MIS Quarterly Executive


A common prescription for reducing the costs and risks of implementing enterprise systems is to adopt a "vanilla" approach, where the organization implements the package without modification. In reality, few implementations are completely "vanilla." Generally, organizations modify the package to better align it with their organization because they are unwilling or unable to adapt to or live with the processes required by the package. Unfortunately, misalignments between package and organization are often identified fairly late in implementation, and then not appropriately managed. This article therefore addresses two questions: 1) How can organizations identify package-organization misalignments early? And 2) When should organizations align by modifying the package and when by changing their organization? Misalignments arise from the developer's context differing from the organization's context. The developer's context is reflected in the structures embedded in the package. The organization's context is reflected in its structures. We present a framework that distinguishes between misalignments arising from imposed structures versus those arising from voluntary structures. We refined the framework by analyzing several hundred instances of misalignments in ES implementations at three Asian hospitals. We conclude that organizations should identify major misalignments early and plan for appropriate alignment responses.