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An Enterprise System and a Business Simulation Provide Many Opportunities for Interdisciplinary Teaching

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Document pages: 8 pages

Abstract: Enterprise systems provide companies with centralized data management, business process support and integrated data flow between functional areas. Thanks to academic alliances offered by companies such as SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and others, universities can also take advantage of the integrated features of enterprise system to give business students an interdisciplinary learning experience. Businesses have found that having an enterprise system does not automatically lead to a competitive advantage and employees may not take advantage of better access to data for analysis and decision-making. There is a gap in the workplace between users skills and what they need to know to fully utilize enterprise systems. To truly be "knowledge workers " employees need skills in five areas: (1) technical, (2) statistical and analytical, (3) knowledge of data, (4) knowledge of the business, and (5) communication partnering. Business school graduates with hands-on experience with enterprise systems have a stronger set of knowledge work skills and are better prepared to use enterprise systems. This paper describes what one business school in the southwest United States has done over a five-year plan to incorporate enterprise systems software into several courses and teach an integrated curricula. The goals of the plan were to give students hands-on experience with enterprise systems, teach a cross-functional perspective of business and help students understand the way to use enterprise systems for decision support. One course in particular is highlighted in this paper because of its extensive use of SAP enterprise system software and ERPsim, a simulation that runs in SAP.

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