Enterprise Systems

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  • 1. Enterprise Systems & Process Agility SIG ES: Workshop on Enterprise Systems 10 Dec 2006, Milwaukee Dr. Ravi Seethamraju
  • 2. Overview  Concept of agility  Process agility – concept & significance  Business process agility & enterprise systems  Research framework  Conclusions & future research
  • 3. Agility in literature  Agility analysed across several disciplines (economics, strategic management, operations/manufacturing management, supply chain management, and information technology/systems literature)  Operational or business process agility - Ability of firm’s business processes to accomplish speed, accuracy, and cost economy by redesigning and reconfiguring individual components, tasks and capabilities  Quality, cost efficiency and speed – traditional measures sufficient in the past  Business process agility – increasingly becoming an important weapon to achieve competitive advantage and to support new & evolving business models
  • 4. Agile processes  Requires commitment to process-oriented thinking or (‘trasnversality’)  Involves realignment and redesign of processes, information systems and structures  Information systems and technologies – a platform for agility; but not enough, requires other non-IT/IS attributes  Difficult to implement and develop  Recent advances such as Web services, SOA, BPM tools, grid computing etc. – are designed to provide requisite agility to enterprises; not sure of their effect
  • 5. ES & Process agility  Long associated with process change are expected to contribute to flexibility and process efficiencies  Fit between organizational processes and software – a challenge for many  Not easy and not cost effective to change processes after ES implementation; prefer to leave the well-tested configuration as it is  Building process agility may be antithesis to standardization, a traditional ES characteristic  Processes embedded in ES software – may be outdated, not best practices
  • 6. ES characteristics  Standardization of business processes  Best practice processes embedded in software  Horizontal integration (information and processes)  Vertical integration (between hierarchical levels)  Technology integration (IS, databases, hardware etc.)  Automation of transactions  Process orientation or transversality (include customer focus, integrated/holistic view, use of common language, enhanced process knowledge, coordination)  Organizational impacts (decentralization of controls, improved quality of decision making, delayering etc.)  Tight link between organizational structures, business processes, business rules, IS and IT
  • 7. Research framework  Research questions: – What is the influence of various ES characteristics on process agility – Is it possible to achieve process agility and process efficiency simultaneously in ES context ? – How do process characteristics such as variability, time criticality, uncertainty and complexity influence process agility – How do these factors influence process agility (technological, process management, environmental and organizational factors)  Research approach: – Exploratory multi-case study approach – Some propositions/research framework – Unit of analysis – organizations with ES
  • 8. Propositions (1) No ES characteristic Influence 1 Standardization of processes Negative 2 Best practice processes embedded in No effect ES software 3 Horizontal integration – Process & info Positive 4 Vertical integration – hierarchical levels Positive 5 Technology integration Negative 6 Automation of transactions Negative
  • 9. Propositions (2) No ES characteristic Influence 7 Transversality – customer focus Positive 8 Transversality – enhanced process Positive knowledge 9 Transversality – Integrated view Positive 10 Real-time visibility Positive 11 Accessibility of data No effect 12 Decentralization of control Positive
  • 10. Conclusions & future research  Building agile processes – combining speed and flexibility are difficult, though important in future, depend on several factors  Existing ES – though contributed to standardization, simplification and automation, cannot offer process agility  Future ES with web services, open standards, component-based process models may facilitate better in building agile business processes  More research needed..