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A study of the ERP Project Life Cycles in Small-and-Medium–Sized Enterprises: Critical Issues and Lessons Learned

Authors: Eli Hustad, Aurilla A. Bechina


The purpose of this research is to increase our knowledge as regards how Small-and-Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) tackle ERP implementation projects to achieve successful adoption and use of these systems within the organization. SMEs have scare resources to handle these kinds of projects which have proved to be risky and costly. There are several studies focusing on ERP implementation in larger companies, however, few studies report on challenges experienced by SMEs. Our research seeks to bridge this gap. Through a multiple case study of four companies, we identified challenges and critical elements within the different phases (pre-implementation, implementation and post-implementation) of the ERP life cycle. To interpret our findings, we utilize a well-know ERP life cycle model and critical success factors developed for larger companies which are reported in former research literature. We discuss if these models are relevant for SMEs and suggest additional critical elements identified in this study to make a framework more adapted to the SME context.

Keywords: ERP implementation challenges, ERP implementation framework, ERP life cycle model, Small-and- Medium-Sized Enterprises, ERP critical success factors

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