Integrating Enterprise Systems

Integrating Enterprise Systems

Mark I. Hwang (Central Michigan University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch328
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In the last two decades many organizations installed enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems as a means to integrate their back-office operations. The need for integration, however, actually amplified with the advent of ERP. In addition to integrating ERP with legacy systems, consolidating multiple copies of ERP running in different business units posed major challenges. Moreover, recent strategic initiatives such as customer relationships management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM), business to consumer (B2C), and business to business (B2B) all require a free flow of information between ERP and other enterprise systems to be successful. It is, therefore, more critical than ever to plan for and implement integration projects involving ERP properly. Hwang (2005) describes the need for integrating enterprise systems in detail. He also discusses several success factors cited in practitioner journals. Since then a handful of empirical studies have been published in the scholarly literature. This article provides a review of those studies with a special focus on the success factors. A consolidated list of success factors is developed for practitioners. Promising research directions are discussed.
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While researchers have examined integration issues for some time, it was not until the early 2000s that empirical studies involving ERP began to appear in the literature. Table 1 summarizes the characteristics of the five empirical studies reviewed, and Table 2 summarizes the critical success factors (CSF) discussed. Alshawi, Themistocleous, and Almadani (2004) investigated the feasibility of minimizing ERP customization through integrating two ERP packages. They found that an enterprise application integration (EAI) tool was useful in integrating SAP R/3 with an Oracle H/R module at a telecommunication company. Sharif, Irani, and Love (2005) studied the integration project of a global industrial company involving ERP and legacy systems. The integration effort was deemed unsuccessful based on a post hoc evaluation model that they developed. Lam (2005) proposed a CSF model for EAI projects. He termed this the BOTP model, after the categories into which the success factors fall: business, organization, technology, and project. A case study involving a large financial services provider integrating its consumer banking systems revealed three broad groups of success factors: top management support, integration strategy, and project planning and execution. Mendoza, Perez, and Griman (2006) developed a set of 20 CSFs and tested them in two case studies, one in a B2B and the other in an ERP setting. Many but not all of the success factors were present in the two companies. Finally, Stefanou and Revanoglou (2006) examined a successful ERP implementation at a hospital.

Table 1.
Study characteristics
StudyCase StudyCSF Model
Alshawi et al. (2004) Integrating two ERP systemsNo
Sharif et al. (2004)Integrating ERP with legacy systemsYes
Lam (2005) Integrating ERP with legacy systemsYes
Mendoza et al. (2006) Integrating ERP with legacy systems;
B2B integration
Stefanou and Revanoglou (2006) Integrating ERP with legacy systemsNo

Key Terms in this Chapter

Service-Oriented Architecture: A paradigm for developing loosely coupled software components or services, which encourages software reuse, integration, and interoperability.

Enterprise Systems: Information systems that allow companies to integrate information across operations on an enterprise-wide basis.

Critical Success Factors: Those things that must go right in order for an organization to achieve its mission.

Web Services: Technologies that allow easy integration of applications over the Internet or Internet protocol-based networks.

Enterprise Resource Planning: Configurable enterprise software that integrates business processes across functions.

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