ERP Solutions are under-utilised, PMP Research survey discovers

Few companies are making full use of their ERP solutions, despite the high cost of such software and the length of time an implementation can take. In a recent survey by PMP Research, just five per cent of those polled report that they are using their existing ERP software to its full extent.

In contrast, a third of the sample (32 per cent) admit that large portions of their enterprise software are not used at all, while 41 per cent concede that a small portion of the softwares functionality is left unexplored. The respondents have come from

Companies are also having difficulty getting ERP systems to perform as they want. The majority customise the software either a great deal (29 per cent) or a little (59 per cent), with only 12 per cent installing ERP packages straight out of the box.

In addition, once installed, over half of the PMP Research sample find it either hard (49 per cent) or very hard (four per cent) to make changes to ERP software in order to meet any changes in business processes or requirements.

Despite these problems, organisations remain committed to ERP solutions when it comes to buying new enterprise software. One in five (19 per cent) say they would prefer to direct investment into this area rather than funding bespoke development work (five per cent) or standalone packages (two per cent).

But in the light of the issues many have in utilising their existing systems to the maximum, the most popular option is to spend money enhancing or updating their current ERP packages (41 per cent). A few (5 per cent) also have plans to buy third-party add-ons for their current systems.

The two key aims of any enterprise software investment are to improve business processes (78 per cent) and to enhance efficiency and effectiveness (66 per cent). Interest in online initiatives comes lower down the list, with a third (32 per cent) saying they will be investing in B2B developments and just 10 per cent funding B2C projects.

Recent upheavals amongst the main players in the enterprise applications market have done very little to dent companies enthusiasm for buying enterprise applications. Three-quarters (74 per cent) of respondents say the current round of mergers and acquisitions will have no impact on their plans.

Uncertainty in the economic climate as a whole is likely to prove a greater threat to IT investment plans: although two-thirds (64 per cent) expect to carry on as planned, 18 per cent have been forced to trim their enterprise IT budget and 12 per cent have seen a reallocation of funds between projects.

For the future, the PMP Research survey highlights two areas of concern. When asked to assess the most serious threats to the success of any enterprise software initiative, half (50 per cent) of the sample cited difficulties in getting hold of the right skills, suggesting a skills shortage may be looming.

And one in five (20 per cent) admit that many managers within their organisation are suffering from information overload as they try to pick their way through all the reports and output from ERP and other enterprise systems. Better information screening with more personalised reports remains an elusive target for many.

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