Why ERP Implementations Fail – A Grounded Research Study

Raafat George Saadé, Harshjot Nijher, Mahesh Chandra Sharma
InSITE 2017  •  2017  •  pp. 191-200
Aim/Purpose: A grounded research study to understand ERP implementation failure. This study was done in a United Nations agency.

Background: An organization mid-size ERP system (AGRESSO) was implemented over a period of 6 years in a United Nations agency, under conditions of political pressures and limited budget.

Methodology : Observations and quasi-structured interview method was used to collect the data.

Contribution: ERP implementation success is still difficult to frame. This study looks at this problem in terms of the causes of failure. Moreover, ERP research studies are relatively few and dispersed, especially for the UN context – which to our knowledge has not been published.

Findings: The major finding is that the political nature of the UN fosters a hierarchical culture that is detrimental for Information Systems implementation in general, excluding the end-user from the functional requirements engineering process. There seems to be a lack of vision and strategic direction for ERP implementation in the UN. The context of the UN makes the strategic direction the more difficult of formulate and implement.

Recommendations for Practitioners: For the UN, a cultural paradigm shift is necessary whereby the end-user must be included in any information systems development and implementation initiative. End-user development (although not a new approach) needs to be adopted for the UN.

Recommendation for Researchers: Information systems development and deployment studies for the UN should take front stage as it represents an underlying stream of high complexity on all research in the field. Understanding ERP implementation in the UN has the potential to enhance its success in all other industries.

Impact on Society: Any progress of the UN impacts positively the whole world since 193 countries are members of the UN. As such, ERP implementation is primarily about increasing operational efficiencies, it and promises transparency with regards to the member states financial contributions.

Future Research: More ERP implementation studies on the different types of UN organizations. Also studies that address appropriate ERP systems for the various types of UN organization do not exist. The UN provides many research opportunities as it is hardly being studied.
ERP, United Nations, implementation, success factors
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