A Grounded Theory Study of Enterprise Systems Implementation: Lessons Learned from the Irish Health Services

A Grounded Theory Study of Enterprise Systems Implementation: Lessons Learned from the Irish Health Services

John Loonam (Dublin City University, Ireland) and Joe McDonagh (University of Dublin, Trinity College, Ireland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-040-0.ch003
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Enterprise systems (ES) promise to integrate all information flowing across the organisation. They claim to lay redundant many of the integration challenges associated with legacy systems, bring greater competitive advantages to the firm, and assist organisations to compete globally. However, despite such promises these systems are experiencing significant implementation challenges. The ES literature, particularly studies on critical success factors, point to top management support as a fundamental prerequisite for ensuring implementation success. Yet, the literature remains rather opaque, lacking an empirical understanding of how top management support ES implementation. As a result, this study seeks to explore this research question. With a lack of empirical knowledge about the topic, a grounded theory methodology was adopted. Such a methodology allows the investigator to explore the topic by grounding the inquiry in raw data. The Irish health system was taken as the organisational context, with their ES initiative one of the largest implementations in Western Europe.
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Investigative Focus

Since the 1950s, organisations have sought to increase effectiveness and efficiency through the use of computers. During the 1970s and 1980s, IS was recognised as a means to creating greater competitive advantages for implementing organisations. Today, IS has permeated to the very core of many firms, often determining their success, or indeed failure. As a consequence of the escalated growth and interest in IS, huge emphasises has been placed on integrating various systems throughout the organisation. Such integration gives the organisation a single view of the enterprise. To this end, enterprise systems (ES) began to emerge in the early 1990s. These systems promised “seamless integration” of organisations business processes, throughout its value chain (Davenport, 2000). In other words, these systems allow the organisation to unite all its business processes under the umbrella of a single system. According to Parr and Shanks (2000), ES’s have two important features, firstly they facilitate a casual connection between a visual model of business processes and the software implementation of those processes, and secondly they ensure a level of integration, data integrity and security, which is not easily achievable with multiple software platforms. Kraemmergaard and Moller (2002, p. 2) note that the real benefits of ES are their potential to integrate beyond the organisations own value chain, delivering interenterprise integration. This form of integration allows a single organisation to integrate with customers and suppliers along its value chain and to other organisations with similar areas of interest (Davenport, 2000). Finally, Brown and Vessey (1999, p. 411) believe that ES implementations provide “total solutions” to an organisation’s information systems needs by addressing a large proportion of business functions. These “off the shelf” packages allow an organisation to improve their current business processes and adopt new best practices (Al-Mashari, 2000).

Consequently, many organisations have moved to implement enterprise systems. The adoption of these systems is expected to bring significant benefits to the organisation. The case literature illustrates this point, with the Toro Co. saving $10 million annually due to inventory reductions, while Owens Corning claims that their ES software helped it to save $50 million in logistics, materials management, and sourcing (Umble, Haft, & Umble, 2003, p. 244). Similarly, other cases reveal large savings in costs and increased levels of organisational effectiveness after ES implementation. Companies such as Geneva Pharmaceuticals (Bhattacherjee, 2000), Lucent Technologies (Francesconi, 1998), Farmland Industries (Jesitus, 1998), and Digital Equipment Corporation (Bancroft, Seip, & Sprengel, 1998), have had significant reductions in costs and increased organisational performance as a result of ES adoptions. The literature highlights notable advantages and benefits for the implementation of these systems.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Richard Baskerville
Aileen Cater-Steel, Latif Al-Hakim
Chapter 1
Panagiotis Kanellis, Thanos Papadopoulos
This chapter offers a journey through the spectrum of epistemological and ontological perspectives in IS (IS), offering the necessary background to... Sample PDF
Conducting Research in Information Systems: An Epistemological Journey
Chapter 2
Francis Chia Cua, Tony C. Garrett
This chapter introduces ontological and epistemological elements in information systems research. It argues that ontology, epistemology, and... Sample PDF
Understanding Ontology and Epistemology in Information Systems Research
Chapter 3
John Loonam, Joe McDonagh
Enterprise systems (ES) promise to integrate all information flowing across the organisation. They claim to lay redundant many of the integration... Sample PDF
A Grounded Theory Study of Enterprise Systems Implementation: Lessons Learned from the Irish Health Services
Chapter 4
Khalid Al-Mabrouk
This chapter reviews some of the existing Information Technology Transfer (ITT) literature and suggests that it has fallen victim to the well-known... Sample PDF
A Critical Theory Approach to Information Technology Transfer to the Developing World and a Critique of Maintained Assumptions in the Literature
Chapter 5
João Porto de Albuquerque, Edouard J. Simon, Jan-Hendrik Wahoff, Arno Rolf
Research in the Information Systems (IS) field has been characterised by the use of a variety of methods and theoretical underpinnings. This fact... Sample PDF
The Challenge of Transdisciplinarity in Information Systems Research: Towards an Integrative Platform
Chapter 6
Paul D. Witman
This chapter provides a set of guidelines to assist information systems researchers in creating, negotiating, and reviewing nondisclosure... Sample PDF
A Guide to Non-Disclosure Agreements for Researchers Using Public and Private Sector Sources
Chapter 7
Slinger Jansen
Even though information systems is a maturing research area, information systems case study reports generally lack extensive method descriptions... Sample PDF
Applied Multi-Case Research in a Mixed-Method Research Project: Customer Configuration Updating Improvement
Chapter 8
Erja Mustonen-Ollila, Jukka Heikkonen
This chapter gives important methodological, theoretical, and practical guidelines to the information system (IS) researchers to carry out a... Sample PDF
Historical Research in Information System Field: From Data Collection to Theory Creation
Chapter 9
Paivi Ovaska
Large-scale systems development is a complex activity involving number of dependencies that people working together face. Only a few studies... Sample PDF
A Multi-Methodological Approach to Study Systems Development in a Software Organization
Chapter 10
Judith Symonds
Usability Evaluation Methods (UEM) are plentiful in the literature. However, there appears to be a new interest in usability testing from the... Sample PDF
Usability Evaluation Meets Design: The Case of bisco Office™
Chapter 11
Ivan Ka-Wai Lai, Joseph M. Mula
Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) has been employed to increase the effectiveness of organizational requirement analysis in Information Systems (IS)... Sample PDF
An Analysis-Form of Soft Systems Methodology for Information Systems Maintenance
Chapter 12
Raul Valverde, Mark Toleman, Aileen Cater-Steel
Recently, many organisations have become aware of the limitations of their legacy systems to adapt to new technical requirements. Trends towards... Sample PDF
Design Science: A Case Study in Information Systems Re-Engineering
Chapter 13
Shaligram Pokharel
Information and communication technology (ICT) refer to a family of technologies that facilitate information capturing, storing, processing... Sample PDF
Analyzing the Use of Information Systems in Logistics Industry
Chapter 14
William Yeoh
Engineering asset management organisations (EAMOs) are increasingly motivated to implement business intelligence (BI) systems in response to... Sample PDF
Empirical Investigation of Critical Success Factors for Implementing Business Intelligence Systems in Multiple Engineering Asset Management Organisations
Chapter 15
Ping Li, Joseph M. Mula
A review of the literature showed that there appears to be very little research undertaken on Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) adoption by small to... Sample PDF
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Adoption: A Study of SMEs in Singapore
Chapter 16
Hatem F. Halaoui
Using geographical information systems (GIS) has been of great interest lately. A lot of GIS applications are being introduced to regular and... Sample PDF
Towards Google Earth: A History of Earth Geography
Chapter 17
Sergio Di Martino, Filomena Ferrucci, Carmine Gravino
Web technologies are being even more adopted for the development of public and private applications, due to the many intrinsic advantages. Due to... Sample PDF
Empirical Studies for Web Effort Estimation
Chapter 18
Mobile Marketing  (pages 328-341)
Kazuhiro Takeyasu
Recently, cellular phones capable of accessing the Internet are prevailing rapidly in Japan. First, their functions and features are examined... Sample PDF
Mobile Marketing
Chapter 19
Ross A. Malaga
Online auctions are an increasingly popular avenue for completing electronic transactions. Many online auction sites use some type of reputation... Sample PDF
The Retaliatory Feedback Problem: Evidence from eBay and a Proposed Solution
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