(Rajan & Baral, 2015) researched on adoption of ERP system using Technology Acceptance Model and his findings are paraphrased below,
In this research, the author identifies that the issues in ERP implementation failure are not just technical but it has greater involvement of behavioral factor of the user. The author emphasizes that the organizations should understand the system adoption from user’s perspective and prepare them for proper usage of the complex system to gain benefits. There are various theoretical models that explain user acceptance of information system, among those TAM (Technology Acceptance Model) is applied to the ERP system to explain the complex implementation and adoption issues. TAM is based on two factors,
i. Perceived usefulness (PU) – the degree to which user believes that using an IT system will enhance their job performance.
ii. Perceived Ease of Use (PEOU)– the degree to which individuals believe that using an IT system will be free of effort.
The research is conducted on certain external variables that influence the TAM model i.e. user’s attitude of PU and PEOU of a system in ERP implementation, those variables are individual, organizational and technological characteristics.
1. Individual Characteristics: It consists of Computer self-efficacy of the user that is, how competitive the user perceives himself/herself to use the technology and this effects user’s PEOU (perceived ease of use) of technology.
2. Organisational Characteristics: It includes (a) Organisational support and (b)Training. Organisational support effects behavioral intention of the user to use the software. It comprises of technical support i.e. online support service, assistance in computer hardware and software products by other people and top management support to provide resources and authority or power for project success.
Organisational support is crucial for successful adoption of the system as ERP implementation changes organizational structure, employees’ roles and jobs, reward systems, and processes. Therefore, top management support and communication is very crucial for successful implementation and employee morale and their PU and PEOU of the system.
Training of employees is another important factor as ERP systems are extremely complex therefore employees should be trained rigorously for the usage of ERP system. Lack of training will cause anxiety and stress among users which will cause failure of the system. Proper training and education will increase the confidence of the users in using the system and analyze its benefits.
3. Technological Characteristics: It involves (a) Technological Complexity and (b) Technological Compatibility. Technological Complexity of ERP system limits the amount of knowledge the user can absorb before using the software, this affects negatively to the user’s attitude in using the system because of higher stress and mental workload. Technological compatibility is the fit between ERP system and business process. Many problems arise during implementation due to poor connectivity of business process and ERP system. ERP systems are only compatible with the operations of some companies; therefore, poor compatibility adversely effects ERP implementation and employee motivation, commitment, and satisfaction.
The research proves that the relationship between ERP adoption by a user and all external variables (computer self-efficacy, organizational support, training, compatibility etc.) is significant. Computer self-efficacy is a major determinant of user’s perceived ease of use. Organisational support and training have a positive impact on both PU and PEOU of ERP system. Top management support encourages users to use ERP system and realize the benefits that can be achieved with the use of ERP. Training helps the users with system interaction and develop a positive attitude towards system usage. The technical complexity of the system should be minimised as it has a negative impact on user adoption and compatibility affect positively on user’s PU and PEOU and leads to the successful ERP implementation and usage.
Source: DOAJ (https://doaj.org/article/42b5a8476a3f42a7ba66be3c17c18c80)
(Amoako-Gyampah K & Salam A.F, 2004) researched TAM in the ERP implementation, their considerations and findings are paraphrased below,
One the most important factor in ERP implementation success is the level of usage of technology which reflects the acceptance of the technology by users. To understand that, TAM is extended and some external factors were involved to determine their relation with perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use, and implications on technology acceptance. The external factors studied in this research are beliefs in benefits of ERP system, project communication, and training and their effect on user’s PU and PEOU in ERP acceptance and success.
1. Belief in the benefits of ERP: ERP systems are cross-functional systems and designed to provide a unified view of organizational processes, a large number of users from different organizational levels are involved in the implementation. To make the implementation successful free exchange of beliefs and opinion is important among various participants that can be developed by mutual trust and commitment between users. The shared sense of belief about ERP project benefits allowed participants to find share sense of purpose and its organization-wide benefits. The sense of shared belief can be implicit by the managers through use of experts, training and information distribution. The author believes that the shared belief in the organization about the system benefit will play a role in ERP usage intention of the users by PEOU and PU.
2. Training: Past researchers showed that internal and external training has a great impact on PEOU of the software which encourages user on using ERP system. Training allows users to interact and test several system interpretations and its effect on the business process. This develops user’s familiarity with the system and positively impact PEOU in the technology and therefore plays a role in user adoption and implementation success.
3. Communication: Lack of communication has been linked to the failure of ERP system. Effective communication is important to reduce uncertainty and conflicting interpretations present in ERP implementation environment. Effective communication develops trust and exchange of information throughout the organization that leads to acceptance of the technology.
The research shows a significant relationship between the training and communication with the shared belief in the benefits of ERP in the organization. Rigorous training of user on software along with a proper communication mechanism has a positive impact on shared belief in the organization about benefits of ERP and therefore PEOU and PU about the software that encourages user on adoption of ERP system.
Source: Google Scholar (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378720603001228)
(Scott, 2008) performed research on the effects of perceived usability of ERP documentation on TAM in ERP implementation paraphrased as follows,
ERP systems require re-engineering and transformation of a business process. Effective training and improved documentation (training manual) are important to achieve the full functionality and benefit of the business process. As ERP vendors cannot provide company-specific documentation of the business process, an organization should work themselves to provide support to users for new tasks and explanation of rationale of the transformed process. The complete documentation of the transformed process should be provided in ERP training session. The documentation should be designed in a way that it will increase its perceived usability for end-user. ERP documentation’s perceived usability is defined as the document or training manual should have simple terms that a person of average ability can use it for intended purpose without frustrations. A software could be very functional, maintainable and reliable but if it is not used properly then its intended purpose cannot be achieved.
The author has researched the ERP documentation usability across four dimensions that are (a) navigation, (b) presentation, (c) learnability, and (d) task support. Navigation is a method by which user moves around in the system. Good navigation increases the usability of the document to understand the software. The online documentation is more navigable than printed ones because of a search engine or hyperlinks. A Presentation is the structure and organization of data. Organised presentation with tabs, tables of content and index helps the user to navigate easily. Learnability is the important part of documentation usability. It is the helpfulness of printed and online material to help the user understand ERP system i.e. precise knowledge free of too many details and acronym that cause stress and frustration in user. Task support should focus on helping a user to complete the task in a step-by-step manner.
In his research, the author found a strong relationship between ‘perceived usability of documentation’ and PU (perceived usefulness). The survey involves the printed ERP manual as well as online help. The results reveal that the documentation in ERP implementation was weaker in explaining rationale and logic of the transformed business process to the user. He suggested that perceived usability of ERP documentation is essential to increase user satisfaction, productivity and potential return on ERP investment.
Source: LRC (http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.eztest.ocls.ca/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=6&sid=86f0f768-e4a5-4de3-adb1-46c64281781b%40sessionmgr4009)
ERP systems are complex information systems and they integrate the data of all business areas within the organization. A large number of modern organizations had made investments in ERP software due to their recognized benefits in businesses in improving productivity and competitive advantage. Despite all benefits, two-thirds of the software implementation results in failure (Rajan & Baral, 2015). Many of the failures are linked with end users’ acceptance of the system. In this research paper, factors influencing user acceptance in ERP implementation are determined using Technology Acceptance Model (TAM).
TAM is a theoretical model that explains user’s acceptance of information system upon two factors PU (perceived usefulness of the software) and PEOU (perceived ease of use of the software). Since users are the main people who will be working on the system, their acceptance for technology is a key for successful implementation. In this paper complex implementation and user adoption issues are identified by applying TAM on ERP system. It was found that there are several external factors that affect the user’s perception of the technology in ERP implementation and these factors should be addressed properly to encourage the user to adopt the system. The external factors and their relation with user’s PU and PEOU of technology is shown in figure,
Components of TAM,
PU (Perceived usefulness) of ERP
PEOU (Perceived Ease of Use) of ERP
Perceived usability of ERP documentation
· Computer self-efficacy
Shared belief in the benefits of ERP
· Organisational Support
Fig. TAM and External factors influencing ERP implementation
The above figure shows all the external factors and their effect on TAM in ERP implementation. The grey arrows show weak relationship between the external factor and the TAM’s factors. Organisational support, communication and documentation have a strong relationship with user’s PU of the software than PEOU. Strong top management support, good communication mechanism along with improved documentation (manuals) during ERP implementation encourages user to use the system and gain maximum benefit out of it such as improved performance and productivity etc. Training on the other hand is related positively to PEOU of the software. Training should be provided as a part of ERP implementation process to help the user to effectively interact with the software with minimum frustrations and uncertainty. Training allows the user to explore the system both from technical point as well as from functional perspective. Organisational characteristics and training impact the shared belief of the benefits of ERP in the organisation. As ERP integrates the business processes in the organisation, the exchange of information during and after the ERP implementation is very important for success of the project. Shared belief in the benefits of ERP develops trust and openness among the users to exchange the information and gain maximum benefit from the system. Shared belief in the benefits of ERP is positively related to both user’s PU and PEOU of the software. Another factor is technological factor, ERP systems are complex system and due to their complexity, it creates frustrations and negatively affect the user’s attitude to use the system. Software complexity has a negative relationship with both PU and PEOU in TAM. Technical compatibility effects positively on user’s acceptance of the technology and incompatibility create problems and reduce motivation. It is reported that many ERP implementations failed due to the technical complexity and lack of compatibility of the software with business functions. Therefore, it is important to understand and study the technical complexity and compatibility of the software before selection and devise ways during implementation through which complexity can be minimised and compatibility can be increased.
ERP implementation brings a lot of complexity and problems. It is important that organisations should consider the behavioural intention of the users too along with all other factors to address the implementation problems and make the system successful. The perceived usefulness of the system and the perceived ease of use of the system has a greater impact on the acceptance of the ERP software and there are a number of external factors on which organisations should acquire knowledge for ERP system success.