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Unformatted text preview: lanning), SCM
(supply chain management), CRM (customer relationship management), and BI (business
intelligence) software, among many others.
These systems are used in conjunction with database management systems, programs that help firms organiz e, store, retrieve, and maintain data.
ERP and other packaged enterprise systems can be challenging and costly to implement, but can
help firms create a standard set of procedures and data that can ultimately lower costs and
The more application software that is available for a platform, the more valuable that platform
The DBMS stores and retrieves the data used by the other enterprise applications. Different
enterprise systems can be configured to share the same database system in order share
Firms that don’t have common database systems with consistent formats across their enterprise
often struggle to efficiently manage their value chain, and often lack the flexibility to introduce
new ways of doing business. Firms with common database systems and standards often benefit
from increased organiz ational insight and decision‐making capabilities.
Enterprise systems can cost millions of dollars in software, hardware, development, and
consulting fees, and many firms have failed when attempting large‐scale enterprise system
integration. Simply buying a system does not guarantee its effective deployment and use.
When set up properly, enterprise systems can save millions of dollars and turbocharge
organiz ations by streamlining processes, making data more usable, and easing the linking of
systems with software across the firm and with key business partners. QU E S TI ONS AND E XE RC I S E S
1. What is the difference between desktop and enterprise software?
2. Who are the two leading ERP vendors?
3. List the functions of a business that might be impacted by an ERP.
4. What do the acronyms ERP, CRM, SCM, and BI stand for? Briefly describe what each of these
enterprise systems does.
5. Where in the “layer cake” analogy does the DBMS lie.
6. Name two companies that have realiz ed multimillion‐dollar benefits as result of installing
7. Name two companies that have suffered multimillion‐dollar disasters as result of failed
enterprise system installations.
8. How much does the average large company spend annually on ERP software? 9.4 Distributed Computing
L E A RN I N G OBJ E C T I V E S
1. Understand the concept of distributed computing and its benefits.
2. Understand the client‐server model of distributed computing.
3. Know what Web services are and the benefits that Web services bring to firms.
4. Appreciate the importance of messaging standards and understand how sending messages
between machines can speed processes, cut costs, reduce errors, and enable new ways of doing
business. When co mputers in dif f erent lo catio ns can co mmunicate with o ne ano ther, this is o f ten ref erred to
as dist ribut ed comput ing. Distributed co mputing can yield eno rmo us ef f iciencies in speed,
erro r reductio n, and co st savings and can create entirely new ways o f do ing business. Designing
systems architecture f o r distributed systems invo lves many advanced technical to pics. Rather than
pro vide an exhaustive deco mpo sitio n o f distributed co mputing, the examples that f o llo w are meant
to help managers understand the bigger ideas behind so me o f the terms that they are likely to
enco unter. Let’s start with the term server. This is a tricky o ne because it’s f requently used in two ways: (1) in
a hardware co ntext a server is a co mputer that has been co nf igured to suppo rt requests f ro m o ther
co mputers (e.g., Dell sells servers) and (2) in a so f tware co ntext a server is a pro gram that f ulf ills
requests (e.g., the Apache o pen so urce Web server). Mo st o f the time, server so ftw are resides o n
server-class hardw are, but yo u can also set up a P C, lapto p, o r o ther small co mputer to run server
so f tware, albeit less po werf ully. And yo u can use mainf rame o r super-co mputer-class machines as
servers, to o . Also no te that many f irms cho se no t to o wn so me o f their applicatio ns o r any o f their
o wn server hardware at all. Instead, they pay third-party f irms to ho st their so f tware “in the clo ud.”
This o ptio n is particularly attractive f o r smaller f irms that can’t o r do n’t want to invest in the
expense and expertise asso ciated with o wning and o perating hardware, f o r f irms lo o king f o r extra
co mputing capacity, and f o r f irms that want public servers (e.g., Web sites) to be in f ast, reliable
lo catio ns o utside o f a co mpany’s o wn private netwo rk. The Wo rld Wide Web, like many o ther distributed co mputing services, is what geeks call a client serv er system. Client-server ref ers to two pieces o f so f tware, a client that makes a request, and a
server that receives and attempts to f ulf ill the request. In o ur WWW scenario , the client is the
bro wser (e.g., Internet Explo rer, Chro me, Firef o x, Saf ari). When yo...
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This document was uploaded on 01/31/2014.
- Winter '14