Chapter 4 – Enterprise Computing Challenges and Enterprise Resource Planning
• Innovation is the introduction of new equipment or methods. The current impetus to innovate comes from the need to cut costs, while still creating
a competitive advantage
• How to be innovative? Find your relevant edge, assemble your motivated groups of people to work on your edge, reward the risk takers, celebrate
diversity (keep an open mind. Have to embrace different cultures that are also edgy.), look around (look to keep your mind creative and to see the
different things you can incorporate with your edge), and finally mix practitioners and developers (bring the users and developers of technology
Social Entrepreneurship: Going Green
• Social responsibility implies that an entity, whether it is a government, corporation, organization, or individual, has a responsibility to society.
• Corporate policy is a dimension of social responsibility that refers to the position a firm takes on social and political issues
• Corporate responsibility is a dimension of social responsibility that includes everything from hiring minority workers to making safe products.
• Sustainable, or “green,” IT describes the manufacture, management, use, and disposal of information technology in a way that minimizes
damage to the environment, which is a critical part of a corporation's responsibility
• Corporate computing's fast-growing power consumption is a threat to operations and the bottom line, and is forcing companies to adopt green
• Virtualization is a framework of dividing the resources of a computer into multiple execution environments. Virtualization software allows IT
managers to easily load multiple programs on a single machine and move programs from one computer to another on the fly to make maximum
use of a cluster of servers. This significantly reduces energy use, some analysts suggesting up to 80 percent, because fewer servers are needed
• A decade ago, the chip industry had a single focus: making the digital brains of computers process data ever faster. But Sun Microsystems chip
architect Marc Tremblay saw a fatal flaw in that strategy. Faster chips would run hotter, and eventually they would burn out. So he designed what's
known as a multi-core chip, which has several processors on a single sliver of silicon, each of them running cooler and sucking less energy but
collectively getting more work done. He also enabled each processor to perform more than one task at a time. The processors on Sun's Niagara
server computers, based on Tremblay's designs, consumed just 70 watts of power, about one-third of a conventional microprocessor
• The province of Ontario offers businesses a number of incentive programs aimed at reducing energy consumption. The programs range from
lighting upgrades for small businesses, to incentives for businesses to upgrade systems to hold on to energy savings, and to high performance new
construction that exceeds the Ontario building code energy efficiency requirements.
• HP Research Fellow Chandrakant Patel came up with a new approach to data centre energy use: Think of the data centre as one giant machine.
Out of that came HP's Dynamic Smart Cooling technology. Thousands of heat sensors monitor temperatures, and software directs the air-
conditioning system to put the big chill on the places that need it most. Projected energy savings on cooling costs is 20 to 40 percent
• The European Union has imposed limits on carbon emissions. Since 2005, the Emission Trading Scheme has required 12,000 iron, steel, glass,
and power plants to buy CO2permits, which allows them to emit the gas into the atmosphere. If a company exceeds its limit, it can buy unused
permits from other companies that have successfully cut their emissions. If they are unable to buy spare permits, however, they are fined for every
excess tonne of CO 2 Because IT contributes to the total carbon emissions in a company, carbon cap and trade or tax laws will affect how
technology is managed.
Recycle IT Equipment
• Sustainable IT disposal refers to the safe disposal of IT assets at the end of their life cycles. It ensures that e-waste, or old computer equipment,
does not end up in a landfill, where the toxic substances it contains can leach into groundwater, among other problems
• EXAMPLE: EU Directive on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment, which took effect
July 1, 2006, restricts the use of six hazardous materials in the manufacture of certain electronics: lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium,
polybrominated biphenyls, and polybrominated diphenyl ether (the last two materials are flame retardants used in plastics). Such requirements
reduce the toxicity of the e-waste produced
Social Networks: Who’s Who • LinkedIn is an online business network. You can do background checks on people before you hire someone or consider them.
• Corporations and smaller businesses have not embraced online business networks with nearly the same abandon as teens and university students
who have flocked to social sites. Yet companies are steadily overcoming their reservations and are starting to use these sites and related
technologies to craft potentially powerful business tools
• Businesses are using Twitter to push real-time advertising for sales on products that consumers are interested in.
• Consumers love receiving breaking news on items for sale through tweets.
• The holy grail in recruiting is finding so-called passive candidates, people who are happy and productive working for other companies. LinkedIn is a
virtual Rolodex of these types. Hudson says she has hired three or four people this year as a result of connections through LinkedIn. “We've started
asking our hiring managers to sign up on LinkedIn and help introduce us to their contacts,” she says. “People have concerns about privacy, but
once we explain how we use it and how careful we would be with their contacts, they're usually willing to do it.”
• Many companies are turning to social networks and related technology to stay in touch with former employees. Consulting firm Deloitte strives to
maintain ties with ex-workers and has had a formal alumni-relations program for years.+
• Boomerangs cost less to train than new hires and they tend to hit the ground running. As the labour market tightens, alumni become an increasingly
attractive source of talent.
• Business-oriented networks help executives find employees, and they're increasingly useful in other areas, such as sales and marketing.
• Social networks also help forge community with, and among, would-be customers
Virtual Worlds: It’s a whole new world
• You can now work from home. And other off-site locations. This practice fosters employee retention, boosts worker productivity and slas real estate
• But some people don’t like virtual workforce. Not everyone wants to leave because they fear that they wil step off the corporate ladder. Sompeople
need the busy environment to stay productive.
• Some managers are reluctant to scatter direct reports because keeping tabs on a virtual workforce can be harder than managing those close at
hand. Some virtual workers can feel lonely, isolated, or deprived of vital training and mentoring. And communication breakdowns can impede
innovation, trust, job satisfaction, and performance.
• Obstacles like these have prompted IBM and other companies to seek a host of creative solutions to the problems that virtual work presents. Some
turn to a combination of mobile devices, email, instant messaging, and collaboration software to help colleagues stay in touch
• Tools for the virtual workforce:
o Mobile commerce (m-commerce) – the ability to purchase goods and services through a wireless Internet-enabled device.
o Telematics, the blending of computers and wireless telecommunications technologies with the goal of efficiently conveying information
over vast networks to improve business operations. Internet.
o Electronic tagging, a technique for identifying and tracking assets and individuals via technologies such as radio frequency identification
(RFID) and smart cards.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) • ERP integrates all departments and functions throughout an organization into a single information system (or integrated set of information
systems) so that employees can make decisions by viewing enterprise-wide data on all business operations.
• ERP is a logical solution to the mess of incompatible applications that had sprung up in most businesses.
• ERP addresses the need for global information sharing and reporting.
• ERP is used to avoid the pain and expense of fixing legacy systems.
Legacy Systems and ERP
• ERP systems are replacing—legacy systems.
• legacy system is older computer technology that remains in use even though there are newer systems available.
• Legacy systems can be any older technologies that together create an information system. These systems often remain in place because they still
accomplish the job they were designed to do, respond adequately to user requests, or because the expense of replacing them is high.
• moving to an ERP can be really difficult because the data from the legacy system won’t be compatible. The second issue is this data is usually
stored in a functional system, which means that the data is not integrated but rather each business unit in the organization has its own set of data
and the replication of data needs to be sorted out
• Within the functional systems the same data is also often stored in different formats which compound this second challenge. Functional
systems are information systems that serve a single business unit, such as accounting
The Heart of ERP
• ERP systems serve as the organization's backbone in providing fundamental decision-making support. In the past, departments made decisions
independent of each other. ERP systems provide a foundation for collaboration between departments, enabling people in different business areas
to communicate. ERP systems have been widely adopted in large organizations to store critical data used to make the decisions that drive
• ERP system helps an organization obtain operational efficiencies, lower costs, improve supplier and customer relations, and increase revenues
and market share, all units of the organization must work together harmoniously toward congruent goals
• The heart of an ERP system is a central database that collects data from and feeds data into all of the ERP system's individual application
components (called modules), supporting such diverse business functions as accounting, manufacturing, marketing, and human resources
• ERP automates business processes such as order fulfillment—taking an order from a customer, shipping the purchase, and then billing for it. With
an ERP system, when a customer service representative takes an order from a customer, he or she has all the data necessary to complete the
order (the customer's credit rating and order history, the company's inventory levels, and the delivery schedule).
• The order process moves like a bolt of lightning through the organization, and customers get their orders faster and with fewer errors than ever
before. ERP can apply that same magic to the other major business processes, such as employee benefits or financial reporting.
Evolution of ERP
• Originally, ERP solutions were developed to deliver automation across multiple units of an organization, to help facilitate the manufacturing process