1. The two implementations had a number of similarities while also maintaining a few significant differences. The implementation of OILCO's system required significant changes to be made to the company's core business processes. The implementation required the company to change the way it went about its business, and to ensure that everything went smoothly, ERP's processing methods had to be closely replicated and matched. However, even though the company understood that it had to make significant changes to its core business processes, there were steps taken to ensure that the existing business process were not entirely discarded and that some processes were maintained and streamlined to ensure a smooth transition. In this way, the company benefited fully from the integration of the ERP, while at the same time, maintaining some of its core processes and ironing them out as well. In addition, the implementation of ERP also required the company to develop a module that was made only for the oil industry's requirements. Although implementing the ERP system required some significant changes to be made, the effects of the changes were immediately visible and tangible. The company benefited from a number of improvements involving more accurate sales forecasting, automated ordering and delivery system, financial data provided in real-time, higher quality data, and lastly, much smoother business system.
The decision at ExploreCo, on the other hand required a different thought process. The company had firstly to decide whether it wanted to discard the existing system for a newer one or upgrade it. Compared to OILCO, which had already decided on an upgrade, ExploreCo was not too sure about going for an upgrade. In the end, however, ExploreCo went with a new system, discarding and replacing the existing one. The decision involved much research, and thorough feasibility analysis was conducted of several ERP systems to ascertain the best one for the job. The analysis was based on a few core factors, mainly having to do with budgetary and suitability. In the end, the companies decided to go with an ERP system as it believed that the system was best suited to their core requirements. The ERP system also produced a number of significant benefits for both the companies.
The two decisions did have a number of differences. OilCo, on the whole, lacked finesse and skill when it came to completing the current task. There was an apparent lack of assured decision makers, people that could lead the project forward and ensure that it was completed without any hiccups. In other words, there was a lack of leadership at OilCo. ExploreCo, on the other hand, completed the task at hand much better, and this was due to the presence of confident decision makers that drove the project towards completion. In addition, the fact that some people at ExploreCo previously worked at OilCo helped ExploreCo's employees experience wise, as they knew how to deal with matters associated with decision-making and project completion.
Having said that though, there were quite a few similarities between the two implementations. In both the cases, the top management was involved at the helm of the decision making process. In addition, both the companies looked at the same success factors, which were in the form of Critical Success Factors. The CSF's proved to be a guiding light for both the projects. Lastly, both companies operate in the same industry, oil.
2. There were a number of reasons as to why the projects were successful. For starters, one of the main reasons for the success was the fact that the projects were completed on time. The companies agreed they adhered to time limitations very well. Secondly, the budgets allocated for the projects were also stuck to. The companies were able to complete the project within the given budget. According to one very highly experienced and senior project manager, " the implementation was the easiest that he had ever been involved in. In addition, the fact that the senior management was committed to the task helped matters all that more. The management ensured that the implementation went smoothly and that no loopholes were left behind. With the senior management fully behind the project, the implementation was bound to be a success, which it was as well. Lastly, both companies recognized the importance and significance of the critical success factors (CSF's), and they were all thoroughly documented.
The documentation of the success factors proved to be a guiding light for the project, as the all the employees knew what they had to do and what the benefits of the implementations were. The presence of documented CSF's was as a goal that that the companies could stick to, and also check if anything were left unfulfilled or if there were a few points that were not met. Overall, however, ExploreCo did its job much better than OILCo. This is due to a number of reasons. Firstly, OILCo lacked a real project champion or leader. Even though the company had a project champion, the person was never fully behind the project. In addition, the company changed project champions throughout the implementation, leading to confusion and conflicted ideas. In addition, the lack of skilled staff also created problems for OILCo. All these factors led to the creation of a number of issues, which in the end caused significant delays. Overall, the experience at ExploreCo was a major deciding factor between the successes of the two implementations, with ExploreCo clearly being better at completing the project at hand.
3. There are a number of lessons that the case study provides for the reader. Firstly, the presence of project champions cannot be underestimated one bit. Project champions play a vital role in ensuring that the project at hand is completed without any delays. Delays in project completion can have significant budget related consequences, costing the company in terms of money. A project champion ensures that the project is being completed on time. In addition, the case study also highlights the importance of senior management backing behind every project. The backing of senior management leads to a boost in morale, as the employees working on the project, know that the project is fully approved by the people in power and that if anything goes wrong, the senior management will take care of things. The mere presence and backing of senior management, however is not enough on its own to ensure the project's success. In the case of OilCo, the lack of skilled decision makers led to delays in the completion of the project, and as stated earlier, time delays can prove to be very costly for a business, especially when the delays are on such large-scale projects.
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