The research project that this dissertation will study involves the factors that influence an implementation of an enterprise-wide information system in a large organization. More specifically, it will examine what the critical success factors (CSF) are for implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. This chapter introduces the research project that has been undertaken, giving an outline of why such research has been done, placing the research in context and demonstrating its importance. The research questions are then outlined and finally an overview of the chapters within this dissertation is presented.
As discussed above, this research project involves the ERP phenomena and specifically what factors can be seen as critical when implementing an ERP system'. Issues regarding the software vendor providing the ERP system are outside the scope of this research project, as is the actual measurement of the critical success factors or the dependency relationship between the factors that will be identified. A theoretical framework (TF) has been developed in order to aid the research process. The framework lists broad factors derived from current literature and they have been examined in this project with regard to an ERP implementation. The factors that will be addressed within the theoretical framework will be further discussed.
Many researchers and industry experts rate the theme ERP implementation failure' to be one of the major topics regarding ERP systems and the implementation of such systems. ERP system research is regarded as a well-justified research area, as it is found to have conceptual links with more or less every major area of information system (IS) research. ERP systems can be seen as a representation of the entire software industry, therefore it is seen that the proposed research into an ERP system implementation in a large organization, is very appealing.
Investigation into large software packages (which an ERP system is) has been called for in the IS literature, pointing out that since ERP systems are so frequently used there ought to be a greater push for research into issues relating to the use and implementation of such systems. Success factors in information systems implementation projects have been hard to define, even though a number of studies in this field have been presented. Information technology sector is selected in order to investigate the critical success factors for implementing an ERP system. Such a research site is interesting as it presents opportunity to meet with the different users of the system, the project implementation team that is going to implement the system, management, consultants and to some extent the ERP vendor.
[...] The team members needed to know how the system had to perform and they were chosen to participate in the project because of their extensive business knowledge of the process they were attempting to automate CSF for Organizational Context The table below (Table focuses on factors perceived as critical for implementing an ERP in an IT environment. Again, factors are linked to the CSF identified in Appendix ERP Critical Success Factors ERP System Quality The ERP system quality factor derived from the theoretical framework in Chapter Three - Theoretical Framework, concerns issues such as functionality and technical issues with the system, that are according to DeLone and McLean (1992) seen as ‘desired characteristics' of the system quality. [...]
[...] This ERP research taxonomy failed to find any research topic that focused on CSF's for an ERP system in an IT environment Implementation Strategies There are two distinctive ways of implementing an ERP found in the literature. These phases are termed the ‘phased' implementation and the Bang' approaches (O'Leary 2000a). Depending on the organizational structure, the complexity of the organization, economical issues, strategic partners, time constraints and geographical locations (Markus et al. 2000b), the appropriate implementation approach should be selected. [...]
[...] The factor not identified in the literature on CSF for implementing an ERP system, included: Competitive edge Knowledge management System ownership It is also worth noting, that 22 of the 29 identified CSF's from literature were found from interviewees' responses. Seven CSF's from the literature review were not found discussed during the interviews. These CSF's were: Monitoring and evaluating of performance Software development testing and troubleshooting Vendor/customer partnerships Use of vendors' development tools Hardware issues Implementation approach The table below reports on the CSF's that are found in literature and how applicable they were to the interviewee's perceptions of the issues discussed during interviews triangulated with observation and secondary data review. [...]
[...] Within this chapter a theoretical framework is proposed in order to establish key factors for investigation what the success factors comprise of implementing an ERP system in an IT environment and not particularly on the measurement of those factors. The theoretical framework was developed after a through an extensive literature review on existing quality frameworks and existing critical success factor models for ERP implementations. The theoretical framework developed compromises six different factors. These six factors will be used in the research project, and they are found to be: strategy, organizational context, ERP system quality, ERP information quality, ERP project scope and user satisfaction and use. [...]
[...] In the next chapter, section 2.2 of Chapter Three - Theoretical Framework, Existing ERP Critical Success Frameworks and Theories, focuses on existing CSF frameworks and their usefulness for an ERP project in an IT environment ERP System Future Trends Aside from the fact that ERP vendors are constantly looking for new markets to enter, ERP vendors now provide continuous product enhancements to the organizations that already have ‘gone live' with their ERP package. Customer relationship management (CRM) and supply chain management (SCM) are functions that ERP vendors are now attempting to sell to organizations that have already bought and implemented an ERP package. [...]
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