1Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Avda. Universidad 30, 28915, Leganés, Madrid (España).
Keywords: ERP, database, Business Intelligence, digital education.
1. Introduction and objectives
Society is currently immersed in a digital transformation process and universities and other institutions of Higher Education are no strangers to this process . This situation has intensified because of COVID-19 pandemic.
On the other hand, the widespread use of Management Information Systems (MIS) in the Spanish business environment  and the improvement of professional prospects of graduates receiving extensive training in these tools  make their inclusion in educational programs a necessity.
In this sense, as a part of the research project at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, at the Organizational Engineering Area, different activities that include the use of ERP tools have been designed  to bring students closer to the business reality that they will find. In addition, nowadays, these user-level competencies must be complemented with data management and data analysis skills.
This study proposes to analyse and select data analysis and management tools that can be integrated with ERPs, and their adaptation to more flexible educational environments. Finally, the implementation in a Postgraduate course of the Master of Industrial Engineering is analysed.
The methodology followed was made up of three stages. First, a review of the state-of-the-art was carried out. Subsequently, study the tools available from the previous analysis of this research and, finally, present the integration and implementation alternatives online.
2. Selection and integration of tools in the teaching environment
This study proposes the use of data management and visualization tools in conjunction with others that allow access to the ERP database model to complement the use of ERP with other cross-cutting concepts.
As a condition for the analysis and selection of the tools, it is established that they are free, at least for educational purposes. Moreover, it was valued that they were easily accessible, integrable, installable, and with a friendly interface. As a result of the analysis, carried out in several stages, Odoo ERP was chosen as the one that best meets the criteria and needs defined. The ‘open source’ version of Odoo allows the ERP to be installed on a local server, allowing full access to the database. On the other hand, Odoo also offers an ‘Educational Program’, which allows to access to the Enterprise version (paid version), fully free of charge for teaching purposes.
Regarding the data analysis tool, after a thorough comparison made in previous stages of this research that included Pentaho Report Designed, Saiku together with Pen- taho and Microsoft Power BI, it was decided to use the latter as it was the most suitable for the circumstances.
Finally, regarding the tools that allow access to the ERP database data model, it was decided to use DBVisualizer, although another tool with similar functionalities could be used.
2.1 Integration of selected tools
The purpose of the proposed practical activity is to broaden the development of skills related to Information Systems, moving from the competencies of the end-user to the advanced skills of the system user. For this, the activity must contain tasks destined to enter the database structure, operate the ERP and perform analysis of the data extracted through a business intelligence tool. All three selected tools are supported for integration.
As mentioned above, given the current circumstances, this practice is required to be carried out in flexible environments, so its design has to provide the possibility of developing them in any of the modalities (presence, hybrid or online). The integration DbVisualizer-Odoo-Power BI allows the student to make the activity in any of the three modalities. For this purpose, three different alternatives are provided: (i) by installing the two required applications on the student’s computer, (ii) by using virtual computers enabled by the university, and (iii)by using a remote desktop with the computers of the laboratory enabled for this.
Finally, before implementing the practice, it was desirable to know if it could also be implemented in asynchronous online courses, without the support of a teacher. As a reference, available data from a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) course of the Organizational Engineering Area were taken and analysed the results obtained in the ERP practical task. Although the results are not entirely conclusive, they suggest that this activity could be implemented asynchronously, in the same environment in which the MOOC course is developed.
The bibliography consulted highlights the importance of including ERP in educational programs, due to their contribution to the training of university graduates and the improvement of their job prospects. On the other hand, the current world situation favors the online teaching activities development, which can be included in the study plans.
The research demonstrates that it is possible to combine ERP with other types of software tools with the particularity of being able to implement them in flexible environments. To do this, the selected tools must allow both integration and easy implementation. By analysing the different alternatives, it can be concluded that it is possible to practically integrate the ERP with database management tools and Business Intelligence, choosing DbVisualizer and Power BI, integrated with Odoo ERP. Finally, the baseline data obtained from the MOOC course suggests that the integration between the three tools could also be implemented in asynchronous mode, using the same environment as the MOOC.
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