Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems


Cloud computing is an enabler and accelerator of digital transformation, which has brought many advantages that only large companies had before for any start-up and small firm could benefit. Cloud-based computing in the form of SaaS (Software as a Service) has given rise to a revolutionary new way of delivering software applications via the Internet on a pay-per-use basis. Cloud-ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solutions have become more affordable, easier to implement, simpler to maintain, and thus especially suitable for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which have limited resources and may not be willing to invest in on-premise solutions. Employing this technology empowers integrated management of business processes and has the potential to add technical and strategic business value for small businesses. Given the claimed significance of SMEs in a structure of the world economy, we embarked on a detailed study of the existing published literature to determine the status quo of research on cloud-ERP technology in SMEs and how it has evolved in terms of quantity, content, and publication outlets. This is achieved by systematically reviewing 74 articles from 43 journals and 22 conferences published between 1 January 2010 and 30 June 2019. Using the ERP life-cycle-based framework by Esteves and Pastor (1999), articles are classified according to six life-cycle phases: adoption decision, acquisition, implementation, use and maintenance, evolution, and retirement. The findings, derived from a meta-analysis, illustrate that while current literature and studies related to the adoption decision phase are very rich, research on other phases of the ERP life cycle lacks strong empirical validation, due to a limited amount of publications. This study presents a comprehensive, structured literature review on cloud-based ERP adoption among SMEs and provides both academics and practitioners with a holistic view of the state of the current body of knowledge on the topic along with an understanding of how cloud-ERP in SMEs research is evolving.