Towards favourable outcomes of ERP system implementation : the quest for an effective model for achieving success
Very high proportions of implementation projects for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are shown to result in failure. This is probably due, inter alia, to the neglect of the strategic dimensions that give rise to conflicting objectives amongst the stakeholders. Most ERP implementation efforts seem to rely too heavily on project management techniques alone for success. The strategic planning that ought to precede such far-reaching change programmes appear to be neglected whilst attention is focused on project-planning issues. Moreover, there is no tried, tested and widely adopted model for successful ERP implementation, and no known scientific approach exist for the evaluation and empirical testing of ugge- ted models. This research investigated these problems. It analysed efforts made so far to address the prevalent implementation failures, which include identification of issues or factors that impact the outcome of such projects as well a suggestions of implementation models. Key attributes of an effective implementation model were examined. Unlike other models reviewed, the Parr and Shanks (2000) "Project Phase Model ofERP Implementation (PPM)" was deemed to possess many of these attributes, and so was selected as the template for the study. The case study method was adopted as the most suitable strategy for the investigation in line with the views of Markus (1983), Benbasat et al. (1987) Lee (1989), Yin (1994, 2003a, 2003b) and Pare (2001). The implementation process, phase of focus, critical success factors, and basis of project outcome determination associated with the PPM were formulated into predicted patterns for successful ERP implementation. Suitable instances of successful and unsuccessful ERP implementation, two in each case, were studied; empirical pattens were extracted from their attributes similar to those of the PPM and the various patterns compared. This study devised a robust and scientific technique, based on the case study strategy, for the evaluation and empirical testing of suggested models for the implementation of ERP and other information systems. Applying this approach, the research showed that thorough strategic planning incorporating prior specification of objectives, together with adequate focus on the specific needs of an organisation in the prefatory and transformation activities relating to ERP implementation, appear to be key to success. A new model for successful ERP implementation was also developed from the study. This has been presented as "the Specific Business Needs (SBN) Model of ERP System Implementation" and proffered for further research and empirical test.