The future development of ERP-systems´ supply chain through the concepts of Software-as-a-Service and Cloud Computing

Christian Rosenkilde Rode & Nanna N. Poulsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The thesis concentrates about Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and how this concept influences ERPsystems’ supply chain (SC) prospectively. Further, what changes and challenges this influence will cause for the actors in the supply chain according to SCM- and network theory. From this derived our definition of SaaS as being a business model, where users access the software over the Internet through a subscription model. The purchased software is then being hosted by an external company off-premise, who runs multiple users on the same server due to standardized solutions. Moreover, SMBs is believed to adopt the concept of SaaS first because of a larger incentive, compared to large companies, where most of them already have implemented traditional ERP-solutions beforehand. Due to the future growth in SaaS ERP-solutions, there will be a transformation in the way of selling and delivering ERP-systems. Traditionally, ERP-systems where customized according to a specific end customer, whom would pay for the system up-front and thereby gain complete ownership over the software. At the same time, the end customer was responsible of maintenance, operating the ERP-system and purchasing the necessary hardware in order to run it. As a result of SaaS, the traditional ERP-SC will therefore change as SaaS is getting more adopted by companies. This development prospectively reflects in the concept of Cloud Computing (CC). CC was further defined through a production model, that consists of an agile and scalable network (the cloud), which is accessed as needed through the Internet by multiple users. Moreover, it consists of several IT-ressources, which are shared in the cloud. The transformation from SaaS to CC means, that the influence SaaS will have on ERP-systems’ SC prospectively reflects through a Cloud ERP-SC, whose evolution will cause changes and challenges for the actors in the ERP-SC. In order to recognize those changes, the traditional ERP-SC and SaaS ERP-supply chain was analyzed and compared to provide indications about future development. From this derived, that some actors will expire from the ERP-SC while others will arise. Further, SMBs will be the first to adopt cloudsolutions, followed by large companies. Moreover, tendencies have appeared towards an evolution in the ERP-SC, that will appear as being a direct or an indirect Cloud ERP-SC, where companies will move their data into private held clouds. At the same time there will be an increased focus on developing partner relationships and integrate or convert different ERP-systems.

EducationsMSc in Supply Chain Management , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages204