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School of Business | Department of Information and Service Economy | Information Systems Science | 2015
Thesis number: 14427
Examining the impact of long-term consultant-client relationship in ERP projects
Author: Vuorela, Joonas
Title: Examining the impact of long-term consultant-client relationship in ERP projects
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Information and Service Economy
Academic subject: Information Systems Science
Index terms: tietojärjestelmät; information systems; palvelut; service; konsultointi; consulting; asiakkaat; customers
Pages: 64
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_14427.pdf pdf  size:2 MB (1823147)
Key terms: ERP; consultant-client relationship; ERP implementation; case study
Many organizations took Enterprise resource planning system in use decade or even two decades ago. In many cases there is an external ERP supplier or consulting company helping in the implementation project. Since the initial implementation the client and consultant company might have been collaborating and conducting new projects together. Therefore, there exist many long-term ERP consultant-client relationships nowadays. This long history and past collaboration is likely to have an impact on the new projects that companies conduct together. However, in the past research this aspect has been mostly neglected and there is no previous research concerning how the long-term consultant-client relationship impacts on new ERP projects. The goal of this study will be examining this question and also to find out how consulting companies actually use this client specific history.

The research was conducted by first developing a deep understanding on the ERP field through broad literature review and identifying the central areas in the ERP projects. After this a multiple-case study design was selected for a research strategy. Professionals in the field of ERP consulting with experience from long-term collaboration with a client were interviewed using semi-structured interviews. In order to capture their perceptions a qualitative approach was chosen. Finally the results of the interviews were combined and analysis and conclusions made.

The results reveal that long-term relationship between the consultant company and client has a notable impact on the new projects. The impacts were analyzed through the areas defined by ERP project related critical success factors and the history seemed to have some kind on impact to all of these factors. The factors that were most impacted by the long history were project planning and goals setting, project management, communication and collaboration with the client and project team composition. In general, past knowledge and experience of the client was seen to facilitate new projects a lot. The identified reasons for this were improved communication, better understanding of client's business processes and people, and increased trust between the parties. Also some challenges were identified such as collaboration and communication between the parties becoming too informal, people getting too used to certain habits, inability to renew and come up with new ideas, excessive personification of personnel level relationships and keeping the profit margins high and consultants' knowledge level up to date. In addition, the results showed that the client specific history is used at some level but there would be still be more possibilities to exploit this information which in most cases tends to be in a tacit form.
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