A billion-dollar retailer with more than 4,000 stores finds that it cannot move fast enough to beat the competition. The organization’s senior management arrives at the conclusion that it would be easier to achieve the strategic goals enumerated by the board of directors if the various organizational functions would share information. Shared information would enable them to develop and deploy new actions and tactics more quickly. The CEO and the president have therefore ordered the major functions to immediately update their information systems so that data sharing is possible. The SVPs of accounting and human resources immediately decide that the only solution is to decide jointly on an ERP product. ERP software applications are a set of integrated database applications, or modules, that carry out the most common business functions, including human resources, general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, order management, inventory control, and customer relationship management. To speed the installation along, they will install it using a rapid implementation methodology that a company down the street used. The goal is to have the new systems operational in nine months.
Shortly after this decision is made, the SVP of HR calls you into his office and tells you that you will be management sponsor for this project. You have to decide on everything. You sit back in your nice office and think:
“What’s the problem with this scenario? It shouldn’t be difficult to select a vendor and then borrow the methodology from down the street. It worked for them; it should work for us! We’ll call a few vendors in the morning and find out about cost, time frame, and implementation methods. In the meantime, I should find out a little more about how to do this and who will be using it. I remember from my information systems class in college that this is a reasonable first step when it comes to buying software.”
After some discussions with department heads from all the departments in the organization, you realize that there are a large number of people (stakeholders) who will be affected by the new systems. Furthermore, you come to realize how important HR data really are to these stakeholders. Based on this information, you think,
“Wow, there are far more people who could be potentially using this information system than I expected! The old textbook and the vendor information should provide a lot to think about.”
Over the next month, as you continue to obtain information about the design and implementation of the new system, you are still somewhat confused about what to do. Once again, we find you in your office thinking:
“There are so many potential decisions to make with regard to hardware! I wonder what we need to schedule, if we need to buy hardware, and how we should configure the servers to ensure maximum security. And this bring-your-own-device stuff is going to drive us nuts!”
As part of your investigation, you have uncovered a system concept called “best of breed.” You are in your office again trying to decide what to do, and you think,
“Perhaps best of breed might be the easiest and best way to go.”
You have just sat down in your office feeling as if there is way too much to do! Your IS software professional has given you the information from one of the potential vendors about the various steps that need to be taken in implementation of the HRIS. Your immediate reaction is,
“Man, am I going to be at work late for the next many months!”
Based on the information in this chapter, answer the following questions:
- Develop the first few steps of the project plan.
- Discuss the potential political necessities outlined in this section as they relate to this type of implementation.
- Think about and create a list of steps that make sense for your organization.
- Is the nine-month rapid-implementation time frame feasible? Or will it just lead to failure?