Integrating Business Strategy and Enterprise Resource Planning systems

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'Half of all technology projects fail to meet CEO expectations'. CSC Index study (in CIO Enterprise, July 1998) Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems promise to revolutionise the way a business operates: allowing greater flexibility, market responsiveness, customer service, management information and reduced costs. However experiences and opinions vary dramatically as to whether ERP systems deliver on these promises. Certainly ERP systems customer demand remains strong, with major ERP systems vendors experiencing several years of double-digit growth and better, with a whole sub-industry of consultants and systems integrators growing around ERP system. This study examines the strategic nature and implications of the ERP systems decision: in reality a multitude of decisions, which together have drastic and lasting effects on nearly all aspects of an organisation. As with all strategic issues, there is no `step-by-step recipe for success' with ERP, but rather a successful approach depends on the specific organisation and its environment. Therefore what is required is an assessment and analysis of these, the results of which are combined with established knowledge about IT systems development and implementation to determine the most suitable approach. In this way ERP is integrated with organisational strategy and therefore can achieve maximum benefit. If ERP is not viewed and managed as a strategic project, it is likely, at best, to be a massive waste of resources and, at worst, may cripple an organisation.
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