Symantec Erp's Turmoil an Analysis and Evaluation of Implementation of Its Erp Sysytems

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April 21, 2010

Symantec Corporation was established in 1980 and is a leading software vendor specializing in security and information management with operations in 40 countries and 17,500 employees. Since inception Symantec has grown by acquiring companies like Norton, Brightmail, Altris and other smaller software developers. The company made its largest acquisition to date in 2005, when it acquired Veritas Software for approximately $13.5 billion. Though both organisations were of similar sizes Symantec’s focus was security and information management for consumers, while Veritas specialised in storage management software geared toward large-scale licensing. Prior to the merger, the two companies had each used highly customized versions of Oracle E-Business Suite 11d, which was difficult to integrate. As a result of the difficulty in integrating the information systems being used by both companies, an Enterprise Resource Process (ERP) Project, named “Project Oasis” was rolled out by Symantec to create a single ERP system that would be used by their partners and customers to place orders for their over 250,000 different products, reduce the cost of maintaining Symantec’s IT infrastructure and licensing fees for the enterprise software and improve customer service delivery. However Symantec had overlooked the needs of many customers while designing a technically sound but user-unfriendly ERP system, the company then set about undoing mistakes with a follow-up project, named Project Nero. The goal of Project Nero was to recapture the loyalty of customers who were disenchanted by the changes brought about by Oasis and to assure those customers that Symantec still had their best interests in mind. Slooten and Yap(1992, p226) define ERP as an integrated multi-dimensional system for all functions, based on a business model for planning, control and global (resource) optimising of the entire supply chain by using state of the art IS/IT technology that supplies value added services to all internal and external parties. Elliott (2004) defines an ERP system as a large integrated business system that handles and manages business processes and databases across a range of business units and business functions. Research shows that the main reasons companies implement ERP are to improve business performance; to replace an old ERP or legacy system; to increase efficiency; and to standardize global business operations(Collins Group 2010). In a sense ERP, is a convergence of people, hardware and software into an efficient production, service and delivery system that creates profit for the company (Khosrow 2006). The 'dream' of ERP is to have a single software solution integrating the different functions and activities into a seamless whole where information needed for decision-making is shared across departments, and the action taken by one department results in the appropriate follow-up action up and down the line. A critical analysis and evaluation of Symantec’s approach to their proposed ERP implementation through Project Oasis, and latterly Project Nero revealed the following: The system was said to be technically sound and was working as intended, which implies that an investigation and analysis of the existing processes must have been carried out to identify the limitations of the existing system in line with the organisations objectives. However the deluge of negative reaction that greeted the initial launch of the system indicated that the stakeholders were not carried along during the design of the system; hence they struggled to process the large amount of information provided to them and the increased number of steps required to place orders became overwhelming. Symantec neglected to coordinate the development of its new ERP system with the...
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