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CRITICAL ISSUES AFFECTING AN ERP IMPLEMENTATION Implementing an ERP causes massive change that needs to be carefully managed to reap

the benefits of an ERP solution. Critical issues that must be carefully con sidered to ensure successful implementation include commitment from top manageme nt, reengineering of the existing processes, integration of the ERP with other b usiness information systems, selection and management of consultants and employe es, and training of employees on the new system. THE ENTERPRISE RESOURCE planning (ERP) software market is one of the fastest gro wing markets in the software industry. It has seen a rocky start with several pr oject failures and a huge shortage of skilled and experienced workers. The ERP m arket is predicted to grow from a current $15 billion to a gigantic $50 billion in the next five years. The estimated long-term growth rates for ERP solutions a re a stratospheric 36 percent to 40 percent. Some estimates put the eventual siz e of this market at $1 trillion. Recently major ERP vendors such as SAP AG, Baan , and Oracle have reported significant financial results. Contributing to this p henomenal growth is the estimation that 70 percent of the Fortune 1000 firms hav e or will soon install ERP systems and the initiatives by ERP vendors to move in to medium to small tier industries with gross revenues less than $250 million. E RP vendors are aggressively cutting deals with these industries to make their pr oducts more affordable. For example, SAP, one of the leading ERP vendors, recent ly started selling its products to customers in the $150 million to $400 million revenue range. Companies could spend hundreds of millions of dollars and many years implementin g ERP solutions in their organizations. Once an ERP system is implemented, going back is extremely difficult; it is too expensive to undo the changes ERP brings into a company. There are several failed ERP attempts, and companies lost not o nly the capital invested in ERP packages and millions paid to outside consultant s, but also a major portion of their business. Recently Unisource Worldwide, Inc ., a $7 billion distributor of paper products, wrote off $168 million in costs r elated to an abandoned nationwide implementation of SAP software.(n12) FoxMeyer Drug, a former $5 billion drug distributor, went bankrupt in 1996 and has filed a $500 million lawsuit against SAP. FoxMeyer charged the ERP giant that its pack age was a "significant factor" that led the firm into financial ruin.(n14) Dell Computer Corp. has recently abandoned a much-publicized SAP implementation follo wing months of delay and cost overruns. Dow Chemical, after spending half a bill ion dollars over seven years of implementing SAP R/2, the mainframe version, now has decided to start all over again on the new client/server version (R/3). Imp lementing an ERP system is a careful exercise in strategic thinking, precision p lanning, and negotiations with departments and divisions. It is important for co mpanies to be aware of certain critical issues before implementing any ERP packa ge. Careful consideration of these factors will ensure a smooth rollout and real ization of full benefits of the ERP solution. ERP SOLUTIONS An ERP system can be thought of as a companywide information system that integra tes all aspects of a business. It promises one database, one application, and a unified interface across the entire enterprise. An entire company under one appl ication roof means everything from human resources, accounting, sales, manufactu ring, distribution, and supply-chain management are tightly integrated. This int egration benefits companies in many ways: quick reaction to competitive pressure s and market opportunities, more flexible product configurations, reduced invent ory, and tightened supplychain links. The Earthgrains Co. implemented SAP R/3 an d reports that its operating margins improved from 2.4 to 3.9 percent and pushed its on-time product delivery rate to 99 percent in 1997.(n13) The company also reports better management information and happier customers. Similarly, at Par I ndustries in Moline, IL, an ERP system allowed management to base production on current customer orders rather than forecasts of future orders. The delivery per formance improved from 60 percent on time to more than 95 percent, lead times to customers reduced from six weeks to two weeks, repair parts reduced from two we eks to two days, work-in-process inventory dropped almost 60 percent, and the li

fe of a shop order dropped from weeks to mere hours,(n1) IBM Storage Systems div ision, after implementing an ERP system, was able to reprice all of its products in five minutes compared with five days prior to the implementation. It also re duced the time to ship a replacement part from 22 days to three days, and the ti me to perform a credit check from 20 minutes to three seconds. The first tier players in the ERP market are SAP, Baan, Oracle, and PeopleSoft, while the second tier players are vendors such as J.D. Edwards, Lawson, and QAD. SAP, a German company, holds about one-third of the market share and is the lea ding vendor of ERP products. SAP's ERP product is R/3 and the current commercial version is release 4.0 b. Worldwide there are more than 16,500 SAP R/3 installa tions. The product has a strong international appeal with capabilities to suppor t multiple currencies, automatic handling of country-specific import/export, tax , and legal and language needs. The complete suite of SAP R/3 applications is av ailable in 24 languages, including Japanese (Kanji) and other double-byte charac ter languages. The current ERP systems have an open client/server architecture and are real-tim e in nature, i.e., clients can process information remotely and the results of a new "input" will "ripple" through the whole "supply-chain" process. The appeal of such systems for businesses is that all employees of a company will have acce ss to the same information almost instantaneously through one unified user inter face. ERP systems such as SAP/R3 include not just the functional modules that "c runch" the numbers but also the most advanced technologies and methodologies. Im plementing such a system results in benefits from the "integrated" nature of the system as well as from the "reengineering" of the business practices and the en tire "culture" of the business, all at the same time. The popularity of ERP programs can be attributed to an increasing trend towards globalization, mergers and acquisitions, short product life cycles, and the fear of looming disasters from aging legacy systems that cannot handle dates beyond the end of this century (commonly know as Year 2000 problem). To be successful, a global enterprise must have accurate real-time information to control and coor dinate the far-flung resources. ERP systems have the capability to integrate far -flung outposts of a company along with the supply-chain activities. This integr ation allows sharing of information in a standard format across many departments in the home country as well as across the national borders regardless of langua ge and currency differences. In this era of global competition and uncertain mar kets, companies are merging for competitive advantage. In the United States, the past couple of years have seen about $1 trillion in mergers annually, many of w hich involved overseas firms. These newly formed corporations often have very li ttle in common other than a corporate logo. To achieve synergy across national b oundaries and product lines, these businesses must implement a set of standard b usiness applications and consistent data definitions across all business units. ERP packages are extremely useful in integrating a global company and provide a "common language" throughout the company. Digital Equipment Corp. is implementin g PeopleSoft's human resources system across its 44 locations worldwide. Digital is not only implementing a standardized human resources application but is also moving to a common architecture and infrastructure. For many companies, a globa l software rollout is a good time to do some serious housecleaning and consolida tion of their IT infrastructure around the world. Digital is expecting a return on investment of 27 percent from this global rollout. If the merging companies h ave already implemented the same ERP solution, then they will save a tremendous amount in cost and time when integrating their systems. Recently, Daimler-Benz A G and Chrysler Corp. merged to form Daimler Chrysler AG. The new company could d odge five to ten years of integration work because the companies use the same co mputer-aided design systems and SAP financial applications. Companies are also finding that the ERP solutions help them get rid of their leg acy systems, most of which are not Year 2000 compliant. Sometimes it costs less for companies to replace their dinosaur systems than fix them. AlliedSignal Turb o charging Systems, a California-based turbocharger manufacturer, had more than 120 legacy systems, and the average age of the company's legacy systems was 18 y ears. In addition to these legacy systems, the company had several homegrown app

lications that had little or no source code documentation. These systems were so disparate and inefficient that running them not only drove IT costs up but also increased the time to fill customer orders. AlliedSignal is implementing SAP R/ 3 to replace its 120 legacy systems in 15 of the company's 17 facilities worldwi de. Company officials estimate a full payback on the $25 million project in a li ttle more than two years. It has already started seeing the benefits of the ERP implementation in the first sites that went live with the new system. It is able to reduce the order fulfillment process to lust a day from its previous weekly procedure. CRITICAL IMPLEMENTATION CONCERNS Even in a single site, implementing ERP means "Early Retirement Probably." An ER P package is so complex and vast that it takes several years and millions of dol lars to roll it out. It also requires many far-flung outposts of a company to fo llow exactly the same business processes. In fact, implementing any integrated E RP solution is not as much a technological exercise but an "organizational revol ution." Extensive preparation before implementation is the key to success. Imple mentations carried out without patience and careful planning will turn out to be corporate root canals, not competitive advantage. Several issues must be addres sed when dealing with a vast ERP system, and the following sections discuss each of them in detail. Top Management Commitment The IT literature has clearly demonstrated that for IT projects to succeed top m anagement support is critical.(n4) This also applies to ERP implementations. Imp lementing an ERP system is not a matter of changing software systems, rather it is a matter of repositioning the company and transforming the business practices . Due to enormous impact on the competitive advantage of the company, top manage ment must consider the strategic implications of implementing an ERP solution.(n 2) Management must ask several questions before embarking on the project. Does t he ERP system strengthen the company's competitive position? How might it erode the company's competitive position? How does ERP affect the organizational struc ture and the culture? What is the scope of the ERP implementation -- only a few functional units or the entire organization? Are there any alternatives that mee t the company's needs better than an ERP system? If it is a multinational corpor ation, the management should be concerned about whether it would be better to ro ll the system out globally or restrict it to certain regional units? Management must be involved in every step of the ERP implementation. Some companies make th e grave mistake of handing over the responsibility of ERP implementation to the technology department. This would risk the entire company's survival because of the ERP system's profound business implications. It is often said that ERP implementation is about people, not processes or techn ology. An organization goes through a major transformation, and the management o f this change must be carefully planned (from a strategic viewpoint) and meticul ously implemented. Many parts of the business that used to work in silos now hav e to be tightly integrated for ERP to work effectively. Cutting corners in plann ing and implementation is detrimental to a company. The top management must not only fund the project but also take an active role in leading the change. A revi ew of successful ERP implementations has shown that the key to a smooth rollout is the effective change management from top. Intervention from management is oft en necessary to resolve conflicts and bring everybody to the same thinking, and to build cooperation among the diverse groups in the organization, often times a cross the national borders. Top management needs to constantly monitor the progr ess of the project and provide direction to the implementation teams. The succes s of a major project like an ERP implementation completely hinges on the strong, sustained commitment of top management. This commitment when percolated down th rough the organizational levels results in an overall organizational commitment. An overall organizational commitment that is very visible, well defined, and fe lt is a sure way to ensure a successful implementation.

Reengineering Implementing an ERP system involves reengineering the existing business processe s to the best business process standard. ERP systems are built on best practices that are followed in the industry. One major benefit of ERP comes from reengine ering the company's existing way of doing business. All the processes in a compa ny must conform to the ERP model. The cost and benefits of aligning with an ERP model could be very high. This is especially true if the company plans to roll o ut the system worldwide. It is not very easy to get everyone to agree to the sam e process. Sometimes business processes are so unique that they need to be prese rved, and appropriate steps need to be taken to customize those business process es. Hydro Agri North America, Inc. implemented SAP R/3 in 1994, and since then t he company is fighting against the integration SAP provides because some of the company's processes are very unique. Trying to fit the SAP mold resulted in a lo t of pain and fewer benefits. Now Hydro Agri will either build a different front -end application or use a different package whenever their processes clash with that of the SAP. The companies also face a question as to whether to implement t he ERP software "as is" and adopt the ERP system's built-in procedure or customi ze the product to the specific needs of the company. Research shows that even a best application package can meet only 70 percent of the organizational needs. W hat happens to the rest? An organization has to change its processes to conform to the ERP package, customize the software to suit its needs, or not be concerne d about meeting the balance 30 percent. If the package cannot adapt to the organ ization, then organization has to adapt to the package and change its procedures . When an organization customizes the software to suit its needs, the total cost of implementation rises. The more the customization, the greater the implementa tion costs. Companies should keep their systems "as is" as much as possible to r educe the costs of customization and future maintenance and upgrade expenses. Integration There is a strong trend toward a single ERP solution for an entire company. Most companies feel that having a single vendor means a "common view" necessary to s erve their customers efficiently and the ease of maintaining the system in futur e. Unfortunately, no single application can do everything a company needs. Compa nies may have to use other specialized software products that best meet their un ique needs. These products have to be integrated along with all the homegrown sy stems with the ERP suite. In this case, ERP serves as a backbone, and all the di fferent software are bolted on to the ERP software. There are thirdparty softwar e, called middleware, which can be used to integrate software applications from several vendors to the ERP backbone. Unfortunately, middleware is not available for all the different software products that are available in the market. Middle ware vendors concentrate only on the most popular packaged applications and tend to focus on the technical aspects of application interoperability rather than l inking business processes. Many times, organizations have to develop their own i nterfaces for commercial software applications and the homegrown applications. I ntegration software also poses other kinds of problems when it comes to maintena nce. It is a nightmare for IS personnel to manage this software whenever there a re changes and upgrades to either ERP software or other software that is integra ted with the ERP system. For every change, the IT department will be concerned a bout which link is going to fail this time. Integration problems would be severe if the middleware links the ERP package of a company to its vendor companies in the supply chain. Maintaining the integration patchwork requires an inordinate and ongoing expenditure of resources. Organizations spend up to 50 percent of th eir IT budgets on application integration? It is also estimated that the integra tion market (products and services) equals the size of the entire ERp market.(n3 ) When companies choose bolt-on systems, it is advisable to contact the ERP vend or for a list of certified third-party vendors. Each year, all the major ERP ven dors publish a list of certified third-party vendors. There are several advantag es to choosing this option, including continuous maintenance and upgrade support . One of the major benefits of ERP solutions is the integration they bring into an

organization. Organizations need to understand the nature of integration and ho w it affects the entire business. Before integration, the functional departments used work in silos and were slow to experience the consequences of the mistakes other departments committed. The information flow was rather slow, and the depa rtments that made the mistakes had ample time to correct them before the errors started affecting the other departments. However, with tight integration the rip ple effect of mistakes made in one part of the business unit pass onto the other departments in real time. Also, the original mistakes get magnified as they flo w through the value chain of the company. For example, the errors that the produ ction department of a company made in its bill of materials could affect not onl y the operations in the production department but also the inventory department, accounting department, and others. The impact of these errors could be detrimen tal to a company. For example, price errors on purchase orders could mislead fin ancial analysts by giving a distorted view of how much the company is spending o n materials. Companies must be aware of the potential risks of the errors and ta ke proper steps, such as monitoring the transactions and taking immediate steps to rectify the problems should they occur. They must also have a formal plan of action describing the steps to be taken if an error is detected. A proper means to communicate to all the parties who are victims of the errors as soon as the e rrors are detected is extremely important. Consider the recent example of a manu facturing company that implemented an ERP package. It suddenly started experienc ing a shortage of manufacturing materials. Production workers noticed that it wa s due to incorrect bills of materials, and they made necessary adjustments becau se they knew the correct number of parts needed to manufacturer. However, the co mpany did not have any procedures to notify others in case any errors were found in the data. The domino effect of the errors started affecting other areas of b usiness. Inventory managers thought the company had more material than what was on the shelves, and material shortages occurred. Now the company has mandatory t raining classes to educate employees about how transactions flow through the sys tem and how errors affect the activities in a value chain. It took almost eight weeks to clean up the incorrect bills of materials in the database. Companies implementing electronic supply chains face different kinds of problems with integration of information across the supply chain companies. The major ch allenge is the impact automation has on the business process. Automation changes the way companies deal with one another, from planning to purchasing to paying. Sharing and control of information seem to be major concerns. Companies are con cerned about how much information they need to share with their customers and su ppliers and how to control the information. Suppliers do not want their competit ors to see their prices or order volumes. The general fear is that sharing too m uch information hurts their business. Regarding controlling information, compani es are aware that it is difficult to control what they own let alone control wha t they do not own. Companies need to trust their partners and must coordinate wi th each other in the chain. The whole chain suffers if one link is slow to provi de information or access. The management also must be concerned about the stress an automated supply chain brings within each organization. For instance, a sale s department may be unhappy that electronic ordering has cut it out of the loop, while manufacturing may have to adjust to getting one week's notice to order ch anges and accommodate those changes into its production orders. ERP Consultants Because the ERP market has grown so big so fast, there has been a shortage of co mpetent consultants. The skill shortage is so deep that it cannot be filled imme diately. Finding the right people and keeping them through the implementation is a major challenge. ERP implementation demands multiple skills -- functional, te chnical, and interpersonal skills. Again, consultants with specific industry kno wledge are fewer in number. There are not many consultants with all the required skills. Since the ERP market in the United States started approximately five ye ars ago (and is growing at an astronomical rate), there are not many consultants with three or more years of experience. This has sent the compensation for skil led SAP consultants through the roof. One year's experience brings in $70,000 to

$80,000 annually. Three to five years' experience could command up to $200,000 annually. One might find a consultant with a stellar reputation in some areas, b ut he may lack expertise in the specific area a company is looking for. Hiring a consultant is just the tip of the iceberg. Managing a consulting firm and its e mployees is even more challenging. The success or failure of the project depends on how well you meet this challenge. Implementation Time ERP systems come in modular fashion and do not have to be implemented entirely a t once. Several companies follow a phase-in approach in which one module is impl emented at a time. For example, SAP R/3 is composed of several "complete" module s that could be chosen and implemented, depending on an organization's needs. So me of the most commonly installed modules are sales and distribution (SD), mater ials management (MM), production and planning, (PP), and finance and controlling (FI) modules. The average length of time for a "typical" implementation is about 14 months and can take as much as 150 consultants. Corning, Inc. plans to roll out ERP in ten of its diversified manufacturing divisions, and it expects the rollout to last five to eight years.(n11) The length of implementation is affected to a great ex tent by the number of modules being implemented, the scope of the implementation (different functional units or across multiple units spread out globally), the extent of customization, and the number of interfaces with other applications. T he more the number of units, the longer implementation. Also, as the scope of im plementation grows from a single business unit to multiple units spread out glob ally, the duration of implementation increases. A global implementation team has to be formed to prepare common requirements that do not violate the individual unit's specific requirements. This involves extensive travel and increases the l ength of implementation. The problem with ERP packages is that they are very general and need to be confi gured to a specific type of business. This customization takes a long time, depe nding on the specific requirements of the business. For example, SAP is so compl ex and general that there are nearly 8000 switches that need to be set properly to make it handle the business processes in a way a company needs. The extent of customization determines the length of the implementation. The more customizati on needed, the longer it will take to roll the software out and the more it will cost to keep it up-to-date. The length of time could be cut down by keeping the system "plain vanilla" and reducing the number of bolt-on application packages that require custom interfaces with the ERP system. The downside to this "plain vanilla" approach is conforming to the system's mold, which may or may not compl etely match the requirements of the business. For small companies, SAP recently launched Ready-to-Run, a scaled-down suite of R/3 programs preloaded on a computer server. SAP has also introduced Accelerated SAP (ASAP) to reduce implementation time. ERP vendors are now offering industryspecific applications to cut the implementation time down. SAP has recently outl ined a comprehensive plan to offer 17 industry-specific solutions, including che mical, aerospace and defense, insurance, retail, media, and utilities industries . Even though these specific solutions would able to substantially reduce the ti me to implement an application, organizations still have to customize the produc t for their specific requirements. Implementation Costs Even though the price of prewritten software is cheap compared with in-house dev elopment, the total cost of implementation could be three to five times the purc hase price of the software. The implementation costs would increase as the degre e of customization increases. The cost of hiring consultants and all that goes w ith it can consume up to 30 percent of the overall budget for the implementation . According to Gartner Group, total cost of an outside SAP consultant is around $1600 per day. Going for in-house SAP-trained technologists creates its own worr ies. Once the selected employees are trained after investing a huge sum of money

, it is a challenge to retain them, especially in a market that is hungry for sk illed SAP consultants. Employees could double or triple their salaries by accept ing other positions. Retention strategies such as bonus programs, company perks, salary increases, continual training and education, and appeals to company loya lty could work. Other intangible strategies such as flexible work hours, telecom muting options, and opportunities to work with leading-edge technologies are als o being used. Many companies simply strive to complete the projects quickly for fear of poaching by head-hunting agencies and other companies. ERP Vendors As there are about 500 ERP applications available and there is some company cons olidation going on, it is all the more important that the software partner be fi nancially well off. Selecting a suitable product is extremely important. Gartner Group has BuySmart program, which has more than 1700 questions to help a compan y choose a suitable ERP package. Top management input is very important when sel ecting a suitable vendor. Management needs to ask questions about the vendor, su ch as its market focus (for example, midsize or large organization), track recor d with customers, vision of the future, and with whom the vendor is strategicall y aligned. For a global ERP rollout, companies need to be concerned about if the ERP software is designed to work in different countries. Also, the management m ust make sure the ERP vendor has the same version of the software available in a ll the countries the company is implementing the system. Vendor claims regarding global readiness may not be true, and the implementation team may need to cross -check with subsidiary representatives regarding the availability of the softwar e. Vendors also may not have substantial presence in the subsidiary countries. I t is important to evaluate if the vendor staffers in these countries are knowled geable and available. If there is a shortage of skilled staff, bringing people f rom outside could solve the problem, but it would increase the costs of implemen tation. Selecting the Right Employees Companies intending to implement an ERP system must be willing to dedicate some of their best employees to the project for a successful implementation. Often co mpanies do not realize the impact of choosing the internal employees with the ri ght skill set. The importance of this aspect cannot be overemphasized. Internal resources of a company should not only be experts in the company's processes but also be aware of the best business practices in the industry. Internal resource s on the project should exhibit the ability to understand the overall needs of t he company and should play an important role in guiding the project efforts in t he right direction. Most of the consulting organizations do provide comprehensiv e guidelines for selecting internal resources for the project. Companies should take this exercise seriously and make the right choices. Lack of proper understa nding of the project needs and the inability to provide leadership and guidance to the project by the company's internal resources is a major reason for the fai lure of ERP projects. Because of the complexities involved in the day-to-day run ning of an organization, it is not uncommon to find functional departments unwil ling to sacrifice their best resources toward ERP project needs. However, consid ering that ERP system implementation can be a critical step in forging an organi zation's future, companies are better off dedicating their best internal resourc es to the project. Training Employees Training and updating employees on ERP is a major challenge. People are one of t he hidden costs of ERP implementation. Without proper training, about 30 percent to 40 percent of front-line workers will not be able to handle the demands of t he new system.(n6) The people at the keyboard are now making important decisions about buying and selling -- important commitments of the company. They need to understand how their data affects the rest of company. Some of the decisions fro nt-line people make with an ERP system were the responsibility of a manager earl ier. It is important for managers to understand this change in their job and enc

ourage the front-line people to be able to make those decisions themselves. Trai ning employees on ERP is not as simple as Excel training in which you give them a few weeks of training, put them on the job, and they blunder their way through . ERP systems are extremely complex and demand rigorous training. It is difficul t for trainers or consultants to pass on the knowledge to the employees in a sho rt period of time. This "knowledge transfer" gets hard if the employees lack com puter literacy or have computer phobia. In addition to being taught ERP technolo gy, the employees now have to be taught their new responsibilities. With ERP sys tems you are continuously being trained. Companies should provide opportunities to enhance the skills of the employees by providing training opportunities on a continuous basis to meet the changing needs of the business and employees. Employee Morale Employees working on an ERP implementation project put in long hours (as much as 20 hours per day) including seven-day weeks and even holidays. Even though the experience is valuable for their career growth, the stress of implementation cou pled with regular job duties (many times employees still spend 25 to 50 percent of their time on regular job duties) could decrease their morale rapidly. Leader ship from upper management and support and caring acts of project leaders would certainly boost the morale of the team members. Other strategies, such as taking the employees on field trips, could help reduce the stress and improve the mora le. CONCLUSION ERP solutions are revolutionizing the way companies produce goods and services. They are a dream come true in integrating different parts of a company and ensur ing smooth flow of information across the enterprise quickly. ERP systems bring lot of benefits to organizations by tightly integrating various departments of t he organization. Even though ERP solutions have been popular in Europe for some time, North American companies have been using them for only about five to six y ears. Some of the factors that have contributed to ERP growth are the trend towa rds globalization, Year 2000 problems, and mergers and acquisitions. ERP systems are very large and complex and warrant a careful planning and execut ion of their implementation. They are not mere software systems; they affect how a business conducts itself. How a company implements an ERP system determines w hether it creates a competitive advantage or becomes a corporate headache. The t op contributor for a successful ERP implementation is strong commitment from upp er management, as an implementation involves significant alterations to existing business practices as well as an outlay of huge capital investments. The other important factors are the issues related to reengineering the business processes and integrating the other business applications to the ERP backbone. Upper mana gement plays a key role in managing the change an ERP brings into an organizatio n. Organizational commitment is paramount due to possible lengthy implementation and huge costs involved. Once implemented, an ERP system is difficult and expen sive to undo. Since no single ERP solution can satisfy all the business needs, o rganizations may have to implement custom applications in addition to the ERP so ftware. Integrating different software packages poses a serious challenge, and t he integration patchwork is expensive and difficult to maintain. Selecting and managing consultants pose a continuous challenge due to the shorta ge of skilled consultants in the market. ERP vendors are bringing out industry-s pecific solutions and newer methodologies to cut the length and costs of impleme ntation. Organizations could reduce the total cost of implementation if they red uce customization by adapting to the ERP's built in best practices as much as po ssible. Selecting the right employees to participate in the implementation proce ss and motivating them is critical for the implementation's success. Finally, it is important to train the employees to use the system to ensure the proper work ing of the system. References (n1.) Appleton, E., "How to Survive ERP," Datamation, October 9, 1998.

(n2.) Davenport, T., "Putting the Enterprise into the Enterprise System," Harvar d Business Review, July August 1998, Vol. 76, No. 4, pp. 121-131. (n3.) Edwards, J., "Expanding the Boundaries of ERP," CIO, July 1, 1998. (n4.) Johnson, J., "Chaos: The Dollar Drain of IT Project Failures," Application Development Trends, January 1995, pp. 41-48. (n5.) Horwitt, E., "Enduring a Global Rollout -- and Living to Tell About It," C omputerworld, Vol. 32, No. 14, March 1998, pp. S8-S12. (n6.) Koch, C., "Surprise, Surprise," CIO, June 15, 1996. (n7.) Melymuka, K., "ERP is Growing from Being Just an Efficiency Tool to One Th at Can Also Help a Company Grow," Computerworld, September 1998. (n8.) Needleman, T., "AlliedSignal Turbocharges its Systems," Beyondcomputing, S eptember 1998. (n9.) Radding, A., "The Push to Integrate -- Packaged Applications Promise to Sp eed Integration and Cut Costs," InformationWeek, No. 671, March 2, 1998. (n10.) Schwartz, K., "Putting Consultants on Your Team," Beyondcomputing, Vol. 7 , No.6, August 1998. (n11.) Stedman, C., "Global ERP Rollouts Present Cross-Border Problems," Compute rworld, Vol. 32, No. 47, November 1998, p. 10. (n12.) Stein, T., "SAP Installation Scuttled--Unisource Cites Internal Problems for $168 M Write-off, InformationWeek, January 26, 1998. (n13.) Sweat, J., "ERP -- Enterprise Application Suites are Becoming a Focal Poi nt of Business and Technology Planning, InformationWeek, No. 704, October 26, 19 98. (n14.) Tiazkun, S., "SAP Sued for $500 Million," Computer Reseller News, August 26, 1998. (n15.) Wallace, B., "Now it's Cost-Cutting Time," Computerworld, Vol. 32, No. 47 , November 1998, pp. 1 & 82.