Largely due to software limitations at the time, CorpeX initially established separate instances of the system in each business across the Asia Pacific region. Subsequently, they integrated these separate instances into a single instance. What is meant by single instance? What sort of difficulties do you think they would have encountered in the process and how these might have been addressed?
Companies have different departments which all have specific needs of systems. One way to serve those different needs is by establishing separate instances for each division. A resulting benefit is the possibility to highly customize these separate instances software. On the other hand, having spread out satellite systems throughout the company can create some confusion and adds complexity and also leads to duplicate data.
Having a single instance enterprise system means to have one enterprise system throughout the whole company. Departments like accounting, production, sales, finance, etc. would all work on the same platform. The single instance enterprise system makes different programs from different vendors obsolete. It also comes with the benefit of possible cost reduction since there is only one contract with a provider like SAP or Oracle and only one platform to be maintained. For global acting, wide-spread organizations a single instance also brings the benefit of being able to keep the overall view of the business.
Integrating a single instance enterprise system brings along many difficulties that came to our minds. It is very difficult to migrate the data from the old system to the new single instance enterprise system. The data might not be in the right format or there might be missing values just to mention a few challenges. In addition, the single instance system should not be customized since “(…) with the increasing customization (comes) increasing complexity, and the potential loss of some of the fundamental benefits that were being targeted with an ES” By doing proper analysis of the company’s requirements and talking to external consultants the company can pave the way for a smooth implementation of a single instance system. One of the more challenging problems that came to our minds is to actually convince, motivate and train the employees that are being affected by the change in software. The implementing company might have employees that have been using the old systems for a while. From their point of views, the old system is fulfilling every requirement and doing work properly. To their minds, there is no need to change to another software. It is especially important for a company to address those issues and pay attention on detail. No long-term employee will be motivated to integrate a new enterprise system if two young consultants tell them “We know how to do this”, “Just do as we say and there will be no problem”. The management should rather make employees feel like they are a part of the implementation team. They can ask for their advice, for their concerns and make them feel heard and respected.
Prior to company Y implementation, CorpeX seemed to have reasonable success with their ES implementation. Research the literature for socio-political factors that might contribute or hinder ES implementation. Identify the presence (or not) of these factors in CorpeX implementations.
“The successful implementation of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system in any organization can be affected the culture within the organization, which could be a characteristic of the culture within a particular society. Implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is a major cultural change for any organization.”  Based on our literature review we would like to provide some factors that might contribute or hinder the successful implementation of an enterprise system. According to P. Soja, the following factors play a role:
The following factors according to _____, are added to the above:
Having a look at the case study, we can identify several things that hindered the implementation of the new enterprise software. When CorpeX went down under, they thought about social, cultural and political issues that might occur throughout the project. To start off the project there was a team event at a nice country winery where the Australians learnt about Baseball and the Americans learnt about Cricket. These events helped to create good memories, friendships, build trust and some basis for the hard upcoming project work. They did a great pre-implementation analysis, developed a tight schedule and finally went live on time.
Looking at the Acquisition of Company Y, we can identify many processes that have actually hindered the implementation of the software. The New Zealanders were suspicious about the Australians bringing advice. Moreover, they were absolutely satisfied with their legacy systems. When the two you analysts arrived. The New Zealanders were surprised by all the work they were required to do in the implementation process. Moreover, they did not like what they heard: “We know how to do this”(…)”Just do as we say and there will be no problem” And the Australian Projects Managers were surprised about the lack of engagement and Cooperation of the Australians.
In addition, the Australians were not available for the New Zealanders questions that arose during the project. They felt not being listened.
What we can clearly see, what hindered the implementation process is the lack of communication, lack of empowerment, top management awareness, motivation system. The Australians should have asked the New Zealanders about their need, then should have offered their help and make the New Zealanders feel like they are in charge of the project. It is can be seen highly frustrating when you do your business for quite a while and then you get told what to improve and how to improve.
Unlike the previous implementations, the ES implementation in company Y seemed to get off on the wrong foot from the start, and appears to have gone from bad to worse. Identify the factors that appear to have contributed to this. Support your views with reference to activities in the prior implementations and the relevant literature.
The following sentence from the case study might give an insight for the main reason why ES implementation in Company Y went from bad to worse. “For the small Australian project team an implementation such as this was considered familiar territory, although this was perhaps the largest new implementation that had been instigated since the formal project had been completed in 2006.” David Butcher and Trevor Grey were overconfident after a couple of successful implementations of CorpeX’s ES, and they thought that implementing the ES in Company Y would be just one more successful implementation in a row. Problems regarding implementation of the new ES were coming from both CorpeX‘s and Company Y’s sides. As far as CorpeX side is concerned, we think that lack of dedication to implementation of the new ES was the main cause of all of the issues. Australian team had done this kind of implementation earlier, and with implementation of the ES in Company Y they were missing a few steps that had been done during the past implementations. First of all, Company Y was left alone right after the takeover, until a small Australian team was available to be assigned to the implementation. “For an ERP system to be implemented successfully, project management must provide strong leadership, a clear and understood implementation plan, and close monitoring of the budget”. In this case there was no clearly defined leadership role in neither Company Y nor CorpeX. Butcher and Grey were firstly responsible persons on Australian side, but after a while their manager Stuart Baker took over the role of Project Manager. On New Zealand side, NZ General Manager was supposed to project manage the implementation. However, he had subsequently delegated this responsibility to his IT manager Jim Sadler. This was actually one of the largest problems that Jim Sadler addressed – it seemed as if no-one was in overall charge of the project. Moreover, education and training on the new system was done mainly online (via shared screens and phone link). In previous implementations, users would have access to a system that was set up specifically for the business moving to the new system, and the system was loaded with their business specific data, to make the education and training more realistic and efficient. However, when it came to this education, users from Company Y were just given access to Australian test system loaded with data that was unfamiliar to them. Lastly, it seemed as if there was a lack of communication and understanding Company Y’s needs from Australian side. Company Y had different business processes which were not fully supported by the new system, data was structured in a completely different way (more time was required in order to transform data), and the only response that Company Y was getting was that things need to be changed and completed “because that’s the way Australia does it”. As far as Company Y’s side is concerned, Butcher and Grey weren’t warmly welcomed when they arrived to Company Y. Employees of Company Y weren’t happy with the takeover, nor with the situation where they had to switch from their old legacy system to the new ES. According to Australian team, there was a lack of cooperation and interest by the NZ employees – they weren’t available for meetings, didn’t turn up for education nor delivered data when requested. The thing that Australians didn’t realize is that the lack of communication with local team members was the potential reason for this behavior. “For major system implementations, the change management role is essential because it prepares and organization for changes to how its business is done. In implementing any new system, communicating, preparing, and setting expectations are just as important as training and supporting the implementation”
Many of the prior implementations the Australian teams were involved with were in SE Asia and China. How might the prior experience and the methodology developed by the Australian CorpeX team have contributed to the situation that arose with company Y?
After successful implementation of the ES in Australia, the team responsible for implementation of the ES used to follow the well-established implementation procedure in each of the newly acquired businesses. Implementations were staffed by Head Office and local analysts. Key stakeholders were also included in project teams, which served the purpose of understanding the complexity of the implementation projects, getting people familiar with the ES and allowing people to experience the change. In order to understand the system better, employees of newly acquired businesses were exposed to systems that were loaded with their business specific data, so they could understand the system better. “If done correctly, training will capture about 90% of what users will see on a daily basis.”
When it came to implementation of the ES in Company Y, this well-established implementation procedure wasn’t followed. We believe that the reason for that is that members of Australian team were too familiar with the whole procedure and they didn’t realize Company Y employee’s lack of understanding and familiarity with the procedure. In this case, the Australian team wasn’t assigned to Company Y right from the beginning, nor there were stakeholders who were members of the project team. Namely, there was no formally defined project team – the only person from Company Y who was responsible and familiar with the project was IT manager Jim Sadler, whose concerns weren’t being heard from Australian team. Moreover, education and training was not organized properly – Company Y’s employees were exposed only to Australian test system which was loaded with data that noticeably differed from data that they would be using. Lastly, in previous implementations, CorpeX team members used to bound with local employees through series of fun social activities, whereas in Company Y’s case the only person who was in direct contact with Australian team was Jim Sadler. If Australian team had followed the implementation procedure that was being used in previous cases and if the communication with local employees would have been better, problems that arose with implementation of the ES in Company Y might have been resolved more efficiently or might have even been avoided.
Resistance in projects is commonly regarded as something displayed by the recipients of change. Research the literature on resistance. Identify with examples, the parties you think displayed resistance in this case. How might the project leader have gained an early warning of this and addressed it?
When it comes to resistance, it can be viewed from different standpoints. Usually it relates to change recipient not willing to accept changes which change agents are willing to implement in their company. This is a pretty common case when it comes to implementation of new IT solutions. However, resistance can be perceived from a different standpoint as well – not many people see resistance as a case where change agents are not willing to listen to suggestions that change recipients have when it comes to implementation of new organizational solutions. Sometimes, resistance is perceived as “positive resistance”. This basically means that change recipients point out downsides of the new solution and try to explain why it wouldn’t fit their business procedures or needs. However, authors of the “Change Implementers’ Resistance: Considering Power and Resistance in IT Implementation Projects” think that this would be called debating or discussing rather than resistance. When it comes to implementation of the ES in Company Y, it is more than clear that their employees showed resistance. The question that we can ask ourselves is was it really resistance, or the ES was flawed and didn’t fit their needs well enough? Jim Sadler was actually supporting the implementation of the new ES before all of the problems started arising. He stated that no one was listening to Company Y’s concerns and that lot of complex things were just overseen by Australians. Employees of Company Y stated clear evidence of the new ES causing damage to their business – increased costs because they had to hire new people, lacking inventory and ineffective inventory tracking, dissatisfied customers and decreasing productivity. However, Australian team wasn’t willing to listen and they were simply sticking to their rigorous standpoint “Well you are going to change and do it this way…. Because that is the way Australia does it…” Not only that Australians weren’t willing to accept that their ES might not be fitting the needs of Company Y, but they didn’t engage nor had a discussion about why Company Y’s requests might have been important.
In our opinion resistance of Company Y’s employees came as a response to resistance of Australian team. Namely, change is not going to happen overnight and it is not a one direction thing. Cooperation is needed throughout the whole process. Change agents need to be there for change recipients and they have to provide support during the implementation procedure, both for helping recipients understand the change that they are facing, as well as for the training part. Neither kind of support was present in the case of implementation CorpeX’s ES in Company Y. Furthermore, communication is the key factor for success in any project, as well as understanding that each company is different and that implementation procedures might not be unique. Implementation procedures should be slightly adjusted in case of each company, although core steps should remain the same and applied in each implementation procedure. Change agents need to accept that change recipients understand business procedures and requirements of their company in greater detail and that understanding their needs is crucial for successful implementation of an organizational change.
What do you think Jim Sadler would think was the best solution? What are the benefits of that solution? How might he now influence the Review Team and let them know his preferences?
Jim Sadler recognizes the potential benefits of changing to a modern enterprise system (ES) and he was looking forward to having it implemented in place of aging legacy system. He supports the new system but he thinks that the Company Y is not ready for the implementation yet as there are several unresolved issues. From the Company Y’s point of view, the problems are occurring due to the lack of understanding of the new system, slow response time and requirement of some additional functionality in the ES system.
Jim Sadler’s view is it might be beneficial to have the legacy system restored temporarily to put the operations back on track and then create a plan to integrate with corporate ES. Continuing the implementation in its current would further alienate the local users with the ES system and add to their frustration. It could even lead to demerger if it reaches a tipping point. Jim Sadler would like to have greater involvement from CorpeX team in all aspects of the implementation, fix the infrastructure with high speed links to company Y, add the additional functionality to suit the NZ business to the current ES. He would like to have an experienced team on-shore for support and also have a test system to process the operations till the local users adjusted to the new system.
Jim Sadler should let the review team know of his support to the corporate system and should be forth coming with them of their current problems. He should let them know how the NZ business is different to that of CorpeX. What worked in Australia might not work in NZ business, NZ employees require more education and training to adapt to the new system. Lastly, more cooperation from the Australian team is needed in order to understand Company Y’s concerns.
What do you think the Review Team should now recommend? Considering the whole situation, including the past, current, and possible future roles of review team members, outline the possible recommendations you think they could make and the pros and cons of each. Furthermore, consider how each might play out over the next three years. What would you recommend and why?
After assessing the situation, the review team could see that there was condescending behavior towards each other from both sides and a huge lack of communication. Company Y employees were not very glad to have their company taken over by CorpeX and the subsequent low visibility of CorpeX added further to their disdain. In turn, the Australian team seemed to have a frosty relation with their NZ colleagues and were not sympathetic to their concerns. The review team should think of having a solution that is both internal (implementation and communication issues) and external (technical issues).
Some of the practices that made CorpeX ES implementations successful in the first place were not practiced here. Important elements like having a “kick-off conference”, a meeting of all the stakeholders before the project, greater involvement of local users, constructive support to quell any concerns were all ignored in the NZ implementation. There were no steps taken to build trust and goodwill which is required to garner cooperation between the 2 teams. In these circumstances, it would help having a dedicated team of experienced analysts to overview the NZ ES system. They should form a composite team with the implementation experts, IT manager of CorpeX, IT manager and General manager of the company Y. Nigel Galloway who knew about the softer elements of implementation process and had experience overviewing several projects could act as a consultant.
In the short term, the review team should consider having the legacy system reinstated to limit the damages. Though this will cast apprehension about the ES system at other businesses, they should be clear that the new ES system is way forward and there is no backtracking on it. Coming to the NZ implementation, the review team should bring all the stakeholders on to a common plane, build relationships and then formulate a plan to implement the system with everyone involved sharing the information. Technical issues should be fixed. This would involve having the infrastructure and adding the strategic modules that the new system did not have. The composite team should trail run the business process in the new system with the continuous support from the business analysts until the local users get comfortable with it.
 N. Grainger, J. McKay (2015) The long and winding road of enterprise system implementation: finding success or failure?, Journal of Technology Teaching Cases 5,p. 95.
 N. Grainger, J. McKay (2015) The long and winding road of enterprise system implementation: finding success or failure?, Journal of Technology Teaching Cases 5,p. 98
 N. Grainger, J. McKay (2015) The long and winding road of enterprise system implementation: finding success or failure?, Journal of Technology Teaching Cases 5,p. 98
 The Impact of Culture in Enterprise Resource Planning System Implementation, Proceedings on the World Congress of Engineering 2013, Vol. 1
 Compare Paragraph: P. Soja (2009) Enterprise system implementation issues: learning from field study in Poland, Enterprise Information Systems, 3:2, 173-200
 Motiwalla, L. F., & Thompson, J. (2012). Enterprise systems for management. Boston: Prentice Hall. (pg. 21)
 Motiwalla, L. F., & Thompson, J. (2012). Enterprise systems for management. Boston: Prentice Hall. (pg. 23)
 Motiwalla, L. F., & Thompson, J. (2012). Enterprise systems for management. Boston: Prentice Hall. (pg. 196)
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