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Status of open source ERP tools

ERP systems have received much attention in the recent years. ERPs are often defined as standardized packaged software designed to integrate an organization’s entire value chain argue that ERPs aim to integrate business processes and ICT into a synchronized suite of procedures, applications and metrics which goes over firms’ boundaries. Kumar and van Hillegersberg(2000) say ERPs originated in the manufacturing industry, and development of the first generation ERPs was an inside-out process, changing from standard inventory control packages, to material requirements planning, material resources planning and then expanding to support the entire organization (second generation ERPs). This evolved software package is described as the next generation ERP, labeled as ERP II, which according to Moller (2005), could be described as next generation enterprise systems. This development has increased the complexity both when it comes to usage as well as development of ERPs. The complexity comes from the fact that ERPs are systems that are supposed to integrate the organization – both inter-organizationally as well as intra-organizationally – and its business processing a one suite package (Koch, 2001). This impacts what stakeholders there are in an ERP value-chain and also how these different stakeholders receive competitive advantage from ERPs. It can be clearly argued that an organization no longer receives competitive advantage by just implementing an ERP. One reason could be that ERPs focus on good (unfortunately, often incorrectly called “best”) practices. Since open source ERPs seem to provide better possibilities for customization, it could be asked if an organization adopts open source ERPs in order to differentiate from competitors.

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