The goal of this series is largely consistent with the goal of the UA Spotlight Series, to exchange insights with UA professors, students, researchers and others linked to Universities from around the world. Here we focus on researchers and their experience
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Currently, I’m working as a PhD student/research assistant at the Chair for Information Systems at Technische Universität München (Prof. Dr. Helmut Krcmar). I’m a member of the Center for Very Large Business Application (CVLBA) research project and interested in Software as a Service based Enterprise Information Systems especially Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems.
Share a bit about your SAP and UA Research background. How long have you been studying SAP-related topics? How long have you been active with UA Research?
My University Alliances (UA) research background is related with my membership in the Center for Very Large Business Applications research project and the SAP University Competence Center located at the Technische Universität München. The CVLBA has a long tradition with the Chair for Information Systems at the Technische Universität München. It supports research to cooperate on new and innovative topics with SAP.
The access to experts and the opportunity to work with all the new solutions is very interesting.
Since March 2008 I have been working with SAP products such as SAP ERP and SAP NetWeaver Process Integration. When I started working with SAP Business ByDesign in 2010, I became interested in these new, modern and related innovation topics.
Tell us about your current research projects. What projects are you working on? What do you hope or expect to find out through your research projects? Has your understanding of SAP and the marketplace grown through the experiences related to your project?
In my thesis, “Recommendations for Software as a Service (SaaS) Based Enterprise Resource Planning Systems Implementation – Using the Example SAP Business ByDesign,” I’m working with the On-Demand ERP solution SAP Business ByDesign.
I’m interested in the whole implementation project and am looking forward to improving the existing methodology by providing recommendations on how to structure the project as well as which critical success and risk factors are highly relevant during the implementation steps.
The purpose of this research is the examination of ERP implementation methods/ approaches and Software as a Service characteristics from both literature and best practices to point out the differences between traditional and SaaS based ERP systems and to derive recommendations for action to improve the implementation of these kinds of systems exemplified on the SAP Business ByDesign solution.
The research approach in this thesis combines a literature based and qualitative approach in order to characterize the implementation process of SaaS based ERP systems at SMEs.
During the first theoretical part, an extensive literature review provides a holistic overview of existing ERP implementation methods and (critical risk and success) factors influencing the system adoption in SME environment. After putting ERP systems in the context of SMEs, the SaaS paradigms are introduced along with the realization of a SaaS based ERP solution in terms of SAP Business ByDesign. The ERP system was chosen as an adequate example in order to identify factors influencing the SaaS based ERP implementation.
The evaluation of qualitative interview data about SAP Business ByDesign implementations will identify implications of the ERP adoption process at SMEs in order to provide recommendations for action how to solve arising challenges and how to improve the existing implementation method.
The thesis consists of planning and carrying out guideline based expert interviews aiming at the organization, activities and challenges of a SaaS based ERP implementation projects at SMEs. The guideline was designed on the basis of the results of RQ1 and iteratively enhanced by several pre-tests and review phases with SAP Business ByDesign experts.
Already, eight interviews were carried out with experienced SAP consultants on the one side and leading project managers at SMEs on the other side. The intention of interviewing two parties involved in the implementation process provides a holistic examination of the research topic from different perspectives.
First interviews have shown that besides factors identified from literature, new factors are highly relevant for enterprises in the sector of SMEs. Especially process management activities, such as process modeling or process documentation were only little in focus of the companies but highly relevant for the introduction of a standardized and process-oriented ERP solution.
Furthermore, the need for adoption during the implementation was also an important factor. Up to now, there are some trade-offs between the demand of adoption and the existing options to align the solution to the organizational needs. Therefore, this is also an important factor that has to be considered during the implementation of the ERP solution.
What do you like most about the University Alliances Community on the new Jive platform? How does this help/improve your SAP knowledge?
The new design is descriptive and helps users find the important, relevant content much easier.