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Cisco Systems Inc.’s ERP Implementation Case Study

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Updated: Jun 18th, 2020

Factors for the success of Cisco ERP project

Cisco Systems Inc was an established corporation that made it possible to execute changes to the existing business procedure. The firm had enormous rates for development in terms of profits. Thus, Cisco never lacked resources that were needed for the implementation of the project (ERP). Equally, the implementation was a success owing to the enthusiasm that was evident in human resources (Barton, 2001). The employees became eager to work, given that it was more motivating than the other tedious responsibilities. Therefore, it was easy for the firm to utilize the intelligence of workers for project accomplishment. The project was a success since the corporation benefited from the complete support from the top executive. The administration favored the implementation of the project fully (100%).

Further, Cisco chose Oracle as a partner while implementing the ERP Project. Given that the scheme was determined by manufacturing, Oracle proved to be superior in regard to manufacturing as compared to the other purveyors. Similarly, the project accomplishment resulted from KPMG that was chosen by Cisco as an integration associate. KPMG became intensely involved in the ERP project besides being reliable and dedicated (Applegate, Austin & Soule, 2008). The transparency regarding the adjustment types required in the project came from the corporation’s emphasis on completing the procedure with no modifications. Therefore, success was evident with a plan instigated to support the project since the Company never observed changes as show stoppers.

Areas where Cisco team was smart

The main resolution by Cisco’s top management was to put into practice the ERP project. The choice came during the period when the legacy setting of the corporation was incapable of sustaining the processes. The losses that accrued from the failure of the legacy situation of Cisco in fiscal 1994 were impossible to disregard. In order to handle the situation, the firm had to put some strategy in place. The situation forced the company to be closed down for some time. In essence, the corporation made an efficient decision never to use considerable amounts of time. Certain requirements were instantly understood, given that the firm acted and took the verdicts swiftly. Equally, the corporation focused on the central part of the business. Cisco held its emphasis on the accomplishment of the built-up that was the foundation of all processes (Barton, 2001).

In addition, Cisco had resilient cross-functional groups. The ERP project was not viewed as an enterprise of Information Technology but as a pertinent business project. The corporation also engaged a reputed partner (KPMG) that was renowned for building explicit skills about the project. KPMG skills facilitated the firm to discover accurate purveyor (Applegate, Austin & Soule, 2008). The corporation familiarized itself with a devoted dealer and accurately recognized the major subject that ERP was the key discharge of the invention that the business required. Hence, it was in the best attention of Oracle to chase the achievement of the ERP scheme.

The corporation combined an aggressive schedule for the implementation. The company had to put in place exceptionally aggressive timelines for keeping the shareholders on the watch. The schedule led to opportune recognition of the resolution mechanism to different ERP concerns. Through smart consent based on presentation, the firm came into agreement on definite arrangements. The support from top managers was the defining minute for the Cisco ERP project. In the year 1994, Cisco observed the implementation of ERP as the most tactical development. Besides, the corporation’s emphasis on restricted customization of the base package facilitated easier improvements. Ultimately, the business factor decision on the end date of the project had a positive influence on the ERP project due course (Applegate, Austin & Soule, 2008).

Areas where Cisco was lucky

Even though Cisco managed to do right in terms of ERP implementation, there are likely risks or grounds that the Company disregarded. However, such grounds or possible risk never impacted on the project extensively. As a result, Cisco was fundamentally fortunate. At first, the firm preferred the approach named dual Bang besides going for a comprehensive ERP implementation. The approach could negatively impact on the processes. Nonetheless, flexibility was evident in that the dimensions for the impermanent glitches were minute during the implementation period. Cisco was capable of achieving an exceedingly aggressive completion timeline (Applegate, Austin & Soule, 2008).

Conversely, Cisco failed to carry out any cost-benefit scrutiny in order to compute Return on Investment (ROI). Several years later, the firm realized enormous cost savings from the implementation of ERP. As the main and fresh release, the ERP Oracle could not be vulnerable to inaccuracy. The project remained to be comparatively stable. The corporation did not assess the operations simultaneously but sequentially. Equally, the data examination was through a complete proof approach. Based on the nature of the agreement, this aspect never affected the Company. Cisco was also lucky since the timeline, cost, and the actual forecast were greatly aligned despite various barricades.

The corporation met eighty percent (80%) accurateness after due diligence for the configuration in merely two days instead of the characteristic six months. The firm did not frame the design of the system within the preferred and carefully designed procedures while incorporating the accessible responsibilities in the novel ERP structures (Applegate, Austin & Soule, 2008).

Finally, the team engaged in the ERP implementation was not organized procedurally but functionally. The organization had hitches at the onset. However, during the fourth quarter of fiscal 1995, things became steady as anticipated.

Cisco replication of the success of ERP project in future

The chances of Cisco repeating the accomplishment of ERP in the future are extremely slim. It might not be possible to replicate the same given the diverse variables that are, in part, accredited to good fortune that accrued during the initial ERP project. The well-built rapport fashioned for the ERP venture was the outcomes of good timing. In essence, the Oracle was essentially aspiring for immense success while signing the extraordinary contact derived from the presentation amidst high-interest levels and fixed timelines. Most parts of the project’s accomplishment resulted from good timing.

Currently, several vendors, as well as the Oracle, have turned out to be extensive and can make the project replication nearly unfeasible. Similarly, the cost of complete execution is the other aspect of implementation that could cause simulation problems. It is evident that many associates utilized some of their best resources during the implementation without charging the corporation. The usage of such resources made it possible for the systems price to remain lesser (Applegate, Austin & Soule, 2008).

Additionally, devoid of timing and interaction, the assets and discharge outlay would not be easy to repeat in the future. Finally, the corporation’s size was rather constructive for the ERP implementation by that time. The massive enlargement of the business will enable the managerial mass to occupy the responsibility of such projects. In turn, this could initiate significant tribulations in the imminent days. The partner corporations will experience hitches in replicating Cisco’s approach. With no good support from the top management, a huge project like ERP could take much time to get to full implementation (Applegate, Austin & Soule, 2008). Future implementation will require totally different approaches for success. In general, the likelihood of any corporation to repeat the approach of ERP implementation by Cisco would not be easy.


Applegate, L., Austin, R., & Soule, D. (2008). Corporate information strategy and management: Text and cases. Harvard University, New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin. Web.

Barton, P. (2001). Enterprise resource planning: Factors affecting success and failure. University of Missouri, US: St. Louis. Web.

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