University: University of South Australia
Code: INFS 5024
PART 1: Questions about Enterprise Resource Planning
1. Identify the main functional areas of a typical manufacturing company and briefly describe the main activities in each area.
2. Briefly explain how and why an ERP system improves efficiencies and productivity in a company that previously did not have an ERP system.
3. Explain how SAP captures and (internally) represents nearly all aspects of a company’s functional areas. Note that this is a question about the static aspects of a company and so your answer must focus on organisational structures and company data.
4. Explain what is meant by the term “Master Data” and how does it differ from transactional data.
5. Explain how a SAP Master Data Record is structured using organisational levels and views (screens). Why are Master Data Records structured in this way? Use the example of a Customer Master to support your explanation.
6. Outline the difference between a Customer Master and a Material Master Data Record and explain why a Material Master is more complex than a Customer Master?
PART 2: Business Intelligence and Enterprise Resource Planning
Business Intelligence is a rapidly developing component of all ERP system. Explain:
1. What is business intelligence and why it is an important business tool?
Traditional Business Intelligence is very closely linked to how data is organised, stored and how it is managed. Can we derive Business Intelligence directly from a database or do we need to implement a data mart or a data warehouse? Explain your conclusion(s).
2. Explain the difference between a database and a data warehouse. Briefly explain what the terms OLTP and OLAP mean and why these terms are important when discussing the difference between a database and a data warehouse.
3. An important measure of any database management system is how effectively related data can be collected, organized and presented as reports, and also for business intelligence. What techniques from data warehousing and data mining would be used to facilitate this.
4. Technical advances in memory chips (see SAP HANA) have enabled “real-time” (operational) Business Intelligence. Explain how this works and why it is a very valuable tool for employees at all levels and for the company as a whole.
Part 1: Questions about Enterprise Resource Planning
When it comes to the different area of a manufacturing company, there are different functional areas that can be taken into consideration. These are administration, Finance along with buying of the raw materials and then convert those materials into finished goods. The main function of the manufacturing organization is to produce different type of finished goods based on their organizational type. Along with that, the manufacturing organizations have the human resources area that mainly deals with the labors of the organization. When it comes to the manufacturing software module of ERP, according to Stanciu and Tinca (2013), it provides the organization with the proper control over the different planning and the production related activities that consist routing, MRP, MPS along with formula management. In addition to that, it also includes the WIP accounting and the shop floor control.
Every business organization wants to go ahead with their business along with the proper amount of effectiveness and efficiency. The evaluation in the technological field has provided the organizations with the new tool that they can use in order to enhance their efficiency. This is Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). The ERP software solution includes different modules that can easily create a link between the different types of organizational data. Therefore, the business organizations have an ample amount of choices regarding their ERP module.
As ERP enhances the business organizations to join up different areas of business to a single window, therefore it allows the managers to have a proper access to the entire database. Therefore, it enhances the efficiency of the organization. Along with that, the ERP system can also reduce the cost that are related to the inventory and the different operational cost. Moreover, by using the proper ERP solution managers of an organization can easily enhance their efficiency as it helps regarding the different strategic planning. Moreover, the ERP solutions also provide the organization with the efficiency over the financial controls. Along with that, it also enhances the overall organizational performance (Helo et al. 2014). These are the certain ways through which, the organizations are improving their effectiveness and efficiency by implementing the ERP solutions.
The different organizational units are the primary elements that are mainly used for the proper representation of the structure of the enterprise in the SAP system. The main organizational units are the clients along with the business area, plant and the company code. All the different organizational units in SAP are assigned with a proper code when they are selected for a particular operation. When it comes to the implementation of the SAP system, it involves proper mapping of the enterprise structure in to the different organizational units that are mainly defined by SAP. The different business processes are able to run smoothly by using the different resources efficiently. In addition to that, according to Mijacet al. (2013), all the requirements that are related to the internal and external reporting are need to be met. Therefore, it can be said that the SAP represents all the aspects that are related to the organization’s functional areas.
SAP R/3 mainly works over the real time data set. The most important thing while creating any data is the proper maintenance of the data integrity. The SAP R/3 data can be divided into two parts. One of them is the master data and the other one is the transactional data.
The master data is the data set that is generated centrally and which is valid and authentic for all the different applications. The data set remains constant; however, the organizations need to upgrade it regularly. As for example, it can be said that the vendor is a type of master data that can be utilized for purchasing orders or contracts.
According to Romanov and Varfolomeeva (2013), when it comes to create the differentiation in between the master data and the transactional data the main thing that can be said that the transactional data is mainly associated with the processing of the business transactions whereas the master data remains unchanged over a certain period of time.
This question mainly deals with the generation of the SAP master data by using both the views and organizational level. When it comes to the organizational level data, it includes the general data of the organization. The first one of them consist the address view. In this view, the data regarding the customer’s address are stored. In the next phase, the sales view is designed which includes the details of entire sales. Finally, it has the accounting view, which deals with the different details that are related to the accounts (Leon, 2014). On the other hand, when it comes to the views or screens, it includes the general data along with the company code and sales data. This helps the organizations to have a proper idea regarding their different functionalities.
The customer master contains all the data that are related to the customers and are very much necessary for order processing, invoices along with the deliveries and the payments of the customers. This type of data is shared in between the accounting department along with the sales department. In addition to that, in customer master, the data set is mainly divided into three levels. These are the general data, the company code data, and the sales area data.
On the other hand, when it comes to the material master data, it includes all the records regarding the proper set of information of all the materials that an organization purchase, stores and produces. This type of structure is designed because it can reflect the entire structure of the organization. However, some material master data is valid for all the organizational levels, while some of them are valid for the central levels only (Pai and Rane, 2014). Along with that, industry sector and the type of materials divide the material master records. The different industry that can be taken into consideration while deriving the material master data are retail sector along with the service providers, chemical and the mechanical engineering.
Part 2: Business Intelligence and Enterprise Resource Planning
Business intelligence is considered as the concept that mainly involves the delivery along with the integration of the relevant business information of a particular business organization. The organizations may use the business intelligence in order to find out different events that can identify the recent business trends. Below are the reasons based on which it can be said that the business intelligence is important for the business organizations.
However, the concept of business intelligence cannot be derived from the database. The data warehouse needs to take into the action as it has the ability to extract the data set. Therefore, the organizations need to use the data warehousing technology in order to have the business intelligence platform.
In database, the level of performance is low in order to analyze the queries whereas the data warehouse provides a good level of performance for the different analytical queries. In addition to that, the database uses the OLTP and the data warehouse use the OLAP.
OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) servers are mainly based on the multi-dimensional data model. It mainly allows the different managers along with the analysts to get a proper overview of the information and analyze that set of information properly. Therefore, it is much useful for the data warehousing. It includes the different operations such as roll-up, drill-down along with slicing and dicing. These are mainly used in the data warehousing technique in order to analyze the proper set of data.
OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) is considered as a class of software programs that are very much able to support the different transaction oriented applications over the internet platform (Tarhini et al. 2015). They are used for the order entry along with the different financial transactions, CRM. As this are mainly apart of record keeping, therefore the OLTP is used in the database.
When it comes to the different techniques that are related to the data mining, it has many of them. The different data mining techniques are association, classification, clustering, prediction along with the sequential patter and the decision trees.
On the other hand, the data warehousing also has some different techniques. The indexes can be used in order to perform the data collection from the data warehouse (Pai and Rane, 2014). Along with that, the integrity constraints can also be used. In addition to that, the parallel execution can also be considered. Moreover the optimization of the storage requirements and the start queries and the 3NF schemas can also be considered while collecting data from the data warehouse.
The adoption of business intelligence in the memory chips enhances the organizational performance as it provides the management of the organization with the recent views of the organizational condition. Therefore, the management can take certain amount of decisions regarding those factors and they can take further steps in order to mitigate any kind of issue that may arise due to those situations. In addition to that, the real time data also helps the organizations to take a proper decision regarding their business functionalities. The proper decision-making also helps the organization to understand the areas tha they need to make their strengths. Therefore, it is necessary for the organizations to have the business intelligence in order to have a competitive edge over the other rival organizations.