In recent years, many companies have changed their IT strategy from developing systems in-house to implementing integrated software solutions. Along with the implementation of large Management Information Systems (MIS) such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, several strategic choices have to be made in order to ensure the success of the implementation in terms of the technical aspects, the business model and the organisation. This article deals with three strategic choices made by the management in the case company, a large European medical company, regarding the process of implementing an e-Procurement system - more specifically, an Enterprise Buyer Professional (EBP) module in SAP R/3 for commercial purchasing. These strategic choices are (1) outsourcing the electronic catalogue of the EBP system to an electronic market place, (2) constituting a change management group for the implementation, and (3) allying with an external partner in the implementation process. The strategic choices are the basis of a qualitative analysis using an Actor Network Theory (ANT) perspective where focus is on three aspects: Delegation, black box and enrolment. In this regard, strategies for delegating tasks to the EBP system, strategies for establishing the EBP system as a black box and, finally, strategies for enrolling external partners in the implementation process in the case company are analysed. Through these concepts of ANT, the article demonstrates how strategic choices influence the implementation process and which initiatives are made to put the strategic choices of the implementation into effect.
Global Information Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 2004, p. 143-161