It is essential that systems that support group work in distributed (virtual) environments are equipped to give explicit attention to such matters. An approach to define multi-user tasks in a much richer way than has been prevalent so far thus becomes a cornerstone of effective distributed enterprise software. In this light the two subsequent papers in this session will respectively concentrate on the modeling of multi-user tasks and the architecture to generate multi-user interfaces respectively.
Current ERP systems are powerful to integrate support for a wide range of business processes, but they do so on the assumption of single-user tasks only. ERP considers group tasks to be executed as "one man", it ignores the sophistication of the group process and focuses on the group output. Yet, against the background of the "death of distance" and the according level of freedom in distribution of business processes it becomes essential for organizations to use enterprise systems that do not treat multi-user tasks as a black box. Those ERP vendors who will meet the requirements for more sophisticated support of group work will be rewarded with the interest of a multitude, larger than their current customer base.
Fielding, Roy T. et al., "Web Based Development of Complex Information Products", Communications of the ACM, Vol. 41, No. 8, pg. 84-92
McKie, Stewart, "ERP meets Web E-Commerce", DBMS, Vol. 11, No. 8, July 1998, pg. 38-45
Stiemerling, Oliver and Cremers, Armin B., "The Use of Cooperation Scenarios in the Design and Evaluation of a CSCW System", IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, Vol. 24, No. 12, pg. 1171-1181