Enterprise resource planning systems implementation strategies in commercial banks in Kenya
Enterprise resource planning systems integrate the organizations business functions allowing a smooth flow of information and interaction with all sections and by so doing allowing quick adjustments to opportunities and risks. This study focused on commercial banks in Kenya and its objectives were to establish the activities of ERP implementation in commercial banks in Kenya; determine implementation strategies for ERP systems by commercial banks in Kenya and determine factors influencing the choice of ERP implementation strategies in commercial banks in Kenya. The research was a census survey with the population being all commercial banks in Kenya. Data was collected by means of questionnaires and analysed using means, standard deviations, percentages and factor analysis on the various objectives. The findings were presented in form of charts and tables. The findings show that all the activities mentioned on implementation of Enterprise resource planning systems are important but to varying extents. Key activities are selection of a project leader, data migration, formation of an operational level project team, costs and benefits analysis, selection of a full time team to support the project leader, staff training, issuance of a request for proposal and cost analysis of different ERP systems. Implementation strategies most employed by most commercial banks are the Big-bang and parallel implementation strategies. Phased and pilot-study implementation strategies are only used to a small extent. Commercial banks in Kenya also consider majority of factors mentioned as essential to determine the choice of implementation strategy of Enterprise resource planning systems. These are summarized into clusters relating to the organization structure, training of stakeholders, vendor/ICT skill and support, time, financing and organizations offer of products. From the findings we can conclude that as far as ERP implementation activities are concerned, forming of project teams and having a project leader is essential to give the project its deserved focus; cost-benefit analysis is also essential as well as data migration in form of data integrity and availability. For ERP implementation strategies, the big-bang is the most preferred method largely due to its low cost of implementation. Organisation structure, training of various levels of stakeholders, vendor/ICT skill and support, time management, financing and the array of products that an organization has are the key drivers that influence the choice of ERP implementation strategy. For successful implementation of ERP systems, organisations should undertake all the activities mentioned within the process of implementation. They should also gauge what benefits they intend to derive from this. A cost-benefit analysis should be a critical part of gauging an ERP system to ensure maximum value for money. Organisations should also ensure that they gauge their organization strategy, organization structure and development/training as well as the vendors and ICT staff competencies before choosing an ERP implementation strategy. This will assist them in maximizing the implementation benefits.