A systematic approach for enterprise systems upgrade decision-making: Outlining the decision processes

Gerald Feldman, Hanifa Shah, Craig Chapman, Erika A. Pärn, David J. Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Enterprise systems (ES) upgrade is fundamental to maintaining a system’s continuous improvement and stability. However, while the extant literature is replete with research on ES upgrade decision-making, there is scant knowledge about how different decision processes facilitate this decision to upgrade. This paper aims to investigate and better understand these processes from an organisational perspective. Design/methodology/approach: The study adopted a qualitative survey design, and used a Web-based questionnaire and semi-structured interviews to collect data from 23 large organisations. Data accrued were qualitatively analysed and manually coded to identify the various decision processes undertaken during ES upgrade decisions. Findings: Analysis results reveal complex interrelations between the upgrade drivers, the need to evaluate the new version’s functionality and the upgrade impact. Understanding the interaction between these elements influences the upgrade decision process. Research limitations/implications: The study proposes ES upgrade processes that support a decision to upgrade major releases. Further research is required to offer either similar or conflicting arguments on the upgrade decision-making and provide a probabilistic generalisation of the decision-making processes. Originality/value: The research offers a comprehensive and empirically supported methodical approach that embraces an evaluation of a new version’s functionality, technical requirements and concomitant upgrade implications as intrinsic decision processes. This approach assists in the decisions to establish the upgrade need and determine the level of change, effort required, impacts and associated benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)778-802
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Engineering, Design and Technology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Decision processes
  • ES upgrade
  • Enterprise systems
  • Post-implementation phase
  • Systematic ES upgrade
  • Upgrade decision-making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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