A Master of Science in Engineering Systems Management Submitted by Saif Juma Al Dhaheri Entitled, "Development of a Best-Fit ERP Identifier Model for the Public Sector in the UAE," March 2006. Available are both Soft and Hard Copies of the Thesis.
Efficient planning and utilization of organizational resources have always been top priority for executives worldwide and across industries. Private and public sectors are seeking efficient utilizations of their resources to realize cost savings, better quality and higher profits, or in the case of public sector, better services that cost less. Consequently, many organizations have focused on Enterprise Resource Planning systems (ERP). ERP's immediate predecessors, Material Requirements Planning and Manufacturing Resource Planning, focus mainly on managing manufacturing and accounting resources. However, ERP systems have come to be known as a broad set of activities supported by a multi-module fully integrated application software solution that assists all departments within an enterprise in managing the important parts and resources of the organization. ERP systems integrate all business functions, including planning, inventory/materials management, engineering, order processing, manufacturing, purchasing, accounting and finance, human resources, interacting with suppliers, providing customer service, enterprise asset management, and more. ERP systems promise to meet all the information needs of organizations, pushing worldwide annual expenditures on ERP implementation to a staggering $20 billion, and according to research, ERP will remain the biggest segment of large and mid-sized companies' IT budgets for the next two years. Nevertheless, there is already evidence of high failure risks in ERP implementation projects. This research aimed to develop a strategic model for the United Arab Emirates' public sector that allows managers and decision makers to identify their best-fit ERP system. A systematic framework was developed to generate a measuring instrument of 37 characteristics including business processes, diffusion of innovation elements, and some of the critical success factors of ERP project implementations. This list has included for the first time the B-Web Typology business processes, and it was subjected to multiple rounds of validation by experts and academics to generate what is called the Best-Fit ERP System Model (BFERPSM). Seven public sector organizations and five ERP systems were surveyed to test the BFERPSM. Using the Delphi technique, the graphical profiles for both organizations and ERP systems were relatively compared to identify each organization's best-fit ERP system. Furthermore, different management matching techniques-totality, optimistic, and pessimistic management styles-were used to examine the computed best-fit ERP system in order to allow managers to determine their best-fit ERP system. It was found that the new business processes frame, developed from the BWeb Typology, strongly affects the selection of the best-fit ERP system. Although each organization has a distinct set of objectives for its ERP adoption, BFERPSM successfully detected the commonalities and the differences of UAE public sector organizations. The research indicated that this BFERPSM is generic, allowing future researchers to use it on a wider scale, including for the private sector. Further, this study also suggests complexities that are worthy of further investigation. Conclusions are made about the framework, and future work is discussed.