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Journal of Information Systems Education

Abstract

The purpose of this teaching case is to help students gain an appreciation of some of the challenges inherent in implementing large software packages such as ERP systems. First it attempts to give a concrete sense of what it means to “configure” software. It then introduces the student to some of the standard dilemmas a company faces trying to make packaged software fit specific business needs. In looking at the gaps between a specific business process and the ERP application’s functionality, the case introduces the student to the way in which ERP systems demand structure in the business processes they support, and the resulting tension between managerial control and organizational flexibility. The case also illustrates some of the ways companies try to address the gaps between what they want and what the software offers.

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