After my series of blogs last week about what I intended to research, I wrote - mainly for my own benefit - an abstract for my new thesis. Once this was done, I started work writing the new thesis. About 50% of the first chapter is recycled from my original thesis - a brief history of ERP, the ERP life cycle and Priority. Some of the material which originally appeared in the 'misfits' section of the introduction has been moved to chapter 2, the literature survey, as this is now the more suitable location. I added two pages describing my taxonomy of enhancements, giving a lengthy example in each case. To close the chapter, I added a section entitled 'Organisational impact of enhancements', which states the economic reasons for enhancements.
When I finished this (last Thursday), I sent a copy to my supervisor, without knowing what might be decided about my future as a doctoral candidate. I thought it best to show some completed work, so that any discussions which might take place in the university would have a background. On Friday afternoon I received a reply, thanking me for my material and informing me that another lecturer, who is apparently an expert in both organisational behaviour (he came to lecture us in Israel several years ago when I was taking the OB course) and case study-based research, has been appointed as my co-supervisor. But he's gone on holiday for a week!
Whilst this is encouraging, it doesn't actually tell me where I stand with regard to obligations. Do I have to write a research proposal and have it accepted by the research committee? Can I skip the proposal and create an intermediate submission (everything bar the research itself) for approval? Can I skip the intermediate submission and start work on the complete thesis? No doubt I will get some form of answer at the end of this week.
In the mean time, I have been working on the literature survey for the thesis. It turns out that my original sources aren't particularly suitable for my new direction, so I've been looking for more material. I have found a few papers, but most of these are about the implementation phase, based on SAP and are concerned with defining misfits. I am researching the post-implementation phase in Priority installations, examining the benefits of enhancements, so there is a definite research gap.
The literature survey will definitely be shorter than its predecessor; I think that I will be lucky if I manage to find 20 papers which are suitable. This is not necessarily a bad thing. As a joke, I included a short paragraph surveying the paper which I presented in Florence two years ago; there is some relevance. It will be interesting to see whether anyone remarks upon it.
It occurred to me this morning that I could post a request on the Priority Users Forum, asking people to send me examples of enhancements, listing what the misfit was, how it was overcome (I need a better word for this) and what the benefits accrued from doing so. Unfortunately, as fate would have it, the forum's web site is down today and it is not clear when it will be available again.
The title is now Researching the benefits of enhancing ERP programs in the post-implementation phase; this almost certainly will be the final title.