A process approach for understanding strategic enterprise system implementation decisions : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems at Massey University, Albany Campus, New Zealand

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Massey University
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Enterprise system (ES) implementation involves large investment of resources for a long period of time before business benefits can be realized, meaning the choice of system is one of the most critical decisions an organization makes. However, a right choice does not guarantee a successful working system because ES implementation is a complex and a dynamic process that involves a mix of technological and organizational decisions. These decisions cannot be structured and need to be revised and reformulated with the pace of implementation. As a result, the understanding of these decisions cannot be separated from the understanding of the implementation process. A review of the IS literature suggests that the dominant stream of strategic decision making (SDM) research follows a strategy formulation approach, while research into implementation of strategic IT decisions receives little attention. To fill this gap, this study takes the latter approach both to understand 15 key ES implementation decisions, and to establish a model for facilitating ES implementation that has both a theoretical and a practical significance. Using the multiple theoretical perspectives of SDM models and through two case studies of ES implementation, qualitative data on the SDM process pertaining to the 15 decisions was gathered to inductively develop a model of the ES implementation process as it unfolded over time. The SDM model reveals ES implementation as a four-phase process: (1) preparation, (2) design, (3) configuration, and (4) realization. For each phase of the model, key activities pertaining to the decision process for these 15 decisions that enabled implementation to move forward are described. Key words: Enterprise system (ES), enterprise resource planning (ERP), strategic decision-making (SDM), decisions models, process approach, case studies
Management information systems, Information technology, Management, Enterprise system, Enterprise resource planning (ERP), Strategic decision making (SDM), Decisions models, Process approach, Case studies