Evaluating ERP Implementations: The Case for a Lifecycle‑based Interpretive Approach
Keywords:ERP, Enterprise Resource Planning, Evaluation, Context, Lifecycle, Interpretive
AbstractAbstract: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are considered the lifeline of modern organisations. At the same time, high failure rates ranging from 50 to 70 percent are reported in the literature. In this study, we critically examine the assumptions underpinning high failure rate narrative in ERP literature and evaluate these assumptions against recent works. A major finding of this study is that the failure rates quoted in the extant literature are not only historical; they employ limiting project management definitions of on‑time and within‑budget completion whilst disregarding long‑term system usage. To substantiate this point, we present the findings from a longitudinal qualitative case study of an ERP implementation in a health service organisation. We find the system evaluation to be contextual, temporal and interpretive in nature. Based on our findings, we argue for a lifecycle‑based interpretive approach for evaluation that attends to various stakeholders’ viewpoints. Rather than traditional evaluation exercise serving as a project‑closure ritual, lifecycle‑based interpretive evaluation allows managers learn from different viewpoints and foster ERP utilisation in the longer run.
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