Advances in Enterprise Information Systems II Møller & Chaudhry (eds)
© 2012 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN 978-0-415-63131-0
Critical success factors for ERP system implementation
projects: A literature review
Christian Leyh
Technische Universität Dresden
Chair of Information Systems, esp. IS in Manufacturing and Commerce
ABSTRACT: The aim of our study was to gain insight into the research field of critical success
factors (CSF) of enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation projects. Therefore, we con-
ducted a literature review, more specifically a systematic review of relevant articles in five different
databases and among several international conference proceedings. Ultimately, we identified 185
relevant papers (95 single or multiple case studies, 55 surveys, and 35 literature reviews or articles
from which CSFs can be derived). From these existing studies, we discovered 31 different CSFs
for ERP implementation. The top three factors identified are Top management support and
involvement, Project management, and User training. However, most of the relevant papers focus
on large enterprises. Only 12 papers explicitly focus on smaller and medium-sized enterprises
(S&MEs), which is clearly a research gap in this field.
Keywords: ERP systems, critical success factors, CSF, literature review, small and medium-sized
companies, S&ME
1 INTRODUCTION
Today’s enterprises are faced with the globalization of markets and fast changes in the economy. In
order to be able to cope with these conditions, the use of information and communication systems as
well as technology is almost mandatory. Specifically, the adoption of enterprise resource planning
(ERP) systems as standardized systems that encompass the actions of whole enterprises has become
an important factor in today’s business (Gronau 2001). Therefore, during the last few decades,
ERP system software represented one of the fastest growing segments in the software market;
indeed, these systems are one of the most important recent developments within information tech-
nology. Due to the saturation of ERP markets targeting large-scaled enterprises, ERP system
manufacturers today are also now concentrating on the growing market of small and medium-sized
enterprises (S&MEs) (Deep et al. 2008, Koh & Simpson 2005). This has resulted in a highly frag-
mented ERP market and a great diffusion of ERP systems throughout enterprises of nearly every
industry and every size (Leyh 2010, Winkelmann & Klose 2008, Winkelmann & Leyh 2010).
The demand for ERP applications has increased for several reasons, including competitive pres-
sure to become a low cost producer, expectations of revenue growth, and the desire to re-engineer
the business to respond to market challenges. A properly selected and implemented ERP system
offers several benefits, such as considerable reductions in inventory costs, raw material costs, lead
time for customers, production time, and production costs (Somers & Nelson 2001). Therefore,
current standardized ERP systems are used in a majority of enterprises around the world. For
example, according to a survey conducted in Germany in 2009, ERP systems are used in more
than 92 percent of all German industrial enterprises (Konradin 2009). Due to the strong demand
and the high fragmentation of the market, there are many ERP systems with different technologies
and philosophies available on the market. This multitude of software manufacturers, vendors, and
systems implies that enterprises that use or want to use ERP systems must strive to find the “right”
software as well as to be aware of the factors that influence the success of the implementation
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