Abstract for: Improving operations management by synthesizing participant knowledge and system data

With the advent of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, availability of data is no longer the bottleneck to decision making in many organizations. Instead the reverse seems to apply more frequently. Integrated organization-wide computer systems overwhelm managers with data to such an extent that it becomes difficult to assess relevance for managing operations. A number of methodologies attempt to help management to distill meaning from large amounts of data. These methodologies enable managers to identify multiple performance indicators and determine tradeoffs between effects of proposed improvements. Implementation of improvements however entails organizational change. Methodologies are commonly used in an expert mode, which makes them prone to many of the potential traps of change management, such as lack of commitment due to the ‘not invented here’ syndrome. Alternative methodologies such as group model building enable problem owners to identify problems and combine knowledge and system data in solving these are available. In this paper we explore three group model building projects in an ERP context. We address the context in which the projects were carried out and the process of client participation and model construction. We describe effects in terms of end products, quality of solutions and outcomes of system changes.