On Selection, Implementation, and Operations of ERP Systems

On Selection, Implementation, and Operations of ERP Systems

Sven Völker (Hochschule Ulm – University of Applied Sciences, Germany) and Torsten Munkelt (Viscom AG, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3664-4.ch004
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This chapter gives recommendations for selecting, implementing, and operating ERP systems. It is not intended to be a complete guideline for introducing ERP. Instead, the authors indicate special aspects that are important from their point of view. The chapter addresses practitioners who are responsible for selection, implementation, and operations of ERP systems, especially IT and project managers. General process models are given for the two main IT projects of this domain, ERP system selection and ERP system implementation. The main structure of the chapter matches the phases of these projects. The authors’ suggestions stretch from project management, business process reengineering, application development, reporting, and customizing to choosing hardware and key users, data migration, and user training. While other publications give rather general advice, recommendations in this chapter are selected to be use-oriented and easy to apply. The recommendations do not depend on any particular ERP system.
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Selection Of An Erp System

Phases of ERP System Selection

Deciding which ERP system should be implemented and choosing an appropriate implementation partner, is the foundation of a successful first-time implementation of ERP or of an evolution of ERP within an enterprise. Choosing the wrong system and/or partner may have fatal consequences for the company. Hence, one of the main objectives of ERP system selection is to minimize the risk of such mistake.

Selecting a system and a vendor is a complex decision problem that requires a structured approach and represents a project of its own. This project is costly in terms of time and labour, and it requires interdisciplinary knowledge about business processes and information technology. A few process models for software selection have been proposed (Ritschel & Schmieder, 2010; The 6 Phases of Software Selection, 2011; Lin et al., 2006). All these models intend to lead to an optimal decision and to avoid pitfalls during the decision process. We will structure our remarks according the five phases shown in Figure 1. The picture shows a simplified model. Some phases may be performed concurrently, and some may require feedback.

Figure 1.

Phases of ERP system selection


The selection project is defined, prepared, and initiated during project setup. The as-is analysis serves to write down an up-to-date business model describing the relevant organizational units, business processes, and legacy systems effected by the ERP implementation. Business process design covers the definition of to-be business processes and organization as well as the identification of both functional and non-functional requirements. During system evaluation, a market research is performed and viable ERP systems are assessed with respect to the requirements. Considering the gathered information, a decision is made in the last phase, system selection.

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