Enterprise resource planning

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1.0Introduction

This paper will labour to explicate the intricacies of enterprise resource planning (ERP), a concept that has long fascinated many in both academic and professional work environments, including the United Nations (UN). In fact, the UN has expressed the need to implement ERP. As part of their examination into this procedure, the UN has implemented ERP at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Pristine, Republic of Kosovo, and other agencies of the UN.

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As they look into the ramifications of ERP implementation, so does this case study. This study attempts to make predictions of the impact of ERP implementation on the business processes and organisational culture of the United Nations secretariat based on results from the UNDP.

1.1Introduction to the Problem

Since the late 1990s, businesses have flocked to implement enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, e.g., one study showed that more than sixty percent of Fortune 500 companies had adopted an ERP system (Stewart et al. 2000). The United Nations, as one of the largest organisations in the world, has lagged behind in adopting the transformation in the management of its resources.

The United Nations has been seriously hampered in its ability to deliver results effectively and efficiently due to the lack of an integrated information system for managing its resources (Report of the Secretary-General, 2008). According to Davis and Olsen (1985), ERP is an integrated system that provides information to support operation management and decision-making functions in an organisation. Therefore, the goal of implementing an ERP system is to build an integrated global information system that fully supports the needs of the United Nations, enables the effective management of human, financial and physical resources, and is based on streamlined processes and better practices (Report of the Secretary-General, 2008).

1.2Background of the Study

1.2.1 Existing System

Currently, the United Nations uses an in-house developed system—commonly referred to as Integrated Management Information System (IMIS)—for the management of human, financial and physical resources. The development of IMIS was a milestone in the use of information technology as a discipline that can beneficially affect many, if not all, areas of administration and management in any given organisation. IMIS was developed as a functionally integrated system, which combines all departments to support key processes such as human resources management, payroll, finance and accounting, requisitioning and funds control, budget execution and travel management. IMIS was introduced in conjunction with desktop, networked computing and office automation tools such as electronic mail in many offices.

“If an organisation is not yet sure of the need for client-server networks, the state of the art in enterprise-wide computing, it has only to consider the Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) of the United Nations,” (Rowe & Davis, 1996,

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