Benefits realization in Norwegian ERP-projects
MetadataShow full item record
Due to increasingly demanding business environments, many businesses choose to implement Enterprise Resource Planners (ERPs) in order to obtain an integrated business structure to support major business activities. These projects are costly, complex and very risky, though they have huge potential for business benefits. Unfortunately, research points towards poor benefits realization in such projects. Benefits realization management (BRM) is a project management methodology that aims towards securing realization of such benefits through systematic work and management. However, research also indicates modest focus on this methodology. This paper tries to identify as to what extent Norwegian ERP-projects focus on BRM and measurement of achieved benefits. Little research is found on this matter, apart from a few qualitative studies that point towards the same results as mentioned above. Therefore, the author chose to use descriptive, quantitative surveys to investigate this matter further. Through cooperation with relevant Special Interest Groups (SIGs), two surveys were created and distributed to more than 2600 possible respondents, including both ERP providers and clients. Even though every effort was made to secure enough feedback, the surveys only received 42 responses in total. Due to this low response rate, the results are not generalizable, but they do give some interesting indications that will have to be confirmed through further research. Overall, the results show little focus on BRM in Norwegian ERP-projects. These surveys also show that very few clients set specific requirements for BRM and measurements of benefits when initializing such projects. Specifically, more focus is devoted to the work with identifying benefits (the first stage of BRM) and measurement of benefits post-implementation (as part of the fourth stage of BRM), compared to the other activities. However, this was still focused on to between “lesser” and “some” extent, on average. Few clients reported that they focus on measuring intangible benefits, and few projects set aside dedicated resources for BRM and appointing benefits realization managers. The results did also show a significant difference between responses from clients and vendors, of which the latter undergo such projects more often. Overall, vendors report higher focus on BRM compared to the clients, though there is still significant room for improvement. Furthermore, the majority of the respondents (both vendors and clients) are not satisfied with their own efforts with BRM, even though the majority clearly agrees that BRM is very important in such projects. Common barriers and reasons for excluding BRM in ERP-projects are too little focus, priority and resources, in addition to reduced involvement from leadership. Few respondents reported difficulties with the methodology itself as a barrier, aside from quantifying the benefits for measurements. This thesis concludes that there is significant room for improvement with BRM in Norwegian ERPprojects. The majority of the findings are aligned with previous research, where applicable. However, the findings will have to be confirmed due to reduced generalizability of the results because of the low response rates.
Master's thesis in Industrial economics