Introduction

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is an industry term commonly used to describe a business management system that integrates activities across functional departments including planning, manufacturing, purchasing of parts, controlling and maintaining inventory, tracking orders, etc. ERP can also include application modules for the finance and human resources (HR) management of a business. ERP systems can boost the performance of the organizationsí resource planning, management control and operational control. As such, ERP systems have become more popular and many ERP systems are now being developed and evolved for large organizations as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The ERP industry consists of hundreds of enterprises worldwide and a growing number of companies providing services around open-source ERP systems. According to Gartner, in 2007, worldwide ERP market revenue grew 16, 7% leading to a market of more than $20,7 billion. The trend is expecting to continue over the last couples of years.

Typically, developing and maintaining ERP systems is labor-intensive. Return on Investment (ROI) and Return on Values (ROV) for a company that develops an ERP system largely depends on the agility of the company to evolve, maintain, and customize/configure its ERP to respond to new business needs and emerging market segments. Evolutionability, maintainability, and configurability are thus at the heart of the ERP business.

Software Product Line fits naturally into the ERP business. For example, ERP systems can benefit greatly from the concepts of commonalities and variabilities to enhance evolutionability and maintainability. Moreover, product-line concepts can substantially reduce current complex and tedious configuration procedures that are not only resource-intensive, but also error-prone.

The central theme of this workshop is to bring together researchers and practitioners in software product line and the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) industry to report on their experience and investigate current and future practical challenges in order to adopt product line architectures (PLAs) for the development of ERP systems. The key specific objectives of this workshop can be summarized as follows:

  • Collate current practices and experience in developing ERP systems using product line architectures
  • Explore and discuss how the ERP industry can benefit from the PLA
  • Discuss and document challenges and barriers for adopting PLAs in the ERP industry
  • Investigate various innovative techniques for modeling, developing, and implementing ERP systems using PLAs
  • Initiate a Working Group that focuses on using PLAs for the ERP domain to further develop this area and its practice

A broader objective of this workshop is to investigate and to document practical experiences in adopting PLAs in different domains. We believe that, sharing the challenges and barriers in introducing PLAs to a concrete domain can be useful for practitioners across various domains.