A. The problem discussed in this case is Vodafone’s long and complex process of implementing the global ERP system, in order to unify the decentralized operations of the company worldwide, to save costs, and to make the company’s functioning more fast and convenient across all locations. People factors that contributed to the problem included employee resistance to changes in local business processes, and lack of skills to effectively operate within the newly implemented ERP system. Among organizational factors, the main were the unwillingness of some subsidiaries to embrace change, and largely differentiated business processes across different locations. Key technological factors that influenced the problem included a wide variety and number of customized legacy systems within different subsidiaries, and a large amount of users and interfaces to deal with during the implementation process.
B. There were several major reasons for which Vodafone considered an ERP system to be the main element of its global business transformation. First of all, as was mentioned before, operations of the company were largely decentralized, lacking the advantages of united operations and data sharing, and implementation of a central global ERP system would solve these problems by introducing a centralized technology platform and common business processes. Additionally, the company would benefit greatly purchasing from suppliers in larger quantities as a single entity, thus saving costs.
C. In order to ensure the success of Vodafone’s global business transformation, the company needed to address a number of people, organization and technology issues. First of all, Vodafone had to minimize risk as much as possible by an enormous amount of testing and modifying the system for each separate subsidiary before launching it. Second of all, some countries where Vodafone’s companies were located were experiencing a declining economic situation. Hence, local employees viewed the changes associated with the ERP implementation as an additional source of stress. Vodafone had to work with all employees that would be affected by these changes in order to minimize employee resistance. This was done by dispatching special support teams. Second of all, many companies had a great number of legacy systems tailored to meet specific local requirements. Therefore, it was necessary for Vodafone to balance the speed of system implementation with the carefulness of addressing all company-specific aspects. Finally, some companies required more resource and attention than the others during the implementation process. Consequently, Vodafone and the consulting agencies it cooperated with had to learn how to adjust their activities to the particular needs of each operating company.