Title: Very Large Business Applications (VLBA): System Landscapes of the Future
Eds.: Hans-Knud Arndt (University of Magdeburg), Helmut Krcmar (Technische Universität München)
Publisher: Shaker Verlag
Keywords: Business Applications, SAP, Research, Enterprise Information Systems
Since the publication of the enterprise data model by Scheer, in the end of the eighties the interdependence between organizational setup, data and process models, and the information technology infrastructure gained in importance. Today, this interdependence is commonly accepted and the influence of each of the areas onto the other two is used for driving the success of an enterprise. This is why the design and implementation of integrated system landscapes in corporations and beyond their borders is an essential task for both, the Business discipline and the Information Systems discipline.
In 2011, the Centers for Very Large Business Applications (CVLBA) in Magdeburg and Munich continued and increased their successful involvement in this area. With regard to research, the centers were able to expand their leading position in the field of integrating business transactions into increasingly large business applications.
Very Large Business Applications (VLBA) have been a focal point in research at the Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg and Technische Universität München also before 2006, when the two CVLBAs were founded at the two universities. Within the centers the combined experience of various faculties from a broad variety of disciplines including computer science, business administration, economics, psychology, library sciences, and law is now bundled.
The definition of a VLBA builds upon the definition of business applications, which are applications implementing processes for value creation in organizations, but exhibits the following specific characteristics:
- VLBAs have no geographical, organizational, cultural or technical limitations.
- VLBAs may be implemented as business application(s) as well as whole systems and system landscapes.
- VLBAs are of strategic importance to the organization because a change in the VLBA leads to high financial, personnel, and organizational costs.
VLBAs support different departments of organizations independent of their size. Enterprise-Resource-Planning (ERP), Supply-Chain-Management (SCM), and Customer-Relationship-Management (CRM) systems are examples of VLBAs. The centers’ objectives are the integrated study of very large business applications and their underlying technologies – their design, their implementation, their management but also their impact on the economy and on society as a whole. An interdisciplinary approach is essential in this context, to improve the efficiency and quality of business information systems development and the business processes they support. Expected benefits of the CVLBAs’ research output comprise improvements in the management of the deployment process, increased user satisfaction and the delivery of more functionality to the market concerning software and related products.
In the context of this broad range of research areas, the centers focus on the following research efforts:
- Stakeholder Relationship:
Managing stakeholder relationship deals with internal and external contacts of an organization. The stakeholders’ requirements and perception of information and communication systems determine the development and operation of these systems. In terms of process orientation the material and immaterial relationships between an organization and its stakeholders can be differentiated into input (e. g. retrieval of knowledge and information for added value) and output (e. g. reporting to stakeholders).
- Life cycle of Information and Communication Systems:
Like physical products, information and communication systems have a specific life cycle. It comprises not only the development and operation as well as the extension and adaptation of these systems but also the disposal (or replacement) of them is a part of this life cycle.
- Continuous Improvement:
The aspect of information and communication systems’ life cycle management is often misinterpreted in literature. Continuous improvement is not the development of systems with an endless life time. It is the improvement of the process to manage information and communication systems and services continuously.
- Sustainability of Information and Communication Systems:
The sustainability of information and communication systems and services becomes increasingly important. The sustainable development of these systems can have positive effects (e. g. improved understanding and efficiency in working with these systems).
The continuous improvement of VLBAs and the processes supported by them during their life cycle often goes hand in hand with the question how the performance of VLBAs can be modelled and evaluated, to understand potentials for improvement.
The following articles represent the current scientific activities in the research field of Very Large Business Applications. They are embedded in the context of the topics mentioned above.
The achievements of the past years would not have been possible without the support of partners in Germany and abroad, in academia, industry, and public administration. In particular, we would like to thank our industrial sponsor SAP AG.
Prof. Dr. Hans-Knud Arndt
Prof. Dr. Helmut Krcmar
Technische Universität München