A Glossary of ERP Terminology - always evolving...

Term Meaning
Alignment Fit between variables such as strategy, information systems, structure and culture.
Analysis and Design The stage of analysing what users and business functions require of an information system, and designing of the system to take account of them.
Application Service Provider A company providing business applications such as e-mail, workflow or groupware to other companies under contract.
Autonomy Degree of freedom a person has in deciding how to do their work
Back-office Systems Administrative processes or systems that companies can often centralise in specialised processing centres or outsource to other companies.
Bottom-up Approach The practice of developing the IS plan by concentrating on the current and expected problems as expressed by people at the operating level of the organisation.
Business Alignment Strategy The IS strategy is generated from the business strategy through techniques and models such as those suggested by Porter (Porter and Millar, 1985)or Treacy and Wiersema (1993).
Business Information Systems Information systems used to support the functional areas of business such as sales, marketing and human resource management.
Business Intelligence (Systems) The process and the systems that are designed to mine the vast amounts of data residing in ERP databases.
Business Process Innovation Identifying new ways of carrying out business operations, often enabled by new information systems.
Business Process View Sees satisfying customers' requirements as central to the process of developing a supply system that will operate without waste. The orientation is towards speed of response and two-way flow of information.
Business-to-Business (B2B) Using the Internet to conduct commercial transactions between organisations.
Centralisation This occurs when a relatively large number of decisions are taken by management at the top of the organisation.
Centralization The degree to which formal authority to make discretionary choices is concentrated in an individual, unit, group, or level.
Cloud / SaaS / On Demand Describes a software application delivery model, based on consumers accessing remote computers for their software systems and in the main are licenced on a ‘pay as you go’ basis.
Competitive Advantage Arises from discovering and implementing ways of competing that are unique and distinctive from those of rivals, and that can be sustained.
Complexity The degree of horizontal, vertical and spatial differentiation in an organisation.
Configuration Redesigning a piece of software to suit the needs of a particular business.
Contingency Approaches Express the idea that performance depends on an organisation having a structure appropriate to its environment.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) The process of maximising the value proposition to the customer through all interactions, both online and traditional. Effective CRM advocates developing one-to-one relationships with valuable customers.
Customisation Adding non-standard features to the software by adding or changing program code.
Data Raw facts, figures and events that have not been analysed.
Decentralisation When relatively large numbers of decisions are taken lower down the organisation and in operating units.
Decision Support Systems A computer-based system, almost interactive, designed to assist managers in making decisions.
eBusiness Suite Oracle Corporation ERP software.
Electronic Business (e-business) When all information exchanges, both within an organisation and with external stakeholders, are conducted electronically.
Electronic Commerce (e-commerce) When all information exchanges between an organisation and its customers are conducted electronically.
Enterprise (Organisation) structure Way in which an enterprise/organisation organises it use of people, processes and technology to carry out the tasks necessary to achieve its objectives.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) An integrated process of planning and managing all resources and their use in the entire enterprise. It includes contacts with business partners. Also described as “fully integrated process-driven systems that operate over the Internet. ERP is identified as an extended enterprise management system that integrates traditional ERP applications (manufacturing, distribution, financials, human resources, marketing, and sales) with supply chain management (SCM), customer relationship management (CRM), and B2B e-commerce applications”, “fully integrated process-driven systems that operate over the Internet” (Radovilsky, 2004).
Enterprise Software Integrated software that supports enterprise computing and ERP. The most notable examples are SAP R/3 and Oracle eBusiness Suite.
Enterprise An entity, regardless of its legal form, engaged in economic activities.
Forms of Enterprise or business entity include:
Sole proprietorship
Joint stock company
Limited liability partnership
Limited liability company
Business cooperative
Lease enterprise/Franchise
Production cooperative
Social enterprise
State and municipal bodies
Enterprise Member Individual companies consisting of one or more enterprise modules that contribute value through the delivery of their competencies to one or more specific tasks of a collaborative activity within an enterprise.
Enterprise Module An autonomous cross-functional part of an individual company consisting of highly task specific competencies that determine its value proposition complemented by lower task specific relational interface capabilities that enable the unique competence to be deployed within a collaborative activity of an enterprise.
Enterprise Management The coordination of the delivery of tasks and activities between enterprise members.
Enterprise Structure The model of roles, responsibilities, processes, functions and controls amongst the enterprise leader and enterprise members.
Enterprise Design Enterprise design involves the evaluation of potential value members for participation in an enterprise, the allocation of the value member to tasks in the collaborative activity, and the selection of an appropriate relationship strategy and structure with the value member based on its engage-ability.
Enterprise Leader The enterprise member who possesses the unifying competence for enterprise design and management.
Enterprise-wide System An information system (IS) that encompasses the entire enterprise implemented and integrated on a network.
Extended Enterprise A coalition or self-organizing network of firms that combine their economic output, by concentrating on their core competencies and buying in other inputs, to provide products and services to the market.
Formalization The extent to which jobs within organisations are standardized.
Horizontal differentiation Competitive advantage derived from offering different features rather than different functions.
Implementation Configuring and putting a system into use within an organisation.
Information Architecture A conceptualisation of the manner in which information requirements are met by the information system.
Information Economics An approach to cost-benefit analysis that incorporates organisational objectives in a scoring methodology to assess more accurately the value of intangible benefits.
Information Resources Management All activities related to planning, organising, acquiring, maintaining, securing and controlling IS resources.
Information System Plan A document that describes how the company will realise the information vision by allocating time and resources to it.
Information System A set of people, procedures and resources that collects and transforms data into information and disseminates it.
Information Systems Management The planning, acquisition, development and use of information systems.
Information Technology The processing of data by computers, including the management of information and the development of computer science.
Information Useful knowledge derived from data.
Inter-organisational System Information system that links organisations electronically.
Job enlargement Enhancing what a job entails by increasing the duties, responsibilities and authority vested in the role.
Organisational Structure The ways in which tasks are divided and coordinated within an organisation.
Organisation design The definition of roles, business processes and reporting hierarchy within an organisation.
Phishing This is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication, such as an email or mobile phone text message.
Relational Embeddedness Refers to the nature and strength of ties organisations develop in the extended enterprise and hence provides a guide to their level of commitment.
Requirements Engineering Process of identifying stakeholder needs for software or business applications.
SAP Name of the leading ERP vendor and application: System Analysis and Program Development and later Systems Applications and Products in Data Processing ( Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung, Systeme, Anwendungen und Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung)
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) Provision of software by subscription. Along with its sibling cloud computing this is a way for organisations, small and medium-sized businesses, to access applications and technology that they could not otherwise afford.
Spatial differentiation Situation in which competitors cite their physical location as a means of competitive advantage, usually eliminated by having a strong “web presence” and strengths in eCommerce.
Stakeholders People and groups with an interest in a project and who can affect the outcome.
Structural Embeddedness The extent to which organisations do not just have relationships with each other but also with the same third parties; thus, many parties are linked indirectly by third parties, creating a network of collaborations.
System Approach Looks at the different parts of an interacting set of activities as a whole and considers the best way for the whole to function.
System A set of interrelated parts designed to achieve a purpose.
Technological levelling(-out) Elimination of competitive advantage acquired through deployment of superior technology.
Technological matrixing Combining core competencies that represent different expertise in software engineering.
Top-down Approach A top-down approach develops the IS plan by identifying those applications that senior management believe would be most helpful to the organisation.
Vertical differentiation Competitive advantage derived from offering different functions rather than different features.
Virtual component Product or service that can be delivered electronically; usually refers to something that is software related.
Virtual Enterprise A temporary alliance of organisations that come together to share skills or core competencies and resources in order to better respond to market opportunities
Vertically Integrated Enterprise An enterprise comprised of companies in a supply chain who typically are commonly owned.
Virtual Organisations Virtual organisations deliver goods and services but have few, if any, of the physical features of conventional businesses. A typical example is a Shared Services Centre.

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