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Critical Success Factors for the Implementation of an

Enterprise Resource Planning System

(This is an excerpt from a dissertation completed fo a Masters Degree in Project Management in 2004)

Successful implementation of systems has never been easy. Implementation of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is a complex, lengthy and costly process. Despite the huge investment, there is extensive evidence that many companies experience considerable problems, particularly during the actual implementation phase. The Western Health Board is currently implementing an ERP system, as part of a programme to introduce ERP systems throughout the Irish Health Service. The name given to this ERP system is PPARS (Personnel, Payroll and Related Systems). Moving to an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system will require significant business process re-engineering. The strategy of not conducting a prior business process re-engineering phase and using PPARS to engineer the processes concurrently to the implementation adds to the complexity and to the project expectations. PPARS like similar public service projects often begin with a dangerous blend of optimism, inexperience, enthusiasm, and uncertainty. The personnel involved often find themselves facing uncertainty and competing agendas, such as the Health Service Reform Programme and the Financial Information Systems Project (FISP). At the same time there may be over-optimistic expectations of likely outcomes, or even the actual demand for the product being provided. Without a proper understanding of the project’s challenges and implications at the outset, you may not have the right personnel or financial resources to handle it. Analysis of critical success factors and success criteria among the stakeholder groups in this research is intended to increase stakeholder understanding of the project and the factors contributing to its success

 There is a shortfall in existing ERP research in the Health Service. Given the problems experienced primarily in the private sector, this thesis involved an analysis and prioritisation among stakeholders groups of Critical Success Factors (CSFs) and the Criteria for measuring success, for the implementation of an ERP System in the Western Health Board (WHB).

 The research method chosen for this research project is of a qualitative nature through an interpretive case study, where data collection techniques have consisted of a thorough literature review, secondary data review of documentation regarding the ERP project (PPARS), focus groups and group interviews.

 Twenty two (22) ranked CSFs were identified from the literature review.  These factors were drawn primarily from the private sector, and did not have a specific focus on the Health Sector. It was found that the CSFs identified in the literature were applicable to the ERP implementation in the WHB, together with five other CSFs which also applied in the health sector.

  It was found that while the prioritisation of success factors and success criteria vary among stakeholder groups, the factor of “clear goals and objectives” was prioritised very high among all of the groups interviewed.

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