Conceptualizing Dimensions of Enterprise Resource Planning Systems Success: A SocioTechnical Perspective

Conceptualizing Dimensions of Enterprise Resource Planning Systems Success: A SocioTechnical Perspective

Jessy Nair (Vellore Institute of Technology University, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India), D. Bhanu Sree Reddy (Business School, Vellore Institute of Technology University, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India) and Anand A. Samuel (Pro-Vice Chancellor, Vellore Institute of Technology University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/ijeis.2014010104


The success of implementing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system has substantial benefits to an organization due to its large scale tangible and intangible benefits. However, the failure of ERP system implementation is a considerable challenge since it poses significant intervention on internal stakeholders, internal organization, business processes and technology. Though literature recognizes that these interventions bring about technological change during ERP implementation, hardly any article has conceptualized these interventions in evaluating its performance. Drawing on the Process-Variance (PV) and Adapted Socio Technical (AST) system perspectives, the objective of this article is to conceptualize the interventions through socio-technical perspective and develop a comprehensive conceptual model to assess the success or failure of ERP system implementation. The conceptual model, Process-Variance and Adapted SocioTechnical (PVAST) proposed in this article will enable decision makers and practitioners to measure ERP project performance at every stage of its life cycle in a coherent method and adopt corrective measures.
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Information Systems (IS) of organizations have evolved from disjointed business processes to a boundary-less and cross functional structure by transforming functional enterprises and organizing their independent functions into process value chains. ERP system software, an Information Technology (IT) driven initiative enables a value chain (Shehab, Sharp, Supramaniam & Spedding, 2004) based organization structure by allowing seamless flow of real time information across functional processes of the organization and empowering organizational stakeholders with precise decision making (Arnold, 2006). External indicators like globalization of markets and operations (Gunasekaran, 2005) and competitive pressure; internal indicators such as increasing costs in inventory, administration and so forth, resulted in Hammer & Stanton (1999) claiming that organizations have to inevitably restructure into process enterprises by strategically orienting themselves in this manner to stay competitive. ERP as an application software is distinguished from other general software due to the tangible and intangible benefits it can bring about by its organizational impact. Therefore, organization stakeholders can consider internal factors like organizational context, stakeholders, culture, processes and external factors like globalization, competitiveness and customer requirements for successful implementation of ERP. Organizational change that occurs with ERP project necessitates organization stakeholders to implement ERP successfully and evaluate its performance. ERP intervention requires managing change brought about by implementing IS and the mutual interaction it has with the organization’s socio technical context, which is intertwined of technology, people (Davis & Olson, 1985), organizational context and processes (Uzoka, Abiola & Nyangeresi, 2008).

ERP systems are vendor developed software applications necessitating enormous monetary investment by the organizations for its implementation. Costs of ERP project constitute a large amount (Janssens, Kusters, & Heemstra, 2008) which many organizations find difficult to estimate compared to the ERP software itself. Symons (2006) claims organizations are under increasing pressure from top management to demonstrate and improve the business value of their investments made for IT. The risk associated (Grant & Tu, 2005) with the intervention of ERP system monetarily as well as the organizational changes it brings about, implies that practice of only post facto performance evaluation in itself is inadequate. Emphasizing importance of evaluating IS, Beynon-Davies, Owens, & Williams (2004) claim organizations need to evaluate the IS during the life cycle of the IS development process and develop a framework to accommodate the evaluation process during every stage of development. Though the author’s research question is contextual to IS development, this question is valid for ERP systems as well.

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