>> Follow your bliss. If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn't have opened for anyone else. <<
(Joseph Campell, 1904–1987)
In March 2012, after a SAP ERP rollout, I followed my bliss. Before then, I had never stopped pursuing the thought of starting a doctoral thesis. I approached Jan Mendling and told him about my idea to investigate ERP programs. Jan liked the idea, opened the first door to me and became my first supervisor. Thank you, Jan, for opening this door. Without your ongoing trust and passion, it would not have been possible to follow my bliss and to finish this thesis. The same is true for Edward Bernroider, my second supervisor. Thank you, Ed, for your continuous guidance and support throughout the journey. I was in the lucky position to work with you both, two extraordinary and smart academics, but mostly I loved your positive attitude. I hope that we can keep our friendship alive for the decades to come. Furthermore, I hope the models and outcomes of this thesis will inspire others to follow their bliss.
Additionally, I am grateful to the members of my doctoral committee Alexander Kaiser (defense and research proposal) and Volker Stix (research proposal). I would like to thank all the other members of WU Vienna (Vienna University of Economics and Business), particularly from the Institute for Information Business and the Department of Information Systems and Operations, who supported me throughout the journey. A big thank you to all the fellows from WU Vienna, and from University of Liechtenstein, Goethe-University Frankfurt, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), University of Ljubljana, University of Cologne. Particularly, I enjoyed our time at the Flumserberg, Switzerland. I also want to express my appreciation to the academic community (e.g. the people I met at the International Conference on Information Systems 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand), too many to name personally. I enjoyed my journey with you and I am sure I will stay connected with the academic community in one form or another.
I want to say thank you to the research participants at A1/Telekom, particularly to the program manager. I would also like to thank the research participants at Pantheon (pseudonym), particularly the leader of the ERP Competence Center. A big thank you to all the other research participants who did single interviews and my former colleagues Rainer Stierschneider, Christian Standler, Stefan Glatz, Christian Fliesser, Michele Candelori and Frank Merzinger. A very big thank you to Tobias Tripolt and Sonja Leisser, who did a great job in transcribing most of the interviews, as well as Ryan Weldzius and Daniel J. Kirby for their thorough proofreading and editing work.
A special thanks to my mother, Elke, for her continuous support, and my father, Karl who is now very proud that I finished a doctoral thesis, a long time after him. Thanks to my entire family and my friends, who trusted in me when I needed it the most. Thanks to Joseph Campbell and his legacy. His quotes and wisdom are prudent sources of inspiration.
I dedicate this thesis to all those who passed away and left their legacies, foremost Markus Presslauer, who passed away last year, aged 41. May the force be with you (Star Wars).
Stefan Klaus Müller (Vienna, May 2016)