Applied Information Management

Vanilla ERP: Strategy, Business Alignment, and Customization

Vanilla ERP allows organizations to re-engineer processes and structures.

This annotated bibliography examines thirty-one references to identify factors to consider when implementing a vanilla enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Literature published since 1998 reveals that there is a high cost in maintaining customized ERP systems, thus companies are deliberately implementing vanilla ERP software. Factors include the need to address strategic and cost implications, organizational adaptation to ERP functionality, deploying strategies to minimize customizations, change management, cross-functional implementation teams, coordination mechanisms, and clear performance measurements.

Selected Factors of ERP Implementation Strategy,
Business Alignment, and Customization
Implementation Strategy
  • Utilize a change management system.
  • Partition large projects into smaller implementations.
  • Build the implementation team from the employee pool.
  • Involve users in the ERP design.
  • Appoint a project champion.
  • Communicate with the ERP vendor.
Business Process Alignment
  • Adapt existing business processes to ERP functionality.
  • Consider strategic and cost implications.
  • Use a re-use measurement.
  • Recognize the cultural context.
  • Evaluate the organization's capacity for process change.
  • Isolate IT from business.
ERP Customization
  • Deploy strategies to decrease customizations.
  • Convince users to buy into the ERP system.
  • Recue the implementation time frame.
  • Establish a formal customization request management process.
  • Build a collaborative approach between the vendor and the organization.
  • Configure ERP tables and implement specific modules.


  • Al-Mashari, M. (2003). A process change-oriented model for ERP application. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 16(1), 39-55. Retrieved Mar 30, 2011 from Academic Search Premier. doi: 10.1207/S15327590IJHC1601_4
  • Daneva, M. (2004). ERP requirements engineering practice: Lessons learned. Requirements Engineering, 11(3), 194-204. Retrieved April 3, 2011 from Academic Search Premier. doi: 10.1109/MS.2004.1270758.
  • Gattiker, T.F., & Goodhue, D.L. (2002). Software-driven changes to business processes: An empirical study of impacts of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems at the local level. International Journal of Production Research, 40(18), 4799-4814. Retrieved Mar 28, 2011 from Business Source Complete. doi: 10.1080/0020754021000033913.
  • Haines, M. (2009). Understanding enterprise system customization: An exploration of implementation realities and the key influence factors. Information Systems Management, 26(2), 182-198. Retrieved Mar 30, 2011 from Computer Source. doi: 10.1080/10580530902797581.
  • Mabert, V. A., Soni, A., & Venkataramanan, M. A. (2001). Enterprise resource planning: Common myths versus evolving reality. Business Horizons, 44(3), 69–76. Retrieved Apr 24, 2011 from ArticleFirst. doi: 10.1016/S0007-6813(01)80037-9.
  • Parr, A., & Shanks, G. (2000a). A model of ERP project implementation. Journal of Information Technology, 15(4), 289-303. Retrieved Mar 28, 2011 from ArticleFirst. doi: 10.1080/02683960010009051.
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AIM alumna Janice Yick

Research Paper Author: Janice Yick, field manager, B.C. Hydro—2011 University of Oregon, AIM Program Graduate.

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