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May 10, 2005

Big Mess on Campus: ERP vs. Loose Coupling
(with another AJAX example: Zuggest (amazon.com lookup)

CIO Magazine's Thomas Wailgum writes in Big Mess on Campus about how difficult it is to do ERP - especially in  educational institutions:

These recent campus meltdowns illustrate how the growing reliance on expensive ERP systems has created nightmare scenarios for some college CIOs. [ ... ]  They drool over the integrated views that an ERP system offers of finance, HR, student records, financial aid and more.

But those same officials often fail to see the enormous cultural and technical obstacles that can delay—and even cripple—such ambitious implementations. A recent survey found that university ERP implementations have taken far longer than expected and cost five times more than what the projected price tag was. "There are a lot of people who have scar tissue" from ERP failures, says Bob Weir, vice president of IS at Northeastern University—including himself.

The article goes on to detail ERP disasters are UMass, Standford, and others.

Big comprehensive systems are hard to do and usually result in inflexible, set-in-stone-for-years systems.  The sweet spot is with systems that couple loosely - either at the middleware layer (i.e. using  a custom J2EE web app fronting for disparate backend systems that contain the data of record) or at the client layer (using open http/Javascript/XML APIs).  How about this example pulling Amazon results directly into the web page as you type...Zuggest.

Posted by larryb at 08:53 AM [permanent link]
Category: Web and Software Development