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Determination of Critical Success Factors in Implementing an ERP System: A Field Study in Mexican Enterprises

View From Practice ´ ´ Noe Garc´a-Sanchez ı ITESO University, Periferico Sur-Manuel Gomez Morin No. 8585, C.P. 45090, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico. E-mail: drngarcia@iteso.mx ´ Luis E. Perez-Bernal ITESO University, Periferico Sur-Manuel Gomez Morin, No. 8585, C.P. 45090, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico. E-mail: luis@iteso.mx

ABSTRACT This research focuses on seeking the most important Critical Success Factors (CSF) that influence the implementation process of an Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP) system. Based on a literature review, a reference list of 14 CSFs considered important in previous studies is identified. An experience survey, using a questionnaire, was conducted to verify whether these CSFs are also important and relevant for Mexican enterprises in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico. The sample consisted of 48 medium and large enterprises. The main results are as follows: (a) all the 14 CSFs in the reference list proved to be relevant for the Mexican enterprises; (b) no additional CSFs were added to the reference list by the participants, which implies that these 14 CSFs are the most important for the Mexican enterprises; and (c) cultural aspects is a likely cause of the differences in the ordering of CSF priority levels in different world regions. C 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Keywords: ERP; implementing ERP; implementing IS; critical success factors for ERP; critical success factors for IS

1. INTRODUCTION The Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP) constitutes the most important Information Technology (IT) application supporting, effectively and efficiently, the operation of an organization. At present, nearly every organization regardless of its size or activity sector is operating, or is planning to operate in the short or medium range, an ERP system supporting its core business functions as well as the interconnection among them. Even before an enterprise or organization thinks about acquiring other IT applications to support a specific strategic objective, it needs to consider implementing and operating an ERP system. Otherwise, it is likely that the enterprise will not obtain the expected benefits from

Information Technology for Development, Vol. 13 (3) 293–309 (2007) Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com).

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2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. DOI: 10.1002/itdj.20075

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& Wetherbe. 2003).294 ´ ´ GARC´A-SANCHEZ AND PEREZ-BERNAL I these other applications. 2000. departments. and processes throughout the entire enterprise (Klaus. for the most part.2 ERP Implementation Process and its Importance Due to the large ERP system’s capabilities and the essential solutions expected from this system to support the enterprise. Lee. It provides services to all departments in an organization. and human resources.1002/itdj . the process of effectively and efficiently implementing and using an ERP system is still a long and daunting task for most enterprises. have acceptable quality. At present. In Guadalajara. & Wetherbe. & Banerjee 2002).1 ERP Definition and Importance An ERP system is an information system that integrates all the enterprise functions. Human resources can be internal or external personnel. functions. These commercially available programs offer a good variety of solutions and. For this study. and it will surely waste time and money in this action. Some authors in the Information Systems (IS) field also call these systems Enterprise Information Systems (Davenport. In spite of the many failures that have been reported about the implementation of these systems (Davenport. ERP systems were first implemented in the 1980s. some success stories in implementing and using an ERP system have been reported. very much required by an enterprise in order to function as a well-integrated and coordinated business unit. 1998. It engages Information Technology for Development DOI: 10. Mexico. Turban. ERP systems have become the most important IT solution. it is an empirical study that has the objective to define the Critical Success Factors (CSF) influencing ERP implementations in enterprises. Nevertheless. McLean. its implementation process is complex and risky. 1998). a “successful implementation” of an ERP system means that the system is implemented in a correct and complete form at minimum cost. Somers & Nelson. McLean. supported by a unique IT structure. The list of CSF identified has been used as the reference basis for the present study. Many authors in the IS field have researched and written papers in the ERP systems domain that explained their important characteristic of integrating information. & Gable. Zhang. This study thus provides guidelines for managing the implementation of an ERP system with acceptable probability of success. time. Parr & Shanks. this process is still uncertain and risky. 2000. For many of them. It provides the enterprise with the capacity to plan and manage its resources based on an integrated approach (Turban. management in enterprises or organizations do not have a set of clear and convenient guidelines to successfully implement an ERP system. 2. 2003). Rosemman. it is clear that commercial ERP solutions need some improvements to better support the enterprise requirements. Since then. At the same time its personnel will lose confidence in the positive impact of IT developments. LITERATURE REVIEW 2. The study has reviewed the relevant international Information Systems (IS) literature in order to determine the most important CSF. 2001. A successfully implemented ERP will soon start to produce the expected and planned benefits for the enterprise so that it can develop the competitive advantages that management had in mind when it decided to acquire the system. 2.

It shows the crossreference relations between the CSFs analyzed and the studies themselves. 2001. In the ERP context.3 Critical Success Factors Analysis The Critical Success Factors are defined as “the limited number of areas in which results. Axline. and most significant subset of all the factors analyzed in the nine prior studies. the following questions were used as a guide: How frequently did factors appear? How clear were their descriptions? How well justified were they? How relevant have they been found? A new title was defined for some of the groups based on the similarities of their descriptions. if they are satisfactory. Markus. 2002. & Godla. will ensure successful competitive performance for the organization” (Rockart. 2. 2000. 1999. nine studies were selected as most relevant among multiple ones in the literature. Klauss. and Zhang. and Banerjee. and we use this research to identify factors in this study. Somers and Nelson. Rosemann. a list of 14 CSFs was selected as reference for this study. a cross-reference table was constructed (Table 1). Of the studies analyzing the CSF.) After grouping the different factors analyzed in these nine studies based on similarity of their descriptions. and Gable. The CSFs selected are as follows: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Top management support Business process reengineering Project management Project champion End users involvement Training and support for users Having external consultants Change management plan ERP system selection Vision statement and adequate business plan To facilitate of changes in the organizational structure in the “legacy systems” and in the IT infrastructure Communication Teamwork composition for the ERP project Tests and problem solutions Information Technology for Development DOI: 10. 1999. and Tanis. Petrie. clearest. which are put at risk during implementation.4 Critical Success Factors Selected Based on factors identified in the nine selected papers and on the cross-reference Table 1.” The conditions for failure or success in the implementation of an ERP system have been widely studied (Bingi. For the selection process. 1979). Fitzgerald & O’Kane.1002/itdj . Many authors attest to the importance and complexity of implementing an ERP system including Delone and McLean. Esteves & Pastor. 1999. Sharma. They have no guarantee that the system will likely provide the expected benefits. 1992. 2. 2000. The 14 CSFs are considered to represent the largest. effectively and efficiently. the process of implementing an ERP system. The managers do not have clear and useful guidelines to direct. (See Table 1. among others). Holland and Light (1999) define them as “the factors needed to ensure a successful ERP project. Reel. Lee. 2001.DETERMINATION OF CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS IN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEM 295 a considerable amount of enterprise resources.

Cross-Reference Between CSFs and Studies 3. METHODOLOGY A field study was conducted with 48 Mexican enterprises in the Guadalajara metropolitan area.296 ´ ´ GARC´A-SANCHEZ AND PEREZ-BERNAL I TABLE 1a. Mexico.1 Methodology Justification The development of the questionnaire survey had the objective of gathering information from people directly involved in the ERP implementation process. 3. Data was collected through an experience survey using a questionnaire. The CSF technique was applied in the context of this survey in order to define and validate the set of factors that are considered to influence the implementation of an ERP system in an enterprise. Another objective of this study is to generate the first steps and guidelines to open a research line about the Information Technology for Development DOI: 10.1002/itdj .

This is because there is no list or register in any public or private institution in M´ xico about the enterprises that have implemented or are in the process of implementing an e Information Technology for Development DOI: 10. in this order of priority. 3. (See Appendix.1 Orientation.2 Survey Design 3. The study is directed to enterprises that had already implemented an ERP and to enterprises that were in the final steps of implementing it. and to IT professionals.1002/itdj . 3. project leader. the survey was administered to managers who were in charge of the implementation process. The companies were selected by size to include only medium or large.) We did not. with positions such as general project leader.DETERMINATION OF CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS IN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEM 297 TABLE 1b. senior consultant.2.2. select companies by type of industry. and IT project leader. to consultants. All of them were highly involved in the implementation process. The CSF technique has been used traditionally within similar contexts and objectives resembling the ones presented here. Specifically. main consultant. Cross-Reference Between CSFs and Studies (continued) implementation and use of ERP systems in Latin America.2 Selection of the enterprises. however.

” The questionnaire was validated by a pilot test conducted on eight enterprises. The process of selection and the list of these 14 CSF were discussed in section 2. E-mail was the medium for sending and receiving the questionnaires for most of the enterprises.1002/itdj . 4. 5.298 ´ ´ GARC´A-SANCHEZ AND PEREZ-BERNAL I ERP system. A second source of inquiry was asking ITESO faculty to name enterprises where they had done information systems consulting. Information Technology for Development DOI: 10. 6. The total number of enterprises was 48 with 85 questionnaires distributed. a list of 14 CSFs was defined. Nevertheless. Some mid-size enterprises selected PARNET5. There was no limitation to any specific ERP software to be considered for the sample. A questionnaire was designed with items for each one of these 14 selected factors. was provided based on the experience of the enterprise. 3. H0: The Critical Success Factors for the implementation of an ERP system in an enterprise found significant in previous research using this technique are also significant for the implementation process of an ERP system in a Mexican enterprise in the Guadalajara metropolitan area. and it was not registered in the questionnaire. 2. The scale goes from “Extremely critical and important for the success of the implementation” to “Neither critical nor important for the success of the implementation. It took the researchers 8 months to get the participation of this sample of enterprises. Twelve valid questionnaires were obtained this way (7 medium and 5 large enterprises). A five-point Likert scale was used in order to determine the importance level of each critical factor. 3. a question assesses the level of importance that it has in the implementation process. a variety of candidate identification sources were used. Oracle. The procedure was as follows: 1. resulting in 21 valid questionnaires (11 medium and 10 large enterprises). The first source of inquiry was asking ITESO University faculty and students at the IS master degree program to name enterprises as candidates for the study. or grade.4. Two additional valid questionnaires for medium enterprises were obtained from other sources. and PeopleSoft.3 Questionnaire Design From the review of previous research focused on CSFs in ERP systems implementation. This level. enterprises were contacted. For each factor. Valid questionnaires by enterprise size consisted of 69% medium enterprises and 31% large enterprises. From this source. Instead.4 Sample The population included enterprises in the Guadalajara metropolitan area in M´ xico that e have implemented an ERP system or enterprises in the final steps of this process. ERP providers were asked for candidate firms. we noticed that the most frequent ERP systems implemented by enterprises in the sample were: SAP.5 Hypothesis The hypothesis stated in this research is as follows. 3. They provided information to contact medium enterprises leading to 13 valid questionnaires. 3.

00 4.78 6.50 2.88 5. Descriptive Statistics on Person Answering Questionnaire Organizational position at the implementation process time CEO CIO Project Leader Procurement Manager Supply Chain Manager Financial Manager Commercial Manager General Project Manager Business Process Analyst Not answered TOTAL Number of enterprises 4 9 8 4 1 2 2 5 1 12 48 Average number of years working in that enterprise 10.DETERMINATION OF CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS IN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEM 299 TABLE 2. 40%). 4.” A score of 3 points is labeled as “Moderately critical and moderately important for the success of the implementation process. a value of 1 represents “ Neither critical nor important for the success of the implementation process” and a value of 5 represents “Extremely critical and important for the success of the implementation process.50 2. the factor is considered to qualify as a valid CSF.00 1. by consultants (approx. According to Table 4. Information Technology for Development DOI: 10.31 points on the fivepoint Likert scale (Table 3).” Hence.00 6.00 2. it can be considered that all the 14 CSF analyzed in this study are relevant for the Mexican enterprises in the Guadalajara metropolitan area.00 2.00 1.00 4. RESULTS The sample of 48 enterprises was analyzed and the following results were obtained: 4. Table 3 shows the descriptive statistics obtained for the CSFs as well as their ordering from high to low.31 represents a little bit “more critical” than that. It was answered by e-mail (90%) or personal interview (10%). Table 2 shows the statistics of the general data reported in the questionnaires.00 3. or by IT professionals (approx. In this way.00 Average number of years involved with the implementation process of that enterprise 6. a score of 3.3 Significance Level for the Average Obtained for the Factors: “t-Student” Test A “t-student” test was applied to determine if the value of the average grade of each factor analyzed is equal or greater than 3 at a significant level. 4.1 General Characteristics The questionnaires were answered by managers (approximate 50%). For 12 questionnaires.2 Relevance of the 14 FCE Analyzed It was found that over the 14 CSFs analyzed.00 7. If it is found significant that the average or mean grade of a factor is equal to or greater than 3.78 3.00 5. the position of the person answering was not indicated.00 4. Therefore. the H0 hypothesis stated for this study is supported. 10%).63 3.1002/itdj . the minimum score was 3.

89 0.1002/itdj . it is concluded for all the CSFs that their mean is significantly equal to or greater than 3.96 0.86 0. Descriptive Statistics for the CSFs Analyzed Critical Success Factor 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Top management support Project management Teamwork composition for the ERP project Communication Business process reengineering ERP system selection Having external consultants Training and support for users Project champion End users involvement Change management plan Tests and problem solution To facilitate changes in the organizational structure.89 4. so it can be concluded that these 14 factors are. Important but not critical for the success of the implementation process.24 4. Ha = The factor mean is equal to or greater than 3 (the factor is considered critical). Ho = The factor mean is less than 3 (the factor is not considered critical). Critical and important for the success of the implementation process.36 4.05.76 0.78 0. Grade 5 4 3 2 1 The t-student test data for the obtained grade average of the analyzed factors are the following: 47 degrees of freedom and a significance level of 0.19 4.50 4. in the “legacy systems” and in the IT infrastructure Vision statement and adequate business plan Mean 4. most likely.4 Another Interesting Result Another result is that not one additional CSF was added to the 14 CSF reference list by the survey analysis.64 3. Information Technology for Development DOI: 10.66 0.36 3.61 0. Table 5 shows the results of this test. Neither critical nor important for the success of the implementation process.31 0.06 4. Since all the calculated values of “t” are greater than the corresponding “t-table” values. Moderately critical and moderately important for the success of the implementation process. Likert Scale for Critical Importance Level Description Extremely critical and important for the success of the implementation process.54 4. 4.06 3.300 ´ ´ GARC´A-SANCHEZ AND PEREZ-BERNAL I TABLE 3.99 TABLE 4.93 3.64 3.67 0.74 0.75 0. the most relevant for the population studied. The only fact that could be inferred is the high probability of the nonexistence of more critical CSF other than the 14 CSFs postulated in this study.31 Standard Deviation 0.30 4.71 0. It should be pointed out that it has not been demonstrated that these 14 are the only possible CSF in the population of the Guadalajara metropolitan area.67 0.

4.96 0. whose results are later re-analyzed by Akkermans and van Helden (2002).30 4. Akkermans and van Helden revalidate the list of the top 10 CSF found by Somers and Nelson. in the “legacy systems” and in the IT infrastructure Vision statement and adequate business plan Mean 4.S.6779 1.67 0. They are ordered according to the importance level obtained in each study.6779 1.6779 1.19 4.75 0.50 4.86 0. while in the Somers and Nelson study.6779 1.65 11.64 3. We mention some of these differences and also propose an interpretation with regard to cultural differences.71 0.89 4.66 0. and Europe.6779 Ha 4.6779 1.24 4. one of the most important research references is the Somers and Nelson (2001) study.54 9.23 17. Results From the t-Student Test for CSFs Critical Success Factor 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Top management support Project management Teamwork composition for the ERP project Communication Business process reengineering ERP system selection Having external consultants Training and support for users Project champion End users involvement Change management plan Tests and problem solution To facilitate changes in the organizational structure.5 Comparing and Explaining the Differences Between the Results of This Study Versus the Results in Other World Regions: Observing Cultural Aspects Some specific and interesting characteristics and differences are shown when analyzing the results of previous studies in different world regions or economic zones such as Western economies represented by the U. and Europe. to some degree.07 5.99 2.6779 1.59 10.89 t 42.36 4. the process of administrating this kind of project is not good and because of that. it does not reach the effectiveness level it reaches in the developed Western countries. 4. it appears in 5th position.74 0.06 13.04 14.1.1 Studies in the Western economic zone.61 8.6779 1.78 0. In the present study.S.06 3. which will be called here the Western Economic Zone and that encompasses the U.96 8. Considering the economic zone. This indicates that.6779 1.54 4.6779 Accepted Hypothesis Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha 14 3.80 t-Table 1. in Mexico.1 Effectiveness of project management.06 4.36 Standard Deviation 0.6779 1. Information Technology for Development DOI: 10.93 3. the factor “Project Management” appears in 2nd position.31 0. According to the position of importance of the CSF in both studies.64 3.15 1. we propose the following explanations and cultural interpretation of the differences found.6779 1.68 2.83 5.5.31 0.67 0.DETERMINATION OF CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS IN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEM 301 TABLE 5.76 0.6779 1.24 14.61 0. These 10 CSF are shown in Table 6 as well as the CSF found important in this study.5.1002/itdj .6779 1.

1. while the only factor related to this in Information Technology for Development DOI: 10.5. the support of external consultants is more required and accepted for projects of this magnitude and sophistication than by enterprises in Western countries.2. Level of cooperation and mutual support. 4. in the Mexican enterprise environment.5.4. in the Mexican business environment.5.5. It could be inferred that. in Mexico. This is interpreted that. and documentation than that confronted by enterprises in Western countries in deciding on ERP acquisition. while in the Somers and Nelson study it is in position 22 in their complete final list. There was a significant relationship between individualism and the ERP adoption. Business process reengineering importance. the “Clear goals and objectives” factor appears in 4th position. The factor called “Having external consultants” appears in position 7. This indicates that. One of the most important CSFs for Western economy enterprises is “interdepartmental cooperation” (3rd position in Somers and Nelson list). in the Western economies. 4. there are some difficulties in developing synergies and collaboration among people from different departments. The Waarts and van Everdingen (2003) study remarks on this problem in analyzing national culture and the process of adoption of ERP systems in enterprises of 10 European countries.1002/itdj . in the “legacy systems” and in the IT infrastructure Vision statement and adequate business plan 4.1.3.1. which was the most relevant in the findings of Akkermans and van Helden (2002). enterprises confront a higher level of disorder with respect to process definition. External consultant support. We remark that it is a potential mistake for Mexican enterprises to expect that ERP success is entirely dependent on external consultants.5. the cooperation and mutual support among the personnel is more frequent than it is in Western-economy enterprises. optimization. Results in Somers and Nelson (2001) Study Compared to Results in the Present Study Garc´a-S´ nchez and P´ rez (2007) ı a e Somers and Nelson (2001) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Top management support Project Team competence Interdepartmental cooperation Clear goals and objectives Project management Interdepartmental communication Management of expectations Project champion Vendor support Careful package selection 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Present Study Garc´a-S´ nchez and P´ rez (2007) ı a e Top management support Project management Teamwork composition for the ERP project Communication Business process reengineering ERP system selection Having external consultants Training and support for users Project champion End users involvement Change management plan Tests and problem solution To facilitate changes in the organizational structure. The factor “Business process reengineering” appears in this study in position 5. Vision and business plan definition.302 ´ ´ GARC´A-SANCHEZ AND PEREZ-BERNAL I TABLE 6. but it does not appear in the Top 10 Somers and Nelson list (it appears in position 16th in their complete final list). This could mean that. 4.1. In the Somers and Nelson list.

such as those developed by Kwon and Young-Gul (2001) and Soh.1.” Relating these findings with the results of the present study. Studies in Asia. Kien.2. optimization. In Zhang.1002/itdj . where the mutual support among the personnel itself is more likely to occur. rather than that. We find this of concern. • Zhang. It could mean that in some enterprises. and Banerjee as meaning a strong “in-group relationship generally built over a long time. In countries such as South Korea and Singapore.2. the state of the processes with the same attributes in Mexican enterprises. especially those from medium and small enterprises. which could have very important capabilities but those capabilities might exceed many of their enterprise’s requirements according to its business strategic plan. It is stable and difficult for outsiders access. we found the following characteristics. This factor was analyzed and found significant by Holland and Light (1999).DETERMINATION OF CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS IN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEM 303 our study. Comparing the findings of this study versus Asian results. and explanations. to some degree. enterprises tend to have traditional legacy systems supporting their operation before they acquire an ERP system. and Banerjee (2002) indicate that. enterprises do not optimize resources and apply them to support the enterprise’s strategic plan. 4. Thus. Lee.2.” This situation seems different from what is regularly shown in Mexican enterprises. and that these legacy systems are more developed and complex than the ones found in Mexican or Latin American enterprises. the treatment of these legacy systems would not be as critical to Mexican versus Western-economy enterprises. 4. Studies in South Korea and Singapore. cooperation across different functional areas entailed by ERP systems is less likely to be achieved in China’s organizations. and Tay-Yap (2000).2. there is a lack of well-supported decisions.” It is explained by Zhang. They might acquire a very expensive ERP. This situation makes obtaining the needed support from the CEOs and entrepreneurs difficult.5. and Banerjee’s study (2002) concerning CSF in implementing ERP systems in China. For this reason. Lee. and documentation of ERP processes in enterprises in Asia is similar to. 4. we can make the following conclusions: • The state of definition. • Another characteristic of the Chinese culture is “collectivism. intense work is required before the selection and implementation of an ERP system. Studies in China. differences. the most significant CSF found concerns business process reengineering and involves the concept of “Chinese organizational culture.5. even though the project management activity is considered important. For both. “Vision statement and adequate business plan. the enterprise managers are not used to utilizing systematic information to perform their functions. have emphasized the problem of Information Technology for Development DOI: 10.5. studies on ERP implementation. This also looks very similar to the Mexican environment because tradition is still a salient characteristic among CEOs and entrepreneurs.” does not appear among the first 10 CSFs. they follow a tradition of experience and intuition. order. Lee. Another relevant aspect of difference shown in studies carried out in Western countries relates to evaluation of the state and use of the Legacy systems prior to the ERP implementation. It is logical to assume that in Western economies. This could be interpreted that in our Mexican environment. in the Chinese culture.

304 ´ ´ GARC´A-SANCHEZ AND PEREZ-BERNAL I how to “fit the organization to the ERP. evaluation guides.2 IMPLICATIONS 5. Because of this. experience. check points.” which refers to the problem of fitting the enterprises having a traditional Asiatic model to ERP systems designed for Western enterprises. and measure requirements that provide them with a higher probability of success. Some examples of initial guidelines for managers are as follows.1002/itdj . Information Technology for Development DOI: 10.1 Summary of Findings The general conclusions of this study are as follows: • All 14 CSFs in the reference list obtained from the previous studies were found significant as Critical Success Factors for Mexican enterprises in the Guadalajara metropolitan area. This study explores the emerging CSFs that are important in an environment of technological change associated with the implementation of an ERP system. • Mexican enterprises in the study population have similar obstacles and opportunities for success in the implementation process of an ERP system. the new work requirements brought out by the ERP system are difficult to solve. The results of this study give warning points or aspects on which to concentrate for managers involved in the process of implementing an ERP system. guidelines. 5. 5. the importance levels of these obstacles and opportunities may be linked to cultural differences. and so it can be concluded that these 14 CSFs are the most significant for these enterprises as well. The results provide warning points for the managers involved in this kind of projects. The fact that “additional CSF do not exist in the population analyzed” is not demonstrated and it is likely that no additional factors are more critical than the 14 in the reference list. This problem is shown in the present study by the factor referred to as “Change Management Plan” (position 11th in the results). The comparison with similar studies in other world regions and in other economic zones and their cultural implications might also provide explanations. Something similar happens in our Mexican environment and very probably in all Latin America. They will provide the managers the opportunity to define strategies. and intuition. as do enterprises in other countries where the generalized use of ERP systems is in process.2. CONCLUSIONS 5. Having a broad population of medium and small enterprises where CEO or entrepreneurs carry out their management responsibilities based mostly on tradition.1 Implications for the enterprise managers. which focuses on this situation of change resistance provoked by the necessary fit of the organization to the ERP system operation. and strategies for the managers of the enterprises. These authors have found that the effort required by the enterprises in Asia to implement an ERP system negatively influences the success of the process because of the strong resistance to change in the whole organization. • No additional CSFs were added to the reference list by the respondents in the sample. Nevertheless.

and leadership. The manager in charge of the project should give much attention to important technical aspects and rely on his specialized and expert people to carry out this task. These preparation activities relate to the first four CSF on the list resulting from this study: (a) top management support (position 1). The process of planning and managing the change and of solving the elements of change resistance (position 11 in this study). having external consultants (position 7).1.5. which were indicated in the results of this study and studies in other world regions. and. and the development of project champions (position 9) are also important aspects that the manager should look after and support from project inception throughout its project life. the manager should also consider the significant CSFs in those other places or economic zones such as the traditional legacy systems. 5.2. The first issue to resolve when deciding on the implementation of an ERP system is to make sure that the time and circumstances in the organization are highly adequate to assure a strong top management support for the project.1.2. and technical tests and problem solutions (position 12). Management should update its own computer information systems knowledge and at the same time it should create. and (d) Communication (position 4).1. from the beginning. Analyzing results in other world regions.2.1.4. The last ones will make the investment decision for the project easier and proper. Monitoring important preconditions. 5. commitment.3.2.2. and collaborate with.6. 5. most importantly. 1997). the strategy that makes the leadership of the project visible and effective. 5.1.2. interdepartmental cooperation. We propose grouping the 14 CFSs in a simpler structure defined according to management tasks.2. Assuring top management support. The responsible manager should also attend to some important preconditions for the implementation. user involvement (position 10). an excellent work team composed of information systems and functional experts. Management has to define.1. The importance of upper management commitment is reinforced in a study about the process of assimilating information technology by end users in Mexico (Garc´a-S´ nchez.DETERMINATION OF CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS IN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEM 305 5. equipment requirements. Keeping track of technical aspects.1002/itdj .1. comprehensive and clear project management (position 2 in this study) and (b) to assure that the required business process reengineering will be performed (position 5 in this study). Referring to studies and results in other world regions. (c) teamwork composition for the ERP project (position 3). training and personnel support (position 8). the formulation of clear business vision and objectives. (b) project Management (position 2). 5. They are as follows: (a) to design and establish an effective. Managing change resistance. whereby an evident and concrete ı a enterprise management support was found significant in the end user decision process of using a new IT. The groups are labeled as follows: Information Technology for Development DOI: 10. The important technical aspects include: the ERP system selection (position 6 in this study). Other implications for the managers.

5. if it is detected that the organization is weak with respect to one group (say Human Factors). To start looking for solutions. and actions for the reinforcement of that section looking for an adequate balance with the other two groups or sections.2.1002/itdj .2 Implications for Computer Information Systems and Information Technology Researchers. This situation will become more relevant in the future because almost every enterprise (regardless of size or activity sector) will require the integrated management of all its functions and information processes provided by an ERP system. It is important that the enterprise satisfy this requirement to be competitive. For example. This study Information Technology for Development DOI: 10. it involves transcendental changes throughout the enterprise.306 • • ´ ´ GARC´A-SANCHEZ AND PEREZ-BERNAL I Human Factors Technological Factors • Organizational Factors We assign the 14 CSFs to groups as follows (the position number in this study appears in parenthesis): Human Factors: • • Teamwork composition (3) Communication (4) • Project Champion (9) • End users involvement (10) Technological Factors: • • • • Project management (2) ERP system selection (6) Training and support for users (8) Tests and problem solution (12) • To facilitate changes in the organizational structure. a complex interaction of variables takes place in the enterprise scenario. as a result. then it could emphasize its strategies. in the • “legacy systems” and in the IT infrastructure (13) Organizational Factors: • • • • Top management support (1) Business process reengineering (5) Having External Consultants (7) Change Management Plan (11) • Vision statement and adequate business plan (14) This structure enables the manager and the whole organization to address efforts and resources in their decisions to achieve the best-integrated result according to the available resources of the enterprise. Because an ERP system is a solution with a large and important scope. the first step is to identify the basic ERP implementation problems and their relevance. This study provides a framework for an enterprise in the important IS problem situation of ERP implementation. efforts.

It could analyze problems from the perspective of such disciplines as strategic planning. Future research should provide managers with frameworks for convenient actions as well as with best practices for the process of effective integration and significant and full exploitation of the information technology resource in their enterprises. methodologies. they will contribute in a significant way to their enterprise’s survival and competitiveness. Future studies could differentiate enterprises by size and industrial sector. The replies take a long time or never arrive. 6. it establishes a departure point for future studies. This happened because of the convenience sample. there is a mixture of medium and large enterprises (69% medium enterprises and 31% large enterprises). but we estimate that 86% of ERP implementations of respondent firms are or will be successful. 7. and usability evaluation metrics for ERP software. there are no documents or catalogues for the region or country that register the enterprises that have implemented an ERP system. including transnational ones. It is recommended for any future research in this subject to assure the support and collaboration of the enterprises and managers for the project. FUTURE RESEARCH Building from the results of this research. As was already mentioned. Information Technology for Development DOI: 10. and solutions to this problem in Latin America. We could not follow the final results for all the enterprises. Another problem is that enterprises in Mexico. future research work can have more concrete and specific focuses. This complicates a random selection.1002/itdj . business process reengineering as well as performance. at the same time. • In the sample. we propose research work in (a) metrics for performance. and usability evaluation of ERP systems and (b) techniques and methodologies for change management in ERP projects.DETERMINATION OF CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS IN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEM 307 contributes to the latter objective and. • The sample mostly consisted of enterprises having a successful implementation process. project management. functionality. The CSF in the present study’s first position of importance “top management support” suggests the following series of future studies looking for an analysis or treatment of this factor from different concepts and perspectives: • • • Organization and management culture in computer information systems The manager in front of the information technology and its fast evolution Leadership in IT projects and organizational learning in front of the technological change • Computer information systems projects evaluation considering the true and most significant value of the IT With respect to all the CSFs. compatibility. Thus. LIMITATIONS IN THIS STUDY This study has the following limitations: • The sample was not selected in a random way. are not used to answering these kinds of questionnaires.

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