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The Textbook’s Three Themes

27 August, 2015 - 15:11

This text revolves around the influence of three themes on contemporary business practices: (1) enterprise systems, (2) electronic business (e-business), and (3) information technology.


Enterprise systems are integrated software packages designed to provide complete integration of an organization’s business information processing systems and all related data. Data is shared across systems to support the operation and management of the organization. Modules within these packages are named for the functions that they support and include logistics (sales and distribution, procurement, inventory management), accounting (financial accounting, treasury, controlling), manufacturing (planning and scheduling, cost accounting, capacity planning), and human resources (payroll, employee tracking, tax compliance). It is critical that business professionals understand these systems because they are members of teams that install and operate them in their organizations, and they require access to information captured within these systems to be effective managers. Installing an enterprise system requires that the business processes of an organization be understood and documented. Sometimes, the business processes must be changed and then mapped to the enterprise system. A major part of installation is configuring the enterprise system to tailor it to the business processes. Consultants, business process owners, system users, and evaluators must understand these systems and be able to install, use, and assess them. Chapter 2 describes a tool set for diagramming business processes that will help us analyze those processes. Chapter 3 describes enterprise systems more fully and these systems in their business context appear throughout the remainder of the book.


E-business is the application of electronic networks (including the Internet) to undertake business processes between individuals and organizations. These processes include interaction between back-office processes (internal processes such as distribution, manufacturing, and accounting) and front-office processes (external processes such as those that connect an organization to its customers and suppliers). Electronic networks include the Internet and electronic data interchange (EDI), both described in Chapter 4. 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, changing the way organizations identify customers and select vendors. E-business is also changing how to determine what it costs to acquire goods from a vendor and what price(s) to charge customers for products. Obviously, business professionals should be aware of the opportunities and risks associated with this new way of doing business. Chapter 4 explains e-business and a closely related concept, Internet commerce, more fully, and instances appear throughout the reminder of the text. 1


Information Technology, or simply, Technology, is the third theme reflected in the side panel icons. This concept is more broadly defined than the other two, as it 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. The side-panel technology icons signal discussion of an electronic mechanism that is either in wide use, represents the state of the art, or may be adopted by business in the near future. Chapters 8 and 9 introduce the use of technology to provide security, privacy, or internal control of operations. Technology can be used to support enterprise systems and e-business applications as well. Business professionals need to be aware of the availability of new technologies, and be able to evaluate the costs, benefits, and usefulness of each.