How Can Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) Ensure Successful Implementation of ERP Systems?
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Abstract Organizations are under increased pressure to adapt to an ever-changing technological environment, and for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) the rapid technological development can be challenging. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems is a software package that integrates multi-level business operations and provides information exchange between organizational units and business functions. Most larger corporations have implemented an ERP system, however, the complexity and resources needed have made it more challenging. Despite the recent technology advancements and the fact that numerous ERP suppliers are more focused on SMEs than previously, the failure rate of ERP implementation remains significant. In this thesis, we seek to gain a better understanding of how small and medium-sized enterprises can ensure the successful implementation of ERP systems, by focusing on organizational factors. This is accomplished through utilization of an exploratory qualitative strategy, where we conducted five semi-structured interviews with five different interviewees. The interviewees have expertise as ERP suppliers, consultants specializing in digital transformation and implementation, and experience with implementing ERP systems in the organization. The results we acquired are further discussed and analyzed in relation to relevant theory and research questions. The findings show that setting common goals and expectations, communicating effectively, and having top management support are all critical success factors. There is a substantial need for informing employees why the change is necessary, and how it will affect them. Furthermore, that top management recognizes why there is a need for change, is committed to the change, and truly adapts to the new routines. The results also emphasize how important soft skills are in such a process. It is imperative to involve all parties in the process, collaborate closely together, understand the customer’s needs, as well as be experienced, humble and motivated. Because SMEs lack internal resources and experience, the utilization of external capabilities such as consultants and supplier support is considered more necessary. Our results indicate that it can be challenging to measure the success of an ERP implementation in terms of organizational factors. However, the informants considered the implementation effort a success if the new ERP system enabled teams and employees to collaborate and communicate in the same language.