Enterprise Systems in the Business Curriculum: Implementation Considerations and Recommendations for Organizational and End-user Information Systems Programs Chia-An Chao Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems have been widely adopted by large, multi-national corporations and mid-sized businesses in the U.S. and abroad. The increasing number of organizations running enterprise systems has prompted business schools to implement enterprise systems in their curricula. In addition to increasing graduates’ marketability, the integrated nature of enterprise systems and the positive impact they may have on students’ learning is another attraction for schools seeking ways to enhance their students’ learning experience. This article provides an overview of ERP systems and ERP vendors and university partnerships. ERP curriculum integration models and implementation status, challenges, and benefits are also examined. Finally, implications of ERP systems for Organizational and End-user Information Systems (OEIS) programs and recommendations for integrating ERP systems into OEIS courses are offered. In recent years, enterprise resource planning Enterprise Systems Overview (ERP) systems have been implemented in businesses, government agencies, and higher As an enterprise-wide information system, ERP education institutions in the U.S. and abroad. integrates a range of business functions and Businesses ranging from those in the aerospace data—accounting and controlling, human and defense to high tech to utility companies resources management, sales and distribution, spent millions of dollars migrating from production planning, and materials mainframe to ERP systems in the years preceding management—in a single system. ERP systems 2000, partly due to concerns for the “millennium are “comprehensive, packaged software solutions bug.” Since then, ERP system adoptions have [that] seek to integrate the complete range of a slowed down among large corporations according business’s processes and functions in order to to the Gartner Group (“Gartner says,” 2003), but present a holistic view of the business from a medium-sized corporations continue to adopt single information and IT architecture” (Klaus, ERP systems (Woodie, 2005). With the Rosemann, & Gable, 2000, p. 141). ERP popularity of ERP systems in the industry and systems have been implemented to replace with increasing employer demands, business multiple information systems used in various schools in the U.S. have begun incorporating ERP departments. While these disparate systems may systems in their curricula to enhance students’ have features custom made for specific business learning experience and to increase their functions, many of them have incompatible graduates’ marketability. This article provides an architecture, and keeping them working together overview of ERP systems, the status of ERP is inefficient and expensive. As a comprehensive curriculum adoption in U.S. business schools, enterprise systems implementation considerations, Chia-An Chao is Assistant Professor, College of and implications of enterprise systems curriculum Business, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, for OEIS programs. Indiana. Information Technology, Learning, and Performance Journal, Vol. 22, No. 3 83 84 Chao system based on a single underlying database, requirements planning into production planning ERP allows users in different departments across and control. Then, in the 1980s, a host of an organization to access business data in real computer-aided systems emerged. Collectively, time via a standard user interface. these tools were known as Computer Integrated According to Gartner Group research (as Manufacturing (CIM) software. Once again, these cited in Gonsalves, 2003), the top five ERP computer-based tools broadened support beyond vendors in 2003 were SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, manufacturing planning into the product design Microsoft-Great Plains, and Sage (the maker of and production processes. In the product Best Software, including Peachtree, MAS series, development cycle, CIM tools included computer- CPA series, and Act!). In 2002, the market aided engineering, computer-aided design, and leader, SAP, garnered 25% of the sales revenue, computer-aided planning software. In the while Oracle and PeopleSoft had 7% and 6.5%, production process, companies made use of respectively. From a customer-base perspective, computer-aided manufacturing and computer- SAP has over 12 million users in over 120 aided quality assurance software. countries. The worldwide market for ERP As the data and process modeling techniques software totaled $23.6 billion in 2004 according developed in CIM software and the ability to to AMR Research (Woodie, 2005). Also in integrate complex business processes became 2004, SAP’s market share increased to 40 more mature, the concept of extending support percent, partly due to the uncertainty created by beyond the manufacturing functions to the entire the takeover of PeopleSoft by Oracle. organization led to the development of enterprise- wide systems. In addition to managing From MRP to ERP II production logistics, ERP systems also support functions, such as accounting, controlling, and While ERP product names, such as SAP and human resources. Now that organizations have Baan, began to appear in information systems been using ERP for several years, they wanted to trade and academic journals only in the recent get more out of their investment in ERP systems. past, the roots of enterprise systems can be traced In the late 1990s to early 2000s, demands for IT as far back as the 1950s (Klaus et al., 2000; support beyond operational efficiency prompted Lederer-Antonucci, Corbitt, Stewart, & Harris, ERP vendors to add new modules, such as 2004). When examining an ERP system, it is customer relationship management (CRM) and apparent that the name and the underlying supply-chain management (SCM) to the core ERP concepts of its design evolved from systems used system. The second wave ERP, or ERP II (a in manufacturing and production planning back in term coined by the Gartner Group), supports the 50s and 60s. In the late 1950s, Material inter-organization communication and customer Requirements Planning (MRP) software was and partner relationship improvement (Hawking, developed to support calculation of material McCarthy, & Stein, 2004; Lederer-Antonucci et consumption. Raw materials, product parts, and al., 2004). In addition, business intelligence bills of material used for manufacturing were functionalities are added to ERP systems to created and maintained in the software. support the strategic use of information. From Combining material master and bill-of-material ERP to ERP II, the focus shifted from back office data with bill-of-material processors and efficiency to improving inter-organizational forecasting algorithms, MRP software increased collaboration and better decision making through the efficiency in the computation of materials optimized business processes across required for production. organizational boundaries. In the 1970s, MRP packages evolved into Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP II) Characteristics of ERP software with the addition of capacity planning and scheduling functions. These new functions While there are a number of ERP packages on extended the support beyond material the market, they share certain common Enterprise Systems in the Business Curriculum 85 characteristics. First, to be classified as implemented ERP have reported numerous enterprise software, an ERP system must be able benefits. to support all the basic functions of a business, such as procurement, sales order processing, Business Benefits of ERP payment processing, production planning and execution, accounting and controlling, and human An ERP system is, in essence, an online resources management. Another characteristic of transaction processing system; thus, higher system ERP software is that the systems are packaged and operational efficiency can be expected from software and do not require coding; however, they ERP systems. In a study conducted by Spathis do require configuration. Configuration, or and Constantinides (2003), the top four ERP selecting appropriate functionalities from ones system benefits reported by 45 companies were provided by the software vendor, enables ERP as follows: 1) increased flexibility in information software to adapt to specific business generation; (2) improved quality of financial requirements. In order to configure the system reporting; (3) increased integration of correctly, detailed documentation of business applications; and (4) easy maintenance of processes and requirements is an important part databases. In another study of 163 organizations of the system implementation process. In that have implemented enterprise systems, addition to business process analysis, job roles Davenport, Harris, and Cantrell (2002) identified and responsibilities of all system users are benefits achieved by those organizations. The top documented and analyzed to create user profiles. 10 benefits were: (1) improved financial Employees are then assigned profiles and granted management; (2) faster and more accurate access to appropriate system functions. transactions; (3) improved management decision The third characteristic of ERP systems is the making; (4) improved inventory and asset use of a single database for storing both master management; (5) ease of expansion/growth and and transaction data across functional areas. The increased flexibility; (6) fewer physical resources database is typically very large; SAP R/3 release and better logistics; (7) cycle time reduction; (8) 4.7 has close to 40,000 tables. Master data improved customer service and retention; (9) (such as customer master, vendor master, headcount reduction; and (10) increased revenue. material master, general ledger, pricing, etc.) Users in these organizations reported minimizes data entry and enables employees’ significant reductions in transaction processing access to consistent and accurate data. Access to time and errors and elimination of the hassle of master data is tightly controlled to ensure data maintaining legacy systems. With access to security. Another characteristic of ERP systems accurate and real-time data on an integrated is the costly and challenging implementation system with a standard user interface, there are process. ERP implementation projects are multi- benefits besides system and operational million dollar capital investments. Besides efficiency. Users in these studies reported better tackling a very complex system and coordinating management processes, such as improved the involvement of a multitude of business units, coordination between departments, increased dealing with culture change is an important part internal communication, and improved of the challenge (Davenport, 1998). For many management decision making. business units, they had to adjust from having almost a free rein over selecting and managing Enterprise Systems in the Business their own information system to working with a Curriculum centrally defined and controlled system. The prohibitive costs and high risks involved in the With a large number of Fortune 500 companies implementation may have deterred some running enterprise systems, along with many businesses from adopting an enterprise solution; medium-sized businesses, the popularity of ERP however, companies that have successfully has prompted business schools in the U.S. and abroad to implement enterprise systems in their 86 Chao curricula. Besides keeping pace with information pricing process and accounting principles, but technology developments in the business world, they may not understand how pricing affects some business schools added ERP systems to order processing and account settlement. Critics their curricula to overcome two challenges of of the “stovepipe” curriculum structure point out business education: fragmented curricula and that the artificial boundaries are a reflection of the passive learning. The following are reviews of the faculty’s training and specialization areas, instead business education challenges, the potential of of real-world business practice. However, enterprise systems as an enabler of curriculum breaking down the boundaries is not easy, given integration and active learning, and the current the unique culture of individual disciplines and status of ERP implementation in the business complex politics. curriculum. Passive Learning Artificial Business Curriculum Boundaries In addition to the curriculum structure, another business education challenge is the knowledge Since the 1980s, researchers have pointed out transmission model of teaching in many that the way the business curriculum is structured professional schools (business schools included). does not reflect business practice (Behrman & Under the knowledge transmission model, Levin, 1984; Buckley, Peach, & Weitzel, 1989; professors impart knowledge to students through Mandt, 1982). More recently, the preparedness lectures, case studies, and examinations. While of business graduates for a work environment that there are exceptions—as more and more schools has been redefined by the networked economy is are recognizing the importance of experiential in question (Candy & Crebert, 1991; Corbitt & learning—lectures, case studies, and exams are Mensching, 2000; Holter & Kopka, 2001; Linder still the prevalent modes of instruction in many et al., 1992; Selen; 2001). Business graduates’ classrooms. Hands-on, real-world experiences knowledge and skill deficiencies identified in the are often limited to internships. However, without literature range from general competencies, such a heavy emphasis on experimentation and critical as communication, teamwork, critical thinking, reflection throughout the students’ academic and problem solving, to business specific study, active construction of comprehensive knowledge, i.e., how businesses work in real life. understanding of business processes and Critics attributed such deficiencies to the lack functions is difficult. As a result, many students of systematic, cross-functional integration in the may experience the three learning pathologies curriculum until the capstone course in the that Shulman (1999) identified: amnesia students’ senior year. In many business schools, (forgetting what one has learned), fantasia students acquire knowledge and skills in (misunderstanding what one has learned), and/or individual business areas: accounting, finance, inertia (inability to apply what one has learned). information systems, management, marketing, In all fairness, the lack of experiential and operations management. While many learning opportunities during the semester may progressive business schools have moved toward not necessarily be a reflection of the professors’ an integrated curriculum where students learn teaching philosophies and pedagogical choices. how a business operates—not in isolation but how The difficulty in scheduling field trips or other one business function affects the other—other activities outside of regular class time because of programs still follow the “stovepipe” approach to schedule conflicts may have limited or even educating business students (Albrecth & Sacks, discouraged many professors’ efforts to add more 2000; Corbitt & Mensching, 2000). concrete learning experiences to enhance As a result of limited interdisciplinary students’ learning. Nevertheless, the results of learning, students may not understand how the combined effect of the silo curriculum various business areas relate to one another. For structure and the lack of concrete, real-world example, they may be able to explain a basic experiences are reflected in less-than-satisfactory Enterprise Systems in the Business Curriculum 87 employer surveys and post-graduation adjustment industry solutions. In addition to the licensing problems among college graduates (Linder et al., fee, the annual membership fee covers faculty 1992; Siegel & Sorensen, 1994; Perrone & training. Along with the R/3 system are sample Vickers, 2003; Polach, 2004). Employers in data of a model enterprise called IDES these studies criticized new hires’ lack of (International Demonstration and Education understanding of the “big picture” and their System) that consists of a multinational tendency to make decisions that are too simplistic corporation with subsidiaries across several or decisions that do not take into consideration all continents. Curriculum materials, including the constraints and long-term consequences. PowerPoint slides and student exercises based on The criticisms and challenges of traditional the IDES Company, are also available. business education where students’ learning is While the original members of the Alliance structured along artificial boundaries of academic Program were required to install and manage the disciplines and where there is generally a lack of SAP system on their own servers, SAP began experiential learning opportunities have prompted offering a hosting option in the past few years. many business schools to look for ways to Universities that do not have the resources or overcome such challenges. One such initiative is choose not to maintain the SAP system on their forming partnerships with enterprise system own can work with a designated hosting center vendors to help students develop a holistic that supports all application server and database understanding of business with the support of needs. In addition, the hosting center can create information technology currently used in the student accounts and handle system upgrades and workplace. database refresh every semester. The hosting option should attract more universities because ERP Vendors and University faculty can now focus on pedagogical issues, Partnerships instead of dealing with technical and logistical issues relating to implementing a complex system, All top three ERP vendors—SAP, Oracle, and such as SAP. PeopleSoft—offer academic alliance programs. Similar to SAP’s University Alliance Program, They are the SAP University Alliance, PeopleSoft PeopleSoft On Campus and Oracle Academic On Campus, and Oracle Academic Initiative. Of Initiative were established to assist universities the three, the SAP University Alliance Program is integrate the respective enterprise systems into the largest and most well established. university curricula (Bradford, Vijayaraman, & SAP formed the SAP University Alliance Chandra, 2003). Both programs were established Program in 1996. Members in the Program are in 1999. Benefits for universities that enter into made up of universities in North and South industry-academic partnerships with PeopleSoft America, Asia, and Europe. In the United States are similar to those offered by SAP University and Canada alone, there are over 130 member Alliance; they include access to enterprise universities. Besides research partnerships with management software, educational materials, these universities, the University Alliance faculty training, and technical support. In Program enables SAP to gain a presence in the addition, remote access to PeopleSoft applications college and university curriculum, thereby hosted at a hosting center was available beginning ensuring a continual supply of personnel in the in 2003. Oracle Academic Initiative also offers workforce who are familiar with the enterprise its member universities access to its software and system. For an annual fee of about $8,000, the discounts for attending training classes. However, Alliance Program offers its members access to its Oracle Academic Initiative does not offer core program (SAP R/3) and three specialized curriculum support or a hosting option. Given the programs (e.g., SCM, CRM, Advanced Production purchase of PeopleSoft by Oracle, the future of Optimizer, Business Intelligence, etc.) and/or either program might be uncertain. 88 Chao Implementation Status and Approaches processes. The third approach focuses on information system concepts; the enterprise While there have been numerous case studies system is used as an exemplary system from reporting ERP system adoptions in colleges, there which students can analyze and assess the is a lack of systematic research on enterprise infrastructure and design of a state-of-the-art system education in business curriculum. business information system. The fourth Published studies on ERP adoption indicate that approach emphasizes students’ understanding of curriculum integration varied from using the enterprise computing and related concepts, such enterprise system in a single course that includes as ERP system implementation and its impact on multiple disciplines (Shtub, 2001) to using SAP in organizations. The last approach is a combination sequential, interrelated classes (Corbitt & of the four previously mentioned approaches. Mensching, 2000) to building an entire enterprise In another study, Bradford et al. (2003) resources management track (Becerra-Fernandez, surveyed 94 universities, 35 of which have Murphy, & Simon, 2000) that covers business integrated ERP in their curricula. Among these process design and implementation, enterprise universities, some adopted multiple ERP systems, system administration, and project management. but most schools implemented a single ERP These studies provide invaluable, detailed system. Of the systems selected, SAP was the information on the background, process, and most commonly adopted (56%), followed by outcomes of ERP adoption at various universities. Oracle (31%), PeopleSoft (19%), and Microsoft However, without systematic and extensive Great Plains (8%). ERP integration was the most research, the breadth and depth of ERP common in accounting (69%) and IS (58%) curriculum integration in the U.S. is unknown. courses, followed by courses offered by The Journal of Information Systems Education management (33%), marketing (14%), and published an enterprise system education special finance (3%) departments. Among the 59 non- issue in fall 2004. Authors of one of the articles adopting universities, the top three reasons for (Lederer-Antonucci et al., 2004) called for non-adoption were insufficient funds, insufficient studies that would produce empirical evidence of IT support staff, and lack of ERP knowledge ERP implementation in colleges and universities, among faculty. Lack of interest and support from including a more comprehensive understanding of administration and lack of interest among faculty the levels of adoption and objective measures of were other reasons. curriculum integration outcomes, such as what The survey (Bradford et al., 2003) also found worked and what did not. that the most common teaching approach (31%) Besides basic descriptive statistics, such as was to focus on a particular ERP module (e.g., the number of universities, academic disciplines, the material management module in a supply and courses that have included enterprise systems chain management course or the HR module in a in instruction, an understanding of the human resources management course). approaches or models used in integrating ERP in Relationships between the selected module and the business curriculum would be useful. For other modules might be discussed, but the example, Hawking et al. (2004) identified five primary focus was the process and function within possible approaches for integrating ERP into the the specific module. The fact that 17 out of the business curriculum. The first, and least 35 ERP-adopting universities had only a single preferred, approach is training students to use a department using ERP and only 5 universities specific enterprise system. This model focuses on reported ERP adoption in more than 2 academic proficiency in using various functions and departments corroborated the predominance of executing transactions. The second approach the single-discipline adoption model. In the next aims at enhancing students’ understanding of popular teaching approach (28%), students business processes with the support of an learned to execute selected transactions using an enterprise system. The ERP system is used to enterprise system (e.g., create a purchase order illustrate the interrelationships among business or process payments). This approach gave Enterprise Systems in the Business Curriculum 89 students a taste of the system functionality and instructional materials for their classes. Given all some exposure to business process without the demands for their time, some faculty significant time investment on the instructor’s members, while interested, are hesitant to invest a part; however, students were not given the benefit great deal of time learning the system and of learning the interconnectedness of an developing course materials. The uncertainty of integrated system. Other less frequently adopted whether their curriculum development effort approaches were teaching a sub-module, such as would be recognized by their peers and the accounts payable function within the administrators is another concern. In some cases, accounting module (16%); covering all core there is a lack of recognition of the amount of modules of the enterprise system with the focus time and effort required to implement an ERP on the interrelationship of multiple business system in the classroom. Without strong processes across modules (13%); and focusing on administrative support and incentives (curriculum ERP II solutions, such as supply chain development grants, release time, and the management and customer-relationship inclusion of ERP-related contributions in faculty management (13%). assessment), successful enterprise system While the ideal enterprise system education is integration is unlikely. to integrate the ERP system across multiple disciplines, such effort would require a significant Benefits of ERP in Business Curriculum time commitment for faculty collaboration and consensus building when determining the With the support of an enterprise system, a more direction and emphasis of the courses (Corbitt & holistic and in-depth understanding of business Mensching, 2000). Besides time investment, the processes would be possible. The ERP system traditional departmental structure makes can be a common platform that integrates curriculum integration across disciplines difficult traditionally separated business disciplines and (Becerra-Fernandez et al., 2000). Such findings upon which students can obtain a better grasp of were consistent with the survey data (Bradford et the complex and interconnected nature of al., 2000) that showed enterprise software business. From basic business processes, such as adoption happens mostly within individual understanding the order fulfillment process from disciplines, instead of across the business a sales quote to payment settlement to curriculum. The challenges of ERP curriculum understanding the supply chain and analyzing the implementation are discussed in the next section. impact of different material sourcing strategies on profitability, the ERP system can promote Implementation Challenges students’ understanding of the interdependencies among business functions. Also, enterprise Besides the difficulty in integrating an ERP systems can support higher-level learning, such as system across multiple disciplines, funding, analyzing a company’s performance (product and faculty commitment, and administrative support service profitability or pricing and marketing are challenges (Becerra-Fernandez et al., 2000; campaign outcomes). Such interdisciplinary Bradford et al., 2003; Corbitt & Mensching, learning could remedy the problem of a 2000). Given that ERP university alliance fragmented curriculum which often leads to membership alone costs between $3,000 and students “…miss[ing] the big picture where $12,000 a year, securing continual funding for interdependencies and interconnectedness among the software license fee, faculty training, and business processes create efficient synergies in technical support is imperative. achieving business targets” (Bradford et al., The second challenge is faculty interest and 2003, p. 439). commitment. ERP systems are complex and have The second benefit of the ERP system is that a steep learning curve. To integrate the system it can be used to create an ideal learning into their classes, faculty must be willing to spend environment for cross-functional work teams; extra hours learning the system and to develop students assigned to different job roles can 90 Chao examine and debate an issue from different and knowledge and skill requirements of OEIS vantage points. With learning activities designed majors. to encourage active experimentation, articulation The proliferation of enterprise systems has and discussion of ideas and opinions, and added new requirements to the knowledge and application of business concepts, a learning skills end-user computing professionals must environment supported by an ERP system should possess. Additionally, it has created new career correct the problems of amnesia, fantasia, and opportunities for which OEIS graduates are well inertia that Shulman (1999) identified. suited. As previously mentioned, one of the Another benefit of integrating an ERP system characteristics of enterprise systems is that it is is students’ increased marketability (Watson & packaged software, and business process analysis Schneider, 1999). Many universities adopted an and system configuration take precedence over enterprise system with the expectation of better programming. Some of the responsibilities on career prospects for their graduates and increased ERP implementation projects and post- visibility and reputation of the university. implementation maintenance include business California State University in Chico, the first process documentation and analysis, job role member of the SAP University Alliance, reported analysis, project management, system numerous positive outcomes. According to configuration, change management, and end-user Corbitt and Mensching (2000), the salary training. While several of these job tasks require difference between SAP-trained and non-SAP- extensive ERP training, work experience, and trained students was approximately $10,000. even certification, others focus more on the job Furthermore, they reported an increased number candidate’s general business knowledge and of recruiters and higher enrollments in classes technical aptitude. Given that many OEIS using SAP. In addition, faculty that used SAP in programs combine advanced technological their classes reported their inclusion of more training and solid business education by adding functional dependencies and more holistic an enterprise system into the curriculum, OEIS presentation of business operations in their graduates should be qualified to pursue careers, teaching, which led to improvements in students’ such as business analysts, consultants, project understanding of business processes and test coordinators, and technical trainers with ERP scores. Another ERP-adopting university, Florida experience requirements. International University, received positive feedback from employers. Also, the University OSRA’s 2004 OEIS Model Curriculum attributed the success of its faculty and student internship program to its enterprise system To enable non-programming IT graduates to education program (Becerra-Fernandez et al., pursue these new career options or for the general 2000). purpose of enhancing student learning by providing experiential learning opportunities, Implications and Recommendations for some suggestions for integrating an ERP system OEIS Programs into various OEIS courses are provided in the following section. These courses are based on the With the pervasiveness of enterprise systems in 2004 OEIS Model Curriculum developed by the large, multi-national corporations and mid-sized Organizational Systems Research Association businesses, these systems have become an (OSRA). The OEIS Curriculum contains seven integral part of the computing environment for core courses and six elective courses; detailed many end-users. To become productive members course descriptions, learning outcomes, and of end-user support functions, organizational and resources are provided for each course. end-user information systems (OEIS) graduates Flexibility and ease of customization are a must be familiar with enterprise computing part of the OEIS Curriculum design concepts, technologies, and issues. The following considerations (Daniels & Feather-Gannon, is a review of ERP-related career opportunities 2003). The same consideration of flexibility has Enterprise Systems in the Business Curriculum 91 been adopted here; OEIS departments and business functions, such as material management, programs interested in ERP can select the facility management, human resource appropriate OEIS courses that would fit into their management (e.g., support staff skills inventory curriculum and use the following suggestions in and work schedules), and accounting (e.g., integrating an enterprise system in the courses. service billing). These integrated functions can The instructor can determine the breadth and reinforce knowledge students learned in business depth of ERP coverage in each course; however, core courses and promote a holistic as described below, using ERP as a tool to understanding of how businesses operate. illustrate and support students’ learning of certain OEIS 3–Assessment, Design, Implementation, business and technology concepts and principles and Evaluation: Given that the design of an is recommended over focusing solely on the enterprise system is based on best business system itself. practices (e.g., SAP R/3 has over 1,000 best practices embedded in its design for virtually Suggestions for Integrating ERP in every business function), students can gain OEIS Courses valuable experience from observing and analyzing how business processes should be designed and An enterprise system can be used to help students streamlined to support business objectives. achieve learning objectives in several of the core Besides learning business process analysis and courses as well as two of the electives. The design, students assigned to various project team following are some suggestions. roles on a simulated project can learn to configure OEIS 1–Organizational and End-User the enterprise system based on the outcomes of Information Systems: ERP systems are excellent business process and end-user work analyses. tools for helping students understand end-user Furthermore, important project management computing from both individual user and lessons to ensure project completion within time, organizational perspectives. As an integrated scope, and budget can be learned from the system that combines multiple business functions, simulated project. the system can be used to demonstrate how one OEIS 4–OEIS Technical Training and business process affects another, explain system Delivery Methods: The ERP system provides a concepts, and illustrate end-user roles and meaningful context for learning different aspects responsibilities in various business functions. In of technical training. Given that the deployment addition, ERP exercises can provide students with of an ERP system affects end-users at all firsthand experience on how information organizational levels and functions, the ERP technology is being used to support workplace system can be integrated to support a variety of performance and employee productivity. learning activities in this course, from helping OEIS 2–Computer User Support: Many ERP students understand the complexity of planning a systems include customer/technical support large-scale end-user training program to functions. For example, in the Logistics/Customer discussing appropriate delivery technologies to Service module in SAP R/3, there are a variety of developing training materials for certain modules support center functions, such as problem of the system. Furthermore, case studies of ERP tracking, computer-telephony integration, and implementation can be used to enhance students’ asset and configuration management. Also knowledge of effective change-management included in the module are knowledge base and strategies for facilitating end-user acceptance of management reporting functions. Hands-on the new system. practice using these ERP functions can enhance OEIS 6–Cases in Information Technology: students’ comprehension of support center ERP supports both online transaction processing operations, service-level agreement fulfillment (OLTP) and online analytical processing (OLAP). tracking, and performance management. Another In previous OEIS courses, students learn how a benefit of using the technical support functions in wide array of end-users—from customer support an enterprise system is its integration with other staff and other front office users to production 92 Chao operators to back office employees—use OLTP to undergraduate and graduate IS courses); record, process, and review information. In this implementation lessons learned (e.g., Fedorowicz, capstone course, students can focus on the OLAP Gelinas, Usoff, & Hachey, 2004, offered 12 tips functions in an enterprise system, such as SAP’s for successful implementation), and post- Business Warehouse (a business intelligence implementation curriculum assessments. Besides solution) and Strategic Enterprise Management (a successful completion of assigned ERP exercises management cockpit solution). Students can learn and projects, students’ learning outcome to leverage these advanced modules to support assessment should include improved effective decision making by providing comprehension of the subject matter and refined management-level end-users with aggregated, understanding of business operations beyond long-range, multidimensional information for students’ own areas of specialization (Corbitt & strategic planning and performance measurement. Mensching, 2000; Davis & Comeau, 2004). In addition to the core courses, ERP systems Furthermore, students’ marketability (e.g., job can be integrated into optional courses, such as placement rates and salaries) and feedback from OEIS 8–eBusiness and Web Technologies and recruiters and employers are also important OEIS 9–Collaborative Technologies and measurements of the effectiveness of the ERP Knowledge Management. In the second wave curriculum. ERP, or ERP II, many enterprise systems have While incorporating ERP systems in OEIS expanded upon their primary purpose of courses requires significant time commitment and integrating all business functions within a financial resources, such investments will benefit corporation, and they have begun to include IT not only the students but also the faculty. From support for communication and collaboration with developing a more holistic understanding of how suppliers and customers. ERP II enterprise businesses operate to gaining firsthand experience modules, such as supply chain management, with a state-of-the-art organizational and end-user customer relationship management, business system, OEIS students will be better prepared warehouse, and enterprise portal, can be academically and have an advantage over other incorporated into these optional courses. graduates in the job market. Given the current labor market trends, IT graduates who are Post-Implementation Assessment and business process savvy and understand how Lessons Learned technology can be applied to support individual, as well as organizational, performance will have In the existing literature, systematic assessment of an advantage over others with only technical learning outcomes after ERP implementation is training. very limited (Davis & Comeau, 2004). In current Besides implementing ERP in the OEIS research on ERP in the business curriculum, curriculum, OEIS faculty members can take a many are implementation case studies (e.g., leadership role in ERP system integration in their Becerra-Fernandez et al., 2000; Corbitt & respective business school curriculum. With their Mensching, 2000). While these studies reported expertise in pedagogy and curriculum positive outcomes as a result of integrating ERP in development, OEIS faculty can lead the effort in the curricula, such findings are more or less coordinating the design of an interdisciplinary anecdotal (based on faculty and student self- enterprise system education that encourages reporting), and it is not clear if such results can active experimentation and the development of be generalized. Nevertheless, these case studies higher-order thinking skills. The ERP curriculum and teaching best practices provide invaluable integration effort will increase the visibility of the instructional resources (e.g., Watson & Schneider, faculty and the OEIS program within the school 1999, identified 10 ERP knowledge modules and and university community, as well as provide offered detailed descriptions of module content research and external outreach opportunities. and suggestions for incorporating them into both Enterprise Systems in the Business Curriculum 93 References curriculum. Journal of Information Systems Education, 15(3), 235-244. Albrecth, W. S., & Sacks, R. J. (2000, March). The Gartner says worldwide ERP new license revenue perilous future of accounting education. The CPA decreased 9 percent in 2002. (2003, June 19). Journal, 17-23. Directions Magazine. Retrieved September 18, Becerra-Fernandez, I., Murphy, K. E., & Simon, S. J. 2004, from http://www.directionsmag.com/ (2000). 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