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Technology Background and Review


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  • 1. Technology Background and Review Daniel E. O’Leary University of Southern California c - 2000
  • 2. Technology Review
    • In the analysis of ERP systems there are a number of “technologies” that we will see … including
      • A. Client Server Systems
      • B. Networks
      • C. Relational Databases and Data Warehouses
      • D. Software
      • E. Software Choice
      • F. Reengineering and Best Practices
  • 3. A. Client Server
    • 1. What is Client Server?
    • 2. What is the basic notion behind C-S?
    • 3. What is “Three tiered Architecture”?
    • 4. Why concern with C-S?
      • ERP generally are built for CS
  • 4. 1. What is Client Server?
    • Client Server is a computing model in which the application processing load is distributed between a client computer and a server computer, which share information over a network.
    • Typically the client is a PC running front end software that knows how to communicate with the server (often a db server)
    • Typically the server is a PC or workstation, but it can be a mainframe
  • 5. 2. What is the basic notion behind Client Server?
    • Processing can be improved because client and server share processing loads.
      • Client - server computing says that the client has computing power that is not being used
      • Fundamental idea is to break apart an application into components that can run on different platforms.
    • Thin vs. Fat Clients
      • A thin client has most of the functionality with server
      • A fat client has most of the functionality with the client.
  • 6. 3. What is a “Three Tiered Architecture”?
    • Three Tiered Architecture is an information model with distinct pieces -- client, applications services and data sources -- that can be distributed across a network
    • Client Tier -- The user component displays information, processes, graphics, communications, keyboard input and local applications
  • 7. 4. What is “Three Tiered Architecture”?
    • Applications Service Tier -- A set of sharable multitasking components that interact with clients and the data tier. It provides the controlled view of the underlying data sources.
    • Data Source Tier -- One or more sources of data such as mainframes, servers, databases, data warehouses, legacy applications etc.
  • 8.  
  • 9. B. Networks
    • LANs, WANs, Intranets, Extranets
    • Bandwidth
      • Network Transmission Capability
    • Standards
      • TCP/IP
    • Security
      • E.g., Encryption
  • 10. C. Databases and Data Warehouses
    • Databases -- Numerous approaches including relational databases
    • Relational DB is a set of related files that reference each other
    • ERP are built on relational DBs and data source in three tier is typically relational
    • Data warehouse is a DB for decision making, not transaction processing
  • 11.  
  • 12.  
  • 13.  
  • 14. D. Software
    • ERP have been developed for different operating systems
      • UNIX, Windows NT …
    • Legacy Software
      • Informally … software that has been in the company for a while.
      • Generally, developed in house
  • 15.
    • In the same sense that personal computing software has moved toward a standard set of package options, corporate enterprise computing has also moved toward packages
    • Package software is changing the nature of accounting, finance and IT departments
      • No longer a matter of programming from scratch, instead need to understand processes
    Package Software
  • 16. E. Software Choice
    • Typically, use some form of cost benefit analysis
      • Benefits – fuzzy
      • Costs – easily seen
    • “As Is” vs. “To Be”
  • 17. F. Reengineering
    • 1. What is it?
    • 2. What are the primary approaches?
    • 3. What is the role of reengineering in ERP?
  • 18. 1. What is Reengineering?
    • Process involves the redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in cost, quality, service or speed.
      • Typically involves transaction processing
      • Tries to find inefficient rules of thumb built into processes and break away from them
      • Design business processes to exploit IT rather than replicate old manual processes
  • 19. 2. What are Primary Approaches?
    • Two primary approaches: Start from scratch and “Best Practices”
    • Start from scratch and redesign processes
      • Most expensive ... But considers unique aspects of specific firm, processes, resources & people
    • Using existing best practices generated by others (e.g., consultants or competitors)
      • Processes that have been proved in other firms
  • 20. 3. What is the role of reengineering in ERP?
    • ERP have many best practices built into them to choose from
      • E.g., SAP now has over 1000 best practices available to choose from
    • Firms often use ERP as a way of reengineering processes