Preparing People to Manage, Support and Use Enterprise Systems in an Arabian Gulf Context

Preparing People to Manage, Support and Use Enterprise Systems in an Arabian Gulf Context

Hamed Al-Hinai (University of Sunderland, UK) and Helen M. Edwards (University of Sunderland, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-048-8.ch008
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Abstract

Preparing organizations and assessing their readiness to implement enterprise systems is a growing agenda in information systems research. This chapter examines the challenges that face the preparation of organizations‘ stakeholders in managing and supporting the implementation and using enterprise systems in an Arabian Gulf context. The chapter points out the major issues that have been identified by enterprise systems‘ professionals such as: lack of business and IT strategies, continuous top management support, insufficient training, inefficient communication procedures, inefficient change management and cultural barriers. To overcome these challenges, the chapter suggests that the preparation should not be limited to end users since the preparation of other stakeholders, such as top managers, project manager and project teams, is essential to successfully implement and use the enterprise system. Based on insights gained by empirical research with enterprise systems professionals, the chapter recommends a number of factors that need to be considered. These have been grouped into the categories of: organizational, managerial, technical, external, and human/social factors.
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Background

Enterprise systems, such as E-Government, enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM) and data warehouse systems are complex solutions that seek to integrate the different functions in an organization into appropriate business processes. Their aim is to provide holistic integrated, dynamic cross-departmental business processes that enable the organization to cut down the time required to complete identified transactions or processes (Aladwani, 2001; Appuswamy, 2000). Where this aim is realized the benefits to the organization are often in improved customer service (and streamlined processes); for instance, the customer no longer has to wait in long queues or visit different offices in order to complete his transaction (Appuswamy, 2000). Such integrated systems can cover functions such as finance, procurement, supply chain, maintenance, human resources, etc (Abdinnour-Helm, Lengnick-Hall, & Lengnick-Hal, 2003). The integration is not limited to functions but can also draw in the wider sociotechnical system which includes the integration of data and people within the organization. In such cases the transparency and availability of information to decision makers in the organization is tremendously improved. The promised benefits of enterprise systems have led to high investments by organizations around the world in order to introduce these systems: either to get a competitive edge in their marketplace, or, in certain cases, simply to survive. Similarly, organizations in the Arabian Gulf countries are also investing and introducing enterprise systems to improve and streamline their business processes: especially given the economic boom that they have experienced in recent years. For example, government organizations are implementing E-government solutions while private sector organizations are introducing ERP and CRM solution to support much of their business activity.

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