Abstract||During the 1990s, many organizations across the globe migrated existing information systems to Enterprise Systems (ES) packages, which promised both business and technical solutions to their existing sets of problems. However, ES implementations have gained notoriety for not meeting budgeted expenditures and schedules. Such events have warranted academic research to gain an understanding about the role of ES packages and the importance of ES implementation. A large number of academic researchers have adopted a variance approach to examine ES implementation. As a result they have identified a range of critical success factors said to be influential in achieving successful implementation of ES packages. An alternate perspective for researching ES implementation is the process approach but this has remained largely neglected in academic debates. Furthermore, it has still not been possible for researchers or practitioners to understand the degree to which specific critical success factors, or other considerations, might be influential in any given ES implementation, either pre- or post-project.
This research therefore adopts the process approach to examine ES implementations. The process approach is focused on explaining an outcome, given a set of activities. This research draws upon the work of Markus and Tanis (2000) and O’Leary (2000), who have established frameworks to explain an outcome (success or failure) of ES implementations. In addition, this research draws on the work of Davenport (2000) and Brehm et al. (2001), who have established models that outline activities related to configuration of business and software processes during implementation of ES packages. To enable this inquiry, a single case study (site) was chosen, to expose the actions and events that transpired during the implementation of an ES package.
This research concludes that the framework of O’Leary (2000) is better suited to explain the outcome of an ES Implementation than the framework of Markus and Tanis (2000). The framework of Markus and Tanis (2000) was found to be useful in understanding the implementation process of an ES package.
In addition, this research developed a novel model that portrays a comprehensive set of activities, undertaken by the case organization during the configuration of business and software processes. This model traversed the 'High-Level', 'Detailed Development' and 'Implementation' stages of the configuration process. It is asserted that this model is a significant improvement when compared to models presented by Davenport (2000) and Brehm et al. (2001). This research also explored some of the issues of the case study that did not fit neatly into the existing theoretic frameworks employed.
Six issues emerged in this regard; 'Selection of industry specific ES package solution'; 'Selection of Proven Implementation Partner'; 'Project Planning and Management'; 'Incremental Implementation Strategy'; 'Ownership of the ES Project' and 'Selection of Best Practice Business Processes'. It is contended that each have played a critical role in the successful deployment of the ES package at this case site.