and human resources management. Today, Enterprise solutions (ES) go beyond ERP to automate citizen-facing processes. The integration of data sources with each contact point is essential to ensure a consistent level of service. The author expects that researchers, governments and solution providers will be able to appreciate the underlying constraints and issues in implementation of ERP and hopes that the learning from industry would be useful to plan implementation of ES in government using emerging technologies.
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Introduction

ERP provides an enterprise-wide view of an organization and integrates various silos of activity. Such an integrated approach has a tremendous payback if implemented properly. Most ERP systems were designed to be used by manufacturing companies to track men, machines and material so as to improve productivity and reduce inventory. Viewing it from a business perspective, ERP systems are now known as Enterprise Solutions (ES) which takes a customer order and provides a software road map for automating the different steps along the path to fulfilling the order. The major reasons why companies look at ES can be summarized as:

  • Integrate financial information

  • Integrate customer order information

  • Standardize and speed up operational processes

  • Reduce inventory

  • Standardize HR information

Governments worldwide have been making efforts to use information and communications technologies (ICT) as an instrument of change to provide better services to citizens, facilitate work flow, and provide better governance and transparency. Popularly known as E-Government, the focus has initially been on information dissemination which has now moved on to transactions. What is required is a transformation of the public administration which takes a citizen service request and provides a software road map for automating the different steps along the path to fulfilling the request. This cuts across various departments and it is therefore critical to lay down suitable policies, guidelines and specifications and also redefine processes to facilitate faster proliferation of ICT applications.

E-government does not happen with more computers or a website. While online service delivery can be more efficient and less costly than other channels, cost savings and service improvements are not automatic. E-government has therefore to focus on planning, sustained allocation of budgets, dedication of manpower resources and above all, the political will. The e-government field, like most young fields, lacks a strong body of well-developed theory. One strategy for coping with theoretical immaturity is to import and adapt theories from other, more mature fields. (Flak, Rose, 2005)

Literature survey on implementations of e-governance has brought out the following observations which would help us in redefining the use of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) in the right perspective.

  • Most governments have not changed their processes in any way, and instead have automated flawed processes.

  • Government budgets and administration tends to be in departmental silos, but e-governance cuts across departments.

  • Too much attention to “citizen portals” has taken attention away from internal government functioning. There is a big gap between a web site and integrated service delivery.

  • Governments often underestimate the security, infrastructure, and scalability requirements of their applications which impact the quality of service. (Khalil, Lanvin, Chaudhry, 2002)

Learning from the experiences of the corporates, governments today understand the need for a consistent and flexible information infrastructure that can support organizational change, cost-effective service delivery and regulatory compliance. ERP is therefore needed to meet organizational objectives and outcomes by better allocating resources - its people, finances, capital, materials, and facilities. Modernization programs however involve a broad range of activities and require a wide array of skills and experiences, as these programs affect everything from computers to culture. The objective is to reduce administrative overhead and improve core product/service delivery.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Inter-Operability: Various departments organize work in silos and tend to work independently. Data forms the basis of a transaction processing system like ERP which integrates these departments so that basic data entered once can be used by many. More efficient exchanging and processing of data is required to provide a seamless execution of a service. Inter-operability therefore means the capability of different departments working together to provide a service.

Service-Oriented Architecture: Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is the emerging trend in enterprise computing because it holds promise of IT becoming more agile in responding to changing business needs. Implementing a service-oriented architecture can involve developing applications that use services, making applications available as services. A service-oriented architecture is an information technology approach or strategy in which applications make use of services available in a network such as the World Wide Web.

Enterprise Architecture: An organisation has assigned roles and responsibilities, and established plans for developing products and services. The scope of Enterprise Architecture can be defined as encompassing the whole enterprise with confirmed institutional commitment to deliver products and services, both current and planned with clear transition plans. This in fact would define the organisation structure, functions and the relationships that would facilitate the organisation to meet its desired goals. This is extremely essential for enterprise modernisation. Development of the enterprise architecture will typically involve, analysing the current architecture which will be a process of description, documenting the architecture “as-is” or “baseline” architecture, moving on to a definition of the architecture as it is planned to develop in the future - the architecture as it should be or “target” architecture which would align with the vision of the organisation.

E-Government: Government’s foremost job is to focus on safeguarding the nation / state and providing services to society as custodian of the nation’s / state’s assets. E-Government can therefore be defined as a technology-mediated process of reform in the way Governments work, share information, engage citizens and deliver services to external and internal clients for the benefit of both government and the clients that they serve.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): It is an integrated information system that integrates all departments within an enterprise. Evolving out of the manufacturing industry, ERP implies the use of packaged software rather than proprietary software. ERP modules may be able to interface with an organization’s own software with varying degrees of effort, and, depending on the software, ERP modules may be alterable via the vendor’s proprietary tools as well as proprietary or standard programming languages. An ERP system can include software for manufacturing, order entry, accounts receivable and payable, general ledger, purchasing, warehousing, transportation and human resources. The major ERP vendors are SAP and Oracle specialising in transaction processing that integrates various departments. Information infrastructure, it is the technology infrastructure required to manage information in an organisation. It consists of the computers, software, data structures and communication lines underlying critical services that society has come to depend on. It consists of information systems which cover critical aspects such as financial networks, the power grid, transportation, emergency services and government services. This is required to implement an ERP system.

Clean Data: For an organization to function effectively, data needs to be easily accessible both to customer sand internal users. Data is dispersed as governments like business organizations work in silos. To make this data accessible to others data conversion is a necessity as multiple sources and input formats, inconsistent styles and complexity of data structures. For any new system to get started it is necessary to convert the existing data from legacy systems or manual records to fit into the new data structures. This is a critical factor in ERP implementation projects. By clean data it is meant that there are no duplicates definitions of data which cause inconsistency.

Public administration: Every facet of our daily lives is impacted in some way by the actions of the federal, state, or local bureaucracies that manage and organize the public life of the country and its citizens. Public administration is the study of public entities and their relationships with each other and with the larger world. It addresses issues such as how public sector organizations are organized and managed, how public policy structures the design of government programs that we rely upon, how our states, cities, and towns work with the federal government to realize their goals and plan for their futures, how our national government creates and changes public policy programs to respond to the needs and interests of our nation.

Customization: In an attempt to deal with the potential problems presented by existing information systems, there is a shift towards the implementation of ERP packages. Generally it is felt that ERP packages are most successfully implemented when the standard model is adopted. Yet, despite this, customisation activity still occurs reportedly due to misalignment of the functionality of the package and the requirements of those in the implementing organisation. In such a situation the first thought that comes to a layman’s mind is to modify the software to provide the necessary report or layout. Most ERP products are generic. Hence, some customisation is needed to suit the company’s needs. But optimal customisation in most cases is subjective with no definite rules as end-users are not always technically equipped to understand the far-reaching implications of the changes that they are demanding. There is always a risk of destabilising the core application. Customisation can make or break the implementation of an ERP. It is therefore necessary to strike the right balance.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Preface
Jatinder N. D. Gupta, Sushil Sharma, Mohammad A. Rashid
Acknowledgment
Jatinder N. D. Gupta, Sushil Sharma, Mohammad A. Rashid
Chapter 1
Nancy Alexopoulou, Panagiotis Kanellis, Mara Nikolaidou, Drakoulis Martakos
Efficient response to change, both upon expected and unpredicted contingencies, is a critical characteristic for modern enterprises. This chapter... Sample PDF
A Holistic Approach for Enterprise Agility
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Chapter 2
Hossana H. Aberra
SAP Business Blueprint is a vital part of SAP implementation exercise. A well-defined business blueprint may set the foundation for successful... Sample PDF
What is SAP Business Blueprint?
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Chapter 3
Rogerio Atem de Carvalho
This chapter introduces the key aspects of Free/Open Source Enterprise Resources Planning systems (FOS-ERP). Starting by related work carried out by... Sample PDF
Free and Open Source Enterprise Resources Planning
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Chapter 4
Brian H. Cameron
Business process modeling (BPM) is a topic that is generating much interest in the information technology (IT) industry today. Business analysts... Sample PDF
The Changing Nature of Business Process Modeling: Implications for Enterprise Systems Integration
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Chapter 5
Alok Mishra
In the age of globalization, organizations all over the world are giving more significance to strategy and planning to get an edge in the... Sample PDF
Enterprise Resource Planning Systems: Effects and Strategic Perspectives in Organizations
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Chapter 6
Gary P. Moynihan
An executive information system (EIS) is a software system designed to support the informational needs of senior management. The EIS is... Sample PDF
An Overview of Executive Information Systems
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Chapter 7
Joseph Bradley
Enterprise Resource Planning systems have proven difficult and costly to implement. Organizations must consider the risks and rewards of embarking... Sample PDF
Enterprise Resource Planning System Risks and Rewards
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Chapter 8
Andrea Masini
After observing that the pervasiveness of IT may soon render it strategically irrelevant, management scholars have recently questioned the value of... Sample PDF
ERP-Driven Performance Changes and Process Isomorphism
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Chapter 9
Ronda R. Henning
The application software life cycle considers the functionality of a given collection of components within the context of a consumer’s requirements... Sample PDF
Application Integration within the Enterprise Context
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Chapter 10
Sanjay Mathrani, Mohammad A. Rashid, Dennis Viehland
A significant investment in resources is required for implementation of integrated enterprise systems as technology solutions while the... Sample PDF
The Impact of Enterprise Systems on Business Value
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Chapter 11
Charlotte H. Mason, Aleda V. Roth
Growing competitive pressures and escalating customer demands have led businesses to sophisticated information technology to manage costs and... Sample PDF
The Right Path to SCM-CRM Integration
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Chapter 12
Euripidis Loukis, Ioakim Sapounas, Konstantinos Aivalis
This chapter is dealing with the alignment of enterprise systems with business strategy and its impact on the business value that enterprise systems... Sample PDF
Enterprise Systems Strategic Alignment and Business Value
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Chapter 13
Sanjay Mathrani, Mohammad A. Rashid, Dennis Viehland
The market for enterprise systems (ES), continues to grow in the post millennium era as businesses become increasingly global, highly competitive... Sample PDF
Enterprise Systems in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
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Chapter 14
Kerstin Fink, Christian Ploder
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a vital and growing part of any national economy. Like most large businesses, SMEs have recognized the... Sample PDF
Integration Concept for Knowledge Processes, Methods, and Software for SMEs
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Chapter 15
Tobias Schoenherr, Ditmar Hilpert, Ashok K. Soni, M.A. Venkataramanan, Vincent A. Mabert
Although the research on integrated enterprise systems (ES) is proliferating, the knowledge base about ES implementations, usage and experiences... Sample PDF
Enterprise System in the German Manufacturing Mittelstand
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Chapter 16
Darshana Sedera
Organizations invest substantial resources in acquiring Enterprise Systems, presumably expecting positive impacts to the organization and its... Sample PDF
Size Matters! Enterprise System Success in Medium and Large Organizations
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Chapter 17
Joseph Bradley
ERP implementation projects normally involve a single vendor providing the packaged software for the entire system. Although most companies follow... Sample PDF
Implementing Best of Breed ERP Systems
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Chapter 18
Ganesh Vaidyanathan
Enterprise resource planning systems are complex yet single, integrated software programs that runs off a single database so that the various... Sample PDF
Enterprise Resource Systems Software Implementation
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Chapter 19
Calin Gurau
This chapter considers the importance of business modelling for implementing e-CRM systems. The introduction of e-business models requires the... Sample PDF
Restructuring the Marketing Information System for eCRM: An Application of the Eriksson-Penker Method
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Chapter 20
Albert Boonstra
At the present moment, many hospitals are going through a process of change directed at the integrated delivery of health care. Enterprise Systems... Sample PDF
Analyzing an ES Implementation in a Health Care Environment
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Chapter 21
S. Padmanaban
ERP systems have become key enablers of businesses today. While many organizations wish to adopt ERP for competitive advantage, they find choosing... Sample PDF
Designing to Deploying Customisable ERP Cost Effectively
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Chapter 22
Mateja Podlogar, Katalin Ternai
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ERP Systems in Higher Education from Regional Perspective
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Chapter 23
Valentin Nicolescu, Holger Wittges, Helmut Krcmar
This chapter provides an overview of past and present development in technical platforms of ERP systems and its use in enterprises. Taking into... Sample PDF
From ERP to Enterprise Service-Oriented Architecture
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Chapter 24
ERP and Beyond  (pages 329-345)
Suresh Subramoniam, Mohamed Tounsi, Shehzad Khalid Ghani, K. V. Krishnankutty
Enterprise-wide automation has already transformed the relations among suppliers, purchasers, producers, and customers. Conventional ERP helps only... Sample PDF
ERP and Beyond
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Chapter 25
Gita A. Kumta
The chapter introduces the essence of ERP in government as a tool for integration of government functions which provides the basis for citizen... Sample PDF
E-Government and ERP: Challenges and Strategies
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Chapter 26
Manish Gupta, Raj Sharman
A paradigm shift is occurring in identity management philosophy. User-focused identity management is one the emerging and most promising paradigms.... Sample PDF
Emerging Frameworks in User-Focused Identity Management
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Chapter 27
Ramón Brena, Gabriel Valerio, Jose-Luis Aguirre
From the Knowledge Management perspective, Knowledge distribution is a critical process in organizations. As many of the other Knowledge-related... Sample PDF
Next-Generation IT for Knowledge Distribution in Enterprises
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