ERP Upgrade vs. ERP Replacement: The Case of Gulf Telecom

ERP Upgrade vs. ERP Replacement: The Case of Gulf Telecom

Fayez Albadri (ADMA-OPCO, UAE)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2220-3.ch006
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ERP systems life cycle may extend in some business organizations up to fifteen years or more. Nevertheless, the time comes in the life of an ERP system when there is a need to evaluate and compare the value of continuing to use the existing ERP system version against the option to upgrade to a higher version of the same system or having it replaced all together by a different system. In many cases, this translates into a critical management-sponsored mission designating a dedicated team or task force to investigate the feasibility of the alternative options, and to report on the preferred option with a recommendation of the way forward and implementation approach. This case reflects the investigations of Gulf Telecom Company (GTC) in exploring the viability and feasibility of its ERP options to support and provide the grounds for a management decision to mark the next phase of the ERP in the organization. The case describes the approach that was adopted by Gulf Telecom and highlights the challenges to accomplish the mission successfully and any lessons learned from this experience.
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Setting The Stage


By opting to replace its disparate software applications by a single ERP system, Gulf Telecom decision was driven by the need for an integrated business solution that connects the organizations core functions and to automate the business processes. However, in order to reap the benefits of a system with such features is only possible through proper and effective system selection in the pre-implementation stage, proper and effective system configuration in the implementation stage and certainly proper and effective usage and utilization of the ERP applications in the post-implementation stage which could extend over many years. However, there is clear evidence from many ERP projects that proper usage and effective utilization is correlated with managing system, data and end-users issues (see Figure 1).

Figure 1.

ERP life cycle


In view of the above and to ensure that Gulf Telecom is continually up-to-date with new emerging technologies that can potentially improve its business and support the realization of its goals and objectives, Senior Management of Gulf Telecom has indicated their interest to review the current status of the ERP system after five years of use, and to explore the feasibility of upgrading the current system or replacing it by a different system.

The prime aim of this chapter is to report on the experience and the findings of Gulf Telecom investigations to review, compare, and validate options pertinent to ERP systems for the upcoming phase, five years post go-live. This mission constitutes several investigations to be carried out by a dedicated Task Force that is exclusively internally resourced. The ERP Task Force was created by virtue of Management Order, which spelled out the main objective and deliverables of the task force, the members of the task force and the time by which the task force needs to complete its mission and report findings to GTC General Manager.

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