Just in time or Just in case: A Case study on the impact of context in ERP implementations
Keywords:Enterprise Resource Planning, Context, Feral Systems
AbstractThis paper looks at a case study of an Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP) implementation in a geographically dispersed utility company and the approach by middle management to several problem situations involving contextual issues and end-user developed (feral) systems. The paper contends that despite the extremely effective databases and sophisticated modules for business analytic functions within most ERP’s, middle managers are still in the “just in case of an incident” mode of inventory management and data entered in their own feral systems may be significantly different to the inventory levels recorded in the main ERP. We contend that these problems point towards the failure of ERP systems to be context sensitive to organisations. It highlights problems in contemporary research which appears to lack understanding of different organisational contexts and how they could impact on ERP implementations. This paper argues that context and the ideals of ERP systems are often mismatched which leads to the development of feral systems, poor inventory practices and ERP systems implementation failure. The paper discusses the literature around ERP systems implementation and argues that context is an overlooked factor in the analysis of such systems. The paper uses case study evidence to demonstrate mismatched context and highlights the problems with assuming ERP systems are one size fits all. The paper concludes with a call to build more contextual research in the study of ERP implementations.
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