This chapter addresses the problem of enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation in Higher Education Institutions (HEI). It attempts to contribute to the understanding of ERP implementations in this kind of organizations by identifying and analyzing the major factors that affect this type of projects. Special attention has been paid to contextual influence and to organizational factors. The conclusions of this work suggest that most problems in ERP implementation projects are not technological but may be attributed to organizational factors. The chapter describes an in-depth case study carried out at a HEI that implemented an ERP system in 2001. The case was studied as ...view middle of the document...
The interpretive perspective adopted in our research reflects our aim for understanding the phenomenon of ERP implementation in a HEI within the full-fledged organizational context where it occurs. In order to keep the confidentiality of the research site and the people involved in this case study, we deliberately omitted the name of the institution and ERP product. The chapter is structured as follows. First we present the literature review on ERP. Then we describe the case study background. Next, we present the research methodology. Subsequently, we describe the findings. Finally, the conclusions and the implications for further research are outlined.
Prior Research on ERP
Aladwani (2001) stated the following:
Past ERP implementation research may be described as factor research, which involves identifying the factors or variables that are critical for implementing ERP successfully. Although factor research is valuable for advancing our understanding of ERP implementation success, it adopts a static view, which limits its adequacy in explaining the dynamics of the implementation process. (p. 267)
Aladwani (2001) and Robey, Ross, and Boudreau (2002) suggested a process research approach or a combination of factor and process approaches, in order to improve research in ERP topics. Using a process approach, ERP implementation may be conceived as sequences of discrete events that lead to outcomes of particular interest. Some studies focused on ERP impacts at organizational, technological, and business levels, business process reengineering, and organizational change management issues. However, the few studies developed so far are not enough to create a body of knowledge in the area. Case studies, not necessarily in-depth, constituted the largest category of articles. From the perspective of research methodology, Esteves and Pastor (2000) detected that in some of the referenced studies, there was a lack of explanation of the research methodology applied, lack of data to support the presented results, and lack of assumptions or hypotheses (in theoretical terms) for further studies. Furthermore, although some studies attempted to identify critical success factors for ERP implementations in general (e.g., Esteves & Pastor, 2000), and more specifically to HEI (Nielsen, 2002), there is a lack of research on the management of these critical success factors.
In sum, as Robey, Ross and Boudreau (2002) mentioned, the research on ERP has been mostly descriptive. They pointed out that “little attention has been paid to developing a compelling theoretical explanation of ERP implementation, which is needed to explain contradictory findings and to allow generalization of findings to related phenomena” (p. 21). Due to lack of theoretical foundations on the ERP domain, it seems appropriate to investigate ERP implementations by using grounded theory applied to data drawn from in-depth case studies.
The Spanish HEI of our case...