Enterprise Resource Planning System Implementation in Higher Education Institutions: A Theoretical Review

Enterprise Resource Planning System Implementation in Higher Education Institutions: A Theoretical Review

Stephen Kahara Wanjau (Murang'a University of Technology, Kenya)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7678-5.ch010

Abstract

The world over, higher education institutions have resorted to the use of ERP system to automate operations on a standardized platform in line with their strategic plans. This is because ERP system supports a “do-it-all” approach to organizational management in addition to education managers' quest to improve quality of service to their students and the need to meet regional as well as global standards. In most institutions, operational areas such as student admission, finance, procurement, examination management, staffing, and alumni management can now be done through the ERP system. This chapter examines the issues associated with implementation of ERP system in higher education institutions. After studying this chapter, you should be able to: appreciate the various strategies for ERP system implementation, identify the factors leading to successful implementation of ERP system in higher education institutions, distinguish between the different models for successful ERP system implementation, and understand the metrics for measuring success rate of ERP system implementation.
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Choice Of An Erp System For Higher Education Institutions

The selection of an ERP system might be complicated as it is affected by various factors. These factors influence an ERP implementation success both technical and non-technical. Alanbay (2005) posited that long-term business strategy of the organization will form the basis of the selection criteria of an ERP system. He identified fifteen factors and prioritized them as follows: Customization, Real Time Changes, Implementability, Maintenance, Flexibility, User Friendliness, Cost, Systems, Requirements, After Sales Support & Training, Internet Integration, Reporting & Analysis Features, Vendor Credentials, Integration with Other Software, Back-up System and Financing Options.

Hasibua and Dantes (2012) explained twenty key success factors. These are Team Work, User Involvement, Use of Consultant, Clear Goal and Objective, Top Management Support, Project Budget, Project Time, Organization Maturity Level, Culture Readiness, ERP Implementation Strategy, ERP Implementation Methodology, Project Management, Change Management, Risk Management, Business Process Reengineering, Data analysis and migration, Communication, Training, Technology Infrastructure and Strong ERP product. These factors also have a bearing on the choice of the implementation strategy to be used. The following section discusses the choice of the implementation strategy to be used.

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Choice Of Erp System Implementation Strategy

The rising stakeholders’ expectations (particularly from students and governments), quality and performance requirements, and competitive education environments, along with decreasing governmental support, have pressured universities to adopt new strategies in order to improve their performance. Consequently, the higher education sector has turned to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems in the hope of helping them to cope with the changing environment. For these institutions, ERP system implementation can be a daunting task, often taking a number of months to complete and costing more than the price of the hardware and system involved. However, if you are prepared, and the proper resources are applied, ERP system implementation can be completed on time, within budget, and delivering excellent return on investment (ROI). In most cases, the choice of the strategy for the implementation is important. The prospect can be set for the successful implementation of an ERP system by controlling and minimizing the major risks at the initial stage by selecting the appropriate strategy that determines how the ERP system should be deployed. The feasibility of strategy is based on a number of factors, among them include: the impact on the organization, the complexity of the institution, the duration, risk and the available budget. The following section describes the different strategies, advantages and disadvantages for each of the strategy.

Phased Strategy

A phased approach describes a scenario where elements or modules of the ERP system are introduced in a planned sequence, replacing the old systems gradually as shown in figure 1. The phased approach, implements one practical element at a time, in chronological order as shown in figure 1. Autonomous modules of ERP systems are installed in each unit, while integration of ERP modules is done at later stage of the project. This has been the most commonly used method of ERP implementation. Each business unit may have its own “instances” of ERP and database. Modular (phased) implementation reduces the risk of the installation, customization and operation of ERP systems by reducing the scope of the implementation. The unbeaten implementation of one module can help the overall success of an ERP project. The interface programs that are used in this strategy bridge the gap between the inheritance ERP system and the new ERP system until the new ERP system becomes fully purposeful. This strategy is often used in situations that do not have strong centralized synchronization in the ERP project. Some of the advantages of this strategy are: the strategy is more user-friendly. Since the new system is implemented in one department at a time, the implementers are able to draw their attention to training one department effectively to using the new system before moving to the next. Again, as the system is tested at every stage, there is very little chance of error. The main drawback of this strategy is that it takes a lot of time to implement the whole new system to the entire organization.

Figure 1.

Phased ERP system implementation

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