Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system implementation in a contracting and construction company.
In quest of sustainable competitive advantage, firms around the globe are increasingly turning to survival strategies founded in Information Systems (IS). It is arguable, Information Systems that are in alignment with business processes add immensely to a firm’s value chain. Among the plethora of IS solutions available, the last 20 years has witnessed many companies invest heavily in Enterprise Resource Planning systems (ERP) with the intention of integrating their business processes under one common database. The ERP adoption trend is expected to rise on account of the impact of such technological break-trough’s as cloud computing on affordability. ERP systems, when implemented correctly and to best practice, can make a positive impact on a firm’s efficiencies, effectiveness and ultimately the bottom line. Sadly in spite of their value propositions and over 2 decades of maturity as products, ERP systems are still notorious for high system usage and implementation failure. In some quoted cases, these systems, often touted as the panacea to business pain during sales cycles, have paralysed adopting organisations to the point of bankruptcy. Against the depressing failure rates of ERP projects, this study aimed to establish factors that are critical to the successful rollout of ERPs. In addition the current study sought to determine company-specific factors militating against ERP project success in the target organisation as well as establishing change management effort required to turn around ERP outcomes. To ensure validity and reliability, a mixed method study was conducted. The method comprised a critical review of contemporary ERP literature as well a quantitative and qualitative census survey targeting 148 employees of the organisation studied. The study found some fundamental gaps, largely of a people nature, in ERP implementation methodologies of the company studied. These cracks, if unmanaged, cumulatively contribute to ERP project opposition and consequently failure. There are however solutions to address the identified gaps and these include but are not limited to change management, injection of top management support to ERP endeavours, business processes modelling and re-engineering before new ERP systems are implemented and an all-inclusive selection process of an ERP system or combination of systems with the most fit and alignment to current and future business processes.