Achieving success in enterprise systems (ES) implementations is challenging. The success rate is not high in view of the sums invested by many organizations in these companywide systems. The literature is charged with reasons for unsuccessful implementations, such as a lack of top management support and insufficient change management. Contrary to this research, empirical data from an ES re-implementation in a Scandinavian high-tech company shows successful implementation despite many problematic shifts in outsourcing partners. Therefore, it is natural to ask: why was the re-implementation of the ES at SCANDI successful despite the major troubles encountered during the project? Building on critical success factor (CSF) analysis of ten CSFs combined with an investigation into the institutional structures at play, we present several reasons for the successful implementation. The CSF analysis shows an equivocal result: four fulfilled, three partially fulfilled and three not fulfilled. Even the two top CSFs, top management support and change management, are either not fulfilled or only partial fulfilled. However, the institutional analysis provides additional explanations, such as a few heroes acting as glue in a conflicting multisourcing environment and resilience towards ES implementations created over many years. Important implications from this study are that one should be critical of CSFs and that the combined analysis can guide both practitioners and researchers to understand and position factors better for success in ES implementations.
Journal of Information Technology Case and Application Research, 2011, Vol 13, Issue 4