UNH Whittemore School Launches
New Research Center
Enterprise Integration Research Center
to Address Challenges of Manufacturing, Service Industries
Contact: Lori Wright
UNH Media Relations
Aug. 23, 2005
Editors: A.R. “Venky” Venkatachalam, director of
the Enterprise Integration Research Center (EIRC), can be reached
at email@example.com or 603-862-0015.
DURHAM, N.H. – Enterprise integration (EI) is a major challenge
to both manufacturing and service industries in a global economy.
As a result, the University of New Hampshire Whittemore School of
Business and Economics has created a new research center, the Enterprise
Integration Research Center, which will address enterprise integration
“As businesses expand into new markets and establish supply
chains to support global operations, the challenges to integrate
the operations from suppliers to customers grow significantly. Further,
the ability to integrate data from multiple sources within the global
supply chain and analyze data for making effective and timely decisions
plays a major role in determining the success or failure of the
business. Given the little attention focused toward this topic in
academia, creating a research focus in EI will help establish the
center as the leader in this niche area,” said A.R. “Venky”
Venkatachalam, director of the Enterprise Integration Research Center
(EIRC). Venkatachalam is chair of the Decision Sciences Department
at UNH and a professor of information systems.
EIRC’s activities will encompass three areas – research,
teaching, and outreach. The center’s initial core faculty
will represent a multidisciplinary team from a number of academic
and research areas.
“Dr. Venkatachalam has assembled a strong interdisciplinary
team of faculty who can assure the center’s success. As these
faculty secure external funding, the center will become financially
self-sufficient and sustainable over the long term. In short, the
EIRC will be an example of what it is seeking to improve in the
corporate world – efficient and effective means to provide
excellent, integrated services to end users,” said Bruce Mallory,
UNH provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.
Initial research will focus on developing frameworks for effective
integration strategies; developing innovative technology applications
to cultivate information sharing in large organizations and businesses;
and exploring emerging technologies and their impact on organization
competitiveness, including commercialization.
“The expertise provided by the center will be a valuable resource
to private and public companies and organizations, as well as enhancing
significantly the Whittemore School’s undergraduate and graduate
curricula. The professional development opportunities offered by
the center will improve operations in the United States and abroad,
demonstrating the school’s continued commitment to providing
real-world solutions to real-world problems,” said Steve Bolander,
dean of the Whittemore School.
The center will benefit graduate and undergraduate business students,
who will gain expanded instruction in enterprise integration. Specifically,
enterprise integration will be incorporated into graduate business
(MBA and management of technology) curricula in the core and specialization
courses. Undergraduates will learn more about enterprise integration
early in the undergraduate business curriculum as well as in the
information systems management option.
According to Venkatachalam, today’s organizations operate
in a highly competitive global environment and with the advent of
the Internet, organizations have invested heavily in information
technology to better serve their customers (through e-commerce solutions,
for example). To improve the cost effectiveness of their operations,
organizations have established supply chains to link their suppliers,
ensuring an uninterrupted supply of components and raw materials
at competitive prices.
“The trend in the last decade clearly points toward a strategy
that heavily relies on information technology to compete. Most organizations
took the ‘silver bullet’ approach to investing in technology,
hoping that such investment would lead to competitive advantage.
While this approach did improve an organization’s ability
to compete in the global economy it led to mixed results and fell
short of justifying heavy investment in information technology,”
An important lesson learned by organizations — big and small
— from such reliance on information technology, is that in
order to reap the full benefits of technology, many other business
changes need to be made, including streamlining business processes,
training employees, transforming organization culture, and integrating
data, information, and knowledge management, Venkatachalam said.
Since 1990, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) has emerged as a
popular approach to moving toward a fully integrated enterprise.
The approach replaced several disparate legacy systems into a single
vendor and unified database environment. The advantage of such an
approach is that data capture and processing takes place without
any duplication and results in higher quality information accessible
by managers across various functions.
“At the implementation level, reliance on ERP solutions to
help achieve competitive advantage often does not lead to results
promised at earlier planning stages. Most ERP projects ended up
with significant cost and time overruns. Nor do such systems provide
the level of integration promised,” he said. According to
a Standish Group study (2000), the average cost overrun in ERP projects
is 178 percent with an average time overrun of 230 percent, and
a 59 percent reduction in planned functionality.
“Given the lessons learned in the past decade by organizations
working toward enterprise integration, we can conclude that a different
approach to enterprise integration is necessary in order to help
organizations address rapidly changing market needs and ultimately
survive in the global economy,” Venkatachalam said.