Exploring the Business Case Development Process in Inter-Organizational Enterprise System Implementations

Exploring the Business Case Development Process in Inter-Organizational Enterprise System Implementations

Silja Eckartz (University of Twente, The Netherlands), Christiaan Katsma (University of Twente, The Netherlands) and Maya Daneva (University of Twente, the Netherlands)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/irmj.2012040106


Creating and negotiating an inter-organizational business case (BC) for multiple-stakeholder enterprise systems is a major challenge. This paper looks closer into the factors that influence the stakeholders’ willingness to share information necessary for the BC development. The authors develop an explanatory framework showing the effect that project constellation has on the development of a shared BC. They identify several factors, such as goal consensus, cultural and semantic similarities and willingness to share information, that mitigate this effect. Subsequently, the authors apply the framework in an inter-organizational case study in which a BC is developed. The findings show that current BC development methods need to be re-stated and complemented by new tools and interventions to support stakeholders in the inter-organizational specific setting. The authors elaborate on the possibilities that group decision support systems might offer to overcome challenges that might be experienced in the BC development process.
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Theoretical Background

This section summarizes the findings of the current state of the literature as well as of the available empirical studies. For clarification purposes and to position our line of reasoning we start defining what we mean by the concept of “Business Case.”

We use the definition of a Business Case as an artifact (possibly a document accompanied by designs or models, etc.) that specifies the main rationale and expected value for the ES-adopting organization. The BC evaluates the different implementation options, based on the expected costs, benefits and risks of each option during the entire implementation process (Schubert & William, 2009; Shang & Seddon, 2002; Ward & Daniel, 2006). Ideally it contains more than just a financial analysis. The (non-) financial benefits, business alignment, costs and risks, should be complemented with information on the methods and rationale that were used to quantify the benefits and costs (Schmidt, 2003b). The BC is the result of a BCD process that is deployed between consultants and stakeholders from the ES-adopting organization. The BCD is an iterative, tool-supported process that relies on stakeholders from different parts of the organization with different business knowledge.

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