The problems associated with software development are widely recognised: projects finish late, cost more than originally predicted the resulting systems can be unreliable and difficult to maintain. Even if the information systems are technically sound, they often deliver disappointing organisational results (Hammer, 1990). ERP systems are sold on the basis that they can limit many of the risks associated with systems development and that the resulting system will be aligned with business requirements (Davenport, 1998). ERP systems are integrated software packages that automate core corporate activities such as finance, logistics and human resource management and have become the de facto standard in many industries throughout the nineties. This paper suggests that ERP systems have driven systems development into a new phase of maturity. It has taken several decades for the information systems profession and academics to identify that information systems need to be developed to meet business needs. However, with ERP system implementations this notion is reversed. Implementing an ERP system requires the organisation reengineer their business in line with the implicit 'best practice' business model contained within the system. The focus of the effort has shifted from a heavy weighting towards technical analysis and programming toward business process design and business focussed software configuration. The paper presents a theoretical framework based upon the results of eight international ERP projects, of which a sample of three are presented here. The framework explains how ERP projects represent a radically different approach to traditional systems development projects and aims to aid academic and management thinking in this important area.