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Risky business: when a CRM vendor masqueraded as an ERP specialist

Griffiths, M and Light, B 2007, Risky business: when a CRM vendor masqueraded as an ERP specialist , in: European Conference on Information Systems, 7-9 June 2007, St Gallen, Switzerland.

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Taking a social shaping perspective we unpack the development trajectory of a packaged software product to show, that contrary to mainstream accounts, design is not completely specified a-priori and that the process continues throughout implementation, and use. We show how developers, in this case third party vendors, can continue to engage in shaping packages during implementation and also how users contribute to the development effort. In particular, we illustrate how a customer relationship management package application targeted at a particular organisational function was configured to make an enterprise wide system and the key role of the vendor in this effort. To do this we refer to a 3- year qualitative field study of an expanding United Kingdom based consultancy company undergoing extreme ICT related change. This empirical research is used to explore an often ignored phenomenon, that of the role of vendors in appropriating ICTs and the potential risks they bring. Through this, we highlight the plight and responsibilities of low-level organisational actors in this process in cognisance of the fact they usually have a minor role in ICT selection but become a major player in dealing with vendors at the implementation stage when the devil is truly in the detail. The risks we identify relate to: vendor sales pitches of products as specifically related to their capabilities and the products they put forward; the calling upon of organisational resources by vendors; vendor knowledge of the application are and the actual ‘social’, ‘technical’ and ‘organisational’ capabilities of vendors to deliver a working product. We also point to the risks managers in vendor and consumer organisations create by placing their staff in difficult conditions within appropriation processes. The implications of our work centre on the need for further research related to: vendor/developer risks of packaged software, custom and open source projects; notions of professionalism and ethics in the software industry and project working conditions.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Packaged software, risk, CRM, ERP, vendors, consultants
Themes: Media, Digital Technology and the Creative Economy
Schools: Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences
Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences > School of Arts & Media
Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Refereed: Yes
Depositing User: BA Light
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2011 11:21
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2015 01:03

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