Purpose – Small enterprises are very different in size and organisation, and cannot be considered scaled‐down larger companies. Thus the adoption of ERP by an SME may occur in a highly different environment and cannot directly leverage on corporate experiences. Therefore, finding this subject interesting, this paper aims to analyse the peculiarities of this innovation in SMEs and specifically to cross‐assess the benefits obtained with context/project factors that could influence them. Design/methodology/approach – The research was explicitly focused on an ex post evaluation of a panel of Italian SMEs which completed the introduction of an ERP system. Data about actual achievement, advantages and context/project characteristics were collected through direct interviews with SMEs' managers. A factors‐outcomes model is proposed, discussed and finalised in its most significant variables. Findings – ERP introduction is considered successful to a greater extent than was expected. The most frequently observed benefits are internal procedure simplification, much easier information retrieval, improved performance management, and some production efficiency increases. The factors that seem to mostly affect them are depth of organisational change and type of chosen ERP producer. Practical implications – Possible associations between each context/project variable and every outcome were identified and their intensity evaluated to suggest which decisive factors to manage. Originality/value – The key aspects of the research are exclusive focus on the SME segment and the choice of the post‐introduction phase as the moment to assess ERP outcomes. From a review of the literature, no study seems to have adopted a similar perspective.
Journal of Enterprise Information Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 13, 2009
Keywords: Manufacturing resource planning; Small to medium‐sized enterprises; Project management
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