Characteristics and Skills of Implementing an ERP System in the Guam Public Sector

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

This study identified the benefits of implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system in the public sector. Some benefits in implementing an ERP system in the public sector would include lower operational costs, timely reporting of financial statements, and easier access to reliable information. These ERP systems became popular during the 1990s (Chen, 2001) but have changed over the years. Vendors continue to address end user issues; one of the major issues that end users face is incompatibility with their existing systems. Organizations do not necessarily purchase all their ERP modules from one vendor, instead, often using several vendors to interface with their existing information system, depending on the module implemented. The primary purpose of ERP is to combine an integrated database, code set, and user interface to tie together essential corporate information and business processes.

ERP systems consist of several integrated suites of software modules that share common data and provide connectivity. Once the data has been recorded, it is available for all the organization's divisions (Adam & Sammon, 2004; Chen, 2001; Sankar, 2006; Tuteja, 2005). According to Nicolaou (2004), the performance of an ERP system may be influenced by how well a firm manages its implementation process. With the frequent introduction of new technologies over the years, vendors are now able to provide ERP systems to the public sector, even though the public sector has limited resources compared to the private sector. There is limited research studies conducted in the public sector. Hence, this present study was conducted to fill the gap in the literature.

Hence, this study focused on the implementation of an ERP system with the Guam governmental financial system. Since the government is not in the business of making a profit, the resources in this environment are very limited.

Most studies have focused on the private sector, such as manufacturing companies, Fortune 500 companies, S&P companies, and other types of firms in the business industry. Harrison (2004) conducted a study that described the implementation of an ERP system comparing the public and private sector organizations. Harrison's study of public and private sectors in North America revealed that the benefits of implementing an ERP system were the ability to access reliable information and redesign the business process. The participants of this study were from private and public organizations who implemented the SAP software.

Fisher (2002) conducted a study that focused on the factors that affected ERP implementation. Her study revealed that some of the barriers to the ERP implementation improper training of employees and faulty monitoring of the information received when developing the application management strategy, application errors, and outage repairs of an application. Fisher (2002) identified one of the successes in implementing an ERP system as the change process. The participants from this study came from Fortune 500 companies and S&P 500 companies.

Jean-Baptiste (2006) conducted a study that addressed the role of accountants during the implementation and maintenance of an ERP system; and sought to find the characteristics, traits, and skills accountants must have to help them succeed in the implementation and maintenance of an ERP system. His study revealed that accountants play a key role in the implementation and maintenance of an ERP system and that accountants who possess technical or IT skills along with their financial expertise were involved in implementing an ERP system. The participants from this study were limited to members of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA); only 3% of the participants came from the public sector.

METHODOLOGY

A quantitative survey was used to measure the perceptions and attitudes about the implementation of an ERP system. …