Institutional change of cloud ERP implementation in the public sector: A transformation of strategy

Nizar Mohammad Alsharari (Business School, Higher Colleges of Technology, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)

International Journal of Disruptive Innovation in Government

ISSN: 2516-4392

Article publication date: 8 April 2020

Issue publication date: 28 January 2021

2436

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explain the transformation process from using regular enterprise resource planning (ERP) system into implementing Cloud ERP system in the UAE public sector.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses a qualitative case study and analyzes the primary evidences from in-depth interviews with the case organization’s personnel. It conducts a thematic analysis of the interviews’ findings. Furthermore, the study uses secondary and tertiary resources from published sources comprising the case organization’s website and previous studies.

Findings

The findings demonstrated that the transformation process to Cloud ERP could result in different practical benefits in an organization’s controlling system, cost reduction and profitability. Conversely, results revealed that the effectiveness of implementing cloud ERP is dependable on the provider’s professionalism; hence resulting in issues related to minimized organizational independence. In addition, the paper’s findings provide evidenced clarifications about the controversial misconceptions of Cloud ERP’s privacy issues.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is exposed to the regular case studies limitations, as the study is a qualitative research studying one case company. Thus, the study findings should be strengthened by future quantitative researches on more companies with implying more statistical analysis.

Practical implications

The paper has important implications for practitioners and decision-makers, as it presents significant and reality-based information about Cloud ERP implementation’s benefits and drawbacks. It thus enhances decision-makers’ ability to make an appropriate and suitable decision about adopting the Cloud ERP in the public sector.

Originality/value

As Cloud ERP is still emerging, this study is one of the very few case studies that discuss and present some experienced benefits and issues related to Cloud ERP implementation in UAE Government. This study also uses transformation theory to analyze the data.

Keywords

Citation

Alsharari, N.M. (2021), "Institutional change of cloud ERP implementation in the public sector: A transformation of strategy", International Journal of Disruptive Innovation in Government, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 2-14. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJDIG-03-2019-0002

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Nizar Mohammad Alsharari.

License

Published in International Journal of Disruptive Innovation in Government. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at http://creativecommons.org/licences/by/4.0/legalcode


1. Introduction

International organizations are increasingly using enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to effectively consolidate and manage their diverse information and processes within the organization. Furthermore, ERP systems allow organizations to reserve time and effort to benefit from them in the development of other key organizational operations. However, using the conventional ERP systems impose diverse, challenging aspects for organizations comprising increasing licensing, setting up and maintenance costs which could lead to high cumulative organizational costs and ultimately result in influencing the organizations’ profitability reversely (Scapens and Jazayeri, 2003, p. 2013). As a result, an increasing number of public organizations, that have limited financial resources, are looking for a new and cost-effective ERP alternative that include improved features from the regular on-promise ERP systems, comprising enhancement of internal operational management as well as improvement of organizational efficiency and effectiveness; thus, many organizations are moving to the implementation of Cloud ERP as a result of its various benefits (Scapens and Jazayeri, 2003; Zahir et al., 2013).

Cloud ERP is a part of an extensively long series of cloud services that include online personal data storage, companies-based services (e.g. mailing system and cloud-based modules), cloud virtual machines and other cloud services that are based on the online cloud computing platform. Cloud ERP offers diverse beneficial characteristics for different organizations especially public organizations as they are considered the vast majority of Cloud ERP users (Wrycza, 2011). According to Wrycza (2011, p. 45), he stated that implementing cloud ERP enables public organizations to compete with larger corporations through employing an inexpensive, advanced and rival ERP system. Besides, public organizations mainly implement Cloud ERP because of its flexible accessibility, easiness of control and most significantly its minimized licensing, maintenance and general investment costs (Lenart, 2011; Wrycza, 2011).

Although there are tremendous Cloud ERP benefits, many organizations’ managements remain undecided to implement cloud ERP because of many unanswered questions. One of these questions is:

Q1.

How could the company be experientially benefited from adopting Cloud ERP?

Moreover, many decision-makers in organizations are doubtful and confused about cloud ERP’s characteristics, as they do not have adequate and comprehensive information about Cloud ERP system. Furthermore, some firms’ managements may have certain misconceptions about Cloud ERP implementation’s consequences. For instance, some managers might think that using online-based ERP system like Cloud ERP would endanger the security and privacy of their data. Additionally, some might believe that converting to cloud ERP may lead to an increased possibility of system slowdowns and disconnections thus hindering the organization’s overall performance and efficiency. Therefore, this study aims to examine the mentioned above arguments explicitly and provide evidenced and experienced Cloud ERP characteristics which would offer managers and decision-makers an authentic reference that would assist them in making the appropriate decision for their organizations (Lenart, 2011).

This study is structured after the introduction as follows. Section 2 presents the literature review about Cloud ERP implementation in public sector. Section 3 discusses the theoretical framework. Section 4 provides the methodology and methods used. Section 5 discusses the empirical analysis of the selected case study. Section 6 presents the discussion and results of the analysis. This is concluded by the main findings of the study in Section 7.

2. Literature review

The current literature about Cloud ERP comprises considerable amounts of books, articles, researches, publications and other multiple sources that describe and discuss Cloud ERP’s implementation along with its significant impacts on organizations from different perspectives and perceptions (Natarajan, 1998; Gupta, 2000; O'Leary, 2000; Kholeif et al., 2007; Jack and Kholeif, 2008; Nour, 2008; Lenart, 2011; Pishdad and Haider, 2013). Pishdad and Haider (2013) stated in their study “ERP institutionalization” that the cloud-based ERP benefits customers by providing application scalability at reduced hardware and software costs. This resource presents not only a fundamental overview of ERP as comprehensive systems but also provides the key factors that could practically influence companies’ decision in integrating the Cloud-based ERP through providing evidential arguments about the beneficial impacts of Cloud ERP such as cost-effectiveness, accessibility flexibleness and technical efficiency (Pishdad and Haider, 2013).

On the contrary, Bailey and Chapman (2012) argue that transition to Cloud ERP might lead to data loss and insecurity in addition to several technical issues. To explain, Bailey’s resource mainly emphasizes some of the reversal arguments against the adoption of Cloud ERP through presenting particular potential challenges that could be faced by the organization in implementing Cloud ERP. Moreover, Mahmood (2013) stated that using Cloud ERP’s services can dilute the complexity of data and enhance simplicity in managing internal and external activities which ultimately leads to enhanced productivity. This study agrees with the arguments supporting the implementation of Cloud ERP as it provides powerful facts and proofs that endorse the applicability of Cloud ERP implementation. Additionally, this source provides statistical-based information that demonstrates the significance of integrating Cloud ERP system, as this resource explicitly presents numerical evidence that emphasizes how Cloud ERP can reduce the organization’s total cost of ownership comparative to other regular on-promise ERP systems (Mahmood, 2013).

Furthermore, Grubisic (2014) has stressed in his paper titled “ERP in Clouds” that public organizations are the largest segment of organizations which benefited from the incorporation of Cloud ERP system because of the high compatibility of the company’s dynamic needs with the provided services of Cloud ERP. This study shows the compatibility of Cloud ERP system to the government’ characteristics, including their need for flexibleness inaccessibility, their limited resources and government’s dynamic nature. According to Hoseini’s study of cloud services (Hoseini, 2013), she stated that Cloud ERP is mainly considered a SaaS (software as a service) system that could be provided by either a public or private cloud services’ provider organization. This study comprehensively describe cloud computing in relation to ERP system and provide classifications of several cloud modules including software as a service (SaaS, platform as a service ) and infrastructure as a service and presents how each one could be used as a platform for implementing Cloud ERP which provides more variety of the offered services (Hoseini, 2013; Mahmood, 2013).

As a result, several questions are unanswered about the experience-based impacts of adopting a Cloud ERP system in organizations. One of these questions is:

Q2.

Why some organizations, especially government, still rejecting the implementation of cloud ERP?

Q3.

How could organizations use Cloud ERP in an appropriate way?

Furthermore, there is a limited number of academic literature and studies that objectively describes and discusses the impacts of implementing Cloud ERP in public organizations (Huang and Palvia, 2001; Lenart, 2011; Hoseini, 2013; Grubisic, 2014). Thus, this study would mainly examine the key driving factors as well as important impacts of changing to Cloud ERP system on organizational performance. Therefore, the study would seek to provide an actual representation of Cloud ERP has experienced effects to assist decision-makers to answer the key question:

Q4.

Why, or why not, should organizations implement Cloud ERP system?

3. Theoretical framework

While using the soul concept of “Transformation Theory” proposed by Dirac (1927), where he proposed that how changes occur in the quantum state to bring something new and applicable. The theory explained the use of the transformation process for the greater benefits. The same theory was applied in this study to explain the process of transformation occurred in Techno Corp. where the company decided to implement Cloud ERP because of many advantages which are explained in later sections in details. As the world is moving toward a digital era, businesses are adopting ERP solutions to carry out their functions in an effective manner. Because the cloud ERP has become an essential need of business, it is important to put a good amount of knowledge and understanding during the implementation to make the process of transformation smooth and successful. The cloud-based ERP system has been found faster, cheaper and flexible so organizations are thinking to adopt this technology but commitment at every phase of transformation is required to make the change successful. Top management, technical management, process team and change management and project management considered as the pillars of ERP and sturdy pillars ensured successful implementation (Alsharari, 2013; Alsharari et al., 2015, Alsharari, 2016a, 2016b; Alsharari, 2017; Alsharari and Abougamos, 2017; Alsharari and Youssef, 2017; Lasyoud and Alsharari, 2017; Alsharari, 2018a, 2018b, 2019a, 2019b, 2019c; Alsharari et al., 2018; Al-Shboul and Alsharari, 2018; Alsharari and Al-Shboul, 2019; Alsharari and Alhmoud, 2019).

On the theoretical basis this study has proposed the following propositions:

P1.

Cloud ERP has increased the functionality of the organizations because of flexibility and accessibility.

Before the arrival of cloud ERP solutions, departments of companies had to manually extract the data and thus it took time and a lot of cost. But now because the cloud ERP is available, companies can carry out more than one function simultaneously and thus it has made things easier. Cloud has allowed the people to store their data on an internet platform where the data can be retrieved and extracted anytime and thus it can be used with efficiency and effectiveness (Columbus, 2018):

P2.

Cloud ERP is easy to afford and maintenance is cost-efficient which is helping companies to increase the profitability.

The implementation of cloud ERP requires a lot of planning and understanding. Businesses are moving to cloud ERP solutions because it is having an effect on their lower up-front costs. But most obvious reasons found in the survey were that companies were implanting and buying cloud ERP because it was saving them from a hurdle of installing software and hardware. They just had to pay a specific amount to cloud companies and thus they were given the platform to store their data on the internet. (Harrist, 2018). It made things easy and smooth. Before the implementation of cloud ERP, companies had to buy software and hardware which made things drastically complicated because there were issues in installation and other operations. The vendors of the cloud are responsible to update the software on a regular basis and thus the companies do not have to do this on their own. The updates are required for a smooth experience of cloud ERP:

P3.

Cloud ERP has a big threat of data security and it can be hacked from anywhere so the security of the data is the big challenge as the privacy would be at stake and it has become a big challenge for the organizations to secure data while operating at cloud.

Figure 1 explains the features of cloud ERP which helped in developing the propositions for this study. On the basis of the propositions, some research questions were prepared in this study to get the answers. As earlier mentioned, it was the case of one public organization (Techno Corp.), which has been gone through the process of transformation so interview method was the adequate data collection source to get the answers for analysis. The major research questions were as per the following:

RQ1.

What are the factors that forced the organization to implement cloud ERP in the organization?

RQ2.

Are there any cyber-attack issues related to the implementation of cloud ERP? If yes then how the issues will be tackled?

4. Research methodology

This study uses qualitative research and presents a case study on the implementation of ERP in an IT-based service organization. It uses multiple sources through collecting primary, secondary and tertiary data. Further, the company was selected after receiving a list of the companies implementing the Cloud ERP from a Cloud ERP provider (KPI) in Dubai. Followed by the qualitative research design interview method was appropriate to adopt because the research questions needed detailed answers from the respondents because Techno Corp. is the first public sector organization which has successfully implemented cloud ERP in UAE with the collaboration of many big names like Dell. Furthermore, questions could be added during the interview session which helped greatly in the analysis and compilation. Judgmental sampling technique was used to interview the senior position holders in Techno Corp. because they better knew the reasons of the transformation process happened in the organization and how it became possible to implement successfully. For this reason, 20 senior position holders were interviewed and the session was done 2018 and the total duration for the interview was ranging from 30 min to one and a half hour long.

The case study adopted in this study is a public sector organization (i.e. Techno Corp.), which is an IT-based service corporation that was established in 2011. The name of this public organization is not disclosed upon their request, rather, it’s pseudonym as (Techno Corp.). In addition, the company is specialized in providing different IT-related consultations, solutions and technical assistance/maintenance. To elaborate, Techno Corp. is an ISO 9001 certified company that provides different and various software and hardware solutions for individuals as well as businesses, because the company is a partner with other IT-based, substantial and well-known software organizations such as Dell. Furthermore, the organization’s average number of employees ranges from 100 to 200 employees. Thus, the company is considered as one of the public organizations in UAE. Moreover, the company has evolved since 2011 through expanding its offices from being a one office in Abu Dhabi only to having another office in Dubai as well and might extend to other locations in future to have large-scale of geographic prevalence hence achieving their vision of being a leading organization in IT-based services.

The study’s data collection was conducted through different methods. The primary data was collected through the conduction of in-depth interviews in addition to other sources including organizational reports that relevantly provide comprehensive descriptions of company’s IT systems, along with data from the company’s online sources including the case company’s website.

However, the process of data collection was partially hindered by some difficulties such as confidentiality and the lack of transparency in providing different kinds of reports. Further, conducting an increased number of interviews with more personnel was jeopardized by the low level of separation of duties.

The analysis of the collected data was achieved through comprehensive and objective methods. First, the study applied a thematic analysis in analyzing the qualitative data because they constitute the major portion of the collected data, which assisted in producing results thoroughly and credibly. Furthermore, the primary sources’ data such as interviewees’ responses were extensively analyzed using explicit-based information analysis to cover the basic information, in addition to analyzing the potential implicit implications and indications of interviewees’ responses that could be comprehended from the contexts, which enhances the presentation of the final findings. Moreover, the collected secondary data such as reports that comprise functional statistical information were specifically analyzed as of their high significant implication of factuality, statistical genuineness and trustworthiness.

Interviews were mainly designed and structured about the research's questions in the literature review. Moreover, the interviews' questions were explorative, majorly asking “why” and “how” questions to investigate the reasons and experience went through by the case organization when implemented Cloud ERP. Additionally, the interviews' questions were systematically designed to lead to the core questions as the interview started by opening questions, through central questions, and concluding with future-related questions to have the inclusive view of the company's implementation of Cloud ERP.

Interviews were conducted mainly with top-management personnel including chief executive officer (CEO) who is, because of the smallness of the company, directing the IT department as well thus he is responsible managing and determining company’s IT systems including the acquisition of Cloud ERP system. In addition, most of them have extensive experience of over 15 years in IT systems management and direction for public organizations, which enhance the comprehensiveness of the collected data. Furthermore, other interviews were conducted with customer care personnel to obtain general information about the company’s background and financial position.

5. Empirical analysis

The analysis of the study was conducted in two major stages. First, the study started by analyzing the primary reasons and factors influencing the organization's decisions to implement Cloud ERP. Second, it considered significant enhancing and reversing impacts of the implementation of Cloud ERP. Every step is divided into diverse separate sections and partitions. Techno Corp.’s decision to convert to the implementation of Cloud ERP system was because of several influential factors such as the inefficiency of the previously applied system, and the need of rapid and dynamic growth as because of its nature as public organizations.

One of the most important reasons for converting to Cloud ERP is that Ultimate Technologies was previously using the manual system within the company. Additionally, through using the manual system the company was exposed to several practical issues comprising increased dispersion of data entry, higher numbers of errors, consuming both time and energy, high numbers of employee training costs and subsequently hindering the company’s profitability and performance significantly. Therefore, these reasons constituted a strong incentive for Ultimate Technologies to consider the several available substitutes and thus selected to implement the Cloud ERP as it provides solutions to the previous system’s issues, and as the CEO said about why selecting Cloud ERP system:

Its ease of use, relatively low price, easiness of control and management, its flexibility of accessibility from any online server, and the non-existent maintenance costs.

As a public organization, the company is continuously seeking to improve itself in different aspects of its operational, internal control systems and the diverse management processes. As a result, Ultimate Technologies started to look for an improvement for its resource planning system and discovered that, after reviewing the possible applicable alternatives, Cloud ERP would be highly suitable to the company as a public organization as it contributes to assisting improve the internal system of management and planning as well as developing the overall organizational performance. As the managing director said:

As we are expanding [developing] we use Cloud ERP to omit any potential obstacle that might hinder the improvement.

The implementation of cloud ERP in Ultimate Technologies has to lead to certain beneficial and hindering consequences. First, since adopting Cloud ERP within the organization in 2015, the company has witnessed enormous benefits in multiple ways and aspects. One of the most significant and observable benefits is the minimization of different kinds of costs comprising operational costs, repairs cost and employee hiring and training costs, and such reduction of costs collectively has resulted in better utilization of financial resources which improved the organizational performance and productivity. Second, implementing Cloud ERP in Ultimate Technologies has led to the increased flexibility of processes’ accessibility hence resulting in multiple advantages. To explain, the elasticity of different operations and procedures has dramatically increased since the beginning of Cloud ERP integration, as the system’s accessibility enhanced by the ability to access and getting the needed information from the organization’s database has become facile from any online resource, and as the CEO mentioned about Cloud ERP’s high accessibility of organization’s different departments’ data:

I can access the system from anywhere as long as there is an online connection. This means that work could be performed from anywhere and control would be easier [flexibility].

Moreover, the company is experiencing boosted organizational efficiency since it started using the Cloud ERP system in 2015. That is, human and other essential resources are used in a way that ensures to produce a possible amount of output by the least possible input, and that is done nearly in all of the company’s diverse operations. As a result, the different departments, including Finance, Accounting, HR and other departments’ productivity is noticeably enhanced hence it is expected to lead to a steady increase in financial results.

On the other hand, the company experienced some hindering impacts from implementing Cloud ERP. In addition, these are very few limitations such as the limited slowdowns. Nevertheless, such glimpses are recovered promptly through the continual up-to-date Cloud ERP system. According to the managing director:

Bugs and other things, if existed, are resolved by the enduring updates.

Whereas many companies are concerned about the privacy of data in Cloud ERP, Ultimate Technologies believe that security and privacy of the organization’s data are insured through Cloud ERP system. Also, Ultimate Technologies believe that the privacy of an organization’s data is dependable on Cloud ERP’s provider. Therefore, the company is dealing with a Cloud ERP provider named “KPI” which the company believes that its data is secured in this provider’s servers. According to the CEO, he underestimated the Cloud ERP’s privacy issues as he added:

Why would you worry about the security of data when all of your emails and social media accounts includes personal information and are available on an online-based platform?

6. Discussion and results

This section connects the case analysis’s findings (Section 5) with the current Cloud ERP’s literature (Section 2) and presents how do they match and contradict in specific points, and this partition aims to extensively discuss them in relation to the questions that need to be answered including:

Q5.

What are the main factors/reasons driving the convert toward Cloud ERP?

Q6.

How would an organization be impacted by implementing Cloud ERP positively and reversely?

Thus, contributing to the main question:

Q7.

Why or why not should an organization implement a Cloud ERP system?

Therefore, this section would link the case analysis with the literature’s key arguments about the factors influencing an organization’s decision to implement Cloud ERP and the subsequent impacts of adopting Cloud ERP.

As explained before, Techno Corp.’s implementation of Cloud ERP was driven by factors that are aligning with some of the current arguments stated by the supporters of Cloud ERP’s implementation. Specifically, incorporating Cloud ERP system in Ultimate Technologies was because of the key factor and reason comprising mainly that the company is continuously aiming to improve and enhance its management of operations and services, which was in line with Haider and Pishdaad’s perception (Pishdad and Haider, 2013) who argued that adopting Cloud ERP system would enhance the scalability and development of an organization in diverse aspects and fields. Additionally, Ultimate Technologies’ size as a public organization was a key factor to apply Cloud ERP as because of the company’s limited financial resources and Cloud ERP’s cost-effectiveness and flexibility, hence agreeing with arguments stated by Grubisic (2014) stating that public organizations are highly compatible and suitable companies for implementing Cloud ERP because of their restricted budgets and the need for flexibility in accessibility. However, when Ultimate Technologies applied the Cloud ERP system, the company has denied/rejected Lal’s and Bharadwaj (2015) view, in addition to other authors’ views, that Cloud-based services embed high risk of privacy and security challenges for an organization’s data, as the company strongly believes that its data is comprehensively secured and reserved and such issues might be linked to inefficient providers of Cloud ERP rather than the system itself. Further, the company’s application of Cloud ERP system complied with Mahmood’s perspective (Mahmood, 2013), as the firm was able to acquire Cloud ERP at lesser “ownership” costs, which match with what Mahmood evidentially proved.

The significant impacts of Ultimate Technologies’ integration of Cloud ERP system included both impacts in line with the stated arguments/perceptions of the literature arguments and others that differ with certain arguments. First, the implementation of Cloud ERP has favorably influenced the Ultimate Technologies’ performance in different aspects and ways which go in line with Grubisic’s (2014) view about the direct relationship between the organizational performance and the implementation of Cloud ERP within the firm. For instance, when Ultimate Technologies practically implemented the Cloud ERP the company witnessed improvements in diverse types of performance including the company’s financial results that were evolved by the increased profitability that resulted from the dramatic decrease in employee training costs and the technical costs (e.g. maintenance costs) which, in turn, lead to a higher profitability and financial performance. Second, Ultimate Technologies controlling systems were significantly influenced by adopting a Cloud ERP system which agrees with Mahmood (2013) arguments about the relationship between the internal control system and the implementation of Cloud ERP. To explain, when Ultimate Technologies applied Cloud ERP system the accessibility of the diverse databases from various departments was enhanced, as the system is on the cloud-computing online platform which could be accessed from any online-accessing device; hence the management’s ability to monitor different employee-related and various internal activities and process was noticeably improved.

Furthermore, the company has witnessed an increased competency in the market after the implementation of Cloud ERP which agrees with Wrycza’s arguments (Wrycza, 2011) of the strong linkage between the adoption of Cloud ERP and a company’s competitiveness in the market. To elaborate, the company successfully has achieved competitive advantage through adopting Cloud ERP system as a new, advanced and superior system which enabled the firm to use different tools and services that other IT-based competitors do not have as they mostly are using other regular ERP systems like on-promise. Thus, the company could attract an increased number of potential customers by offering irregular and enhanced services. Additionally, the organization’s efficiency was observably enhanced as a result of the optimum-utilization services provided by Cloud ERP system that the company applied which, in turn, assist in improving the overall organizational efficiency as Haider’s view (Pishdad and Haider, 2013) argue. That is, Haider argues that technical and organizational efficiency is enhanced when an organization adopts the Cloud-based ERP system, which what occurred when Ultimate Technologies integrated the Cloud ERP system within the company and witnessed increased number of resources that were efficiently used by the Cloud services for optimizing and assigning the appropriate resources to the applicable tasks. Because the implementation has allowed the companies to collaborate on more frequent basis, the returns on equity and investment have gradually increased and thus companies have seen major growth in their revenues (Louie, 2017). The profitability side of the companies has been beatitude with the implementation of cloud ERP.

On the other hand, some of the subsequent effects were in the opposite direction of some literature arguments in certain aspects. First, the organization’s implementation of Cloud ERP was not accompanied with any privacy or data security issues which conflict with Bailey’s point of view (Bailey and Chapman, 2012) about the potential privacy issues. Further, the company surely thinks that Cloud ERP’s security and privacy is of high quality which is against Bailey’s claims that using Cloud ERP would risk the company’s data. Second, the firm has faced specific technical challenges in using the ERP system including some bugs and slowdowns as a result of the online-based platform, which disagrees with Pishdad’s view (Pishdad and Haider, 2013) that the technicalities are of high quality. That is, the company has faced some technical issues thus denying Pishdad’s view about the high-technicalities. However, the company acknowledges that such technical issues could be from the providers and also are continuously solved by the everlasting updates which reject the arguments that say Cloud ERP does not provide technical support.

Moreover, another hindrance that resulted from adopting Cloud ERP was the lower organizational independency as the firm became directly linked to the provider’s availability and effectiveness. Thus, any potential damage or ineffectiveness in the provider’s software or hardware might directly influence the company’s accessibility to its data hence leading to multiple drawbacks to the organization’s overall productivity, which contradicts with some authors' perceptions who deny the effect of integrating Cloud ERP in the organizational independence.

Furthermore, companies need to take or understand that there have been times when companies have gone bankrupt because of poor implementation of cloud ERP systems. The reason is that implementation needs to align with the strategies or overall work philosophies of the company. Some employees do not embrace change frequently and thus they feel difficulty while working on a cloud ERP. Employees also have this fear that implementation of cloud ERP will no longer require them in the company and thus their jobs will be at stake. Companies need to understand this philosophy of employees and should conduct training sessions and other seminars to explain the employees about the advantages of a cloud ERP and how it can help them achieve their targets on daily basis. Because the implementation of cloud ERP will not result in loss of jobs, organizations should make this thing understand to their employees because at the end of the day employees are the biggest asset of an organization (Knorr, 2008).

7. Conclusions

The study explored the different influential factors as well as significant impacts related to the implementation of Cloud ERP based on one case of UAE’s public organizations, that is, Techno Corp. that has converted to Cloud ERP system. The study presented different conclusions and findings as a result of analyzing data. First, the study ascertained and concluded objectively some factors that incentivized the company to convert to Cloud ERP such as its previous inefficient system that caused various financial and performance-related issues, and the firm’s need to develop and improve to an advanced and competitive system which motivated the company to incorporate the Cloud ERP. Moreover, the study has presented the resultant impacts of the implementation of Cloud ERP on the organization, including the easiness of accessibility and control, increased efficiency and productivity and enhanced financial performance. As a result, this paper provides considerable information for decision-makers to assist them in making more accurate and experience-based decisions about the integration of Cloud ERP in their organizations. Interestingly, for the organizations that might not desire to apply the Cloud ERP comprehensively, there could undertake another hybrid way that enables them to use cloud services partially and also the conventional ERP system together.

The study’s limitation is that it is one qualitative case study only on a particular IT-service public organization and that could not be generalized for all other organizations. There is still a lot of work required to provide strong theoretical grounds in the successful implementation of cloud ERP in UAE public sector which has become very active in adopting and adapting with the technology to increase the efficacy level to solve problems. Hence, future quantitative research should be conducted to ascertain the results of this research and to explore more influential factors as well as impacts related to the implementation of Cloud ERP in public organizations. That would provide a more comprehensive overview and statistical data to answer the following questions:

Q8.

What are the technical factors that might affect an organization decision to use Cloud ERP?

Q9.

How can companies use Cloud ERP’s features to achieve higher profitability?

Q10.

How adopting Cloud ERP would facilitate the organizations’ processes and how not?

Furthermore, employee factor should be studied especially at the time of transformation as their commitment, morale and emotional stability have a strong impact on the overall success of any process. Future research needs to test empirically the role of public sector employees during the time of transformation. This empirical analysis will help the companies to understand the before and after effects of transformation in the organization because without human factor no objectives can be achieved. In the case of Cloud ERP successful implementation, the role of employees and their motivation level should not be overshadowed.

Figures

Cloud ERP dominating features

Figure 1.

Cloud ERP dominating features

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Corresponding author

Nizar Mohammad Alsharari can be contacted at: nizaralsharari@gmail.com

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