with multi-user interfaces?
Roelof J. van den Berg
Ilse M. Breedvelt-Schouten
Baan Development B.V.
In the past years many companies have invested in integrated ICT-support of their business processes through implementation of software systems for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). These ERP systems provide integrated support of processes related to e.g. manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, finance and accounting, human resources and customer relationship management.
ERP implementations often fall within a bigger scheme of increasing the potential of the organization as a knowledge processing entity. Market demands force organizations to restructure their operations with a "design for concurrency" approach in mind. The integrated support which ERP provides helps to structure the corporate flow of information. It makes the operations more transparant throughout the company, increasing awareness about interdependencies and thus triggering opportunities for more efficient ways of working.
At the same time the objective of boosting the knowledge processing capacity exposes room for improvement in current ERP systems. This is also reflected in the current global installed base of ERP systems-just over 3 million users versus the potential one, i.e. the number of people doing work that could be supported with ERP functionality. This is more than 200 million people. Naturally, the difference stems from a complex of reasons-e.g. the relatively young age of ERP systems and their relative high price-but an important one among these is the current systems' lack of support of groupwork.