We examine the common claim that “best practices” are encompassed and represented in Enterprise Systems (ES). We suggest that an ES can at best only represent the ostensive and not the performative elements of work tasks. Thus, representation of best practice in an ES does not take practical action into account. This has two important implications. First, ostensive abstractions of best practice in an ES are a sparse and superficial representation of a “good” business process, at a specific moment in time. Second, the practical understanding required for performance is often ignored in the ostensive representation of best practice in the implementation of an ES. This constrains user and business adaptability. Inflexible coding of ostensive business tasks furthermore leads to rigidity where flexibility should be sought, to keep on top of the competition. Implications and directions for further research are discussed.
Devadoss, Paul R.; Chiasson, Mike W.; and van Daalem Fuente, Roger F.A., "Knowing a Few Rules Doesn't Mean You Can Play the Game: The LImits of "Best Practice" in Enterprise Systems" (2008). AMCIS 2008 Proceedings. 371.