Maintenance of ERP :
ERP maintenance presented a key definitions. First, we offered definitions for traditional business systems maintenance. We defined maintenance of a traditional business system as consisting of (at least) enhancement (changes to the functionality/requirements of the system) and correction (changes made to correct errors in the system).
Then we offered comparable definitions for the ERP setting. We defined maintenance of an ERP system as consisting of the following:
· Customization (changes made to ERP functionality via internal configuration switches)
· Extension: changes made via ERP system "exits" to...
o Custom-code "add-ons"
o Third-party vendor "bolt-ons"
o Legacy systems
· Modification (changes made to the code of the ERP itself--either by the user or the vendor)
The underlying concern here was that, with the large level of maintenance/enhancement needed by traditional information systems, it might not be possible to perform comparable changes to an ERP. If that were the case, the longevity of use of an ERP could be severely compromised.
We asked whether the respondents had made changes to their ERP's functionality since implementation
Everyone had done "customization" (using configuration switches); all but one had done "extensions" (half of those had done "add-ons" and/or "bolt-ons" and/or linking to legacy code); a third of the total had used the vendor-supplied language to build extensions. Two-thirds of the respondents had had modification performed (changes to the ERP code itself), largely done by the users themselves or (to an extent half that for user changes) by the vendor of the ERP. (Note: User package software modification is generally considered to be a very bad practice.)
We then asked the respondents to compare the ease of ERP changes with comparable changes to a traditional, custom-built information system. A third of the respondents chose not to express an opinion on this matter (likely coming from the user community instead of a traditional IS background).
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