Assessing Workflow Ability of ERP and WfM Systems for Implementing Business Processes

Assessing Workflow Ability of ERP and WfM Systems for Implementing Business Processes

Lerina Aversano (University of Sannio, Italy) and Maria Tortorella (University of Sannio, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0155-0.ch007
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Automation of a business process can be obtained by using a workflow management system or ERP system embedding workflow functionalities. The wider diffusion of ERP systems tends to favor the latter solution. There are several practical limitations of most ERP systems when automating business processes. To date, there is a lack of empirical studies aiming at achieving an evidence of these limitations. This chapter reports a study assessing the “workflow ability” of ERP systems and comparing this with that of Workflow Management Systems. Then, an empirical study was conducted regarding two different case studies. The correctness and completeness of the process models implemented using ERP and WfM systems were evaluated and analyzed.
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Workflow Management System is a technology mainly focused on the automation of business processes. It is widely adopted for supporting production activities of people in enterprises (Hollingsworth, 1995; Fischer, 2002). By contrast, ERP systems mainly address the need of having an integrated database that serves different functional modules supporting specific tasks of the enterprises. In the literature, there are several definitions of ERP systems (Sarmand, Marinos, & Rashid, 2004; Hossain, Patrick, & Rashid, 2002; Davenport, 1998).

ERP systems overcome the data separation of multiple functional applications by allowing individual modules to share the same data. Moreover, most of them contain functionality for modeling, deploying and managing workflows. The ERP “embedded” Workflow System is a module which is a part of the core ERP architecture.

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