Technology monoculture: ERP systems, “techno-process diversity” and the threat to the information technology ecosystem
Enterprise Resource Planning; ERP; Monoculture; Accounting Systems
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
During the past decade, enterprise resource planning (ERP) system implementations have exponentially grown within first large and then small- and medium-sized enterprises. Contemporary implementations, often through application service providers (ASPs), increase already existing pressures to adopt the embedded “best practices” that have been incorporated into the ERP software. The result is the rapid spread of generic business processes enabled through one of only a handful of leading ERP packages. This chapter focuses on the extant research on biodiversity and its focus on the negative effects of monoculture strategies – that is, the focus on a single crop (system) versus a diversity of crops (systems). The biodiversity research establishes a clear pattern of deleterious effects resulting from the vulnerabilities of monoculture strategies. These patterns are mirrored in the ERP environment as vulnerabilities loom from the diminution of diverse business processes, limited adaptability to business environment changes given technology-driven/enabled processes, and increased susceptibility to widespread parasite damage through cyber-attacks. The implications of the study raise questions as to the sustainability of accounting systems, the business environment, and society as a whole from the rapid implementation of sterilized business processes and uniformly vulnerable enterprise software.