The inefficencies and excess's of enterprise resource planning systems (ERP)
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Abstract Research into Enterprises Resource Planning Systems (ERP) has shown a persistent pattern of varying failures across a range of organisations in a wide variety of industries.. Despite such disappointing results the uptake of ERP's in both large and small enterprises have been phenomenal over the past decade. For example the US federal government alone is expected to spend $7.7 billion on ERP's by 2009. Corporations continue to buy ERP because they believe it will yield competitive advantage by increased efficiency or because they perceive the pressures of competitive necessity leave them with no options. The reasons for such a persistent pattern of disappointing results in ERP implementations are not forthcoming due to biases in the stance taken. Complex large scale ERP implementations involve social, technical and political elements. Yet the literature at the empirical level of analysis has a far narrower often single discipline focus. The case material while more holistic in analysis has to date given little insight into why ERP's fail. Dominant positivist research models are insufficient in that the focus is on surface elements (i.e. empirical data from one perspective - usually functionalist) and cannot account for the intricacy of why ERP's fail. So there is a paradox in that most modern corporations which pursue efficiency in order to produce excess goods and services are in fact victims of the excess which is promised by ERP yet which so far has delivered so little. This paper argues for a broader research perspective that should draw from existing models, methodologies and philosophies in order to establish a more holistic view of the reasons why ERP systems fail. Such a broader research agenda would allow examination of the wider socio-political factors and economic interests which presently shape the way ERP is conceptualised analysed and reported. The paper begins with an introduction into the problem of ERP failure and the current state of affairs in Information Systems Research. A key argument is then made for a more diverse approach to problems of this nature in Information Systems research that draws from a variety of perspectives. The paper concludes with the implications of this for Information Systems Research.
Excess & Organization: Proceedings of SCOS XXIII: Stockholm 2005