ERP Implementation Approach the Study Collects Data Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

ERP Implementation Approach

The study collects data from 5 business units of the company. The data collection method is through both qualitative and quantitative data analysis, and the study collects data to enhance greater understanding of the ERP implementation approach carried out by the company. As being discussed previously, the methodology used to collect data is through qualitative and quantitative approach, and the study collects data from the following business units:

Accounting Department

Human Resources Department

Purchasing and Supply Department

Manufacturing and Product Development Department

IT (Information Technology) Department.

The study selects these business units because they are the most important business departments that focus on the core business activities of the company. The selected company represents a cross section of the major companies engaging in the ERP implementation. Typically, the information collected from the company is treated with high confidentiality, and the company chooses to implement ERP system to facilitate better financial position and efficient human resources.

The study selects departmental managers of these business units to collect data using qualitative in-dept interview. The study selects the participants for the in-dept interview because they have a deep knowledge of the ERP implementation procedures within their various departments. Added to the qualitative in-dept interview for data collection, the study also collects data through the quantitative survey method. The study carries qualitative and quantitative data analysis to enhance data validity and data reliability. (Coffey et al. 1996).

This study combines both quantitative and qualitative data analysis to enhance reliability and validity of the research findings.

The Table 1 reveals the different strategies that both quantitative and qualitative research carries out the analysis.

Table 1: Quantitative and Qualitative Data Analysis

QUANTITATIVE

QUALITATIVE

Reliability

Quantitative analysis uses reliability to measure the instrument to ensure that the results of the research are reliable.

On the other hand, the qualitative data analysis ensures that data collected makes sense and consistence with the research findings.

Sampling strategies

Sampling strategies for quantitative analysis include random, large, representative, and use of control groups.

Qualitative data analysis uses the sampling strategies to collect data from small non-random samples, and purposeful sample population to collect rich data and information.

External Validity

Quantitative analysis uses external validity to ensure that sampling is correct and the random sampling is reflective of general population.

However, qualitative data analysis uses external validity to ensure the research is applicable to rich and phenomenon. (Gibbs, 2002).

Data collection method

The data collection method is through survey and/or questionnaires

The data collection method is through interviews.

Benefits

Data collected is relatively easy to analyze and cost efficient.

Data collected are rich and are collected within the natural environment.

Disadvantages

Data may not be rich enough to provide answers to the complex issues.( Mertens, 2005).

Data collection method is usually costly and time consuming. (Ettlie, 2000).

3.1: Qualitative Data Analysis

QDA (Qualitative data analysis) is the process and procedures of moving data into some form of interpretation, and understanding. Qualitative data analysis is also the process of removing the errors and interpreting the data collected during the course of qualitative research. The researcher uses the in-dept interview to collect qualitative data from participants, and the interview process took approximately 30 minutes. Typically, the answers from interviewees are recorded in a small voice recorder. Apart from this recording procedure, the researcher also writes all the answers from the interviewees on a small writing pad. The interview protocol was easy to read and was written with a simple English to make them easy to understand for participants. The interviewer selected respondents based on their positions within the company and the interviewees were selected based on their knowledge on ERP. There is different process that the study employs to carry out the qualitative data analysis:

First, a researcher goes through texts written on the note pad and highlights the important answers relevant to the questions. Moreover, an interviewer plays the voice recorders three times and crosscheck whether the contents written in the writing pad are similar to the contents in the voice recorder. The study uses writing procedure to put down all the data collected from interviewee, and the researcher uses the analytical procedures to put down the content of the interview. Typically, the researcher put down the summary of the data in an analytical procedure. (Merriam, 1998).

To enhance further analysis, the researcher cross checks the data to identify the bias from the response of the interviewees. One of the techniques that a researcher used to identify the bias during the interview process is by asking some questions twice. The questions are twisted in such a way that respondents could not notice that they were answering two similar questions. From the response from the respondents, an interviewer has been able to identify the suspected bias from the answers given by the respondents. To enhance the validity and reliability of the data collected, a researcher removed all the suspected bias identified within the answer given by the respondents. More importantly, the interviewer highlighted the themes relevant to the research study. By extracting the themes and contents relevant to the research study, the researcher has been able to identify the research results from the themes. (Seidel, 1998).

Further process used to carry out the data analysis is through coding. (Seidel, et al. 1995). The study identifies some texts that could assist in achieving the research objectives and applies label to the texts. The strategy is to facilitate the retrieval of important data that could assist in arriving at meaningful research findings. After coding, the researcher interprets the data in a way to understand the phenomenon. Since the data collected is very lengthy and voluminous, the researcher uses the analytical writing to organize the data collected. (Bogdan et al. 2003).Typically, the researcher uses computer-based system to organize the data. To facilitate easy retrieval of data, the researcher uses computer-based directories and the word processing software to write and annotate the texts.

3.2: Quantitative Data Analysis

Since data were collected through both quantitative and qualitative research, the study also carries out the quantitative data analysis. The quantitative data analysis is the process of using the statistical tools to summarize the mass of data collected using tables, and graphs. There are different strategies that the study employs to carry out the quantitative data analysis.

First, the study uses the descriptive statistics to summarize the raw data collected. The summary of data facilitates the presentation of data through graphs and charts which enhances visual presentations of the research findings. The study also presents the data through inferential statistics. The inferential statistics is the outcome of the statistical tests carried out, and the inferential statistics is used to carry out the research findings. Part of the data analysis carried out is by implementing reliability analysis on the descriptive statistical data before it is transferred into the graphical form. Reliability analysis is the process of checking whether the results are consistence with the data collected. Typically, the researcher sought for additional document and research paper to enhance the reliability of the results.

4: Results

The results of the data collected through qualitative and quantitative technique reveal that the company considers the strategic factors before the implementation of ERP. Typically, it does not make sense to implement the ERP if the ERP implementation is unable to meet the strategy values of the company. The study presents the results of both qualitative and quantitative data.

4.1: Results of Qualitative Data Collected

This section presents the results of the qualitative data collected. The qualitative data reveal that the company implements ERP based on the following criteria:

Cost of the ERP Implementation,

ROI Issues and Implementation Time

ERP Employee Training

Effective use of ERP Applications

4.1.1: Cost of the ERP Implementation

The findings from the interview and the quantitative data collected reveal that the company considers the cost of ERP implementation before embarking on the ERP implementation plan. Management of the company interviewed reveals that it costs the company roughly $2 millions to achieve the ERP implementation. The cost is large because the company is a medium size organization. The total cost of ownership and implementation of ERP include the cost of software design and the cost of training of personnel. Other costs calculated are the opportunity cost of the waiting time before the company starts to realize the ROI (Return on Investment) from the ERP. The management also confirms that the company incurs consultancy fees. Typically, the company engages the service of ERP consultant before embarking on the ERP implementation. The major objective to achieve from ERP consultant is to enhance the greater understanding on the cost of ERP implementation and the strategic benefits that the company stands to gain from the ERRP implementation.

From the results of the qualitative research, the company includes the participation of all departments to determine the effectiveness of ERP for the organization. Typically, the management interviewed revealed that they took into consideration ERP system costs, potential needs of ERP and the costs of upgrade. However,…

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