ERP system has become important because it uses IT to integrate information of all operations of an entire company. Ketikidis et al. (2008) conclude that ERP system improves the competitive advantage of a company. The major operations are combined in a single software module (Kalakota and Robinson, 1999; Bingi et al., 1999). Matolcsy et al. (2005) show that it is important to follow and control logistics to reduce unnecessary costs when the process is transparent enough. Davenport (1998) recommends ERP system can help the management control operations to raise the competitive advantage of a company. The operational performance of a company using ERP system outshines that of a company without it (Hunton et al., 2003).

I can't really seem to understand how the word 'transparent' is used in the above context. How can a process be transparent?

  • "You'll get sued if you don't follow protocol and people find out about it"? Much more context is needed here. What sort of process are we talking about? Apr 29, 2014 at 11:07
  • as stated above, you must clear up your context. it would have been easy fo everyone to perceive it the way you would've wanted them to. I understood and answered because I am in the hardware and software business. likewise, it can be thought of as many different things.
    – vickyace
    Apr 29, 2014 at 11:13
  • I added the whole context Apr 29, 2014 at 11:16
  • Shevliaskovic Look in the right places, like a computer dictionary/ glossary. But of course, you are not a native speaker of English, so maybe it's fine.
    – Kris
    Apr 29, 2014 at 12:45
  • The article says in its abstract: "Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the impact of an Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) system on the role of accountants, to provide job qualifications for their reference." I doubt the article goes so deep as transparent in-memory processes, API functionality or interface design. It sounds as if it describes how ERP impacts business processes involving accountants.
    – oerkelens
    Apr 29, 2014 at 13:12

3 Answers 3


transparent - (adjective) (Of a process or interface) functioning without the user being aware of its presence.

it means that if the product is functioning without user's awareness of it then it is important to follow and control logistics to reduce unnecessary costs.

what is the point of showing unnecessary processes that user will overlook anyway or the user doesn't have to do anything with.

  • 1
    If a process is transparent, then it's easier to be aware of its presence.
    – Jon Hanna
    Apr 29, 2014 at 11:57
  • yes it is so.but here, when computing is concerned, it means those processes not necessary for the user to see.
    – vickyace
    Apr 29, 2014 at 12:16
  • 1
    You mean, "opaque"?
    – Jon Hanna
    Apr 29, 2014 at 12:21
  • 1
    A source would certainly be good if you're saying it's used the exact opposite to how it's normally used.
    – Jon Hanna
    Apr 29, 2014 at 12:58
  • 1
    -1 ERP process is a business process, not a process running invisibly on a server or client machine. Invisible business processes are unlikely to be very popular.
    – oerkelens
    Apr 29, 2014 at 13:03

Although the word IT is mentioned, I highly doubt that here, in a text talking about ERP as a whole, the wording "transparent process" refers to some user-invisible part of the implementation of that software.

On the contrary, reading up on Enterprise Resource Planning, wikipedia mentions:

ERP now covers more functions and roles—including decision making, stakeholders' relationships, standardization, transparency, globalization, etc.[17]

ERP systems centralize business data, which [..] [b]rings legitimacy and transparency to each bit of statistical data

I don't think invisibility is meant in either of these sentences...

So the process in the mentioned paragraph seems to be the business process, not the in-memory-running-abstract-special-kind-of-computer-program process. I would thus go for the "normal" meaning of the word, unless someone (maybe one of the anonymous downvoters) can convince me that a process in the context of enterprise resource planning is supposed to be invisible :)

A process is transparent if it is clear to an observer what it involves.

It is the opposite of an obscure process, which can be described as a black box: we know what goes in, we know what comes out, but we don't know how the input get transformed into the output.

Transparent processes are usually seen as very important within companies when it comes to communication, escalation, etcetera. What people envisage when they strive for a transparent process is that they know all the steps involved in a process, and that they can see at which stage of a process a specific case is.

What it means in your sentence though, is a bit hazy. It seems to imply that there might be extra costs if the process is transparent enough, which in turn implies that hiding what you are doing could save money. That does not sound good :)

  • This is the correct answer. Transparent simply means clear, visible. A good ERP system lets people see the information that they need to see and should see. This is described more transparently (!) here, globalshopsolutions.com/blog/… where it describes how a good ERP for a welding company lets customers see information like who performed a certain weld, their name, their welder's credentials, etc. Oct 12, 2017 at 13:43

Part of the Computing fundamentals glossary:

In computers, transparent means something a little different than its general meaning of having the quality of being easily seen through, coming closer to meaning invisible or undetectable. Computer programs and procedures that are said to be transparent are typically those that the user is - or could be - unaware of. Transparency is considered to be especially desirable in situations where users that are not particularly technically inclined would tend to be confused by seeing or having to interact directly with programming components. The domain name system (DNS), for example, operates in a transparent manner, resolving authorized domain names into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, all without the user's knowledge. …

[emphasis added]

  • 1
    ERP goes further than just a (part) of a program that is or should be invisible to the user. On the contrary, Enterprise Resource Planning boasts transparency amongst its role: "decision making, stakeholders' relationships, standardization, transparency, globalization, etc". Now invisibility of your resource planning seems to be a very bad thing. The fact that IT is mentioned does not mean that the word process can not apply to a business process, and for a business process, transparency just means what it normally means :)
    – oerkelens
    Apr 29, 2014 at 12:55
  • @oerkelens Oh! (don't think the comment deserves any more words)
    – Kris
    Apr 30, 2014 at 5:19

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