Managerial Information Systems (MIS) are systems dedicated to monitoring and controlling an organization. Literature about the experience of developing MIS in the context of R&D organizations is very scarce. In Brazil the only case so far identified in the literature is the EMBRAPA case. a top Brazilian R&D organization in the agriculture field. This case reported that the design of MIS is affected by impulsive factors (e.g.: innovative conceptual design, managerial sponsoring, performance and lack of integration of the preexisting information systems, strong external information demand for the R&D activities and communication between coordination and users) and restrictive factors (e.g.: innovation perception as a threat or reworking efforts, concurrence with other information systems being implemented, lack of managerial sponsorship, size of the developing team, negative attitude due to previous information systems experiences and complexities introduced by the system (Castro, Lima, Carvalho, & de Bacarin, 2000).
The aim of this paper is to describe and analyze 10 years of experience developed by a Brazilian nuclear R&D Institute in the design and implementation of a special category of MIS known as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). This system manages the activities of more than 1,000 workers and 700 students and is named Planning and Managerial Information System of the IPEN (SIGEPI). It has been developed to support the management of the Master Plan of the Nuclear and Energy Research Institute (IPEN).
This article is organized with the following structure: the first section presents a brief literature review related to the management information systems implementation and the contributions of the present study; the second section presents the case of IPEN this experience will be described in terms of how this system was developed, which features were implemented, the main difficulties faced during the development stages and recent developments; the third section analyses the experience related to the three critical factors (strategic, project design and implementation and behavioral) and presents recommendations for similar developments and the last section presents the conclusion and the final remarks derived from the case.
Management systems can be classified into managerial support systems (MSS), management information systems (MIS) and decision support systems (DSS). The first one is dedicated to long term planning; the second and the third ones are dedicated to a shorter time period and they function as a monitor and control of the organization; the third one is specifically dedicated to non structured problems (Laudon & Laudon, 1999).
A special category of management information systems is that one dedicated to integrating an organization's business processes. Different names of the software packages for these management systems can be found in the literature: enterprise information system (EIS), enterprise resource planning (ERP), enterprise-wide information systems (EWIS), enterprise systems (ES) (Looman & McDonagh, 2005).
ERP is a packaged software solution that seeks to integrate the complete range of a business process and function in order to present a holistic view of the business from a single information technology architecture although some experts have some difficulty arriving at a complete definition of ERP they tend to think that ERP is'in the eye of the beholder' (Klaus, Roseman, & Gable, 2000).
The main features of ERP-software are the provided business solutions, which support the core processes of the business and administrative functionality and purport all business functions of an enterprise. ERP supports recurring business processes like procurement, sales order processing or payment processes and is not focused on less structured irregular processes like marketing, product development or project management. An ERP can target multiple industries with very different characteristics. Some suppliers can provide specific solutions for the communication, federal government, financial services, healthcare, higher education, manufacturing, public sector, retail, service industries, transportation and utilities sectors (Klaus, Roseman, & Gable, 2000).
In the past, companies first decided how they wanted to do business and then chose a software package that would report their proprietary processes - often rewriting large portions of the software code to ensure a tight fit; with the enterprise systems, though, the sequence is reversed and the business often must be modified to fit the system (Davenport, 1998).
After studying more than 50 businesses with enterprise systems, Davenport suggested that "the companies deriving the greatest benefits from their systems are those that, from the start, viewed them primarily in strategic and organizational terms. They stressed the enterprise, not the system" (Davenport, 1998).
An EIS implementation process frequently does not succeed as expected. A survey conducted in December 2000 called 'EIS Post Implementation Issues and Best Practices' among 117 firms across 17 countries concluded that only 34 per cent of the organizations were 'very satisfied' with their EIS investments (McNurlin, 2001).
The ERP system is considered a standard software package and all standard software targeting an anonymous market must, during the process of system deployment, be tailored to the specific requirements of the individual enterprise (Klaus, Roseman, & Gable, 2000). This aspect associated with the relatively low satisfaction level mentioned earlier may explain the importance many studies have attributed to the identification and classification of an ERP implementation success and/or failure factors.
Loonam and McDonagh reviewed the literature between 1999 and 2001 and identified some of the most frequently cited and highly critical EIS implementation success factors: a) Top Management support; b) The importance of a project champion to drive project implementation and his role in the change management; c) User training and education; d) Management of expectations: an organization should be realistic about what can be expected from the EIS system; e) Project Management: involves aspects like proper management of the scope and alignment of its objectives with the overall mission and strategy; f) Steering Committee (a core of 'superusers' typically middle-level employees or managers that will be affected by the EIS project); g) Use of consultants to assist in getting the project up and running; h) Business Process Reengineering: involves aligning the implementation of an EIS with the rethinking or the redesign of the organizational business processes; i) Dedicated resources involves the proper allocation of resources human, financial and time and the attention to the management scope; j) Change management: involves all human, social-related and cultural change techniques needed by the management to ease the transition (Looman & McDonagh, 2005).
In 2006, Muscatello and Chen (Muscatelo & Chen, 2008) surveyed 206 members (81% with more than 500 employees) of four USA associations (the American Production and Inventory Control Society; the National Association of Accountants; the American Productivity and Quality Center and the Institute for Supply Management) in order to identify critical factors of ERP implementation. Some of these factors are similar to those identified by Loonam and McDonagh, thus, for the present study the following factors were considered: a) The decision to implement an ERP system is being made at a cross functional executive level which includes inputs from all functional business areas; b) willingness to use consultants to supplement their Information Technology staff if the skill set is not internal; c) activate employees communication: how they fit into the new ERP-environment and what their concerns are.
Finally, the ERP design and implementation may also be affected by the decision of outsourcing it or not. This decision may be influenced by the following factors: a) internal production costs versus market acquisition costs comparison; b) transactions costs; c) financial slack: organizations with financial slack may build an internal technology infra-structure; organizations without it may outsource it; d) strategic dependence on the supplier; e) contract profile orientation: open contract and partnership versus detailed contract and price oriented and f) organizational strategic objectives. These objectives can be classified into three categories: (i) information technology improvement, (ii) information technology business impact and (iii) commercial exploitation bases on information technology (Bergamaschi & Reinhard, 2008). The Master Plan In 1998, the CNEN (National Nuclear Energy Committee) started and developed a two step planning process named "Rethinking the CNEN".The objective of the first phase was achieved, which was the outline of the mission, vision and other strategies, but, two years later, the second step addressed to identify its main stakeholders and to unfold the planning process to the CNEN's research and technology institutes was discontinued.
In 1999, after the internal analysis of an independent evaluation of the first Managerial Report written in reference to the Excellence Criteria of National Quality Foundation, the deficiencies of the planning process became clear: "we cannot go ahead with half strategic planning. Without it (a strategic plan), we will continue to spend energy without the synergy of our internal actions" (IPEN, 1999).
By the end of 1999, a wide managerial participation program was developed, which resulted in the first Master Plan of the IPEN in 2000 (IPEN, 2000). With the accomplishment of this process, the creation of the first Master Plan resulted in many changes or in new activities:
Reorganization of the technical activities in alignment with the recently defined IPEN's mission;
Definition of the Global Strategic Objectives and organization of a hierarchical and nested structure of Programs, Subprograms and Activities according to the Federal Government Plan (PPA)
Definition of a new organizational structure based on Research Centers;
Definition of three macro processes: 1. Research, Development and Engineering; 2. Teaching 3. Products and Services;
Different emphasis on one or more of these macro processes from one Research Center to another according to their internal strategies;
Definition of quantitative results indicators for each of these macro processes as well as goals for some of them;
Organization of an annual follow-up process named Master Plan Seminars.
The first Master Plan Seminar was held in December 2000 and since then it has been repeated annually. At that time the event was organized in 109 technical presentations that demanded 5 whole days to succeed. All the presentations had to be made in 15 minutes by an Activity coordinator following a predefined Power Point template where the qualitative and quantitative results accomplished in 2000 should be presented. Since then, many modifications have been introduced to the process, and some of them will be described later.
Almost at the same time, in 2000, the section responsible for structuring and implementing the IPEN's Master Plan also initiated the study of the Balanced Score Card methodology. Initially the idea was to understand this methodology and its implication for the IPEN's strategy formulation process. The BSC is quite easy to be understood and in the next year a Strategic Map for the IPEN was already developed, proposed and approved by the IPEN's Top Management Team. The development of this Strategic Map and its respective "Board Panel" helped to identify which processes should be monitored and stressed the need to integrate the data coming from the support processes.
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