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Business Processes and Information Systems

  • Teacher(s):
  • Course given in: English
  • ECTS Credits:
  • Schedule: Autumn Semester 2017-2018, 2.0h. course + 2.0h exercices (weekly average)
      WARNING :   this is an old version of the syllabus, old versions contain   OBSOLETE   data.
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Effective business strategies increasingly center on the intelligent use of information technology (IT), e.g. to quickly react to customer demand and to efficiently manage their resources. Over the last decades, companies have consequently implemented enterprise systems to automate and integrate business processes and to connect the entire organization, including suppliers and customers, in a web-enabled computing environment.

This course introduces students to the critical role of business processes and the enabling IT systems in modern organizations. At the end of the course, students will understand

  1. the main business processes – supply-side, demand-side and support processes – and their integration within the firm as well as with customers and suppliers,
  2. the principles and capabilities of state-of-the-art enterprise systems, such as enterprise resource planning systems (ERP), supply chain management systems (SCM), customer relationship management systems (CRM) and business intelligence (BI) systems,
  3. business process innovations introduced by latest technologies, notably cloud computing ("Software-as-a-service"), in-memory and mobile technologies.

This course builds on management concepts that students know from their previous studies and links them to the design of business processes and their implementation by means of enterprise systems. From a managerial view, students will learn to operationalize business objectives and strategies by means of business processes and their implementation in the enterprise system. From a technological view, students will build an understanding of the functional capabilities of enterprise systems and of innovative ways to perform business processes. They will also explore how latest technology innovations, such as cloud and mobile computing, can be leveraged to redesign and improve business processes and achieve higher business performance.

Particular emphasis will be given to put theoretical knowledge into practice by means of the integrated case study ALMIKA. Participants will gain hands-on experience with a commercial enterprise system (here: SAP Business ByDesign, an innovative ERP system provided as "software-as-a-service").


This course will be structured as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. Part I: Organizational design
    Functional vs. process organization
    HR processes
  3. Part II: Supply-side business processes
    Procurement planning and processing
    Supplier and procurement analysis
  4. Part III: Demand-side processes - Product business
    Customer account management, marketing and sales
    Order fulfillment
  5. Part IV: Demand-side processes - Service business
    Service vs. product business
    Customer project planning
    Customer project execution
  6. Part V: Financial processes
    Payment management
    Financial analysis
    Balance sheet / Income statement
  7. Guest lecture
    Practical experiences

This course will involve class sessions, case studies in the computer lab and guest lectures. With exception of the first lecture (September 20th, 2017), which will be completely held as classroom session, the lectures will be organized in two parts:

  • 08:30-10:15: classroom session
    - Introduction to the main concepts and case studies
    - Debriefing and discussion of last week's case study
  • 10:30-12:00: lab session
    - Case studies using the SAP Business ByDesign system

The course will be given in English, but support for case studies is also available in French.

Optional: SAP Certification
Participants will be offered the possibility to participate in an official SAP certification. The certification will be organized outside the semester (most likely in spring 2018). Details will be announced during the semester.


Class material (slides, case studies, and relevant readings) will be posted on the Moodle class website. The following publications provide an introduction to the topic:

  • Davenport, T. H.: Putting the Enterprise into the Enterprise System, in: Harvard Business Review, July-August 1998, pp. 121-131.
  • Magal, S. R., Word, J.: Integrated Business Processes with ERP Systems, Wiley, 2012.
  • Bradford, M.: Modern ERP - Select, Implement & Use Today's Advanced Business Systems,, 2010.
  • McAfee, A.: What Every CEO Needs to Know About The Cloud, Harvard Business Review, November 2011, pp. 125-132.
  • SAP Business ByDesign video training


As prerequisite, students should have acquired a basic understanding of information systems, by following the 2nd year Bachelor course "Information Systems" (Prof. Yves Pigneur).

Please note that we can only accept a maximum of 50 students in this course due to the limited seats in the computer lab.

All students therefore must be present during the first session (September 20th, 2017) to register on the participants list. Registrations will be confirmed during the first week of the semester.

Please note that this course is a prerequisite for UNIL's Master programs in Information Systems. We therefore will give priority to students who intend to enrol in the Master in IS (MSc IS) or the Master in Legal Issues, Crime and Security of Information Technologies (MLaw DCS).


First attempt

Oral 20min. minutes
Not allowed
Not allowed

The evaluation consists of two parts:

  • 50% assignments based on the integrated case study,
  • 50% oral exam covering the entire course content including group assignments.

Please note that the assignments require students to actively participate in each lab session and work on case studies from one week to the next.


Oral 20min. minutes
Not allowed
Not allowed

In case of reexamination, students will keep their grade obtained in the assignments.

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