School of Business publications portal
This portal is no longer updated. Aalto University School of Business Master's Theses are now in the Aaltodoc publication archive (Aalto University institutional repository)
School of Business | Department of Information and Service Economy | MSc program in Information and Service Management | 2016
Thesis number: 14431
On previous failure's effects and critical success factors in ERP implementation - A case study
Author: Melander, Antti
Title: On previous failure's effects and critical success factors in ERP implementation - A case study
Year: 2016  Language: eng
Department: Department of Information and Service Economy
Academic subject: MSc program in Information and Service Management
Index terms: tietotalous; knowledge economy; epäonnistuminen; failure; yritykset; companies; suunnittelu; planning; elinkaari; life cycle
Pages: 81
Key terms: critical success factor; enterprise resource planning; ERP; implementation; life cycle; failure
The purpose of this study is to explore and present previous research on different schemes, models and frameworks related to critical success factors (CSF's) in enterprise resource planning (ERP) system implementation, and to test the usability of one particular ERP life cycle model by Somers & Nelson (2004) in a Finnish context. Furthermore, this thesis also aims to study the reasons behind a failure in ERP implementation using data and experiences from organization Alpha, who have just last year ended an unsuccessful implementation project.

This study is a qualitative single case study utilizing semi-structured interviews, and a small questionnaire adopted from previous research, with seven individuals. These are used to explain the possible reasons behind the failure and differences in the experienced critical success factors in an ERP implementation project, as the CSF's are compared to previous research. Hence, the transcribed interviews form the empirical part of this study, with the answers to the questionnaire.

The key findings of this study are that there is definitely an abundance of different models, frameworks and taxonomies related to critical success factors to be tested and evaluated, and that failures in pre-implementation activities can result in overall failure of implementation project. The analyzed framework included 22 success factors of the around 110 recognized factors, in an ERP implementation life cycle consisting of six phases. Taking the failure into consideration, the life cycle model however seems inadequate and further research could be guided towards pre-implementation and early implementation activities that could explain possible failures. Otherwise, this study seems to confirm the usability of the life cycle model, though with a small sample. Furthermore, the emergence of the failure factors, in conjunction with the success factors, seems to suggest that it is also important to recognize and manage these factors separately, as failures can result into a project's overall failure. This study also recognizes some critical success factors that are pronounced in the failed project and suggests that further research be guided towards them to ascertain, if failures in general can be attributed to failures in these success factors, and, if more could be learned from failures to guide projects towards more preferable results.

As a case study, this study is an interpretation of real life phenomena based on the observations and data gathered by the researcher. The study is also an exploratory study trying to see, if previous research is still applicable in a previously uncharted environment of a failed project. For these reasons, and others later covered, the results of this thesis are not meant to provide generalizations, but only explanations on why, how and because of what have the issues happened, as seen by the researched. Hence, this thesis is highly researcher, organization, context, project and time specific. The value on this thesis is the fact that a failed implementation project has not often been the test subject in previous research, when critical success factors have been examined. This study hence provides some, although limited, information on failed implementation projects and by doing so expands the research related to critical success factors, ERP implementation projects and possible reasons behind failure in these projects.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.