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An analysis of factors affecting implementation of SAP in South Africa public sector.

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SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementations in the South African public sector have faced many challenges and the majority of them have failed to achieve their intended purposes. They have failed to be finished within the project plan, and within the budgeted time, and are largely unable to meet the expectations of the users to the extent that the real value and returns on the IT investments have not been realised. SAP ERP implementation failure is defined in many ways; a project that is abandoned is a clear example of a failed project, a system implementation that has been delivered exceeding its budget and planned time is also classified as a failed project as it can lead to serious financial consequences for the company. A SAP ERP project that does not deliver the intended benefits to the users is also defined as failed. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore impacts of success factors on SAP ERP implementation in KwaZulu-Natal. The Technology-Organisational-Environment (TOE) framework was used and nine success factors were classified into these three domains and measured against the dependent variable, Implementation Success. A quantitative, cross-sectional survey was carried out and data was gathered data from forty-seven SAP-system users from three state-owned entities in KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. Tests of reliability and validity were done, and the data analysis was carried out using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), version 22. The findings of the research showed that technological factors have a significant influence on implementation success. Lack of thorough data migration through various iterations of cleansed master and transactional data will lead to a new system with incorrect data. The degree of ERP flexibility was identified as a measure of implementation success, the higher the flexibility the higher the level of success. Systems that are largely inflexible and which require a high degree of customisation cause a lot of inefficiencies. Organisational factors such as change management, training, or business-process re-engineering showed a significant influence on the successful implementation of SAP systems. Respondents indicated that these factors are critical in ensuring that the SAP ERP system implementation is successful. The research findings for environmental factors showed that there is a positive relationship between vendor support and implementation success. Experienced vendors who have deep and specific knowledge of their systems, and are continuously involved with their clients, have evidenced successful implementations. However, top management support and project governance did not show any significant influence on the success of an SAP ERP implementation.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.