AN EXPLORATION OF ERP ADOPTION AT SMES IN GAUTENG AS A STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE FOR SUSTAINABILITY AND COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) play a significant role in developing countries like South Africa. They face many detrimental challenges, including COVID-19 and a shrinking economy. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems can help SMEs mitigate some critical risks by providing real-time accurate information to aid decision making.The study was conducted with active Covid-19 restrictions in South Africa. A qualitative research method was applied using semi-structured interviews and snowball sampling to gain a better understanding of the perceptions and unique perspectives on the use of ERP by SMEs in Gauteng. Thematic analysis, aided by NVivo version 12 software, was used to analyse the data.When SMEs reach a size where they cannot keep track of company information themselves, an ERP system becomes a great asset. It provides timely and accurate information to facilitate decision making and strategic planning. SMEs tend to purchase a mixed selection of ERP software. ERP provides SMEs with the capabilities to become more sustainable and there is a great desire for such systems to be implemented, budget permitting. SMEs using ERP systems are in a better competitive position when compared with those enterprises who choose not to use it.SMEs can become more resilient in times of crises so the integration of ERP systems must be part of the strategic objectives of SMEs.