The Changing Importance of Critical Success Factors During ERP Implementation: An Empirical Study from Oman

The Changing Importance of Critical Success Factors During ERP Implementation: An Empirical Study from Oman

Hamed Salim Al-Hinai (Department of Applied Sciences, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK), Helen M. Edwards (Department of Applied Sciences, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK) and Lynne Humphries (Department of Applied Sciences, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/jeis.2013070101
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Abstract

This study examines empirical evidence from a survey conducted in Omani organizations to determine whether the importance of individual CSFs varies across the ERP implementation life-cycle. The CSFs included in the survey were derived from a structured review of literature. Purposive sampling was used to select ERP stakeholders who had both experience and knowledge of ERP implementations. The survey data are analyzed and used to evaluate four hypotheses: Individual CSFs vary in importance across the ERP implementation life-cycle; The number of CSFs that are important increases across the ERP implementation life-cycle; Categories of CSFs vary in importance across the ERP implementation life-cycle; Technical CSFs are of less importance than other CSFs for successful ERP implementation. The data support the first three, but the fourth is rejected.
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Introduction

The complexity of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and their importance for businesses of all sizes continue to ensure that they remain a topic of intense interest for researchers. Their complexity warrants investigation across the full ERP lifecycle; for instance from addressing the human and organizational issues relating to pre-implementation readiness (Abdinnour-Helm, Lengnick-Hall, & Lengnick-Hall, 2003) through to post-implementation maintenance and support (Law, Chen, & Wu, 2010). However, there has been a significant focus on the implementation phase of the ERP lifecycle and its critical success factors (CSFs); for instance Al-Mashari, Al-Mudimigh, and Zairi’s (2003) taxonomy of CSFs, Akkermans and Van Helden’s (2002) paper on the relationships between CSFs, and Finney amd Corbett’s (2007) compilation and analysis of CSFs in the literature. Much of the literature that has focused on the CSFs in this phase has adopted an approach that suggests that their distribution and importance is uniform across the ERP implementation life-cycle for all project stakeholders. However, there is a small, but growing, set of literature that considers these factors in a more nuanced manner: that is, investigating the distribution of CSFs across stages of the implementation phase and their impact on selected groups of project stakeholders (Esteves, 2004; Khullar & Ala, 2011; Law et al., 2010; Markus & Tanis, 2000; Nour & Mouakket, 2011; Somers & Nelson, 2004). These authors consider that ERP implementation is comprised of a series of stages, each having its own purpose with associated sets of activities undertaken by, or affecting, various stakeholder groups.

Within this paper we explore this concept of the distribution of CSFs across the ERP implementation life cycle issue by presenting the results of an empirical study conducted in Oman. This survey based study examined the perceptions of experienced ERP stakeholders regarding the relative importance of a wide range of CSFs across the stages of ERP implementations. We explored the following hypotheses in this study:

  • H1: Individual CSFs vary in importance across the ERP implementation life-cycle.

  • H2: The number of CSFs that are important increases across the ERP implementation life-cycle.

  • H3: Categories of CSFs vary in importance across the ERP implementation life-cycle

  • H4: Technical CSFs are of less importance than other CSFs for successful ERP implementation.

The paper does not disaggregate the data into different stakeholder groups for the phases, however, this study is part of a larger research project which reports fully the importance across different stakeholder groups, see (Al-Hinai, 2012).

The paper is structured as follows. The literature review discusses those studies that informed the design of our empirical study; this includes both the range of CSFs that have been identified within the ERP implementation life-cycle and how authors have defined the ERP life-cycle (and mapped CSFs to its stages). Following this the research methodology for the empirical investigative work is presented, including the procedures for data collection and analysis. The survey results are reported and the data are used to evaluate the extent to which the hypotheses are supported. The implications arising from this study are discussed, including its strengths and limitations and we conclude by identifying opportunities for future work.

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