Week 2

  1. Respond to the following:  Shadow systems are frequently used as a justification for the implementation of ERPs.  Shadow systems are often, but not always, reflective of practice and data storage needs in particular functional silos.  Yet oddly, the implementation of an ERP doesn’t always eliminate these systems – sometimes, the number of them increases.  Suggest possible causes.  What threat do these systems pose to integration?  Who or what else might be threatened by the existence of these systems?



Shadow systems are designed and setup to perform planning, monitoring and decision making of an organization. These operations are replicated in full or partial data or functionality of the organization in a legal way (Behrens & Sedera2004). Despite of having a fully operational ERP system, some organizations are still bonding with the shadow system because the system provides the information and functionality for the requirement of the individual department in an organization.

Behrens and Sedera (2004) state some possible causes that the shadow system may still exist after the implementation of an ERP system which may include:

  •  Lack of unity on the problem being solved and specific financial justification of the project between the project team and decision makers.
  • Not enough user training
  • Insufficient testing, which increases risk of omitting essential functions or not be well accepted by the end users.
  • Lack of functionality

Jones et al.(2004) highlights some threats posed by the Shadow System to integration:

  • The shadow system costly and difficult to maintain as it does not support the organization for the long term run.
  • Expected benefits to the organization such as efficiency, end user satisfaction and cost reduction are very much low from the system.
  • The system is poorly designed which makes it very difficult to address the error.
  • Since the system consists of small database, it is not scalable to support large number of users.

Shadow system can be a big threat to a business in making the decision because of the lack of proper data security and information gathering. Since the processing of the information is performed manually there are larger possibilities of occurring duplications and errors affecting the suppliers and the customers. It will cost huge amount of money in recovering from the loss. Ultimately the whole business process is affected along with the end users and other stakeholders (Jones et al., 2004).


Behrens, S & Sedera, W 2004, ‘Why do shadow systems exist after an ERP implementation? Lessons from a case study’, Association for information Systems Electronic Library, vol.1, no.1, http://aisel.aisnet.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1279&context=pacis2004.

Jones, D, Behrens, S, Jamieson, K & Tansley, E 2004, The rise and fall of a shadow system: lessons for enterprise systems implementation, http://davidtjones.wordpress.com/publications/the-rise-and-fall-of-a-shadow-system-lessons-for-enterprise-system-implementation/



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