Investigating the influence of ERP post-implementation modifications on business process optimisation

2017-02-23T23:49:25Z (GMT) by Oseni, Taiwo Oyinkansola
This study investigates the influence of post-implementation modifications to enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems on business process optimisation, drawing on three theoretical lenses: organisational motivation, organisational learning, and resource-based view of the firm (RBV). The effect of ERP systems on organisations’ performance has been an area of interest for over a decade. Consequently, the outcomes of ERP implementations have been well documented in the information systems literature. The outcomes of post-implementation modifications (PIM) to these implemented systems are however much under-studied. Given the fact that organisations generally make heavy investments in ERP PIM initiatives, how post-implementation modification initiatives produce outcomes is of paramount importance to management. Modifications to ERP systems after implementation greatly influence the overall outcomes of implementation projects, and therefore should be investigated as much as initial ERP implementations. Above all, because ERP systems are designed to embody an organisation’s business processes, the relationship between post-implementation modifications and the optimisation of business processes is a relevant topic for academic and practitioner audiences alike. Business process optimisation obtained as a result of ERP implementation has previously been approached from a resource-based perspective. The resource-based view (RBV) explains company performance in terms of internal resources and capabilities. According to RBV, since distinctive capabilities are embedded in business processes, modifications made to an implemented ERP system are expected to impact a firm’s ERP capability. Increase in ERP capability is in turn expected to result in business process improvements and optimisation. As various kinds of post-implementation modifications exist, it is expected that modifications are driven by diverse organisational motivations, as well as on-going organisational experience and learning. Hence, varying outcomes are expected from modification activities. Therefore, investigating such variation in outcomes of modification initiatives is one of the key goals of this study. The significance of the study is in the application of organisational motivation and organisational learning theories as contexts in which ERP post-implementation modifications are initiated, the description of ERP capabilities as mechanisms for business process optimisation, and the identification of actualisation actions as well as contextual and critical factors that influence the actions. Previous studies evaluating ERP post-implementation modifications have been done by typically identifying a number of factors that affect benefits without a descriptions of accompanying actions. While such studies have recognised important factors, they do not acknowledge the role played by organisational contexts and causal mechanisms that facilitate the benefits gained from the modification initiatives. Adopting a Critical Realist approach, this study also contributes to the body of literature on IS research practice. Particularly, drawing on organisational motivation, organisational learning, and resource-based theories, the study has exemplified a practical application of realist evaluation through the development of a conceptual model using a Context-Initiative-Mechanism-Outcome configuration pattern.