Chapter 1

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MCPress

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Business Instructor Guide

1

E
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Business Textbook

Chapter 1

Applications Review

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Introduction

A suite of application software lies at the heart of every
medium to large sized organization

An early mistake in e
-
commerce applications:


Failing to integrate with company’s legacy business
applications

The difference between successful and failed business:


Effective and innovative use of current technology to manage
and drive business


1979 Fortune 500: 40% no longer exist

Must understand core, line of business applications to
effectively design an e
-
commerce strategy

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The Software Evolution

Advancement of programming languages, databases,
and tools for developing systems


Software offerings key to evaluating technology solutions


Hardware purchases largely based on compatible software

Modern computing:


Began at end of WWII, initiated by U.S. Military projects


By 1950s came commercial systems from IBM & UNIVAC


By 1960s large companies began to rely on computing

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The Software Evolution

Software vendors:


By early 1970s U.S. government ruled that IBM held a
monopoly on the computer market


IBM could no longer bundle hardware with software and
services for technology solutions


This opened door for rapid growth of software vendors

Software:


Term coined in 1960s to refer to programmable instruction
sets used to run applications


High Level Languages popularized: FORTRAN, COBOL

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Programming Languages

Third Generation Languages (3GL):


Examples: COBOL and IBM’s RPG


3GLs are sustaining the majority of business applications
today


In IBM server market, many employed programmers are
skilled in COBOL or RPG

UNIX and C programming language:


A lot of OS code, including UNIX, is written in C


In 1980s, C was hyped as open language that could be
developed on one platform, then migrated to other platforms


But in reality, it didn’t happen very easily . . .

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Programming Languages

The PC and BASIC programming language:


BASIC developed by Microsoft to run on PC and DOS


In 1980s, BASIC allowed vendors to produce software for
emerging PC market


BASIC later gave birth to Visual Basic


a key language in
client/server and desktop applications

Object
-
Oriented Languages:


Apple’s SmallTalk, C++, SUN’s Java (“write once, run
anywhere” guarantee)

Extending legacy apps to e
-
Business apps:


Involves integrating with 3GLs (COBOL, RPG, C)

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Application and Database Design

The 1980s brought on the progression of:


Relational data modeling


Superior programming languages


Structured techniques for application design

Key relational database modeling principles defined:


Normal form


Entity relationship diagrams


Process models

An understanding of relational database structures is
important because most corporate databases have been
designed with these principles

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Systems Application Architecture

SAA:


IBM’s framework defining how applications could be
developed to run consistently and port easily across their
major computing platforms



Organizations adhering to SAA standards produced
applications with commonalities for easier usability

CUA (Common User Interface):


A subset of SAA



standard ways of using menus, function
keys, help panels, and so on such that a user could grow to
expect a common interface amongst software interfaces


Examples: F1=Help, F3=Exit, F4=Prompt; Work With
screens

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CASE Technologies

Sophisticated tools allowing IT shops to build
applications better and faster:


Upper CASE tools


Assisted project managers and software designers in graphically
modeling a system to be developed


Lower CASE tools


Development environments that included a proprietary, higher
-
level
language which would generate lower level code, such as RPG,
COBOL, or C



Fourth Generation Languages


A result of CASE tools


For iSeries platform, examples: LANSA, Synon, AS/SET

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Client/Server

Successful CASE tools evolved to
include capabilities
to produce GUI interfaces, multi
-
tiered architectures,
and internet access


This helped revolutionize the client/server market

Shift from server
-
centric to client
-
centric interfaces


Server
-
centric:

application interface resides on server and is
text
-
based


Client
-
centric:

database resides on server, but interface
resides on client PC for better visual appeal

PC client and server “talk” to each other via Local Area
Networks (LANs)

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Client/Server

Middleware:


Required software to facilitate client/server computing


Allows programs on client workstation to interact with
programs and/or databases on server platform


Resulting standards: ODBC, APPC, OLE 2

“Fat” client vs “Thin” client:


Fat client:

large part of application is installed and running on
client workstation


Thin client:

more of the application resides on the server


Three
-
tiered model:


User Interface, Business Logic, and Data could be spread
over three platforms, but model f
ailed to take off

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Business Intelligence

When corporations are able to analyze business trends
through the use of query and reporting tools to be able
to make sound decisions about their company

Several buzzwords to be familiar with:



Data Warehousing (predecessor term for BI)



OLAP (On Line Analytical Processing)


EIS (Executive Information System)


DSS (Decision Support System
)

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Lotus Notes

Allows sharing of both document
-
based information
and multimedia objects within workgroups

Allows distribution of this information to entire
enterprises via replication or outside the enterprise via
global networks

Moved full force into the Web arena for collaboration
style applications via
:


Notes 4.5


Domino Server

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Back Office vs Front Office

As desktop and LAN solutions evolved, many
organizations invested in PC server technology, and
desktop solutions, to deploy departmental applications
like sales force automation tools, image and document
management, email, and groupware offerings.

To differentiate this style of solution from the more
typical, business application suite which would be used
to run the core business processes, these desktop
applications were termed “Front Office” and the core
line of business applications were termed “Back
Office”.

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Emergence of Internet Applications

IT thought it had it all figured out, until the mid
-
1990s,
when the Internet took center stage

IT quickly realized it could serve an additional user
base


trading partners and end customers


via
distributed systems and web
-
enabled applications

This marked the birth of e
-
Business, or e
-
Commerce

The leads us to the
goal of this class
:

To explore the various approaches and technologies for
integrating e
-
Business with the rest of an organization’s
business application suites

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Industry Verticals

A grouping of similar organizations representing the
nature of their business and, therefore, are indicative of
their typical business model, customer focus, objectives
and, of course, the type of software applications that
they will need to run their business

Every application software vendor, and many of the big
hardware solution vendors, like IBM, have defined
their own groupings for industry verticals with many
similarities and some variations

See textbook for key industry verticals and common
sectors for each vertical…

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Home Grown vs Packaged Software

“Home Grown” applications:


Developed in house by the organization’s development team
as opposed to software that was purchased


Some organizations start with packaged software but then
customize it to such an extent that they can no longer use
upgrades from the package vendor, and it essentially
becomes in
-
house, maintained software

Timeframes exist in an organization’s history when
they decide it’s time to replace applications versus
continue to maintain the old


For example, Y2K
-
compliant applications

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Home Grown vs Packaged Software

Situations driving business to replace an application:


Operational Problems


Competitive Edge


Technology Issues


Significant Changes Needed with Core Application

Factors influencing companies to decide between
choosing package software or building their own:




Fit to the Business



Timeframe for Delivery



Initial Implementation Costs



Ongoing Costs



Maintainability and Control



Staying Competitive



Risk



Integration Strategies

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Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

A common acronym to describe back office systems
and packaged software solutions representing large,
integrated application suites offered by vendors like:


SAP


JDEdwards


Baan


Oracle


PeopleSoft

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Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

Represents the integrated suite of applications or
modules within an enterprise that are dedicated to the
core line of business transaction processing which
encompasses everything from


production planning to


inventory management to


order taking and tracking to


accounting

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Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

ERP applications and how they relate to both the customer
centric and supply chain centric areas of a business have been
refined, leading to solutions for:


Customer Relationship Management


Supply Chain Management


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Customer Relationship Management

Focuses on technology solutions dedicated to managing
and improving all dealings and interactions with an
organization’s customer base

The customer relationship touches just about all
systems and functional areas within the company

Why companies should invest in a CRM strategy:


Retain customers


Increase customer loyalty


Generate new business


Increase revenue and profit

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Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management software and solutions have
become a focus in the new millennium

A traditional supply chain identifies the various
business partnership and customer relationships from
raw materials to finished product sold to a consumer:

2

nd

Tier

Suppliers

2

nd

Tier

Suppliers

2

nd

Tier

Suppliers

1

st

Tier

Suppliers

1

st

Tier

Suppliers

Assembly,

Manufacturing,

Packaging

Upstream

Distribution

Centers

Retailers

Downstream

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Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

Used in automation of supply chain interactions

Been around since the 1970s

Adopted by only less than 10% of businesses:


Mostly by the very large corporations who may enforce their trading
partners to exchange transactions electronically with them


Setting up EDI has been an expensive proposition

Typical example of an EDI transaction set:


Purchase Request followed by a Purchase Order Acknowledgement, sent
back to the original requestor


The data exchanged between trading partners to perform this transaction
would be set up using a predefined record layout


The partners agree on an EDI standard, such as ANSI X.12 or EDI
-
FACT

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Summary

One must keep up with rapidly changing technologies, while
understanding organization’s business goals and its corporate
applications infrastructure


Many organizations support a variety of applications developed
using various computer languages, tools, platforms, and
architectures, plus a mixture of packaged and home grown
software solutions that all must inter
-
relate

Some companies have implemented ERP solutions

Highly effective applications infrastructures require that the
organization’s suite of applications be tightly integrated with
streamlined business processes and information flowing easily
between the applications