Challenges in the Implementation of New It Systems

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Implementation of new information technology systems can be both a daunting and exciting task for many companies. Most of these new systems promise seamless integration of all the information flowing through the organization. For most companies, the opportunity to solve the problem of business integration is very exciting. However, for every story of successful implementation of IT systems, there are also horror stories of failed implementation (Davenport, 1998). Davenport (1998) agrees that system implementation do come with enormous technical challenges but the complexities and technical challenges are not the main reason for the difficulties in implementing the systems but rather attributes it to business problems. Most information technology systems by their nature impose their own logic on a company’s strategy, organizations and culture. Some company’s may have their own customized processes that provide them with a competitive advantage and these processes may not necessarily be support by the new systems. As such the conflict between the logic of the systems and the logic of the business or the company can lead to an implementation failure and cause a great deal of disruption and possible weaken the company’s source of competitive advantage. To mitigate such a situation, companies must have a clear understanding of the business implications of installing any new system and its impact on their business and legal requirements before proceeding with its implementation. There may be the need for some customization to for the system to properly support the business. Such a scenario was encountered during an SAP implementation I was part of for my previous employer in Cote D’Ivoire. During the assessment stage we realized that Cote D’Ivoire had a complicated system for calculating the tax component on raw material imported into the country. This calculation process was not part of the SAP application since it was unique only to that country. We eventually had to...
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