Estimating the impact of enterprise resource planning project management decisions on post-implementation maintenance costs: a case study using simulation modelling
Organisations often make implementation decisions with little consideration for the maintenance phase of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, resulting in significant recurring maintenance costs. Poor cost estimations are likely related to the lack of an appropriate framework for enterprise-wide pre-packaged software maintenance, which requires an ongoing relationship with the software vendor (Markus, M.L., Tanis, C., and Fenema, P.C., 2000. Multisite ERP implementation. CACM, 43 (4), 42-46). The end result is that critical project decisions are made with little empirical data, resulting in substantial long-term cost impacts. The product of this research is a formal dynamic simulation model that enables theory testing, scenario exploration and policy analysis. The simulation model ERPMAINT1 was developed by combining and extending existing frameworks in several research domains, and by incorporating quantitative and qualitative case study data. The ERPMAINT1 model evaluates tradeoffs between different ERP project management decisions and their impact on post-implementation total cost of ownership (TCO). Through model simulations a variety of dynamic insights were revealed that could assist ERP project managers. Major findings from the simulation show that upfront investments in mentoring and system exposure translate to long-term cost savings. The findings also indicate that in addition to customisations, add-ons have a significant impact on TCO.