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Applying User-Centred Design in ERP Implementation Requirements Analysis

Research output: Book/ReportDoctoral thesisCollection of Articles

Details

Original languageEnglish
PublisherTampere University of Technology
Number of pages87
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-15-1995-6
ISBN (Print)978-952-15-1984-0
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2008
Publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Publication series

NameTampere University of Technology. Publication
PublisherTampere University of Technology
Volume739
ISSN (Print)1459-2045

Abstract

Companies adopt Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems in order to streamline their business processes and to integrate their information systems. ERP implementations have reported failures e.g. because of a lack of integration into existing legacy systems or insufficient training and support for the business processes. User-Centred Design (UCD) aims at improving the effectiveness, efficiency, and user satisfaction of the system to be designed. In a Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) -type ERP system implementation, the user requirements are not used for designing an ERP system. Instead, the existing functionality of an ERP system is matched with the user requirements. Either the organisation adapts to the ERP system functionality or the ERP system is modified according to organisational requirements. UCD has been utilised in ERP system feature development, but it has not been systematically applied in COTS-type ERP system implementation. This dissertation provides a model of how UCD can be applied in the ERP implementation process. The focus is on how UCD can be applied in ERP implementation requirements analysis, with the aim to improve the success of ERP implementation. In this research, a Customer-Centred ERP Implementation (C-CEI) method has been developed adapting action research approach. The C-CEI method attempts to develop an ERP implementation into a more holistic and multidisciplinary process by its three analyses: operational, contextual, and risk analysis. Operational analysis produces the requirements for an ERP system, and risk analysis considers the company-specific risks of an ERP implementation. The novelty of the C-CEI method is the adoption of UCD principles. For example C-CEI promotes user involvement in various levels of the company, as opposed to those analyses that focus on the management level. Furthermore, CCEI requires a multidisciplinary design team, iteration of design results, i.e. requirements, and allocation of users and an ERP system s function. The second novelty of the C-CEI method is the contextual analysis that applies a UCD method called Contextual Design in analysing the context of use. The results of this analysis reveal the need for changes in the organisation and its workers processes. In addition, the method is vendor-independent and thus focuses on customer needs without the limitations of a specific COTS product. The C-CEI method has been developed in cooperation with four companies. Even though not all the companies involved have yet selected an ERP system, the effect of the development of the C-CEI method has been studied from various perspectives. Content analysis of the documents produced during the development process reveals that the C-CEI method supports the identification and prioritisation of a company s requirements for the system, requirements for organisational change, and requirements for risk management during the implementation of ERP. Interviews with staff members from the participating companies highlight the benefits and challenges of the C-CEI method from the organisational perspective. The study of how C-CEI had affected the ERP implementation critical success factors in an organisation provided promising results. Overall, the positive responses (38) exceeded the negative ones (4) by far. In particular, C-CEI was commented on as having positive effects on top management support for the implementation of ERP and on the careful selection of an ERP system. Furthermore, interviews with ERP system vendors revealed that the results of C-CEI were supportive for their role in preparing the proposal for the customer. In summary, the results show that UCD has the potential to be included as a part of the ERP implementation process in order to support the achievement of ERP implementation objectives. This research has opened a new dialogue between UCD and ERP research communities.

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