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Understanding the role of knowledge management during the ERP implementation lifecycle: Preliminary Research Findings Relevant to emerging economies

Anjali Ramburn, Lisa Seymour, Avinaash Gopaul, Understanding the role of knowledge management during the ERP implementation lifecycle: Preliminary Research Findings Relevant to emerging economies

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Understanding the role of knowledge management during the ERP implementation lifecycle: Preliminary Research Findings Relevant to emerging economies

  1. 1. Understanding the role of Knowledge Management during the ERPimplementation lifecycle: Preliminary Research Findings Relevantto Emerging Economies Anjali Ramburn & Lisa Seymour Confenis 2012
  2. 2. Outline Setting the Scene Research Objectives Research Phases Case Description Research Method Findings Conclusions 2 Confenis 2012
  3. 3. Setting the Scene Work in Progress Paper – Challenges of Knowledge Management during the EPR Implementation phase – The implementation phase refers to the training and development of the users’ of the ERP system. Part of an on going research – Role of KM during the ERP implementation lifecycle in both large and medium organizations in South Africa A number of ERP implementations in South Africa Implementation process is challenging, costly, risky and complex Half of ERP systems fail to meet organisations expectations (Parry & Graves, 2008) Process can be less challenging through proper use of knowledge management. Knowledge Management: Key driver for ERP success and a critical success factor. ERP implementation is a dynamic continuous improvement process and “a key methodology supporting ERP continuous improvement would be knowledge management” (McGinnis & Huang, 2004) 3 Confenis 2012
  4. 4. Research Objective, Scope & Relevance Explore the ERP implementation life cycle from a KM perspective within a South African context Provide a comprehensive understanding of the role of KM practices and dimensions during the ERP implementation lifecycle – Key objective is to investigate the KM challenges faced by organizations while implementing ERP systems – Identify and understand the dimensions of KM required during the ERP system implementation – Understand the different ways in which large organisations and SMEs can engage in better knowledge creation, use and transfer during the whole ERP implementation lifecycle. Preliminary research findings – Findings may be extended Applicable to both academics and practitioners – Adds to existing KM literature – Offers a better explanation of the KM challenges and dimensions applicable to large emerging economies – First of its kind in South Africa – Reference for any future research 4 Confenis 2012
  5. 5. Research Method 1st Phase: Focus on building a theory to promote better understanding of the role of knowledge management during the ERP implementation lifecycle – Grounded Theory – Strauss and Corbin school of thought 2nd Phase: The researcher will apply the theory to assess its validity and applicability in an organisation – Action Research 5 Confenis 2012
  6. 6. Case Description Large organisation with branches all over South Africa>39000 employees Currently implementing the SAP project portfolio Management module throughout its branches Organisation wide training has been conducted in all the branches Semi structured interviews conducted in one of the branches in Western Cape Chosen participants had been through the SAP training and were impacted by the implementation process. Users of the system (Planners and System Administrators) Aim is to interview as many participants as possible until theoretical saturation is achieved 6 Confenis 2012
  7. 7. Knowledge Management Challenges Trainer’s Lack of Process Knowledge – The trainers were not knowledgeable enough – None of the trainers had any experience as end users of the system, resulting in inconsistencies in their understanding of the new system from a user perspective. – Ownership of roles and tasks were not defined – No clarification on the information and process flow between the different departments and the individuals as per their role definition – They also lacked the expertise to engage with the different problems that surfaced during the training “Things were not clear, we have all this data, and it was unclear who was supposed to do what. A number of questions were left unanswered with regards to the ownership of the different processes.” 7 Confenis 2012
  8. 8. Knowledge Management Challenges Lack of Technical Knowledge – The technical knowledge and qualification of the trainers were put into question. • Lack of SAP skills • The trainers were the administrator support technicians who are experts in the current system the interviewees use but did not have enough expertise to deal with the upcoming ERP system. • Trainers had a 2 days workshop where they were trained to train the rest of the staff. “There were a lot of unanswered questions. Data needed to be put in the system, we did not know where…We asked the trainers but they did not know themselves, I felt they were not very qualified either.” – Employees lack of technical knowledge • Struggled to understand the ERP system. They found the user interface and navigation increasingly complex as opposed to their existing system. • Some employees felt confident and said they would learn the system eventually • Others felt they would never figure out how to use the system 8 Confenis 2012
  9. 9. Knowledge Management Challenges Poor Project Configuration Knowledge – Complexity of the ERP system as opposed to the existing system the participants are using. – Existing system is logical. – The system did not make any sense to them, they felt they were only filling blocks on the screen. – Number of steps to perform a task had increased drastically “So the training showed us how to click on SAP. This is what we did; ‘Click, Click, Click, Copy Paste, Copy Paste’…It was ridiculous, it was insane to have more than 300 steps of clicking.” “It was about filling blocks” 9 Confenis 2012
  10. 10. Knowledge Management Challenges Lack of Project Knowledge – No clear project objectives, milestones and deployment activities. – Unaware of the date they were required to start using the system. – Some of them believed they were not near the implementation stage, and the training was only a pilot activity to test whether they were ready for implementation. – Others hoped that the implementation had been cancelled due to the number of problems experienced in the training sessions “All they said was that now you have had the training for SAP and this is the system we will phase into. No one knows when it will happen for sure. I am hoping it won’t be anytime soon….We do not get frequent emails or updates to inform us of the status of the project.” “All management said was that you need to complete the training for the new system and this is the system we will phase into.” 10 Confenis 2012
  11. 11. Knowledge Management Challenges Lack of Knowledge on Management Initiatives – No ‘go ahead’ from top and middle management. – Interviews indicated that top and middle management had not supported the initiative as yet. – Training had to be completed by a certain date – Compulsory roadshows were organized but the employees chose not to participate “We will only start using it when we get the word from top management; well basically when they tell us, as from now you are expected to use this program. Then I will make an effort to learn the program.” 11 Confenis 2012
  12. 12. Knowledge Management Challenges Lack of Knowledge on Change Management Initiatives – Managing change is arguably one of the primary concerns of ERP implementation. – Lack of importance attributed to this area. – Lack of proper communication channels and planning coupled with the absence of change management initiatives resulted in employees’ confusion and resistance. – Employees were demotivated, unhappy with their new system, and they did not understand why they should change to a new system. “I don’t understand how this system will make me more productive when I do not even understand how to use it.” 12 Confenis 2012
  13. 13. Knowledge Management Challenges Lack of Knowledge on Need for Change – Employees did not understand the benefits of using SAP from a strategic perspective. – Importance of the implementation of the new system as they felt their previous system could do everything they needed it to. – No need for a new system. “To me, the previous system worked in a logical way; Should I have to enter project information in my head, I will work in the same way as our current system. I do not see the benefit of using SAP.” 13 Confenis 2012
  14. 14. Knowledge Management Challenges Knowledge Dump – Information overload – Employees from different departments and a number of processes were covered together – The participants got confused with regards to their role definition and the ownership of the different activities. – Employees said the training would have been easier and beneficial if the training was limited to their specific and individual department and process. “If you are planners, this is all you need to do. I do not feel we had to do all these steps and a lot of the information needs to be entered before we would see it as planners, someone else would have already entered that data but when we doing the training everyone was confused with what and why we need to do certain tasks.” 14 Confenis 2012
  15. 15. Knowledge Management Challenges Poor Knowledge Contextualization Poor focus on local context. – Difficulty in relating to the training examples given as they were based on the process flow from a different suburb. – Each province has its own way of operating and has unique terms and terminologies. – The fact that the examples used came from Johannesburg and not from Cape Town made it harder for the interviewees to understand the overall process. “The examples used were from Joburg, I could not relate to the examples. It would have been nice to have our terminologies.” 15 Confenis 2012
  16. 16. Conclusions A number of intra-organisational barriers to efficient knowledge transfer. – Inadequate training, lack of technical and project knowledge, lack of management support and change management initiatives, process knowledge, customization and contextualization of knowledge. Seemingly, in a large organization with multiple branches throughout South Africa, understanding the process, contextualization and customization of the training content from the users’ perspective is a key aspect to consider during an ERP implementation process. This research is still on going and the subsequent research phases focus on providing a holistic view of the role, different dimensions and best practices of KM during the entire ERP implementation cycle. 16 Confenis 2012
  17. 17. Questions 17 Confenis 2012
  18. 18. References Bhatti, T.R.: Critical Success Factors for the Implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): Empirical Validation. 2nd International Conference on Innovation in Information Technology, Zayed University, College of Business, Dubai, UAE (2005) Holland, C. P., Light, B.: A critical success factors model for ERP implementation. IEEE Software, vol.16(3), pp.30--36 (1999) Seethamraju, R., Seethamraju, J.: Adoption of ERPs in a Medium-sized Enterprise - A Case Study. 19th Australasian Conference on Information Systems Adoption of ERPs for Medium-sized Enterprise, 3rd - 5th Dec 2008, Christchurch (2008) Jasperson, J. S., Carter, P. E., Zmud, R. W.: Conceptualization of Post-Adoptive Behaviours Associated with Information Technology Enabled Work Systems. MIS Quarterly, vol.29(3), pp.525--567 (2005) Zorn. T.E.: The Emotionality of Information and Communication Technology Implementation. Journal of Communication Management, vol.7(2), pp.160--171 (2002) Robey, D., Ross, J., Boudreau, M.: Learning to Implement Enterprise Systems: An Exploratory Study of the Dialectics of Change. Journal of Management Information Systems, vol.19(1), pp.17—46 (2002) Leknes, J., Munkvold, B.E.: The role of knowledge management in ERP implementation: a case study in Aker Kvaerner. 14th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2006), 12-14th June, Göteborg, Sweden (2005) McGinnis, T.C., Huang, Z.: Incorporating of Knowledge Management into ERP continuous improvement: A research framework. Issues in Information Systems, vol.2, pp.612--618 (2004) Parry, G., Graves, A.: The importance of knowledge management for ERP systems. International Journal of Logistics Research and Applications, vol.11 (6), pp.427–-441 (2008) Sedera, D., Gable, G., Chan, T.: Knowledge Management for ERP success. 7th Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems., 10-13th July, Adelaide, South Australia (2004) 18 Confenis 2012
  19. 19. References Suraweera, T., Remus, U., Wakerley, S.: Dynamics of Knowledge Leverage in ERP Implementation. 18th Australasian Conference on Information Systems, 5-7th December, Toowoomba, Australia (2007) Gable, G.: The enterprise system lifecycle: through a knowledge management lens’. Strategic Change, vol.14, pp. 255--263 (2005) Markus, M.L.: Towards a Theory of Knowledge Reuse: Types of Knowledge Reuse Situations and Factors in Reuse Success. Journal of Management Information Systems, vol.18 (1), pp. 57-93 (2001) Soffer, P., Golany, B., Dori, D.: ERP modeling: a comprehensive approach. Journal of Information Systems, vol.28, pp.673–-690 (2002) Pan, S.L., Huang, J.C., Newell, S., Cheung, A. W.K.: Knowledge Integration as a key problem in an ERP Implementation. 22nd International Conference on Information Systems, 16-19th December, New Orleans, Louisiana (2004) Chan, R.: Knowledge management for implementing ERP in SMEs. 3rd Annual SAP Asia Pacific Institutes of Higher Learning Forum Maximizing the synergy between teaching, research and business, 1 -2nd November, Singapore (1999) Jones, M.C. Cline, M. & Ryan, S.: (2004). Exploring knowledge sharing in ERP implementation: an organisational cultural framework, Decision Support Systems, vol.41, pp. 411-434 (2004) Leedy, P. D.: Practical research: planning and design (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall (1997) Thomas, D.R. A general inductive approach for qualitative data analysis. School of Population Health, University of Auckland, NewZealand (2003) Attride-Stirling, J.: Thematic networks: an analytic tool for qualitative research, vol.1(3),pp. 385-405 (2001) Strauss, A., Corbin, J.: Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedure and Techniques. Sage, Newbury Park, London (1990) Fang, L., Patrecia, S.: Critical Success Factors in ERP Implementation. Master thesis. Jànkàping International Business School (2005) Huang, Z.: A compilation research of ERP implementation Critical Success Factors. Issues in Information Systems, vol.11(1), pp. 507--512 (2010) Somers, T.M., Nelson, K.: The impact of critical success factors across the stages of enterprise resource planning implementations. 34th Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences, Maui (2001) 19 Confenis 2012