An Exploratory Study of the Key Skills for Entry-Level ERP Employees

An Exploratory Study of the Key Skills for Entry-Level ERP Employees

Alan R. Peslak (Penn State University, USA) and Todd A. Boyle (St. Francis Xavier University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1761-2.ch003
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Abstract

This research identifies the key skills (e.g., business, team, communication) that industries expect for entry level positions involving enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Based on a review of the literature, a number of possible core skills that ERP entry level employees should possess are identified. To identify the relative importance of these specific skills, a web-based survey involving IT professionals from 105 organizations is conducted. Analyzing the findings using exploratory factor analysis and scale reliability analysis indicates four specific and significant factors representing the major key skills that industry expects from entry level ERP positions labeled for this study such as systems analysis and integration, team skills, project management, and business and application understanding. Various common technical skills (e.g., programming, networks) were found to be significantly less important than the business and team skills. This study should assist companies in developing criteria for evaluating potential candidates for entry level positions in ERP systems, as well as universities for evaluating the relevancy of their IT and Business programs.
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Enterprise Resource Planning

There has been significant work done in the general information systems area of enterprise resource planning systems. One area of enterprise resource planning systems that has received some attention in the literature is the success or failure rate of ERP implementations. Enterprise resource planning systems are so comprehensive and as a result so complex that they require coordination across many disciplinary areas in an organization and often take multiple years to implement. They have had an uneven record of success in organizations. Estimates vary widely on the success rate of ERP implementations. Barker and Frolick (2003) suggest that 50% of ERP implementations succeed. Hong and Kim (2002) estimate a 25% success rate. Others suggest failure rates up to 90% (Scott & Vessey, 2002; Martin, 1998). Ho, Wu, and Ta (2004) have reported that currently there are relatively few successes. Overall, there is insufficient research into enterprise resource planning systems. As one author suggests, “research in the ERP area is still lacking and the gap in the ERP literature is huge” (Al-Mashari, 2003).

The essential parts of an enterprise resource planning system are integrated modules that allow business process that cross business functional areas; one large real-time database that allows for a single entry and repository for information across business functions; and seamless business transactions across business functions (Miller, 2003).

Okrent and Vokurka (2004) note six core processes that are streamlined in ERP systems: quote to cash, procure to pay, plan to perform, manufacturing operations, product life cycle, and financial management. McAdam and Galloway (2005) suggest ERP systems allow “standardising business processes, ensuring integrity of data, and removing the number, complexity, and expense surrounding old independent legacy systems.”

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