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The Strategic Academic Enterprise: Why ERPs Will No Longer Be Adequate


Over the years, however, institutions have struggled with a variety of issues outside the scope of what a traditional erp system can manage, from effectively connecting with the community to successfully marketing the campus vision and spirit, to offering a teaching and learning experience that aligns with the institutional mission. According to the popular YouTube video, "Shift Happens," the top 10 jobs anticipated in 2010 didn't exist in 2004. According to Donald M. Norris, co-author of A Guide to Planning for Change (2008), Successful leaders use strategies to frame the need for change and to develop their organization's capacity to prosper in a changing and competitive environment....

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									forum                                                                                   Commentary

                                                          The Strategic Academic Enterprise:
                                                       why Erps will No longer Be Adequate
                                                                                                            By Mary Jones

in the 1970s and ’80s, manufacturing firms began pur-            ple generations; a shift in teaching and learning standards;
chasing centralized administrative software — “enterprise        and the ever-present yet escalating issue of affordability.
resource Planning (ERP) systems” — to support their
infrastructure needs. in the 1990s, higher education ad-         SERVIng MULTIPLE gEnERATIOnS AT THE SAME TIME
opted the term ERP to define the back-office systems             imagine an incoming freshman class that includes your 17-
used by institutions to meet their most pressing business        year old daughter, your 0-year-old brother, your mother,
needs — typically those related to financials, human re-         and your grandfather. Possible? more than ever before,
sources, and student information. over the years, however,       multiple generations are interacting with colleges and
institutions have struggled with a variety of issues outside     universities at the same time — as students and as parents.
the scope of what a traditional ERP system can manage,           and the members of each generation — Baby Boomer,
from effectively connecting with the community to suc-           generation X, and millennial — learn differently and seek
cessfully marketing the campus vision and spirit, to of-         unique services from an institution.
fering a teaching and learning experience that aligns with          in order to meet the varying needs of these emerging
the institutional mission. These issues, as well as a host of    students, parents, employees, and communities, institu-
others, have rendered the concept of ERP inadequate for          tions will need to offer several different ways for its stu-
meeting the business and academic needs of higher educa-         dents to accomplish the same task. everything will be
tion institutions.                                               affected, from enrollment, registration, curriculum, and
   Three dramatic trends are occurring in the higher edu-        housing to financial aid, safety, facilities, and more.
cation industry. individually, these trends are nothing that
institutions haven’t faced before; in fact, many institutions    who are they?
have adapted accordingly and have continued to be suc-           shaped by current events, each generation is drastically
cessful. However, these trends have converged, causing a         different from the others.
dramatic shift in the way higher education institutions          W Baby Boomers: Born between 19 and 190, Baby
operate and strive to fulfill their vision of student success.      Boomers grew up during the post–World War II era
These trends can be identified as the need to serve multi-          of optimism. They witnessed the cold War, the space

                                                  College & University | 55
  race, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, the       (Wegerer 008). The independent gen Xers undoubtedly
  “summer of love,” and much more; all of these shaped        will want to use technology for registration and even for
  their beliefs and values. They are the first generation     classes, but the moment they don’t like the service or the
  that grew up with television, which broadcast the same      offering, they are gone without a word.
  programs, news, and laughs across the nation. it has           Higher education institutions will need both to bal-
  been said that boomers helped transform the current         ance technology and personal face-to-face services and
  educational system (Howe and strauss 007).                 to be flexible enough to adapt quickly, depending on the
W generation X: This is the MTV generation, born be-          customer.
  tween 191 and 1981. Widely criticized as slackers, they       curriculum also should change to meet the needs
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