Campus-wide Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System
Implementation: A Case Study
Global Program & Project Management
Fall 2009 Semester
University of Bridgeport
I would like to express my deep and sincere gratitude to my supervisor; Professor Blaine Boxwell Jr. Prof. Boxwell’s wide knowledge and logical way of thinking have been of great value for me. I learned a great deal by listening to his professional experiences, expert comments and advise. His understanding, encouragement and personal guidance have provided a good basis for the present paper.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my academic advisor and Chair of the MSIT Program at the University of Bridgeport, Dr. Jerald D. Cole, for his encouragement to take up TCMG 505. I hope to apply the skills learned during this course in attainment of life and career objectives.
Finally, I would like to express deepest gratitude to my parents and brothers. Their support and unwavering confidence in my ability has helped me achieve my academic dreams.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems have become a fact of life in higher education. A 2002 EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research (ECAR) study estimated that higher education had spent close to $5 billion on ERP systems. According to the study, 54 percent of survey
respondents had implemented an ERP as of the summer of 2002, and an additional 35 percent expected to implement an ERP module or to add a module to an existing system within the next three years. An ERP system’s success rests on the integration of data across the institution. It must be closely tied to the institution’s business needs for the institution to realize the system’s full benefit. An ERP system represents a significant investment, both for acquisition and for ongoing support. At small and mid-size institutions, the cost of acquiring an ERP system can seem daunting. For many such institutions, the ongoing support costs, both direct and indirect, represent the single largest technology expenditure each year. An ERP system is more than just an information system—it embodies the institution’s business rules. It must be closely tied to the institution’s business needs for the institution to realize the system’s full benefit.1 This paper discusses the successful planning and implementation of an ERP system in an academic institution. Such an endeavor is a complex process involving technical, financial, organizational, and operational issues. The first two are hard issues that can be handled through standard approaches. However, the last two, being somewhat soft issues, require special approaches for ensuring success. The dynamics of these two soft aspects in academic institutions are
somewhat different than those in business organizations. This case study could be of some value to other institutions who are considering ERP solutions.
Introduction ... 1
Objectives ... 2
General Project Goals: ... 2
Specific Goals ... 2
Scope ... 2
Methodology ... 4
Case Study: Background ... 4
Project Plan ... Error! Bookmark not defined. Business Process Analysis ... Error! Bookmark not defined. Evaluation of Proposals ... Error! Bookmark not defined. Setup, and Implementation ... Error! Bookmark not defined. Testing: ... 6
Going Live: ... 7
Project Schedule & WBS ... 7
Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) ... 8
Gantt Chart ... 9 Risk Plan ... 10 Project Costs ... 11 Datatel Contract ... 11 Hardware ... 11 Other Costs ... 11
Analysis ... Error! Bookmark not defined. Conclusions and Recommendations ... 12
Implications ... 13
Lessons Learned ... Error! Bookmark not defined. Works Cited ... 16
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Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is an integrated software solution used to manage an organization's resources. ERP systems integrate business management and administrative functions including human resources, accounts payable, purchasing and finance. 2 An enterprise information system project is “a massive undertaking fraught with risks” (Gossman and Walsh 2004). Besides the technical aspects of the project, careful planning and the human factor (Barker and Frolick 2003) must also be considered. Management support is also crucial because it affects the success of the project (Hammersmith 2004; Havelka and Lee 2002).3
Early in the Fall of 2004, Bradford University formed a task group to investigate how best to replace the legacy information systems supporting Finance, Human Resources, and Payroll. After investigating the various options, the task group recommended to the university administration that it should adopt an integrated information systems approach instead. The administration endorsed the task group’s recommendation and believed an integrated system would provide a higher quality of service to all the constituents and enable the university to better manage its technology expenses. In February 2005, a request for proposal (RFP) was completed and sent to appropriate vendors. The vendors were requested to respond to the RFP by the end of March. The vendors’ reports were reviewed and several were invited to campus to present their system and address the needs outlined in the RFP. The selected vendors also provided institutions that were using their system for reference checking purpose. After evaluating the various vendors, Datatel, Inc., “a leading provider of information management
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solutions for higher education,” headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, was selected to help Bradford University implement an integrated information system.
General Project Goals:
• Developing and implementing a modern, efficient, and customizable student information
database system for the university to operate more efficiently and effectively.
• Developing an effective institutional data reporting system.
• Ensuring staff capabilities, understanding, and operation of relevant modules.
Specific Project Goals
• Ensuring functionality of the Datatel system.
• Ensuring timely installation of the Datatel system.
• Successful conversion of existing data to the Datatel system.
The scope of the system implementation, as it pertains to the Project Management Team, consists of the implementation of each of the major subsystems: the Colleague® CORE system, the Student Base system, the Financial Base system, the Human Resources system, Payroll system and ultimately responsible for the implementation of each system’s sub-modules. The Project Management Team is responsible for all project planning, documentation, training, and management. The project director provides leadership for the entire project implementation
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9. Allows for integration of image processing, campus-wide ID cards, a kiosk system, and telephone processing of information.
This paper employs a case study research design. The case study is a well-known research method for exploratory, theory-building research (Eisenhardt, 1989; Yin, 1989).4 As a research method, case studies, and certainly single-case ones, score low on generalization of findings. However, on the other hand, their richness of data lends themselves well for the inductive process of theory building. It is precisely this ‘intimate connection with empirical reality that permits the development of a testable, relevant, and valid theory’ (Eisenhardt, 1989 p 532). The research methodology is based upon an intensive case study of a successful ERP
implementation roll out at Bradford University over a period of time between mid-2005 and end-2005.
Case Study: Background
In 2004, Bradford University embarked on a project to implement a campus-wide information system for its student and academic staff population. The search for an “out-of-the-box” solution began following an attempt to build an integrated data management system in-house. For many years, the university had been running POISE software on an Alpha system. The software managed all of the college’s data, yet each institution had its own database. In addition to having independent data repositories, specific offices on different campuses often housed their own student information. The university realized that one shared database among
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The testing involved using real data from the administrative unit to populate a test account so that various processes could be evaluated. Testing was done several times with each test more comprehensive than the previous one.
When testing was completed successfully, the module was ready to be introduced to the users.7
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Risk PlanRisk Area Likelihood Risk
Project Impact-Mitigation Plan
High Assistant Dean
Put templates and guidelines in place to make news input and university communication as easy as possible.
High Project Director
Strategic plan should include provisions for adequate infrastructure development and support.
Lack of adequate staff training
Low Core Group
Schedule sufficient training hours; survey trainees regarding training quality.
Staffing Medium Project
As more Datatel projects come online, staff will be pulled in multiple directions. Carefully and strategically work out timelines not to conflict or overlap.
Technical Lead out of the office
Medium Technical Team
Will be out of the office April 8-10 while attending web advisor training; make sure that items to be completed during this time will be completed before leaving.
Summer Academic Schedule
High Assistant Dean
The university will be conducting summer exams beginning May 2-14; Nothing should be scheduled during this period of time.
Lack of adequate training space
High Core Group
Include training space considerations in comprehensive training plan; negotiate space with administrative & academic Depts.
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A project account will be established to which all charges will be made. All charges to the project account must be approved by the Project Director. A quarterly report of year-to-date actual costs compared to budget will be prepared by the Project Director and submitted to the VP for Planning, Budgets & Technology. The project budget will include a breakdown of the cost components, such as:
Datatel ContractFY 2005 Costs
Software $120,000 Consulting $50,000 Training $30,000 Maintenance $20,000 Licenses $15,000
HardwarePurchase $100,000 Maintenance $15,000 Licenses $10,000
Training Facility (on-campus) $45,000 Training — Consultants, Travel, Food $20,000 Process Improvement Consultant $10,000 Supplies and Other Miscellaneous
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Conclusions and Recommendations
The implementation was fairly smooth with no back-tracking at any stage. There were no significant impediments other than minor irritations stemming from minor bugs in the system (for which Datatel provided patches) and from data conversion (note the university has a few decades of data and the course catalog is a very dynamic instrument). The factors that contributed to the success of this project – in addition to the excellent support from the
administration – include: comprehensive planning, support from the IT Committee, training and acceptance testing by functional units, reorganization of IT services to provide better services to functional units, creation of three environments (test, train, production), and closely involving functional units such as library, and instructional services.
With more and more universities intending to adopt ERP, the approaches presented in this paper could be of use to the academic community. Employing outside consultants to carry out a feasibility study for implementing ERP is a common approach most universities follow.10 The paper strongly recommends this especially when there is no one with ERP project experience within the ITS function.
With an ERP System, faculty, staff and students can easily access university information any time, any place. Campus users can get the information they need when they need it, from a single location. The ERP System also offers other significant benefits to the campus community including:
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2. Maintaining effective communication among modules enables dissemination of relevant information at appropriate time: during the project, weekly meetings were scheduled to enable all modules to share information and ask question of each other.
3. Planning well will reduce delays and budget overruns. It was essential to work with the vendor to develop a feasible project time-line and take the budget into serious
4. Allocating sufficient time to implement the modules will increase chances of success: if a realistic time frame were not adopted, it would contribute to more errors when the team rushed to bring the module on-line.
5. Assembling a quality project team will increase the success of the new system. Identifying good module leaders and their supporting cast was crucial to the project’s progress and success.
6. Giving module leaders and users on the team an equal voice in process improvement: the people closest to the action should be the ones given the trust to improve their processes.
7. Keeping users informed of progress will build trust and support for the project. This was done through bulletins, email, live demonstrations, and public celebrations.
8. Testing rigorously before implementation minimizes errors and re-works: testing was at least 40 percent of the allocated time for each module; as many potential scenarios as possible were created and tested with the new system to ensure that it could support the processes required.
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1. Powel, W. D., & Barry, J. (2005). An ERP Post-Implementation Review: Planning for the Future by
Looking Back. Retrieved November 2009, from EDUCAUSE Quarterly:
2. Case Western Reserve University. (2004). ERP Project Details. Retrieved November 2009, from Case Western Reserve University Website: http://www.case.edu/projects/erp/projectdetails.html 3. Wee, L. C. (2004, November 5). Campus-wide Integrated Information System Implementation: A
Case Study. Retrieved November 2009, from http://proc.isecon.org:
4. Akkermans, H., & Helden, K. v. (2002, November). Vicious and virtuous cycles in ERP implementation:
a case study of interrelations between critical success factors. Retrieved November 2009, from
European Journal of Information Systems: http://web.rollins.edu/~tlairson/ecom/virtuouserp.pdf 5. Title III Monitoring Team. (n.d.). Mission to Mars: Launching the Datatel System. Retrieved
November 2009, from Southeast Arkansas College Website: https://www.seark.edu/datatel/ImplementationPlan.pdf
6. Datatel Inc. (2002). Datatel Client Success Profile. Retrieved November 2009, from Datatel Website:
7. Office of Administrative Computer Applications. (2007, January 09). Datatel Implementation Project
Charter Document. Retrieved November 2009, from Morehead State University Website:
8. Randall, B., Sweetin, J., & Steinbeiser, D. (2009, August). Open Source Collaborative: Moodle
Assessment Report. Retrieved November 2009, from Datatel Website:
9. Datatel Inc. (2005). University of Guelph Success Story. Retrieved November 2009, from Datatel Website:
10. Somarajan, C., Weber, J. R., & Surendran, K. (n.d.). Planning and Implementation of an ERP system in
a University in USA: Some Insights and Guidelines. Retrieved November 2009, from The Proceedings