The Dynamics of Critical Success Factors of Enterprise Resource Planning Programs

Stefan Klaus Müller

Publication: ThesisDoctoral thesis

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Abstract

Research on Critical Success Factors (CSFs) for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementations has been carried out since the late 1990s, identifying various CSFs, empirically testing them and summarizing them in taxonomies. Little attention has been paid so far to ERP programs, which are employed frequently in practice. In this context, a program is an additional entity which supervises and monitors the single projects within an ERP implementation, and during all phases of the ERP life cycle. It is important to note that research barely considers the notion of programs explicitly and often abstracts from challenges stemming from interdependent, related projects and the dynamics over the implementation life cycle.
This research approaches this gap from the perspective of phases by investigating the CSFs of two large ERP programs in-depth over the course of their life cycles. We employ a variant of the "Straussian" grounded theory approach for our interpretive case studies. The structures and the contexts of the two programs were significantly different. Consequently, as we deem the contextual information particularly important, we (1) perform two independent analyses of the programs. In this step we present two models which give us further insights into the dynamics of CSFs in ERP programs. The first model (a) attributes different perceptions of salient groups in relation to a CSF as determinants for IS-success. The second model (b) presents the program construct as a means of organizational learning to impact CSFs over the life cycle of an ERP program. In a second analysis step (2), we continue with a comparative cross-case analysis and discuss differences and commonalities. Furthermore, a common set of CSFs and the benefits of ERP programs are presented.
The results show us that CSFs can change over the program life cycle and a more dynamic view is warranted. Furthermore, we illustrate programs as powerful tools that increase the likelihood of successful implementation efforts. We present two models highlighting the roles of perceptions (a) and organizational learning (b) and how they can shape their underlying CSFs. These parsimonious, easily applicable models provide the basis for empirical research in this area, and can be used by practitioners as a point of reference, increasing the likelihood of a successful implementation. Lastly, we demonstrate that an ERP program as an additional entity is most beneficial in contexts with a high degree of integration, dependencies and interrelations between the projects, where the resources need to be allocated and prioritized efficiently.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • WU Vienna
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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