Towards a Model for Determining the Scope of ICT Integration in the Enterprise: the Case of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems


  • Fergal Carton
  • Frederic Adam


ERP, enterprise, integration, framework, complexity


The question of integration of information systems (IS) into the planning and execution of operational activities has been the focus for researchers from different constituencies. Organisational theorists recognise the need for integrating mechanisms for co‑ordinating the actions of sub‑units within an organisation. Centralisation has been seen as a defensive reaction by organisations when placed under increasing external control , and also as a way to improve the efficiency of information processing, at least for routine tasks. In the meantime, researchers have been sceptical about the ability for structured information systems to deal with the complexity of the information flows within the organisation. Frameworks have also been identifying characteristics of the tasks themselves that have a bearing on the amount of information processing required. The real world is complex and moving, thus managers require flexibility in their interpretation of the mixed signals arising from this complexity. However, managers are working in environments where highly integrated information systems blur the distinction between what is real and what is virtual. There is a need for an integration approach allowing organisations to question which areas of activity are worth integrating, and conversely which areas are better left under local control. Where integrated, managers require processes for the maintenance of data integrity (people, tools, procedures). Based on field work involving two multi‑national manufacturing companies, this paper proposes a framework for ERP integration, which describes the evolution of functionality gaps as an ongoing and inevitable process that requires management.



1 Jan 2010