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Unique Features of the Book

27 August, 2015 - 14:18

Business Processes and Information Technology takes a business process focus towards understanding and managing operations, information systems, and management/ decision making in contemporary organizations. A wide range of information technologies in business processes are integrated throughout.

Three Themes

Three themes connect our discussions to topics that are currently of great interest to business professionals. These themes are enterprise systems— such as those sold by SAP, JD Edwards, Oracle, and PeopleSoft; E-Business—including retail (Business-to-Consumer, or B2C) e-businesses such as and Business-to-Business (B2B) marketplaces such as (operated by auto manufacturers); and information technology—state-of-the-art hardware and software applications that keep an organization heading toward achievement of its objectives. Icons have been added to the text to identify discussions of these themes.


Enterprise systems are software packages designed to provide complete integration of an organization’s business information processing systems and all related data. Data is shared across the systems to support the operation and management of the organization. Enterprise systems are introduced in Chapter 3 and then discussed throughout the remainder of the text. For example, in Chapter 10 you will find a diagram that depicts how the order fulfillment process would be implemented with an enterprise system. Similar diagrams are also in the other business process chapters. Additionally, examples of screens from enterprise systems have been included throughout the text to demonstrate business process information acquisition and presentation in contemporary organizations.


E-Business is the application of electronic networks (including the Internet) to undertake business processes between organizations and either individuals or other organizations. E-business has created entirely new ways of working within and across organizations. For example, organizations are buying and selling goods and services at virtual marketplaces. This changes how organizations identify customers and select vendors. It changes the cost of acquiring goods from a vendor and the price they should charge their customers for their products. E-business and its closely related concept, e-commerce, are explained more fully in Chapter 4 and discussed throughout the remainder of the book.


Information Technology, indicated by the Technology icon at left, encompasses any hardware, software, or communications technology that might be adopted by an organization to support or control a business process, enable management decisions, or provide a competitive advantage. Technology icons signal that an electronic mechanism is being discussed that is either in wide use, representative of the state of the art, or advocated for business adoption in the near future.


We present emerging technology examples and other current topics in sidebars, which are typeset to make them stand out from the text. Since the unique design allows you to easily locate the sidebars within each chapter, you can read about a particular technology separate from the remainder of the chapter. There are three types of sidebars:

  1. Technology Insights define and discuss a major topic. For example, Technology Insight 4.1 describes Extensible Markup Language (XML), a Web-based language that enables information to be easily shared over the Web.
  2. Technology Applications present short examples—taken from actual practice— of technology in use. For example, Technology Application 10.2 describes real-world examples of e-business in global markets.
  3. Technology Excerpts contain article reprints. For example, Technology Excerpt 7.2 summarizes experts’ criteria for selecting an application service provider (ASP). ASPs are external organizations that host, manage, and provide access to application software over the Internet to multiple customers.

The issues of governance, internal control, and security have received greater attention in the last few years as management has realized the importance of internal control to the effective governance of organizations and the IT that drives organizations. Enron, WorldCom, and 9/11 have brought these issues into the homes and offices of many of us. Chapter 8 introduces these topics, including such control frameworks as COSO and COBIT 1, and pervasive exposures such as hacking and denial of service attacks. Chapter 9 introduces a specific control framework for use in analyzing business processes and discusses technology-related controls that are key to well-controlled business processes. The framework and controls from Chapters 8 and 9 are then applied in the business process chapters—Chapters 10 through 14.


Documentation Tools Chapter 2 includes a comprehensive coverage of how to read and prepare data flow diagrams (DFDs) and systems flowcharts. The chapter also describes how to read entity-relationship (E-R) diagrams (the drawing of E-R diagrams is covered in Chapter 3).


Case Studies and Capsule Cases Several short cases describe typical business processes at the end of Chapters 2, 10, 11, and 12. These process narratives provide ample opportunity for students to practice application of the various tools and techniques discussed in the book. Several capsule cases, adapted from actual real-world systems, may be found at the end of Chapters 10–12. These system descriptions are shorter than those in the short cases, to provide another vehicle for students to acquire proficiency in documenting systems.